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.
AppearanceT.J. is short and chubby (this is more pronounced in the show's earlier episodes). 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.
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 briliance 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 actual stupidity.
His hobbies are playing with his friends and watching cartoons.
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.
Relationships with the other members of the gang
T.J. is good friends with Mikey. In "The Break-Up", T.J. says he "appreciates his insane (innate) spiritual gifts". However he is sometimes embarassed by Mikey's behavior. 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 a "rainbow hug of togetherness". But, T.J. respects Mikey despite his behavior, as seen in the end of "Rumor Mill".
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 "A Genius Among Us", 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 apologize 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.
Many have speculated Vince and T.J. to be best friends. In "The Barnaby Boys", Vince and T.J. act as characters from their favorite 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.
Main Article: T.J. and Spinelli's relationshipThroughout 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.
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".
Foreign Voice Actors
- Danish: Sebastian Jessen
- Finish: Jon Jon Geitel
- French: Donald Reignoux
- German: Robert Stadlober (First two seasons), Fritz Vogt (Season three+)
- Italian: Paola Majano
- Japanese: Wasabi Mizuta (First half of season one), Kouki Uchiyama (Second half of season one +)
- Norwegian: Harald Mæle jr.
- Polish: Matthew Maksiak
- Swedish: Tobias Sward
- Spanish: Manuel Yex Flores
- Hindi: Nachiket Dighe
- In the original drafts of the show, his name was going to be P.J., to stand for the first initials of the show's creators (Paul and Joe). After the first recording for The Break In, his name was changed for unknown reasons. The first initial may've been changed to Theodore for one of the creators' relatives.
- He has had the most voice actors out of the main six characters in the show. Ross Malinger played him for all of Season One and a few episodes of Season Two, ending with Outcast Ashley. Starting from The Game, Andrew Lawrence played him until the end of the series due to Malinger's voice changing. In between the last episode of the show (Lost Leader) and the direct to video movies (Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down), Andrew Lawrence went through puberty and was replaced by Myles Jeffrey for the movies. When the Lilo & Stitch crossover special, Lax, aired, he had been replaced by Axel Alba. Both Axel Alba and Myles Jeffrey played T.J. in various TV spots for the show when airing on Toon Disney.
- In the Italian dub, T.J.'s favorite show is the Disney animated series, Darkwing Duck.
- According to Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, T.J.'s described to be "a funny looking little guy with a lot of charisma".
- In "To Finster with Love" T.J. is revealed to weight 76 pounds.
- According to "Big Ol' Mikey"; in his adult years, he will grow up to be 5 feet 9 inches tall.
- T.J. has had the most episodes focused on him out of the entire cast.
- T.J. has been in every episode of the series.
- During the first season of the show, T.J. had highlights in his eyes. For unknown reasons, they were removed in season two, but sometimes appeared in either off-model moments or tie-in merchandise.
- T.J. is the one of the members of the Recess Gang with brown hair the other was Gretchen.
- T.J. is one of three members of the gang with siblings (Along with Spinelli and Vince), however, he is also the only member of the gang with a sister.
- T.J. and Spinelli are the only two main characters who commonly wear jackets.
- The first line spoken by T.J. in the show was "Tomato Surprise; just when you thought it was safe to go back in the lunchroom". This is also the first line spoken by any character in the show.
- In some early concept art (Using the finalized character designs), T.J.'s sneakers were gray instead of red, his eyes were also completely circular instead of being semi-circular, and his hair was blonde instead of light brown.
- T.J. was the first animated character that Ross Malinger and Andrew Lawrence have played.
- In the original version and almost every foreign dub of the series, T.J. is always voiced by a young boy. However, in the Italian dub, he's voiced by Paola Majano, an adult woman.
- T.J. is Trash Can champion.
- T.J. likes professional MLB center fielder of the Minnesota Twins, Kirby Puckett.
- He likes señor fusion.
- T.J.'s pee wee pal was Spencer.
- T.J. can be daring and adventurous.
For more pictures and screenshots of T.J., click here.