Old Rusty is the centerpiece of the playground, hence it has been shown in the lion's share of the series of the Recess (including the movies.) It is a large combination jungle gym, slide, and swing set; it's almost impossible to envisage Third Street School without it.
Old Rusty stood for a long time in the playground, until the Board of Education's new policies called for the playground to be torn down (this occurred in the episode "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff.")
During this episode, despite T.J.'s, the rest of the student body's, their parents', as well as some of the faculty's successful protest, Old Rusty came crashing down under the protesters' combined weight. The jungle gym was put back together and T.J. dubbed it "New Rusty."
The "Old Rusty" that was shown to be an ancient, scruffy, and rusty dilapidated structure on the grass area of the playground of Third Street School. This structure has been on the playground for, seemingly, an indefinite amount of time; "New Rusty" was constructed from the ruins of the one old.
The "New Rusty" is fresh, shiny, and is almost identical to Old Rusty. This was the one shown after its predecessor collapsed.
In the episode "Economics of Recess," the top of Old Rusty was occupied by T.J., seemingly making it his headquarters once he established a monopoly on the playground. This had both the Safety Rangers and King Bob's guards as watchers - this would imply that T.J. had formed a monopoly and all previous faction members worked solely for him. Menlo and Randall were both shown to be
In the episode "Bachelor Gus," Gus commandeered it to be his home when he thought that he and his parents were going to move again. Old Rusty had some cloth draped in on the inside to simulate walls, as well as the basic creature comforts. When Gus moves out, Old Rusty goes back to normal.
- In the episode "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff," the structure old rusty was destroyed by the combined weight of the supporters. The new structure put in its place was - on the face of it - a restoration; T.J. himself christened it "New Rusty." Despite this, the kids go back to calling it "Old Rusty" later on in the series.
- When New Rusty was constructed, it was done so from the ruins of Old Rusty. This is much like a metaphor for Phoenix from the Ashes.
- The way that the structure is described could be perceived as personification.
- In the episode "The Challenge," Principal Prickly's brother's school, which is like a mirror universe to his own, there is an identical jungle gym named Old Crusty.
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