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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ted

Xander: "You're having parental issues, you're having parental issues... what? Freud would've said the exact same thing. Except he might not have done that little dance."

Joyce brings home a new boyfriend, Ted, played with extreme creepiness and jovial smarminess by John Ritter. (Just the way he calls Buffy "little lady" makes my teeth hurt.) Ted immediately wins over Buffy's friends as well as her mother, but Buffy is immune to his charms, probably because she's not eating his drugged pizza and cookies. Ted hit some buttons with me; when I was a teenager, my mother actually had a salesman boyfriend who said nasty things to me when she wasn't around. Of course, my mother's boyfriend wasn't a homicidal robot. (I think.)

The first time I saw this episode, I didn't see "robot" coming; when Ted hit Buffy for the first time, I still thought he was human and I was shocked. I also found his reading her diary and waiting in her bedroom outright creepy. We do get hints that Ted isn't human, though; there is a reference to "Stepford," plus Neal at the office says of Ted, "Nobody beats the machine."

On the romance front, Xander is half-heartedly pursuing Cordelia (at least in the utility closet at school), and she is not running away from him. Jenny is back; Giles approaches her, and she is still cool to him at first. She then follows him out substitute slaying, and accidentally shoots him with a cross-bow. That's one way of getting your boyfriend back, I suppose. (That was a pun.)

There is an interesting parallel. At the beginning of the episode, Buffy walks in on Joyce and Ted, who are kissing. At the end, she walks in on Giles and Jenny, who are kissing.

Bits and pieces:

— Buffy doesn't bruise easily. We already knew this, but this time it was a plot point.

— I'm glad they didn't show us what was in the closet.

— John Ritter (Ted) also played Jack Tripper on Three's Company for years. Jack was also a chef.

— Extremely cool makeup job on Ted at the end.

— For those of you who are wondering why the Order of Taraka isn't after Buffy any more, we learn that "Angel's sources say the Tarakan contract is off."

— Obligatory dog reference: Jenny accuses Giles of "making puppy-dog eyes at me." Giles says he doesn't mean to make "dog eyes."

— In "When She Was Bad," Willow says there is no miniature golf course in town. Guess they just built one, huh?

— Why didn't the EMT guys realize Ted was a robot?


Buffy: "Vampires are creeps."
Giles: "Yes, that's why one slays them."

Giles: "I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming text."

Xander: "Can you say 'overreaction'?"
Buffy: "Can you say 'sucking chest wound'?"

Buffy: "Will, I'm not wrong here. Ted has a problem with me. He acts like I'm in the way or something. And Mom's been totally different since he's around."
Willow: "Different, like happy?"
Buffy: "Like Stepford."

Giles: "No, no, really, I don't think it went in too deep. The advantages of layers of tweed. Better than Kevlar."

Joyce: "Do you wanna rent a movie tonight?"
Buffy: "Sounds like fun."
Joyce: "Just nothing with horror in it. Or romance. Or men."
Buffy: "I guess we're 'Thelma and Louise'ing it again."

Two out of four stakes,

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


  1. I'm not wild about this one, but mainly because I get crazed when adults hit children. I understand that the writers wanted Ted to "throw the first punch," but it still really, really bothers me.

  2. Billie I didnt see the robot thing coming either. I love how the episode was going till Ted rose from the dead. I was surprised they are gonna go the 'Buffy killed a human' route.

    Oh and I smile every time I think about the squeal Willow gives at the thought of 'free upgrade' and that Ted literally has 'skeletons in the closet' Lol!

  3. OMG ! John Ritter ! Loved him so much. "It's staking time really, don't you think ?" Yay Jenny's back. Oops, still hasn't recovered (was glad to see them kiss at the end though).

    "Vampires ! Heeeerreee, vampires !" Good thing Buffy doesn't slay squirrels nor birds (nor dogs, since there are so many dog references here) (I don't want to think about cats; please !).

    Yes, me too, I did not see the robot coming. Had a feeling though that we'd see Ted again. Well, I guess this one was a variation of a mad scientist from a 50's scifi B movie (with Vincent Price ?)

    Loved the robot twist : "want some gravy with that ?" That unique blend of horror/drama/comedy. Xander and Cordy together crack me up. Not a great ep, but some good stuff about...character development !

    And it was partially written by our beloved Joss.

    (Still converted.)

  4. What a hilariously appropriate ep for Father's Day!

    John Ritter. Oh how I miss John Ritter.

    According to the commentary on this ep, both John Ritter and SMG had the flu while filming their fight scene. You'd never be able to tell from their performances. Sarah did look a little pale throughout the episode, but that went well with her whole 'tortured over killing a human thing.'

    I always forget this one was written by Joss. It doesn't seem like a very Jossy episode. It's clever, but by no means up to his usual standard and it's not important in the series arc or wildly innovative, which his usually are. Huh.

    Another piece of robot foreshadowing: Ted also tells Buffy "he's not wired that way" when he catches her cheating at mini golf.

