You're right about me not having a moral code. You're right about me needing help with my learning... issues.
— TJ to Buffy
TJ starts off as being mean and rude, especially to Buffy and his teammates. According to Marty, he doesn't even bother to learn their names. Buffy calls him out for his behavior, telling him that he should act better since he's the captain. TJ makes it clear to Buffy that he doesn't like her being on the basketball team. TJ is very stubborn, as seen with the way he refuses to listen to Buffy when she tries to tutor him. He is also ashamed at his inability to do math, which is revealed to be a result of dyscalculia.
As time goes by, TJ becomes more caring, especially as he starts to spend time with Cyrus, the first person we see him show a kind side towards despite his rivalry with Buffy. He also gets help for Jonah Beck when he finds him having a panic attack.
At the end of Season 2, TJ apologizes to Buffy. It is clear that by Season 3, even with his sardonic persona, he is a good person with good intentions. Between Cyrus' influence, managing his learning disability and realizing it's nothing to be ashamed of, and dropping the toxic friends in his life, he acknowledges his past behavior as wrong and continues to strive to be be better.
TJ has green eyes and dirty blonde hair that he wears in a quiff. He is very tall for his age. He mostly wears hoodies, t-shirts, and athletic wear.
TJ is disgusted when he finds out that a girl (Buffy) is trying out for the boys' basketball team. He acts mean to Buffy and even causes her to trip and refuses to apologize. Buffy asks him if that's how he treats his teammates and he tells her that she will never find out because she will never make the team. This makes Buffy believe she's already lost her chances because the team captain hates her. Luckily, the coach is the one who makes the selections, and Buffy makes the team.
Afterwards, Buffy tries to officially introduce herself to the team captain but TJ makes it clear that he still hates her and she should quit. He tells Marty not to worry about losing a spot on the team because Buffy won't be in it for long.
During Buffy's first game, TJ refuses to pass the ball to Buffy even when she has a very clear chance of making a shot. Buffy and Cyrus later notice TJ browsing through items at Red Rooster Vinyl, Books & Comics, and she decides to confront him, but Cyrus advises her to try a softer approach to make TJ see reason. She politely asks him to give her a chance to show what she can do for the team. But TJ rudely dismisses her and tells her to quit the team. So, Buffy yells at him and walks away.
TJ has been failing algebra and tutoring doesn't really work for him because of his obnoxious behavior. If he doesn't improve his grade, he would be kicked out of the basketball team. TJ's math teacher asks Buffy to tutor TJ in algebra because he's run out of options. Both TJ and Buffy don't like the idea because they can't stand each other. Buffy refuses to tutor him even if that means TJ has to be kicked out of the team. Since TJ doesn't want to leave the team, he begs Buffy to tutor him. Buffy makes him promise that he would start passing the ball to her so she can play. She also makes TJ use his intimidating nature to help Cyrus get the last muffin.
TJ starts his tutoring with Buffy. He struggles a lot with Math but he makes it worse by being rude to Buffy and not listening to her advice. When Buffy tells him that he might have a problem with numbers, TJ calls himself stupid and walks out on Buffy. TJ finds Cyrus at the swing-set and goes to talk to him. He learns that Cyrus uses the swing-set whenever he's stressed and it works. So, TJ starts swinging next to Cyrus and they both open up to each other about having personal issues. TJ even comes down and helps Cyrus swing higher. They have a fun, good time together until Buffy arrives and TJ starts to walk away. Cyrus tells TJ that Buffy is cool.
Buffy tells TJ that after some online research, she believes TJ might have a learning disability called dyscalculia in which the patient has a problem with numbers. She asks TJ to get tested to know for sure so that he can get the right help he needs. At that point, TJ gets angrier at Buffy and tells her to stop web-diagnosing his issues. He also asks her not to tell anyone that he might have a learning disability. He then storms off angrily.
TJ asks Buffy to do his math homework but Buffy refuses. Afterwards, he is seen chatting with a student at the sidewalk. Cyrus calls him over to invite him to his bar mitzvah and TJ accepts the invitation. He goes on to ask Cyrus how he might get something he wants from Buffy. Cyrus tells him to use Buffy's favorite words, "you're right". TJ later uses the magic words, "you're right", to get Buffy to do his homework. During the basketball game, TJ refuses to keep his promise to pass the ball to Buffy. Buffy gets angry and asks for a timeout. She confronts TJ about it. But after a convincing from his teammates, TJ finally passes the ball to Buffy.
After attending Cyrus' bar mitzvah, TJ clashes with Buffy about what he's doing there. TJ tells Buffy that he knows she hates him but Buffy tells him that she doesn't hate him. As far as she's concerned, TJ doesn't exist. Nevertheless, TJ shows compassion about Buffy's military mother situation.
