Disney has its fair dose of dark theories, and its animated TV shows are not left behind, with Recess having one of the most obscure fan theories. Created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, Recess premiered in 1997 and ended in 2001 after six seasons. The series’ success was such that it spawned a theatrical released film (Recess: School’s Out), three direct-to-video films (Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street, Recess: All Growed Down, and Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade), and a crossover with Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
Recess followed six elementary school students (T.J Detweiler, Vince LaSalle, Ashley Spinelli, Gretchen Grundler, Mikey Blumberg, and Gus Griswald) and their daily lives at Third Street Elementary School, which was a representation of society with its own government (never forget King Bob), class system, and more. The series has been regarded as one of the smartest cartoons, and because of this it has made way for a couple of theories, some darker than others, but there’s one that stands out.
A very dark Recess theory says all the kids are dead and their ghosts are haunting the school. According to it, the school was built between 1919 and 1935, and closed in 2000 due to all the ghosts. Each character died either in or near the school playground, and their spirits stayed at the school to fulfill a purpose. TJ was hit by an ice cream truck during a protest and his spirit lived on to encourage others to fight for their rights. Vince, a basketball star, suffered a career-ending injury and tried to kill himself, so he was sent to an asylum and died there. Spinelli died in a fist fight and served as the group’s bodyguard. Gus was constantly bullied and beaten, and passed out walking home after being left at school overnight and being in a fight. Mikey went into a diabetic coma and died months later of a heart attack, and Gretchen committed suicide after Becky Benson stole her project and, with it, the science award.
The theory also includes other Recess characters, such as King Bob, who was sent to juvenile detention after killing the entire student body (for not letting him run for school president) and was killed there by another prisoner; the Ashleys and their brothers, the Tylers, who were murdered by a serial killer; the Diggers, who died when the coal mine they were exploring collapsed; and Randall, who was shot for telling the principal at the time about a passerby beating a second grader. The theory doesn’t mention any of the adult characters, such as Principal Prickly and Miss Finster, so it’s unknown if they were also dead or were just a figment of the children-ghosts’ imagination.
The theory originated because the kids never grew up - until Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade was released, which as the title says, followed the group starting the fifth grade (which also meant that King Bob’s reign was over and King Freddie II took his place). Of course, this is just a theory for the amusement of many, and none of the Recess kids had tragic stories and they definitely weren’t ghosts.