The Government officially cancels recess as part of an experiment, but things go wrong when the kids become slow-minded and depressed as a result.
The Government uses Third Street School as a pilot school to test out the effect of cancelling recess on improving test scores. Both the kids and teachers are understandably frustrated by this; even Miss Finster is upset as she has to be sitting in Miss Lemon's office moping for the remainder of the schedule. They are even confused when government agents Barnes and Noble begin handing out standardized tests. These agents assert their authority quickly, by having a word with Miss Grotke when she tries to play paper football with the kids, and later sealing the staff bathroom door shut due to overuse.
Over time, the kids become demoralized, mindlessly going through each day. To make matters worse, the program ends up having the opposite effect of what was expected - test scores plummet to their lowest ever. In interviews with the kids, it is shown that the kids desire time in the day to go outside and have fun.
The Secretary of Schools then develops an alternative program for Third Street. He calls it "Reversing Effects of Continuous Educational Stress Syndrome" or "RECESS" (pronounced "wreck-is"). Introducing it to the school immediately raises the spirits of the children, bringing them back to normal, and bringing the test scores back up, much to both the students and teachers' delight.
- Animation/continuity error: When Vince hands his test back to Agent Noble, it's already graded, when it shouldn't have been.
- Coloring error: When Vince tells T.J. that he has to have a plan, his entire arm is colored gray.
- The events of this episode later on lead-up to the events in the movie.
- Interesting enough, Recess was canceled at Third Street Elementary by the Secretary of Education.
- Also, Prickly and Muriel's reactions of recess being canceled were similar to the movie.
- In addition, you'd have to take this episode separately from any continuity in Recess (to say nothing of the movie Recess: School's Out) to enjoy it in its own right because there is no logical way it could have happened.
- This is one of the very few times where God is mentioned on a Disney television series (with Gus's line, "Was that...God?"), the other show where God was mentioned was in 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
- The use of desaturated color when recess is cancelled is meant to represent the loss of hope in the children via color language. Once "RECESS" is instigated, the colour quickly resaturates, to represent their return to normal.
- This is the first episode to be colored with digital ink-and-paint instead of hand-drawn cels.
- This is the only episode with animation from Anivision.
- Agents Barnes & Noble appear to be based on Agents Mulder and Scully from the X-Files series.
- Their names are also a reference to the Barnes & Noble company.
- T.J. Detweiler - Andrew Lawrence
- Vince LaSalle - Rickey D'Shon Collins
- Ashley Spinelli - Pamela Segall-Adlon
- Gretchen Grundler - Ashley Johnson
- Mikey Blumberg - Jason Davis
- Gus Griswald - Courtland Mead
- Miss Finster - April Winchell
- Miss Grotke - Allyce Beasley
- Principal Prickly - Dabney Coleman
- Miss Lemon/Agent Noble - Tress MacNeille
- Gordy - Klee Bragger
- Coach Kloogey - Paul Wilson
- Mr. Dunn - Frank Welker
- President - John Forsythe
- Secretary of Education/Agent Barnes/Steves - Gregg Berger