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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 2, Episode 11
Air date December 8, 1997
Written by David Greenwalt
Joss Whedon
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Episode Guide
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"What's My Line, Part Two"
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"Bad Eggs"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
David Boreanaz Angel
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Special Guest Starring
John Ritter Ted
Guest Starring
Kristine Sutherland Joyce
Robia LaMorte Jenny
Ken Thorley Neal
James G. MacDonald Detective Stein
Co Starring
Jeff Langton Vampire
Uncredited
Jeff Pruitt Vampire

For the character, See: Ted Buchanan

"Ted" is the eleventh episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the twenty-third episode altogether. It was written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt and was directed by Bruce Seth Green. It originally broadcast on December 8, 1997.

Everyone's taken a liking to Joyce's new boyfriend except Buffy, who is subject to his threatening language and behavior when others aren't around. But when Buffy seemingly kills Ted, she begins to wonder if it was really just "self-defense" or if she used her Slayer powers to murder a normal human being.

Synopsis

As Buffy, Xander and Willow enter Buffy's house, they find Joyce kissing a strange man. Misinterpreting an odd situation, Joyce introduces her friend, Ted Buchanan, a salesman. He tells them that he has been seeing Joyce for quite some time now. He charms Willow and Xander with computer talk and cooking, respectively. Ted promises to make it up to Buffy for surprising her. Buffy becomes uncomfortable with Ted's 50's mannerisms; this is not calmed by Ted's offer of miniature golf.

That night, Buffy beats a vampire to an unusually bloody pulp before killing him, worrying Giles that something is troubling her. She refuses to divulge, but Giles secretly has a good idea of what is happening. Later that night, Buffy asks Angel for his take on things, while she tends to the hand wound he sustained recently. He says that her mother needs a man in her life, and she should give him the benefit of the doubt. She reluctantly complies with this idea.

The golf outing goes poorly, as Joyce has revealed Buffy's anti-social behavior. When Buffy cheats, Ted lectures and threatens her with a slapping out of sight of the others, but his cheerfulness comes back full force when rejoining the others.

Joyce doesn't believe this incident happened, claiming Ted thinks the world of her. Buffy recruits her friends to spy on Ted. Under an assumed name, Buffy talks her way into Ted's workspace. He has never missed a day of work, doesn't get sick and is getting engaged. Indeed, Ted has a picture of Joyce on his desk but the part with Buffy is folded under.

At dinner, Ted denies the engagement, but confesses to Joyce that he has hopes they will one day get married. Buffy slips out for some slaying and on her return, finds Ted has read her diary. He threatens to tell Joyce about the 'Slayer' unless she toes the line. She defies him and is slapped. In the resulting brawl, Ted falls down the stairs; Joyce then finds him, seemingly dead.

The day after a talk with the cops, Buffy is in a haze of guilt. Willow and Xander discover Ted's cookies are drugged. Cordelia finds Ted has had four wives since 1957, all of whom have since "disappeared". That night, while Giles patrols, Jenny surprises him and apologizes for avoiding him. A vampire attacks and Jenny accidentally shoots Giles with a stake-gun instead of the monster. Giles, only slightly injured, takes the shaft out of his own body and dusts the vampire.

Buffy again finds Ted in her room; this second fight reveals he is a robot. He escapes to find Joyce. The Scooby Gang investigate Ted's bunker, decorated in 50s style. Xander finds the four wives... all dead. Ted confronts an astonished Joyce. His malfunctions reveal his true intentions; Buffy knocks him out with a frying pan. The next day, Joyce swears off men forever, and says that from now on, the two Summers women shall be manless. Buffy suggests renting a chick flick.

The gang returns to school the next day, with Buffy cleared of all charges, and discussing their discoveries about Ted. Apparently the real Ted Buchanan was a sickly and unsuccessful inventor in the 1950s whose wife left him. In desperation, he built a robot version of himself, "a better Ted", possibly to be the man he thought his wife should have. The robot then kidnapped Ted's wife and held her captive in his bunker until she died. The robot then sought out other women resembling Ted's dead wife and repeated the process again and again.

All seems to have returned to normalcy... with the exception of Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar kissing in the library.

Continuity

  • Ted is the first human-impersonating robot to appear in the series. The theme will be reused many times in later episodes. 
  • During the episode, Ted and other characters use specific language to tease the audience about Ted's robot personality. Ted uses the phrase "I'm not wired that way" a couple of times, an employee at Ted's workplace describes him as a "machine" and Joyce tells Ted that every home "should have one of him," implying that he is like a house robot.
  • In "I Was Made to Love You", Dawn wonders if April might be like Ted, noting that (in the timeline according to the characters' altered memories) she'd always wondered if there was more than one of him.
  • Willow kept parts of Ted for educational purposes which certainly helped when she reverse engineered the Buffybot.
  • Cordelia turns out to be a better investigator than Willow and Xander, when she uncovers the past of Ted, foreshadowing her future partnership with Angel in Los Angeles.
  • Xander notes at the beginning of the episode how quiet Sunnydale's undead population has been since the events of the previous episode, but quickly stops to chastise himself for potentially jinxing their good fortune. Buffy and Willow criticized him for doing almost the exact same thing in "School Hard".
  • Giles and Jenny Calendar rekindle their relationship (at least until "Innocence").
  • Ted threatens to put Buffy in a mental institution, which we later find out she has been in before (and, if the 'Normal Again alternative' is to be believed, remains in the institution until the end of 'Chosen').

