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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Teacher's Pet

Xander: "It's funny how the earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to."

This is a silly episode without much of note, except that it is firmly established that Xander is a virgin and that Sex is Bad, a recurring theme in the series.

One of Buffy's teachers is kind enough and perceptive enough to tell Buffy that she has "a first rate mind" and can think on her feet. And what happens to him? He ends up decapitated by a praying mantis, and stuck in a cafeteria fridge. Life is not fair, especially in Sunnydale.

Angel is back, and Willow and Xander finally meet him. Xander is immediately jealous, no surprise there, even though Angel doesn't do much in this episode but show up and look mysterious and handsome. David Boreanaz has started working on his patented Angel scowl and is now dressed more in character in a sleeveless tee shirt and leather jacket, which he quite romantically gives to Buffy. (The jacket, not the tee shirt.)

The scene where a flustered Mr. Flutie dithers and yells at Buffy that she must heal is wonderfully in character. I also really enjoyed Cordelia's speech to the counselor about it not being necessary for a teacher to die just so she could lose weight, and Xander's daydream where he's in cool clothes, doing a guitar solo, and rescuing a frilly and adoring Buffy from vamps.

Bits and pieces:

-- How did they cast Miss French? "A pretty teacher type that will be morphing into a six-foot praying mantis, big teeth a must?"

-- Why Dr. Gregory? Was he a virgin? And how did the eggs appear in the end shot if Miss French didn't mate with him first?

-- Giles translated "entymology and mythology" into "bugs and fairy tales."

-- There is a musical line about playing with your food. Apt.

-- No vamp villain again, although we do get one scary Freddie Kruger fork-for-a-hand vampire. But he just has a supporting role intended to point out how much scarier Miss French is than a vampire.

-- Xander's middle name is Lavelle.

-- Obligatory dog reference: Giles on the phone to his insane friend Carlyle: "You were right all along about everything. Well, no. You weren't right about your mother coming back as a Pekingese..."

Quotes:

Miss French: "The praying mantis is a fascinating creature. Forced to live alone. Who can tell me why? Buffy?"
Buffy: "Well, the words 'bug-ugly' kinda spring to mind."

Mr. Flutie: "Don't say dead! Or decapitated, or decomposing. I'd stay away from D-words altogether."

Mr. Flutie: "We all need help with our feelings. Otherwise we bottle them up, and before you know it, powerful laxatives are involved."

Cordelia: "I'm not saying that we should kill a teacher every day just so I can lose weight, I'm just saying when tragedy strikes, we have to look on the bright side. You know?"

Buffy: "Okay. Factoid 1: Only the praying mantis can rotate its head like that. Factoid 2: A pretty whacked-out vampire is scared to death of her. Factoid 3: Her fashion sense screams predator."
Willow: "It's the shoulder pads."
Buffy: "Exactly."

Giles: "This computer invasion that Willow's performing on the coroner's office, one assumes it is entirely legal?"
Willow: "Entirely."
Buffy: "Of course."
Giles: "Right. Wasn't here, didn't see it, couldn't have stopped you."

Miss French: "Have you ever been with a woman before?"
Xander: "You mean, like, in the same room?"

Willow: "What do we do now?"
Giles: "Abject prayer and supplication spring to mind."

One out of four stakes,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

24 comments:

  1. You're right. A silly episode, but in the ongoing theme of 'high school sucks,' it fits. Oh, those unrequited crushes -- on teachers and otherwise.

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  2. The BUFFY RE-WATCH is on! Post your comments! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. If you'd like to talk spoilers and foreshadowing, you can post them here. Do me a huge favor and tweet the link and/or like this review on Facebook?

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  3. Terrible episode. Between Xander's Buffy fantasies (which I hated) and the guys getting all hormonal over the substitute, just ... erg. I do feel a bit bad for Xander though. Not only does he get targeted and "kissed" by a giant insect woman, his fantasies of being a manly man who saves Buffy get completely flipped on their head, as he ends up in peril and needing to be rescued by her. Again. Poor guy.

    The only problem with Angel "romantically" giving Buffy his leather jacket, is that I'm pretty sure he's back in that crushed velvet thing later in the episode. Ack!

    Kudos to the casting department for finding an actress that does strangely look like a praying mantis.

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  4. Not the greatest episode for sure, but as I said above, it does fit the basic theme.

    I often skip this one on a re-watch, but sat through it again today. I had forgotten the opening scene with a cool Xander sweeping Buffy off her feet. It made me smile.

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  5. I almost skipped this one ("No, on second thought, let's not go there. 'Tis a silly episode"). I've only seen this episode once before, and now I remember why. I'm curious, did anyone else face-palm half a dozen times throughout the episode? Or did time dull the bad plot decisions in my mind, making them even more potent through the re-watch?

