Ted (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Buffy learns that Ted is a robot.
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Bruce Seth Green|
|Written by||David Greenwalt
|Original air date||December 8, 1997|
"Ted" is episode 11 of season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although she tries to take Angel's (David Boreanaz) advice to allow her mother (Kristine Sutherland) to have a man who is not Hank Summers in her life, Buffy is unable to warm up to Joyce's new boyfriend, Ted (John Ritter). When Ted shows Buffy a side of himself that he keeps hidden from the others, Buffy cannot find a way to raise her valid objections without seeming like the brat Ted considers her to be. When her escalating conflict with the man has apparently lethal consequences, Buffy's resentment turns to guilt. As her friends help unravel the mystery piece by piece, however, Buffy's guilt turns to fear—Joyce is in far greater danger than anyone, even Buffy herself, could have imagined.
Buffy, Xander and Willow walk to Buffy's house, discussing the lull in vampire activity after the recent defeat (and presumed deaths) of Spike and Drusilla. Misinterpreting an odd situation, they find Joyce kissing a strange man. 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 1950s sitcom 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 ("...and charm your friends with their stupid little mini-pizzas-" "Erm, Buffy. I think this sub-text is rapidly becoming, uh, text..."). 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, due to slight distractions from his lips.
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. 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 rushes to him but he doesn't respond when she calls his name. She checks his pulse, looks up at Buffy and says "You killed him."
The day after a talk with the cops, Buffy is in a haze of guilt. Willow, Xander and Cordelia dig deeper into Ted's life—discovering 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, Sunnydale High teacher Jenny Calendar surprises him and apologizes for avoiding him. A vampire attacks and Jenny accidentally shoots Giles with a crossbow instead of the monster. Giles, only slightly injured, takes the shaft out of his own body and dusts the vampire.
Buffy again finds Ted, who as been unexpectedly reanimated, in her room; they fight again, and upon cutting him Buffy discovers that Ted is a robot. Ted knocks Buffy unconscious and escapes to find Joyce, but the damage he has sustained in the fight has left him erratic. Ted confronts an astonished Joyce, but as he malfunctions he reveals his true intentions; as Joyce resists, Ted becomes violent and knocks her out. Buffy then awakens, and knocks Ted out with a frying pan. Meanwhile, the Scooby Gang investigates Ted's bunker, decorated in 1950s style; Xander finds Ted's previous four wives—all dead. The next day, Joyce and Buffy bond over their recent experiences and decide to watch a movie - one without horror, men or romance. Buffy suggests renting something in the vein of Thelma & Louise.
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. He had done it four times.
All seems to have returned to normality... with the exception of Giles and Ms. Calendar kissing in the library.
- One of Willow's lines in the teaser was cut:
Willow: I'm just saying that if Tennille were in charge, she would have had the little captain hat.
- "Ted" was shot during the Halloween holiday. Many members of the cast and crew came to the set in costume; Kristine Sutherland (Joyce) wore 1950s clothes like Ted's first wife, and Sarah Michelle Gellar came as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, along with her dog, Toto.
- 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.
- John Ritter claimed this episode influenced his understanding of his own stepdaughter.
- Buffy's struggle to overcome her guilt after believing she had killed a human marked the first exploration of this theme within the series. This would later become a dominant theme surrounding the character of Faith and her relationship with Buffy.
- This episode marks the first appearance of human-like robots on BTVS. Robots play a major part later in the series, in season 5 and 6 with regards to the Buffybot.
- Joyce mentions the robot to Buffy in the fourth season episode "Fear, Itself".
- The dress that Joyce is wearing when Buffy walks in on her and Ted is the same dress she wears for a date in the episode "I Was Made to Love You", the episode she dies.
- Buffy is framed in this episode. She will be framed again later in the season as a major factor in Becoming (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode).
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ted|
- Golden, Christopher, and Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 1. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Second Season on DVD. Perf. John Ritter. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002.