Body Count

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • During the filming of the final confrontation between Buffy and Ted, both Sarah Michelle Gellar and John Ritter were ill. Gellar had the flu whereas Ritter had food poisoning from the night before.[1]
  • John Ritter claimed this episode influenced his understanding of his own step-daughter. [2]
  • This is the last episode of the series to air in 1997.

Broadcast

  • "Ted" had an audience of 3.9 million households.

Pop Culture References

  • Ted's cooking skills are an inside reference to John Ritter's famous sitcom Three's Company where his character is a chef.
  • Buffy references the Stepford Wives.
  • Upon seeing Ted's multiple marriage certificates, Xander suggests that Ted might be Mormon. This is a reference to the outdated practice of polygamy in the Mormon religion.
  • Buffy to Joyce: "I guess we're Thelma & Louise-ing it again."  In the 1991 movie Thelma & Louise, two women (played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) go on a road trip during which they kill a would-be rapist, blow things up, break numerous laws, and generally bond like mad.
  • The Captain and Tenille are a married pop music duo (Toni Tenille sings and the Captain—whose real name is Daryl Dragon—plays the keyboards) who are most famous for their soft-rock hits "Love Will Keep Us Together" (1975) and "Do That To Me One More Time" (1979). Brian recently had the opportunity to see them in person when they did an interview at the TV network he works for, and Xander's right—Tenille totally wears the pants in that relationship.
  • "I think maybe we're in Sigmund Freud territory."  The Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1865-1939) is known as "the father of modern psychoanalysis." His theories revolutionized the field of psychiatry by introducing such now-common concepts as unconscious repression, defense mechanisms, and the ego and the id.

Deleted Scenes

  • One of Willow’s lines in the teaser was cut:[1]
Willow: I’m just saying that if Tennille were in charge, she would have had the little captain hat.

Music

  • Christophe Beck - "Accused"
  • Christophe Beck - "Robot Rampage"
  • Los Angeles Post Music - "Untitled" (uncredited)

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • There's no way Willow could have done a chemical analysis on the cookie Xander was eating just by looking at a few crumbs under a microscope.

International Titles

  • Finnish: Ted
  • German: Ted

Other

  • This episode starts with adults kissing (Ted and Joyce) and ends with adults kissing (Giles and Jenny).
  • The plot of the episode is similar to that of the 1987 horror film The Stepfather, where a teenage girl suspects her new stepfather (who is obsessed with "old fashioned values") is a serial killer who marries women, and murders them when they fail to live up to his exceedingly high expectations.
  • One of Alyson Hannigan's favorite episodes, largely because of the participation of John Ritter.

Quotes

Buffy - "What are you doing in here?"
Ted - "Your mother told you to go to your room, Buffy. You and I both know she didn't mean climb out a window and go gallivanting about town."
Buffy - "First of all, this is my room, second... (sees her Slayer stuff lying on her desk) You've been going through my things?"
Ted - "Yes, I have."
Buffy - "That's my personal property! How dare you?!"
Ted - "I don't see how it's any different from you snooping around my office, do you? (raises her diary and reads) What exactly is a Vampire Slayer?"
Buffy - "It's none of your business."
Ted - "Beg to differ, little lady. Everything you do is nothing but my business from now on."
Buffy - "I think you better get out of here. Now!"
Ted - "Or what? (stands up and steps toward her) You'll slay me? I'm real. I'm not some goblin you made up in your little diary. Psychiatrists have a word for something like this: delusional. So, from now on, you'll do what I say, when I say. (He holds up her diary) Or I show this to your mother, and you'll spend your best dating years behind the wall of a mental institution. Your mother and I are going to be happy. You're not going to stand in the way. Sleep tight!"
Buffy - "Vampires are creeps."
Giles - "Yes, that's why one slays them."
Buffy - "I mean, people are perfectly happy getting along, and then vampires come, and they run around and they kill people, and they take over your whole house, they start making these stupid little mini pizzas, and everyone's like, 'I like your mini pizzas,' but I'm telling you, I am..."
Giles - "Uh, uh, Buffy! I-I believe the... subtext here is, is, rapidly becoming, uh, uh, text."
Buffy - "So mom's like, 'Do you think Ted will like this?' and 'This is Ted's favorite show,' and 'Ted's teaching me computers,' and 'Ted said the funniest thing,' and I'm like, 'That's really great, Mom,' and then she said I was being sarcastic, which I was, but I'm sorry if I don't wanna talk about Ted all the time."
Angel - "So, you gonna talk about something else at some point?"
Xander - "Can you say "over-reaction"?"
Buffy - "Can you say "sucking chest wound"?"

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Golden, Christopher, and Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 1. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
  2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Second Season on DVD. Perf. John Ritter. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002.

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