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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
December 08, 1997


David Greenwalt
Joss Whedon

Bruce Seth Green

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Robia LaMorte as Ms. Calendar
John Ritter as Ted
Ken Thorley as Neal
James G. MacDonald as Detective Stein
Jeff Langton as Vampire


Buffy returns from a night out with Xander and Willow to find Joyce kissing a man called Ted. Ted turns out to be charm personified, baking superbly, which impresses everyone but Buffy. She's having parental issues, fearing Ted is trying to take over as her Father. Ted takes the Gang and Joyce to mini-golf, where he and Buffy have an unpleasant confrontation over the rules of that great sport. Cordy and Xander continue to illicitly smooch in school broom cupboards. Buffy decides to spy on Ted, but he finds out, and hits Buffy. She goes ballistic, and kicks him down the stairs, where he lands and breaks his neck. Buffy is questioned by the police. Giles saves Jenny's life while patrolling, and some trust is re-established. Ted then turns out to be a homicidal robot, who has married and killed four women before. Ted attempts to kidnap Joyce, but is defeated by a skillet-toting Buffy. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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This episode was sort of a reversal of The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin's 1972 novel about a Connecticut suburb in which all the wives are perfect, but turn out to be robots. And there's another nifty in-joke in Ted's culinary prowess, as he is most famous for playing Jack Tripper, a cook, from 1977-1984 on the sitcom Three's Company.

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Dialogue to Die For

Joyce: "He redid my entire system at the gallery, freed up a lot of my time."
Buffy: "To meet new people. And smooch them in my kitchen."

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, Buffy! I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh... text."

Xander: "Hey, Cordy! Nice outfit."
Cordelia: "Oh, very funny."
Xander: "Not really."
Cordelia: "What are you saying?"
Xander: "Nice outfit?"
Cordelia: "Well, why don't you just keep your mouth shut?"

Cordelia: "I thought you liked him!"
Xander: "I sometimes like things that are not good for me."

Cordelia, about Buffy: "But she's like this superman. Shouldn't there be different rules for her?"
Willow: "Sure, in a fascist society."
Cordelia: "Right! Why can't we have one of those?"

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Willow, giggling: "He's a clean clown! ...I have my own fun."
    The "I have my own fun" part is a cute tagline, but the first part seems to be reaching for an excuse to use it, and feels somewhat out of character for Willow as well.
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    The Captain and Tenille
  • 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.

  • "Like Stepford."  As noted in Monstervision, much of this episode seems inspired by The Stepford Wives, the 1972 Ira Levin novel (adapted by The Princess Bride writer William Goldman into a successful movie in 1975) about robotic wives in a sleepy Connecticut town.

  • "So either our boy was a Mormon..."  While it is a commonly held preconception that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, practice polygamy, in fact this is no longer true. The practice of multiple marriages among Mormons was ended by a document called the Manifesto, issued by Church president Wilford Woodruff in 1890 in response to pressure from the United States government. Reports of polygamous practices occasionally crop up in the news, but it is not a practice that is any longer officially allowed by the Mormon Church.

  • "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.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Much has been made of the seeming discrepancy between Willow's assertion at the end of "When She Was Bad" that Sunnydale doesn't have a miniature golf course, and the fact that Ted takes them all miniature golfing in this episode. But nowhere is it said or implied that the course they golfed at in this episode is in Sunnydale, so it really isn't a goof. Ted surely has a car and could drive them all to the nearest mini-golf course.
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  • At the beginning of this episode, Buffy, Xander and Willow refer to the events of "What's My Line." The Order of Taraka has apparently been called off, and Angel is still recuperating from the injuries he suffered at the hands of Spike and Drusilla.

  • Cordelia also refers to the events of "The Dark Age," remembering how Giles helped raise Eyghon.
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A mostly excellent episode, with a couple of glaring weaknesses. Unfortunately one of those weaknesses was the premise. Buffy's reaction to taking a human life is a fascinating concept, and one I hope to see re-visited at some point in the series. In retrospect, however, that vein of high drama was undermined by the revelation that it was not in fact a human life that Buffy took at all. I would have enjoyed more of a commitment to a walk down the dark side, but it's clear that Messrs. Whedon and Greenwalt wanted to get out of this one in an hour without getting into any extended storylines (enough of them floating about, I guess) or another multi-part episode so soon after "What's My Line." That desire for closure made the ending feel rushed to me: Having Xander explain the whole backstory in the last two minutes felt like a lame Scooby Doo ending to me. On the plus side, Buffy's jealousy of the man invading her home was beautifully done, and the sinister subtlety with which Ted's attitude was gradually revealed (starting with his assertion that "there's no room for compromise" when using a cast iron skillet to make mini-pizzas, all the way up to his two confrontations with Buffy) was terrific too. I was extraordinarily pleased to see the many continuity details, from mentions of Spike and Dru and the Order of Taraka to seeing Buffy caring for a still-weakened Angel to the continuation of the screamingly funny Xander-Cordelia "romance." John Ritter's performance was excellent, in my opinion, although I didn't realize how good until Ted's true nature was revealed. And finally, casting all analysis but the most primal aside, I spent much of this episode experiencing intense feelings of sympathy and dread, and since that's what storytelling is all about, I have to ultimately conclude that this was a quite enjoyable episode. (7/10)
I have decided (again) that I prefer episodes that contain Spike and Drusilla (or any other recurring villain). I did like this episode and it had some great moments, but it was flavored with a bit of fluff as far as I am concerned. Please understand that I loved when Xander asked Cordy to make out in the utility closet, as well as Willow's enthusiastic squeak at the prospect of getting free computer stuff. Giles and Jenny getting it on in the library was nice to see mainly because they are perfect for each other. The thing I didn't like about the episode was the story. I felt that John Ritter's performance as Ted was quite good (especially the robotic stutters at the end). His performance made me believe that he was truly obnoxious (I actually wanted to slap him myself). I had to keep reminding myself (as a product of the 80's) that I was looking at Ted (not Jack Tripper). I think the choice of John Ritter was questionable only because of his recognizable face as a main character on Three's Company. The story was the part that was lacking in my opinion. They gave us a very brief explanation at the end. It didn't really satisfy me. In order for me to believe what is happening, the story must have a bit more substance and it should be a bit stronger. This was not a bad offering but it was certainly not one of the best. (6/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
December 08, 1997 3.9 93 of 118 (tie)
March 17, 1998 3.4 101 of 117
September 7, 1998 2.2 88 of 103 (tie)

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