Theodore Jasper "T.J." Detweiler is the leader of the main characters in the TV show Recess.
T.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 the leader of the main six kids in the show, and has been best friends with them since kindergarten (except Gus, who moved to town in the first episode, however he has also been shown in kindergarten with the rest of the kids). He is outgoing, kindhearted, and friendly, and takes having fun very seriously. He is also very dumb, one time he got a 10% on a test. While he is somewhat ditzy, ignorant, and lazy, he's a genius when it comes to pulling schemes on the playground.
Despite being more heavy-set than the other five members of the gang (save for Mikey), he is capable of pulling a few stunts, such as escaping detention by climbing either out the window or from the roof of the school a few times. In second grade, he invented the word "whomp", which is what the kids of the playground use instead of "stinks" or "sucks" to describe an unpleasant situation or person. Aside from "whomp", he also uses the word "frooping" a number of times (to replace the 'f' word), though it's unknown whether he created the word or not. T.J. often roots for the underdog and cares about every kid on the playground, including his enemies. Thus causing most of the school to like him, with the exception of Gordy, as seen in the episode, "Nobody Doesn't Like TJ". He is hardly ever seen without his red baseball hat.
His best friend, Ashley Spinelli, has a crush on him, as revealed in the episode "Parents Night". In the episode "The Experiment", they kiss each other to experiment on the effects kissing has on the opposite genders, with them seeming to not enjoy it. However, when they are left by themselves afterwards, they both seem to act a little shy about it, hinting that T.J. has a crush on her as well. He is often seen wrapping his arm around her shoulders for no apparent reason, which also hints this. T.J is also kind of stupid as he went from being a C+ student to an F he even once got a 10.1% on a test.
He was very shy as a kindergarten student, and was not the brave leader that has been seen in the fourth grade. Gus was the first one to really become his friend, and he was also the one who gave him his nickname. After Gus proves to the other students that Mikey wasn't a bully, the other kindergarteners start to become more outgoing, and show their first displays of their usual personalities, When Randall tattles on Gus and is put in the principal's office, T.J. assumes his position as the leader when they have to save Gus, and puts his trademark baseball cap on backwards as he wears it in the series proper.
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.
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.
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 relationship
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.
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.
- 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 due to Ross Malinger going through puberty and no longer sounded like T.J., and played him until the end of the series. 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 mentioned to be 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".
- According to "To Finster with Love"; T.J. weighs 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.
- T.J and his friends were originally gonna make cameos in Lloyd in Space.
- 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 only member of the Recess Gang with brown hair.
- 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.
- 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 Japan, T.J. seems to be a fan-favorite; he's commonly seen as the show's mascot and is apparently considered an example of a "moe" character.
- He used to be very shy but is now a daring and adventurous character.