  5. Although kind of a filler episode, I think it is just brilliant. John Ritter was excellent as creepy robot Ted instantly changing his tone from cheesy/charming to sinister/threatening.

    I also liked seeing Willow, Xander and Cordy solve the mystery of his origins and plans on their own.

    Nice to see Giles and Jenny are getting along again. Jenny was being OTT unreasonable with Giles' attempts to see how she was so it was good that she apologised.

  6. I liked this one, probably because John Ritter was so perfectly creepy. Plus the scenes with everyone thinking she'd killed someone were really interesting. Cordy's form of justice/fairness is always interesting to hear.

    The other foreshadowing of Ted being a robot I noticed was when Ted was knocking the putter against his leg and it made a strange sound. Between that and Buffy not eating his food, I knew he was not a human and figured Buffy did too. Maybe his "death" scared her too much to remember those suspiscions she seemed to be having.

  7. I'm not a huge fan of this one, probably because the whole evil robot thing is not something I enjoy.

    I do enjoy John Ritter's incredibly creepy performance, just like you guys, though. I think I ultimately would have liked him to be really human. It would have been a surprise to see the kind of unexplainable evil some people can posses, after seeing so many monsters. Alas, Ted was a robot. Enjoyable enough, anyway.

  8. Still not crazy about this one, but it is my issues not the show's. John Ritter is certainly excellent.

  9. If I admit that I fast-forwarded through this to make sure nothing important happened, and then was glad I hadn't bothered to re-watch it, will I get kicked out of the club?

  10. No Josie, but you're playing with fire. Do not do this again please. We re-w-a-t-c-h, right, and endure if necessary. If good, for you expert buffers, not the newbies, then nice remembrance.

    I see a disappointed Giles BTW...

  11. Newbie report:

    \And now we are at Ted.

    First of all, the fact that John Ritter is dead totally changes the mood of this episode. It was intended to be "regular guy is an abuser - no wait! Twilight Zone!" but since John died early, it makes a completely different impression.

    Now we have - Buffy is the abuse victim that nobody believes. (Who hasn't been in that position, really?) Joyce has her own problems that she is addressing by finding That One Guy Who Will Rescue Her. (And parents have sex - ewww!)

    Then we have The Guy. He may have been okay once (cue the Twilight Zone music), but he's dead now and can't be responsible. (I'm talking about Ted, not John Ritter. I think. See why it's weird?)

    So Dead Ted isn't responsible, since he's, um, dead. Joyce isn't responsible since she's, um, helpless. John Ritter isn't responsible since he's so totally dead.

    I guess it's technology.

    And that appliance in John Ritter's mouth looked really painful.

    I didn't like this episode much. Not enough vampires. Please tell me the next episode is better. More vampires is always a good thing.

  12. pucklady - The next episode is worse (but has more vampires). After that one things get much better.

  13. pucklady

    If your parents wouldn't have done it, we wouldn't be reading your comments. It would be a great loss to this world. Thank them next time you see them. (And put that thought in a drawer in your mind and lock it up.)

  14. I remember seeing this episode for the first time when it was aired, and I was totally sucked into the possibility that Buffy killed a human. I was really shocked when Ted turned up again! Re-watches definitely don't have the same impact, but I see Joss in the first half of this episode where Buffy is grappling with "killing" a human.

  15. It was weird seeing John Ritter again. Most people only know him from Three's Company, so they never got a chance to see what he could really do, but he was actually a very talented actor. Sitcoms don't tend to stretch most actors' abilities.
    As for the episode, it was not very good and still isn't making me like the show much more. I was happy to see Jenny kissing Giles at the end, but I felt like they were telegraphing an end to her character in "The Dark Age", so I still feel tense whenever she's onscreen, like they're about to kill her off or just have her leave for some arbitrary reason.
    I was also pretty disappointed when Ted turned up back from the dead and a robot. It could have made a very compelling hour if it had turned out that Buffy really did kill a normal human. And the fact that he had hit her would have made for a good moral dilemma. At what point does a person deserve to die? If a person abuses someone, especially a minor, do they deserve to be executed? Or can they be rehabilitated? Is there a point when a person becomes irredeemable? This would have been a much more interesting story, but I admit it's a bit too deep for this show (at least, at this point). The way everyone loves this show, maybe it gets more philosophical later on? But so far, there are very few grey areas. It's pretty black and white, with the only exception being Angel, the "not so bad" vampire. (I don't like him either, Xander.)

  16. JBA, you wrote: "The way everyone loves this show, maybe it gets more philosophical later on?"

    Yes, it does. I hope you'll give it a couple more episodes, because "Bad Eggs" is terrible.

    When I first watched Buffy, the second half of the second season blew me away. I remember going to a party and getting into a long conversation with a total stranger about it.

  17. Hi Billie,

    Yes, based on what everyone has said, I need to get at least to the end of season 2 before abandoning it, so I'm not going anywhere. I just finished watching Bad Eggs, so I'll post more there. :)


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