“Recess” – Rainy Days EPISODE REVIEW

Posted on 6th February, 2023

I come from a country where we get more rain than sunshine, so I thought I’d re-watch a classic Recess episode that centres on drizzly weather! In this cartoon, TJ and his schoolmates are forced to stay inside while a rainstorm rages on outside. Not only has Miss Finster banned all forms of fun, but the activities she’s provided are also VERY underwhelming too.

It must have been hard to create a riveting story around a week of rainy days at a school, but this show tends to go above and beyond with simple premises. It helps that the episode opens with urban legend keeper Butch nervously giving a stern warning, as he urges TJ and his gang to be afraid of the week ahead. It’s a terrific way of raising anxiety for our characters over the days to come.

The escalation of stress each day adds to this tension too. Just as Butch prophesised, the kids begin fighting each other, while also mentally declining. Sure, this isn’t the only Recess episode where kids become vegetative shells, but this episode focuses on a day-by-day at a slow decay that happens in emotional stages.

You could defend Miss Finster’s strict stay-inside policy on rainy days as practical, seeing as kids could injure themselves or catch a cold, but Finster has banned outdoor play MAINLY out a spiteful desire for control. There’s something creepy about a teacher getting giddy and excited over students going braindead from a lack of fun, but that’s Finster for you.

Even though the cartoon has a sombre tone, it’s actually one of my favourite Recess episodes to watch when I want to relax. In spite of it’s melancholic atmosphere, there’s something laid-back about the rain trickling against window throughout the episode, or the mundanity of Finster’s no-thrills activities like bingo and puzzles.

Heck, this is also a surprisingly funny episode for what it entails. From Butch warning how they kids will eventually “Laugh at jokes no one is telling”, to Gus melodramatically threatening to jump off a small chair, there’s bound to be at least joke you’ll get a kick out of.

Not to mention, TJ still has his plucky spirit to keep everyone going. His trademark optimism radiates through the episode, as he stubbornly rebels against Butch’s predictions or snorts at Finster’s villainous smirks. It’s actually TJ’s determination that stops this episode from being a complete downer, which totally pays off once TJ realises that rain is harmless, and they disobey Finster to have the messiest Recess ever.

If you’re after a Disney cartoon that’s about overcoming boredom and fears of the rain, then I can’t recommend this one enough. It features Finster at her most campily devious, all while challenging TJ’s optimism after having his favourite time of day taken away by bad weather.


Posted on February 6, 2023, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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