Later on, TJ goes to the fortune teller and writes on his card asking whether he has a learning disability. Without seeing the card, the fortune teller says "yes" and asks TJ to let his friend help him. So, he goes to Buffy to ask her an important question. But at first, he asks Buffy what she thought about the fortune teller. He explains how the fortune teller told him his fortune without even reading the card. This gets Buffy worried about her own situation. Since Buffy is still mad at TJ, she walks out on him without listening to his question.
Toward the end of the episode, TJ finds Jonah having a panic attack. Jonah urges TJ to stay with him, but TJ leaves and goes to find help.
TJ is finally benched from playing due to poor performance in Math. During the game, he becomes jealous and irritable as he watches everyone cheer for Buffy. So, he goes to hide in the locker room. Cyrus follows him there and tries to cheer him up. He tells Cyrus about his dyscalculia and that he doesn't want to be known for having a learning disability. Cyrus calms him down and explains to him that having a learning disability is normal and doesn't make him any different. He tells TJ that his teacher can't fail him for having a learning disability. So, TJ realizes that since his teacher can't fail him, then he would be allowed to start playing again.
TJ tells the teacher about it and he's allowed to play again. He also reveals that Buffy did his math homework for him. After the game, he brags to Buffy about being reinstated in the team, and informs her that she's in trouble for doing his homework. Thanks to TJ, Buffy gets suspended from the team.
Jonah convinces TJ to sign a team jersey for Buffy's time capsule. This surprises The Good Hair Crew but Bex is not surprised, saying that TJ is Buffy's Faith, (referring to Faith the vampire slayer and Buffy's nemesis in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3).
When TJ walks into The Spoon and finds Andi and Cyrus sitting with Buffy's time capsule, he asks to join them but Andi makes him apologize to the time capsule Buffy first for being a jerk to the real Buffy. He apologizes for how he treated the real Buffy and then sits down with Cyrus and Andi. After learning that Cyrus is struggling in gym class because he can't do somersaults, TJ offers to help. He takes Cyrus to the gym he works at, Jackson Street Gym, where he helps little kids with physical exercise. He trains Cyrus until he masters how to do somersaults.
Cyrus sets up a plan to get Buffy back on the basketball team, which ends up failing when Buffy beats TJ but she still doesn't want to join. And the reason is that she's creating a girl so basketball team. TJ compliments her and later apologizes to her through rap. Buffy is impressed and accepts his apology. Buffy and Cyrus watch as TJ walks away. He looks back and smiles.
TJ and Cyrus come to help encourage Buffy as she performs her first tryouts for the new girls' basketball team she's starting. They know it's too much pressure for Buffy because she would be making history by starting the school's first girl basketball team. The girls trying out for Buffy's team turn out to be horrible at playing. Buffy wants to give up but TJ encourages her to never give up. She advises her to have faith in them and be a better captain than he ever was. To help Buffy boost the team spirit, TJ pulls some strings and gets the girls a team uniform.
TJ invites Cyrus to hangout with him and his friends during the weekend. Cyrus is surprised when TJ reveals that he talks about him with his friends. When Cyrus joins them that Saturday, TJ introduces him to his friends, Reed and Lester. Reed persuades Cyrus to learn how to ride dirt bikes. So, TJ takes the time to teach Cyrus how to ride. While Cyrus is riding, TJ takes cute pictures of him which they look at together afterwards. Later on, Cyrus is shocked to find that Reed brought a gun so that they can shoot watermelons for sport. He decides to leave and asks TJ to come with him, but TJ is torn because he doesn't want to disappoint Reed. Cyrus leaves alone, worried for TJ's safety. He goes to tell the Principal about it but it turns out both the principal and the local police are already aware. He is relieved to hear that TJ is safe.
After the gun incident, TJ tries reaching out to Cyrus to explain himself but Buffy and Andi prevent Cyrus from communicating with TJ. They're worried TJ would put Cyrus in danger despite Cyrus assuring them that TJ probably feels bad about. They force Cyrus to block TJ's phone number. Unable to reach to Cyrus or talk to anyone else about it, TJ sits alone in the cafeteria. Cyrus wants to join him but Buffy and Andi pull him away. TJ starts looking for a chance to speak to Cyrus alone with Andi and Buffy. He keeps going back to the swingset because he knows Cyrus hangs there some time.
Eventually, he gets lucky and finds Cyrus alone at the swing set. He says that he wants to apologize for putting him in danger and says that he would have never done that if he knew about Reed's gun. He says that he had something good with Cyrus but he just had to ruin it. Classic TJ! Cyrus then calls out TJ for not actually apologizing. This leads to an intense exchange which ends with TJ admitting that Cyrus is the only person he can talk to like that. After that, Cyrus and TJ make up and start hanging out secretly without Buffy and Andi finding out. Cyrus is impressed to learn that it was TJ who called to report Reed's gun. TJ compliments himself for doing something nice.
