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.
As time goes by, TJ starts to become more caring. He is kind and friendly to Cyrus despite his rivalry with Buffy. He starts caring about Buffy's absent, military, mom situation. He also gets help for Jonah Beck when he finds him having a panic attack.
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 The Red Rooster, 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 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. Then as TJ walks away, he looks back and smiles.
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.
|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|
- The character's original name was "Ricky."
- He works at a gym for chlldren.