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"Teacher's Pet" is the fourth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the fourth episode in the series. Written by David Greenwalt and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on March 25, 1997, on The WB network.


A substitute teacher's infatuation with Xander is flattering to the lovesick teen, but alarming to Buffy.[1]


One evening in the Bronze, Xander saves Buffy from a menacing vampire. He then mounts the stage to play his guitar solo, promising to later "kiss her like she has never been kissed before." He is awakened from this dream and the biology teacher Dr. Gregory is about to call on him. After class, Gregory encourages Buffy, but he is soon killed by an unseen monster.

That night at the Bronze, Xander is taunted by fellow student Blayne for his lack of sexual prowess. When Buffy and Willow arrive, Xander puts his arms around both girls in order to buff up his reputation. Buffy rushes off when Angel shows up. He gives her his jacket to warm her; and she notices several slashes on his arm. She jokes that somebody must have attacked him with a big fork. He warns her about the new threat and to not let him corner her as he'll "rip [her] throat out." He leaves quickly after the warning.

The next day, Buffy informs Giles that Angel warned her about a "fork guy." The substitute biology teacher, Natalie French, shows up and turns every boy's head. She seems to have a thing about insects, especially the praying mantis. At lunch, Cordelia finds the headless body of Dr. Gregory in the cafeteria locker. The Scoobies try to figure out if there is a connection to the Master, but don't rule out that there is a second monster about. Later that night, Buffy goes into the park and confronts "Claw," a vampire who has a large claw in place of a right hand. The fight is interrupted by the police, and the vampire flees. While in pursuit, she sees the vampire come up behind Miss French, who just stares at him. To Buffy's surprise, the vampire bolts in panic.

At school the next day, Buffy is sent to a counselor to help her get over seeing the dead body. This makes her late for the surprise test that Miss French gives the class — a test where she helps Xander with a question. Buffy arrives and looks through the window in the door. Sensing Buffy's presence, Miss French turns her head 180 degrees to look at her. Later, Miss French asks Xander over to her house in the evening to work on a project.

Back in the library, Buffy figures that Miss French must be a praying mantis and convinces the Giles and Willow. They discover that Blayne, who worked on a project with Miss French the day before, never came home that night. Buffy tries to warn Xander, but he brushes her off, saying that she is just jealous.

Miss French welcomes Xander with a drink, a fire in the fireplace, and a revealing dress. The drink knocks him out just when she turns into an insect. Xander wakes up in a cage next to Blayne who tells him how she mates like a praying mantis, biting off men's heads in the process. In the library, the gang discovers that the She-Mantis lures virgins to her for her mating ritual. Willow reveals that Xander is a virgin then calls Xander's mother and finds out that he isn't home. They realize that he's in great danger. Buffy gets Giles to record bat sonar while Miss French chooses Xander to be her next victim.

When the remaining Scoobies visit the house where Miss French is supposed to live, they find a nice old woman who is the real Ms. French but retired in 1972. To quickly find Xander, Buffy tracks the one-handed vampire, who is so scared of the She-Mantis that he knows just which house is the right one. After finding the right house, the vampire attacks Buffy, but she quickly stakes him with a broken fence post. Buffy breaks through the window when the mantis is about to mate with Xander. She slays the insect, using the bat sonar to weaken it. Xander then destroys the eggs that are in the house.

Buffy, in Angel's jacket, later meets him at the Bronze. He tells her to keep it, and Buffy is obviously smitten. Later, Buffy puts Dr. Gregory's glasses in his jacket, still hanging in the classroom closet, not noticing the eggs attached to the bottom of a shelf — or that one of them begins to hatch.




Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • One vampire, staked by Xander with a chair leg in the Bronze (only in a dream).
  • Dr. Stephen Gregory, decapitated by the She-Mantis.
  • Unidentified man, lacerated by Claw in Weatherley Park (only mentioned).
  • Multiple crickets, eaten alive by the She-Mantis.
  • Claw, staked by Buffy with a picket fence post.
  • The She-Mantis, hacked with a machete by Buffy at her nesting lair.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The puppet of the She-Mantis's real form is a re-use of the N'Grath prop from the Babylon 5 (1994) television series, created by Optic Nerve Studios.
  • Musetta Vander, who portrayed the She-Mantis, described the use of insects in the episode: "When I eat that bug sandwich they actually had real bugs — little crickets, or something they use for fishing, I believe. They were kept in little boxes which they sprinkled onto the bread. I remember having a really hard time with trying to do that because I did not want to feel the little wings. They said, 'Well, they're gonna be bait for fish anyway.' But I did not want to hurt an animal. They didn't die — they were fine — they were just sprinkled onto the bread and then when I go to eat it they're not there."[2]


  • "Teacher's Pet" captured a Nielsen rating of 2.0 on its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • There was an alternate exchange between Buffy and Giles about the weather in case it was raining, foggy, or dark:[4]
    Giles: "Reminds me of home."
    Buffy: "Dark, dank, dreary. You must be so happy."
  • This scene was cut because of length:[4]
    Buffy: "Dr. Gregory didn't chew me out or anything. He was really cool. But Flutie showed him my permanent record. Apparently, I fall somewhere between Charles Manson and a really bad person."
    Willow: "And you can't tell Dr. Gregory what really happened at your old school?"
    Buffy: "I was fighting vampires? I'm thinking he might not believe me."
    Willow: "Yeah, he probably gets that excuse all the time."
    Cordelia: (just arriving) "Here lies a problem. What used to be my table occupied by pitiful losers. Of course, we'll have to burn it."
    Buffy: "Sad, you have so many memories here. You and Lawrence, you and Mark, you and John. You spent the better part of your 'J' through 'M' here."

Pop culture references[]

  • When describing Ms. French's head-turning abilities, Buffy references The Exorcist.
  • In the library, Willow's comment "inquiring minds want to know" is a reference to the slogan used by the tabloid newspaper National Enquirer.
  • Xander complains about the numerous dark beings on the Hellmouth, calling it "Monster Island."


  • The credits declares that "Twentieth Century Fox Films Corporation is the aurthor of this motion picture," misspelling "author."


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Ուսուցչի սիրելին" (Teacher's Favorite)
  • Czech: "Učitelčin mazlíček" (Teacher's Pet)
  • Finnish: "Opettajan Lemmikki" (Teacher's Pet)
  • French: "Le Chouchou du Prof" (The Teacher's Pet)
  • German: "Die Gottesanbeterin" (The Praying Mantis)
  • Hungarian: "A helyettesítő tanár" (The Substitute Teacher)
  • Italian: "La mantide" (The Mantis)
  • Japanese: "先生のお気に入り" (Teacher's Pet)
  • Polish: "Biologia z modliszką" (Biology with Mantis)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Queridinho da Professora" (The Teacher's Dearest)
  • Romanian: "Preferatul profesoarei" (Teacher's Favorite)
  • Russian: "Любимчик учителя" (Teacher's Pet)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "El Favorito de la Profesora" (The Teacher's Favorite)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El Favorito de la Profesora" (The Teacher's Favorite)
  • Swedish: "Lärarens Favorit" (The Teacher's Favorite)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Ms. French: "Oh, Xander, I've done something really stupid. I hope you can forgive me."
Xander: "Oh, forgiveness is my middle name! Well, actually it's LaVelle, and I'd appreciate it if you guard that secret with your life."
Ms. French: "My name is Natalie French, and I will be substituting for Dr. Gregory."
Buffy: "Do you know when he's coming back?"
Ms. French: "No, I don't... Buffy. They just call and tell me where they want me."
Blayne: "I'll tell you where I want you."
Ms. French: "Excuse me, Blayne?"
Blayne: "Uh, I was just wondering if you were gonna pick up where Dr. Gregory left off."
Ms. French: "Yes. His notes tell me you were right in the middle of insect life."
Ms. French: "It's the way nature designed them: noble, solitary and prolific. Over 1800 species worldwide, and in nearly all of them the female is larger and more aggressive than the male."
Blayne: "Nothing wrong with an aggressive female."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. Hannah Ewens, "'Buffy' Stars and Experts Explain Their Favorite Episodes." VICE, March 9, 2017.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1. Pocket Books, October 1998.