Cyrus and Jonah are playing ping pong in Cyrus' basement until TJ shows up. Jonah then decides to leave, saying he has a haircut and Cyrus and TJ tease him because Jonah is mad Cyrus is winning. Jonah says it's because TJ is there and Cyrus asks what TJ did, to which he has no clue.
Jonah reveals his grudge against TJ goes way back to Little League where TJ took Jonah's jersey with the number "21". Cyrus then brings Jonah and TJ together to settle their feud. Jonah shows a picture of the jersey and TJ thinks the number says "12." TJ reveals his disability to Jonah, and didn't realize the number was actually "21." Jonah then tells TJ he was having a panic attack during Cyrus' bar mitzvah. This ends Jonah and TJ's conflict.
TJ visits Cyrus while he sits shiva for his Bubbe Rose and brings challah bread. Andi points him out when TJ arrives. Cyrus is surprised that he came, to which TJ responds "'[Of] course I came."
Kira approaches TJ on the basketball court, introduces herself, and asks TJ to let her try out for the boys' basketball team. TJ says he recognizes her from having attended Monarchs games and that there's a girl's basketball team, to which she informs him that Buffy kicked her off. Cyrus then arrives, TJ and Cyrus having plans to hang out, and TJ introduces him to Kira, who remarks that he is Buffy's friend. Kira takes notice of something going on between TJ and Cyrus as they walk away with TJ's hand on Cyrus' shoulder.
As they stroll through the park, TJ asks Cyrus to do a duo costume with him for Costume Day, that he dresses up as summer and Cyrus dresses up as salt, a call-back to Buffy in a Bottle in which TJ helped Cyrus learn how to do a somersault, to which Cyrus agrees.
At the basketball court again, Kira once again goes up to TJ and this time asks him to do a duo costume with her. He declines twice, saying he's set on doing the somersault costume with Cyrus as it's their inside joke, which Kira doesn't get and mocks. Kira then says, "So you'd rather do a costume with Cyrus [a boy] than me [a girl]; okay, have fun with that." This clearly strikes a nerve within TJ as his expression falls and he suddenly looks concerned.
TJ shows up on Costume Day in a "double dribble" costume with Kira. He appears devastated to have let Cyrus down and uncomfortable in Kira's presence as he tries to explain to Cyrus that it was a last minute decision, saying "I'm sorry" twice, that it was a last minute decision, before Kira drags him away from a heartbroken Cyrus to show off their costumes to his teammates.
Main Article: Cyrus and TJ
- Cyrus meets TJ through Buffy, and even though TJ and Buffy can't stand each other, the two are able to create a friendly relationship. They both can relate and find comfort in each other as they both have "stuff" that they are having difficulties with without explicitly stating what their "stuff" entails. T.J. has a crush on Cyrus based on a look back at the end of Season 2 and Buffy and Andi noticing that TJ likes him over text, but it isn't officially confirmed whether Cyrus likes him back.
|Buffy||:||That was a foul!|
|TJ||:||This is a drill. There aren't any fouls in a drill.|
|Buffy||:||Is this how you treat your teammates?|
|TJ||:||You'll never know!|
|— TJ vs Buffy, Friends Like These|
|TJ (about swinging)||:||Wow, this does make me kind of feel better!|
|Cyrus||:||What do you need to feel better about? You're the captain of the basketball team.|
|TJ||:||You don't know me. I've got stuff.|
|— TJ and Cyrus, Miniature Gulf|
|TJ||:||If you're looking for a captain her name's Buffy Driscoll, gonna start a girl's team and make that ish official. Steal your ball so fast that you'll wanna bring police in. Tell them it got taken like she's Liam Neeson. The slickest, sickest, quickest, the most wicked in the world. Used to hate her, instigate her, told her good job for a girl. I didn't want to hear it but she taught me all the same. If you want to change the world, then you gotta change the game.|
|Cyrus||:||Was that the best apology ever?|
|Buffy||:||I think maybe it was.|
|TJ||:||So we're good?|
|Buffy||:||Yeah, I think we are.|
|— TJ's rap, The Cake That Takes the Cake|
- Friends Like These
- The Snorpion
- There's a Mack in the Shack
- Miniature Gulf
- We Were Never
- Cyrus' Bash-Mitzvah!
- A Walker to Remember
- Crime Scene: AndiShack! (mentioned)
- Buffy in a Bottle
- Keep a Lid on It (mentioned)
- The Cake That Takes the Cake
- Hole in the Wall
- Cookie Monster
- The New Girls
- I Got Your Number
- One in a Minyan
- Mount Rushmore or Less
- The character's original name was "Ricky Taylor".
- TJ has dyscalculia.
- He works at Jackson Street Gym, a gym for children.
- A young version of TJ was played by Avi Angel in a flashback in I Got Your Number.
- While his sexuality has not been specified, his crush on Cyrus indicates that he is not straight.
| To view the TJ Kippen gallery, click here.