Style Stealer – Recess


Hey, it’s Bernie back with another edition of Style Stealer.  For this one we’re going to take it back to the late 90s.  Particularly between the years 1997 to 1998 when for us it was okay to wake up at 8 o’clock to catch the best of the best of Saturday Morning cartoons.  If you were one of the many kids that tuned in at 8 to catch quality children’s programming then you were probably watching this classic gem of a show.

The popular TV show Recess debut on channel 7 on August 31st 1997 as a part of the first incarnation of the ABC One Saturday Morning line-up.  In the U.K the show aired on The Disney Channel. The premise of the show focuses on the lives of six close elementary school friends as they navigate through the social cliques and the situations that arise on their schools playground during every students favorite time of the day. The gang consists of leader of the group TJ Detwiler, brass and spunky Ashley Spinelli, cool Vince Lasalle, intelligent Gretchen, the shy military kid Gus Griswald and spiritual, loveable Mikey.  Recess represented the one time of the day where young people can be free and some say that the atmosphere of the playgrounds was a symbol of a society based on social structure and laws (which can be a valid argument if you think critically about it).

From TJ Detwhiler’s bomber jacket and backwards cap to Mikey’s simple uniform of a white shirt and brown pants, much of characters styles often reflected their personalities and interests. Vince LaSalle was rocking the chilled sports look with his high top fade combined with the basketball shorts and jersey.  Gretchen’s look blended a feminine with nerdy, while Spinelli’s wardrobe opted for a more of a tomboy, grunge look that defined popular fashion in the 90’s with the red dress, leather jacket, big Doc Martin inspired boots and the yellow beanie hat.  In contrast, there were The Ashleys – the popular mean girl clique in school who wore Cher Horowitz inspired outfits that looked straight off the set of Clueless. The Ashleys were way ahead of their time with their social rules, even having a special day where  they only wore the colour purple to celebrate their friendship (Mean Girls obviously took inspiration from the show with their “on Wednesday’s we wear pink” rule!). The Ashleys were known to try and wreck havoc with the harmony of the playground that the gang tried to keep consistent.  TJ and the gang were the closest of friends and banded together  to get themselves out of every difficult situation.Tthey were individuals with their own strengths and flaws as well as their own personalities and their own ways of dealing with the real world of their playground.  The fashion as well as the messages given in each episode, the success of the show and the fact that the program was good clean fun is what makes Recess one of the most memorable cartoons of the 90’s and our choice for Style Stealer of the week



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