For those who have not come across Recess before, it was a Disney produced show which aired between 1997 and 2001. It took place at an American school called "3rd Street School". Each episode took place during the lunch break (Recess as the Americans call it), in which the students have developed their own government, class system and set of laws. The playground has a monarch by the name of King Bob, who oversees the playground's government. Above the students is the fascist regime of the Teachers Mrs Finster and Principle Prickly, both of whom were inspired by President Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew (a name which crops up in the title of the school that Principle Prickly wants to transfer to - Spiro T Agnew Middle School). Above them are the BOE (Board of Education) which is seen as a group of FBI members, with black suits, shades. They always arrived in helicopters or armoured vehicles with "The President of the BOE".
Over the show's four year run (including a theatrical feature film) Recess has tackled satirical subjects such as; Elections, Democracy, Conspiracies, Protests, Human Rights, the Orwellian Nightmare, Rebellion, International Relations (98th Street School), Class, Conformity, Freedom, Monarchy/Royalists, Black Market, Graffiti/Controversial Art, Crime and Punishment, Repression, the News, Capitalism, Health and Safety Regulations, the Economy, Censorship, Misinterpretation, Freedom of Speech, The Military, Racism, Crime Investigation, Health Scares, Outdated Laws, Anarchy, War, Media Representation, Imprisonment and Public Relations to name a few.
The feature-film "Recess: School's Out" was inspired by a group of people in America who were permanently trying to ban recess, as they believed it would improve test scores. Many people were against such a proposal when it was first brought up, obviously Paul and Joe were among them. The film was the best example of how the show was influenced by 60's Liberalism, in the way that the 1960's became a key part of the storyline, the soundtrack was full of songs from the era, the peace symbol was seen throughout the film and how the plot was based around Protest, Anarchy and "going against the man". The final scene of the film has Principle Prickly find his old peace necklace and put it on with pride. The last shot is of the camera panning away from the Principle as he sits in his office window, while "Let the Sunshine in" by the the 5th dimension plays in the background. During the credits, the voice cast pay tribute to the Lemon Piper's song "Green Tambourine", in the style of a psychedelic music video.
The entire show has a very Liberal hippie vibe to it, as Paul and Joe were themselves veterans of this era and brought those political ideals into the program. All of the episodes are available to view for free on YouTube, each one is written with more wit and intelligence than any other children's program before or since. Even though not all of them contain political messages, each episode is well written, crafted and performed.