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The Recess Voice Actor Who's Gorgeous In Real Life

Before the likes of "Hannah Montana" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" dominated the airwaves, the Walt Disney Company was raking in viewers with its wide array of animated programs. The late 1980s saw the emergence of fan-favorite "DuckTales," with the early 1990s introducing "TaleSpin" and "Goof Troop," keeping audiences across the world entertained through the misadventures of famous Disney icons. As the new millennium approached, the network maintained this cartoony course but sought to expand beyond its mainstay cast of characters. This allowed creators Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere to unveil "Recess" to the world via ABC in 1997.

The premise of "Recess" is simple, but that doesn't mean it wasn't inventive all the same. Set against the backdrop of Arkansas' Third Street Elementary School, the series focused primarily on a crew of six fourth-graders who maneuver through the complex student hierarchy that exists during the recreational portion of their school day. Theodore Jasper "T.J." Detweiler (Ross Malinger) is our main protagonist, joined by Vince LaSalle (Rickey D'Shon Collins), Mikey Blumberg (Jason Davis), Ashley Spinelli (Pamela Adlon), Gus Griswald (Courtland Mead), and the brainy Gretchen Grundler.

Each of these kids fits a specific archetype to aid in the relatability of the "Recess" cast. Gretchen — donning large glasses, pigtails, buck teeth, and armed with a mobile device she refers to as Galileo (Eric Idle) — fulfills the nerdy, social outcast requirement on appearance alone. However, in contrast, the actress behind her is stunning, and chances are you've heard her voice on the small screen before.

Ashley Johnson looks nothing like her Recess counterpart

"Growing Pains" alum Ashley Johnson was the one responsible for Gretchen Grundler's vocals in all pieces of "Recess" media, and it doesn't take a detective to notice how vastly they diverge in appearance. Johnson's blonde hair, normal-sized teeth, and lack of comically large bifocals may not make her the best candidate for a live-action take on Gretchen, but her voice certainly did the trick. In fact, her tenure led her to become quite the prolific voice actress, popping up all over the cartoon landscape in the years following the 2001 finale of "Recess."

With "Recess" in the rearview mirror, Johnson once again joined Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere on "Lloyd in Space" for a handful of episodes. She'd then turn her attention to "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!," "Teen Titans," and "King of the Hill" for brief spells before returning to the Gretchen Grundler role in one installment of "Lilo & Stitch: The Series." Arguably her most recognizable part is that of Gwen Tennyson on "Ben 10: Alien Force," "Ben 10: Ultimate Alien," and "Ben 10: Omniverse," as well as several "Ben 10" video games. 

Most recently, Johnson added "Close Enough" and "Family Guy" to her voice acting résumé and shows no sign of packing it in any time soon. Even though she doesn't look or act anything like her, and her later gigs are much more widely remembered these days, Ashley Johnson will always be the one and only Gretchen Grundler. Simply put, "Recess" wouldn't have been the same without her.