Sean Gervais

Written by Sean Gervais

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Recess, the beloved animated series from the late 90s and early 2000s, introduced us to a colorful cast of characters and their daily adventures on the playground. At the heart of it all was Principal Prickly, the stern and oftentimes grumpy authority figure who ruled Third Street School with an iron fist. Despite his tough exterior, Principal Prickly had a depth to his character that made him one of the most memorable personalities in the show.

In this article, we will explore 21 fascinating facts about Principal Prickly, from his origin story to his hidden quirks and everything in between. Whether you were a fan of the show growing up or just curious to learn more about this iconic cartoon character, get ready to dive into the world of Principal Prickly and discover what made him such a beloved figure in the world of animation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Principal Prickly is the strict head of Third Street Elementary, but he secretly loves gardening and cares about his students’ well-being.
  • His catchphrase “Prickly is as prickly does” reflects his belief in discipline, but he also shows vulnerability and compassion.
Table of Contents

Principal Prickly is the head of Third Street Elementary School.

Known for his strict disciplinary approach, Principal Prickly is responsible for maintaining order and enforcing rules.

He is often seen wearing a suit and tie.

Principal Prickly’s attire reflects his professional position and adds to his authoritative presence.

His full name is Dr. Phillium Benedict Prickly.

Principal Prickly’s full name showcases his academic background and adds an extra layer to his character.

He has a distinctive bald head with a few strands of hair on the sides.

This physical feature is one of the defining characteristics of Principal Prickly’s appearance.

Principal Prickly has a deep, gruff voice.

His voice adds to his no-nonsense persona and further emphasizes his authority.

He is often at odds with the main protagonist, T.J. Detweiler.

Principal Prickly frequently clashes with T.J. due to his rebellious nature and disregard for rules.

Despite his tough exterior, Principal Prickly has a soft spot for his students.

Though he may come across as strict, Principal Prickly genuinely cares about the well-being and education of the students at Third Street Elementary.

Principal Prickly believes in the importance of discipline and order in school.

He is committed to maintaining a structured learning environment for the students.

He has a recurring fear of public humiliation.

Principal Prickly’s fear stems from a childhood incident that is explored in the “Recess: School’s Out” movie.

Principal Prickly is known for his signature catchphrase: “Prickly is as prickly does!”

This catchphrase highlights his strict nature and encapsulates his belief in the importance of upholding rules.

He has a pet lizard named Larry.

Larry the lizard can often be seen by Principal Prickly’s side, adding a touch of quirkiness to his character.

Principal Prickly is respected by his fellow faculty members.

His colleagues recognize his dedication to education and value his leadership.

He is a master of paperwork and administrative tasks.

Principal Prickly efficiently handles the administrative duties required of his role.

Principal Prickly is voiced by Dabney Coleman.

Dabney Coleman’s distinctive voice brings life to the character of Principal Prickly.

He has a secret passion for gardening.

In his spare time, Principal Prickly enjoys tending to his garden, finding solace in nature.

Principal Prickly has a love-hate relationship with the Principal’s Honor Roll.

While he appreciates academic achievements, he also understands the importance of a well-rounded education.

He dislikes chaos and strives to maintain order in the school.

Principal Prickly’s mission is to ensure that Third Street Elementary runs efficiently and effectively.

Principal Prickly occasionally shows a more vulnerable side.

Throughout the series, glimpses of his humanity and the challenges he faces are revealed.

He has a memorable rivalry with the school’s recess monitor, Miss Finster.

The dynamic between Principal Prickly and Miss Finster adds comedic moments to the show.

Principal Prickly’s strictness is rooted in his belief in the importance of discipline.

He believes that discipline is necessary for the students’ success and development.

Principal Prickly’s character highlights the complexities of authority figures in educational settings.

He serves as a reminder that even the strictest of individuals can have a heart and genuinely care for their students.

These 21 facts shed light on the character of Principal Prickly and his role in the beloved animated series “Recess.” Whether he is enforcing rules or showing moments of vulnerability, Principal Prickly remains a memorable character that adds depth to the show. So, the next time you watch “Recess,” keep these facts in mind and appreciate the complexities of this authoritative figure.


In conclusion, Principal Prickly from the animated series “Recess” is a notable character with a fascinating background and distinctive personality. As the principal of Third Street Elementary School, Principal Prickly often finds himself in amusing and relatable situations, adding depth to the show’s storyline. Throughout the series, we learn more about Principal Prickly’s quirks, flaws, and hidden talents, making him a beloved character among viewers. Whether it’s dealing with mischievous students, navigating the challenges of school administration, or even showing his softer side, Principal Prickly never fails to entertain and engage audiences. The dynamic and memorable character of Principal Prickly is undoubtedly a key element that contributes to the enduring popularity of the “Recess” series.


1. Who voices Principal Prickly in “Recess”?

Principal Prickly is voiced by actor Dabney Coleman in the animated series “Recess.” Coleman’s distinctive voice brings life to the character, enhancing his gruff yet endearing demeanor.

2. How does Principal Prickly handle the mischievous students of Third Street Elementary?

Principal Prickly employs a variety of disciplinary strategies to handle the mischievous students at Third Street Elementary. While he may initially come across as strict and intimidating, he also recognizes the importance of allowing children to explore and learn from their experiences.

3. Does Principal Prickly have any hidden talents?

Yes, Principal Prickly does have hidden talents. Throughout the series, we discover that he is a skilled tuba player and has a knack for cooking. These unexpected talents add an amusing and surprising dimension to his character.

4. What are some notable moments involving Principal Prickly in “Recess”?

Principal Prickly has several memorable moments in the series. One notable scene is when he joins the students in their annual “Digging to China” tradition, showcasing his willingness to connect with his students on a deeper level. Another memorable moment is when he overcomes his fear of roller coasters during a school trip, demonstrating his growth and vulnerability as a character.

5. Is Principal Prickly a relatable character?

Yes, Principal Prickly is a relatable character for many viewers. His struggles with balancing work and personal life, as well as his desire to maintain order in the school while also fostering a nurturing environment, resonate with audiences who have experienced similar challenges.

Uncover more fascinating facts about school life, beloved cartoon characters, and the magical world of Disney. Delve into the authentic portrayal of middle school experiences in "Eighth Grade," laugh along with Vince LaSalle's antics from "Recess," and explore the enchanting trivia that makes Disney so special. Each article offers a unique perspective on nostalgic favorites and contemporary classics, guaranteed to entertain and inform readers of all ages.

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