Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade
Change is in the air as everybody’s favorite fourth graders advance to the next level of school…and mischief. Not all the changes are good, though. Much to the chagrin of T.J., Spinelli, Vince, Gretchen, Gus and Mikey, totalitarian teacher Ms. Finster has moved up to the fifth grade with the kids, along with class snitch Randall and Principal Prickley. The cafeteria food has gone to grey mush, a new playground king has been anointed, and the p.a. announcements encourage study over play. Most notably, the gang watches in horror as the entire playground and grassy sports fields are paved over as part of the Board of Education’s “School Improvement” project.
T.J. takes matters into his own hands, boycotting school and inspiring the entire student body to camp out at the Detweillers in support. Moving up has its advantages, though – the gang gains admittance to an exclusive secret society of fifth-and sixth-graders. Everything is great until the benefits of the club lead to a few elitist attitudes – and cause a rift amongst the gang. Finally, Halloween takes an awful turn when Spinelli – the greatest Halloween fan of the group – believes she’s grown too old to celebrate the festivities in her usual, child-like manner. The gang works to remind Spinelli that Halloween is for children of all ages.
The “Recess” series of adventures of elementary age kids are very well done and enjoyable. Unlike many of today’s cartoons, there is no violence, sexual innuendo, or anything else that families can’t watch together. The producers of “Recess” concentrate on issues that the kids in that grade seem to come up against and they cleverly create roles and situations that kids think about. One example of this is when the principal tells T.J. that he can’t change the way things are done. He feels helpless to fight the school board about its recent decisions of change to the elementary school. But, T.J. helps him learn that he can stand up for what he believes in and not just go with the flow. I think this cartoon is one of the best around. There are some excellent bonus features on this DVD as well. You will get the “The Break-In” and “The New Kid.” This is a wonderful DVD to add to your child’s collection. I’m sure they will watch it again and again.