    I couldn't believe I was watching the same show that gave us gems like "Innocence" and "Once More With Feeling". Hang in there, newbies - Joss rewards the faithful.

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  6. LOL re: "patented Angel scowl"

    I don't dislike this one as much as some you. Lord knows it's not GOOD, but it is nice to watch if only for nostalgia.

    I have little interest in the season 1 love quadrangle (Willow - Xander - Buffy - Angel).

    The one thing really remarkable about this episode to my thinking is how the cast really makes you feel the loss of Dr. Gregory who we see for about two minutes. Seeing Buffy mourn him in the library always makes me so sad. As ridiculous as this episode is, the cast manages to make it (mostly) watchable.

    This is the first and least famous of Joss's two shwarma references. The second, as you probably remember, comes in The Avengers. :)

    Anon - I love your "Joss rewards the faithful." It's so true!!!

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  7. SEX IS BAD!!! Lol that's all anybody needs to take away from this utterly forgettable episode. The show will beat us over the head with this concept a few (many) times over the course of the show, so nobody is missing anything by skipping this episode. This episode was almost as bad as the Beer Bad episode in season 4. I give this one the benefit of the doubt since it was only the 4th episode, but I wouldn't blame anybody that stopped watching Buffy after this episode lol.

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  8. Yes, this is a silly and stupid episode. I guess there is a metaphor in there that females prey on males, but it's done very poorly. And also, I feel embarrassed for Xander, which I don't like.

    The only scenes I liked in this ep was the Angel ones.

    Probably my least favorite episode of season 1, and probably my second worst episode of the whole series.

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  9. I can't even bring myself to watch this one for what would be my third time. I remember it well and know that about the only redeemable aspect of it is the way Buffy reacts to the loss of her teacher. Luckily, episodes like this are few and far between in the Whedonverse.

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  10. This is the episode where the Angel persona really emerges. Buffy sums it up with, "Oh, boy." Yep, this boy is trouble.

    The redeeming aspect of this episode for me is the play between Buffy and Willow. They laugh at Xander's expense quite often and it makes me smile. It's like watching your kid brother grow up all over again.

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  11. Hello! Resident (sort of) newbie here. I've seen some Buffy episodes, and all of Angel, but I never got what all the fuss was about. That's why I'm here, doing the re-watch with all the superfans. I do get fandom, however. I'm a huge Supernatural fan, and I also get that Buffy paved the way for Supernatural.

    Anyway, I'm here. I'm watching these early episodes, and I see that the franchise is in its infancy - getting the kinks out. I'm loving Xander and Willow. I'm not such a fan of Buffy yet. I'm finding her kind of vapid - Cordelia with superpowers, but Cordelia gets the better lines.

    I thought the best part of this episode happened before the opening credits. The Xander dream was obvious, and I liked it a lot. It was funny that when Xander finally did make it to the dance, the guitar player made a face at him. Foiled!

    I also liked Buffy tenderly putting the glasses away at the end. I thought it meant that she was thinking about the simplicity of mortal life, and how that is not her destiny.

    The hatching eggs at the very end was totally creepy.

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  12. pucklady - I saw all of Angel before I saw all of Buffy so I was where you are. It took me a while to get into BtVS. Joss was obviously still building his world and working out the kinks of the mythology. By the time I was done watching Buffy, I had to admit to myself that it was the better show (no offense to Angel, which imho is seriously underrated by fans).

    I remember it also being very weird to know how certain things ended but not knowing how they got there. I knew what b was but I didn't know how we got from a to b. Anyways, keep on plugging. A lot Season 1 is pretty lame from a critical standpoint. I think the only reason we "superfans" put up with it is because we know the characters so well and would watch them do just about anything. :)

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  13. Of the twelve episodes in the first season, I think four are very good -- "Angel", "Nightmares", "The Puppet Show", and "Prophecy Girl". The first time through the series, I didn't see "Prophecy Girl". During the initial run of Buffy, we didn't get reruns of earlier seasons and the lack of "Prophecy Girl" was actually a problem for me.

    I'm so enjoying all the comments.

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  14. The worst episode of Season 1? Hmm, I'd argue that I Robot, You Jane takes the crown for that.

    I agree with what most of you are saying. It's good to see the developing dynamics of the group, even if they seem to be a little limited by the love quadrangle right now. The plot of the episode is... well, I guess it could be said that they tried. It's obvious that this early they're trying to explore exactly which kind of monsters can be a part of this universe, and it won't be the first time they fail at coming up with a good one.

    pucklady, please stay with us, it gets much, much better. (Also, it's true that Buffy paved the way for SPN, even if the latter mastered the monster-of-the-week idea way sooner into its run).

