T.J. Detweiler
T.J. Detweiler

Character From:

Recess: School's Out
Recess: All Growed Down
Recess: Taking the 5th Grade
Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street


Theodore Jasper "T.J." Detweiler


Samuel "Sam" Detweiler (Father)
Janet "Jan" Detweiler (Mother)
Rebecca "Becky" Detweiler (Sister)

First Appearance:

The Break-in

Portrayed By:

Ross Mallinger
Andrew Lawrence

Theodore Jasper "T.J." Detweiler is the short (somewhat chubby), German-American main protagonist of the series. Also the ringleader of his five best friends who he spends most of his time with T.J. is known for his sense of righteousness, justice and the ability to make a plan that will ensure days at Third Street School are never boring.


T.J. is a usually mischievous young boy, and often enjoys playing pranks on Miss Finster, Principal Prickly and Randall Weems. He also isn't afraid to bend the school rules a little and get in trouble. Despite his troublemaking side, T.J. is a sweet and kind boy with an enormous heart, and treats everyone on the playground equally. He is nice to everyone he meets, even his rivals, such as Lawson and Randall. He often sticks up for his friends when they have a problem. Because of this, T.J. is one of the most popular kids on the playground. He is also very optimistic and energetic.

Despite his sweetness and brilliance when it comes to his schemes, T.J. can also be a bit ditzy, especially in later episodes. He ranges from being a "C" student to an "F" student in school, going so far as to him earning a 10.1% on a test. He also has a lazy side to him as well, which is the reason for his bad grades at school rather than stupidity.

His hobbies are playing with his friends and watching cartoons.

T.J. is short and chubby. He has light brown hair, wide eyes and freckles on his cheeks. He usually wears a red baseball hat facing backwards, a white t-shirt, a green jacket, baggy jeans and sneakers.

In the original version of "The Break-in", which was the series' pilot, he was tall and skinny with messy reddish-brown hair, wide green eyes, freckles on his cheeks and larger ears. His outfit consisted of a white, green and red t-shirt with "T.J." written on the side, jeans and sneakers.

His parents are very loving and supportive. They don't always appreciate the full extent of T.J.'s high spirits, but they love him just the same. T.J.'s relationship with his sister Becky is on much shakier ground, but underneath all her objections she does love him too, even coming to his rescue in Recess: School's Out. He also mentions having an older brother in the episode "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff", but this is never mentioned again, hinting that he was dropped in production.


Mikey BlumbergEdit

T.J. is good friends with Mikey. In "The Break-up", T.J. says he "appreciates his insane spiritual gifts". However he is sometimes embarassed by Mikey's behaviour. In "Tucked In Mikey", after Mikey read a poem inspired by Menlo, T.J. claimed "for once, it didn't embarass me". He also was a little embarassed at Mikey's comment that the 5th and 6th grader's club was "rainbow hug of togetherness". But, T.J. respects Mikey despite his behaviour, as seen in the end of "Rumor Mill".

Gretchen GrundlerEdit

T.J. surprisingly doesn't say much about Gretchen. She has, apparently, tutored him in Grammar. The two don't always see eye-to-eye on things. T.J. supported her in her math club with Hank, but soon stopped going since it put the gang to sleep. In "Outcast Ashley", Gretchen didn't consider T.J. a friend for a while since he didn't share her interest in science and astronomy, or helped make her pinhole projector. At the end, they apologise for taking each other for granted. T.J. respects her for being the smartest kid in school, and Gretchen says T.J. is a good friend.

Vince LaSalleEdit

Many have speculated Vince and T.J. to be best friends. In "The Barnaby Boys", Vince and T.J. act as characters from their favourite book. They are seen doing a lot of things together back in second grade, such as being in the same Boy Scout troop or making up the word "Whomps". However, in "The Break-up", T.J. can't bring himself to say Vince is his best friend. Vince is also occasionally ambivalent to T.J.'s plans, especially in the beginning of the show. It is thought T.J. shares the most interests with Vince, but he is an equal friend in T.J.'s sight.

Ashley SpinelliEdit

Throughout the course of the series, T.J. has been shown to have a crush on Spinelli, and vice versa. Many episodes have moments where he wraps his arms around her shoulders for usually no reason at all, showing his affection. In "More Like Gretchen", he even tells Spinelli, "My heart goes out to you", which semi-confirms his affections. On many occasions, Spinelli has returned these affections.

Gus GriswaldEdit

T.J. is a sort of older brother figure to Gus. He is usually the first to stand up for Gus against bullies or teachers. He also gives him advice in "Gus and Misdemeanors". Gus, on the other hand, usually follows whatever T.J. says, and is used to taking orders from him. T.J. has said Gus inspires him in "The Break-up".