So, Ted. Ted, Ted, Ted.
I’ll be honest—not a fan of Ted. Oh, not ‘cause it’s a bad episode, or anything… I just think other episodes did some of what Ted was trying to do, but better.
What Ted does do well, sort of, is deal with real-world issues. Specifically, what it’s like to have an abusive step-parent. I assume, anyway… I thankfully have never had to deal with step-parents at all, much less abusive ones.
The genius of this episode is how slowly Ted’s true nature is revealed. I was totally on the “what the heck is up with Buffy?!” bandwagon up until Ted takes miniature golf way too seriously (sure sign of evil, by the way—taking mini-golf way too seriously). The way you notice that he’s making all the decisions; consistently interrupting Joyce in order to steer the conversation his way; the way he threatens physical violence.
I mean, coping with your parents dating when it’s taken most of your life to come to terms that they’ve had sex at least once is bad enough, but then this dickhead comes along and threatens to slap you?!
And I’m sorry, Joyce, but I have some issues I have to address with you.
First of all, I don’t give a fuck how many rohypnol cookies you ate, not telling your daughter you’re even dating is pretty remiss. Especially when you’ve mentioned before that you’d like to be closer to Buffy.
Oh, and letting Ted just wander around your house and let him sit creepily in your daughter’s room in the dark—that’s not weird to you at all? I’d chalk it up to the “happy” pastries, but I vaguely remember you letting Giles into Buffy’s room before (though granted, Giles isn’t evil), and not even checking to make sure that Angel was gone in Angel (ditto). You, madam, can on occasion be the worst. Mother. Ever.
It hurts, because given your previous behavior, I think you’d disbelieve Buffy even if you weren’t under the influence of baked goods.
I wanted to be on your side, Joyce. But you failed. You failed so hard.
I mean, when Angel points out to Buffy that you dating is not about her (brilliance), I was nodding sagely, agreeing in my soul.
I wanted you to be happy, Joyce.
But not at the expense of your relationship with your daughter. Fuck.
I’m glossing over the whole other half of the episode, because I just—I view it as a misfire.
Ted’s backstory was rushed and tacked-on, and just not very satisfying to me, and while I get why Ted had to turn out to be a robot, it kinda felt like the groundwork laid by the abusive stepfather storyline is overshadowed by it. That, and they tacked on the “what if Buffy murdered a person?” thing, which was not only overshadowed by the robot business, it was invalidated by it.
… I don’t know. Maybe I’m just still pissed about that “it doesn’t look like he hit you very hard” line.
Seriously, fuck that line.
- I love that the Scoobies have conversations about the power dynamics of The Captain and Tennille.
- Also love that horror tropes are used to introduce Ted, and that it turns out we were right to fear and distrust his metal ass.
- Haha, Buffy works out her problems at work!
- “Vampires are creeps.” “Yes, that’s why one slays them.”
- “I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh, the text.”
- I also giggled at “clean clown.” I… should be shunned.
- Poor Giles. I hate Jenny just for making him feel worse about making puppy eyes.
- Angel knows about loneliness. It is right that it should be so.
- Uh… why are Buffy’s grades a topic of conversation between Joyce and Ted?
- Ted B.? Hmm…
- The fight between Ted and Buffy before we even know Ted is a robot is uncomfortable for me. :(
- Buffy breaks out baggy clothes when she’s feeling vulnerable.
- Okay, Cordy brings up a question that gets answered later in the series: does Buffy, as a “superwoman,” get to skirt the rules?
- “I guess you should know, since you helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time?” “Yes. Do let’s bring that up as often as possible.” Cordy being part of the gang warms my heart.
- Yes, Jenny. Talk about your relationship in a park, at night, in Sunnydale.
- Giles, THAT IS NOT THE HEART!
- “Daddy’s here”? Ew. Soooo ew.
- “Don’t I always tell you what to do?” Yes, Ted, and it bothers me.
- “Uncle Teddy? This house is mine.”
- “I just wanna learn stuff.”