    Suzanne, thanks for your rec of Lost Boys back in ep. 1. Watched it, loved it! And I kind defenitely see how Whedon may have inspiration in it for the Buffyverse vampire mythology.

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  15. Bea, I am so glad you liked Lost Boys. I hadn't seen it when it came out originally since it looked cheesy just like I always thought Buffy did ( both movie and show) before I saw all of them. I finally saw Lost Boys over a year ago and really enjoyed it.

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  16. (crap, I'm late LOL)

    Still too soon to say what you want me to say, but still high on the cuteness level. Difficult to take the show seriously, but still a lot of fun to watch. Silly ? yes, a bit though.

    (Oh cool ! A teacher believing in Buffy ! Ah crap, he's gone.) (oh, we think alike) Oh ! Musetta Vander, I'll always remember her fondly as a love interest going badly in ST Voyager.

    The "advantage" of a hell mouth is that you have a wide choice of terrors to choose from. Oh good, you noted the "laxative" phrase. Still taking notes, but much less today. Giving it a 2, because of Miss Vander...

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  17. "Hang in there, newbies - Joss rewards the faithful."

    Hanging, hanging ! In there I mean, not myself LOL. Doing it for Billie. And for and with you guys and galls. This IS fun.

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  18. As a teacher, I really appreciated a few of the "school" moments. When Dr. Gregory first asked Buffy to stay after, I was afraid he was going to be a predatory male teacher. Then I felt guilty for thinking that when he gave all that great teacherly advice. I felt even worse when I saw how late he stayed at school to prepare those slides. I mean slides, people, he deserves some serious respect :)

    My other favorite school moment was when Mr. Flutie was forcing Buffy to go to counseling. You've mentioned some choice quotes from this conversation but I also really liked:

    "I'm always here if you need a hug but not a real hug...because there's no touching in this school. We're very sensitive to wrong touching."

    As a teacher, I can really appreciate this comment but I also liked the foreshadowing to the future scene with Xander and the she-mantis.

    And finally, though I'd hate to be a monster, I'd love the ability to turn my head all the way around and scare the crap out of my students/catch them at something...

    Like celticmarc, I'm hanging in there. This site has never let me down, so I'll follow you until the great episodes and probably someday enjoy rewatching these and laughing!

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  19. I'm happily surprised our rewatch has attracted so many newbies! Guys, I promise: just hang in there until after episode 8. It gets MUCH better.

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  20. I tried. I tried. I tried to re-watch this episode, but couldn't.

    Newbies, don't lose hope!

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  21. I almost skipped this episode but it actually wasn't as bad as I remembered. Maybe because this time I know the awesomeness that is to come, so I don't mind waiting through some of the more subpar, sillier episodes.

    I thought there was a lot of witty banter in this one, and I could see the relationship between Willow, Buffy and Zander growing closer. I also liked all the Angel scenes in this episode and could feel David Boreanaz becoming more comfortable with the character. "Oh, boy" is right.

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  22. Considering the general terribleness of this episode, and much of Season 1, it seems silly, but the thing that stuck in my mind is - how does a town on the hellmouth, with its associated vampires and other nasties, manage to maintain a homeless population in the park?

    And Joss made us care about a character and then killed him off. Colour me shocked!

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  23. I had never seen “Teacher’s Pet” before. I saw the earlier seasons on reruns, and wasn’t able to catch this episode. Clearly, it lives up to its fame, but I must say it was not as bad as I expected. I had no idea Buffy had had such a supportive teacher at school. And the poor guy didn’t even made the teaser.

    Was it because I already knew who the villain of the week would be, or could you telegraph a mile away that it was Miss French? God, her lecture on bugs made it so obvious. It surprised me, though, that the writers revealed there was something wrong with her somewhat early in the episode. From that point on I was actually pretty interested to see how the rest of the story would unfold. And things certainly developed in a very different way. That sort of amused me. It was particularly strange how long it took Buffy to get into action. Speaking of it, the action was terrible. The writers should have taken a lesson here: “we don’t have enough budget to make non humanoid demons look cool”. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

    How come parents let their kids go to Sunnydale High? First there was the dead guy on the locker on “Welcome to the Hellmouth”, then all the strange events on “The Witch”, and now a decapitated teacher on the fridge. Who would actually live in Sunnydale to begin with?

    One thing I noticed watching this episode: Nicholas Brendon is seriously attractive. He has such sexy jaw and lips, and that hair cut is so cute. Even though Brendon does not look like a teenager at all, he can totally channel the desperate-for-sex teenager, not that that is attractive.

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  24. hello doux,thanx so much for reminding ppl no spoilers-i was a newbie last year.i m so glad i found your reviews as they are spot on and sometimes funny.looking forward to more Buffy and more of your take on them.🤗

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