|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 1, Episode 4|
|Air date|| March 25, 1997 (USA)|
January 24, 1998 (UK)
|Written by||David Greenwalt|
|Directed by||Bruce Seth Green|
"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Ken Lerner||Principal Flutie|
|Musetta Vander||Ms. French|
|Jean Speegle Howard|| Elderly Ms. French |
|William Monaghan||Dr. Gregory|
|Jack Knight||Homeless Guy|
|Michael Ross Verona||Teacher|
|Karim Oliver|| Bud #1 |
|Rob Grad||Guitar Player and Singer|
|Kevin Keller||Bass Player|
One evening at The Bronze, Xander suavely saves the Slayer from a menacing vamp, then mounts the stage to play his guitar solo and “kiss her like she has never been kissed before.” He is rudely awakened from this beautiful dream to find himself stuck in the hell known as biology class, and Dr. Gregory is about to call on him. After class, Dr. Gregory, who is the only teacher to believe in and encourage Buffy, is 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 smoothly 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 as he’s taking it off, 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 that there are She-Mantis eggs attached to the bottom of a shelf or that one of them hatches.
- It is revealed that Xander’s middle name is LaVelle (which he apparently hates, as he told Miss French to “guard that secret with her life”).
- Angel gives Buffy his leather jacket in this episode. She will be seen wearing if off-and-on from here on out.
- Xander begins a habit of entering into relationships with literally monstrous women in the series.
- Xander is a virgin, and will continue to be one until he sleeps with Faith in "The Zeppo".
- This is the first of two times where a member of faculty (except for Giles), has a positive effect on Buffy, only to end up dying at the hands of the episode’s antagonist. The second time will be in "Beauty and the Beasts" with Stephen Platt.
- Cheryl (First mentioned)
- Cordelia Chase
- Ferris Carlyle (Only mentioned)
- Robert Flutie
- Natalie French
- Rupert Giles
- Stephen Gregory
- Alexander Harris
- Jessica Harris (Only mentioned)
- Mrs. Jackson
- The Master (Only mentioned)
- Blayne Moll
- Mr. Moll (Only mentioned)
- Mrs. Moll (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Blayne's friend
- Homeless Guy
- Unidentified teacher
- Unidentified crisis counselor
- Unidentified homeless man
Organizations and titles
- Los Angeles (Only mentioned)
- Hemery High School (Only mentioned)
Weapons and objects
- One vampire, dusted by Xander Harris (only in a dream).
- Dr. Stephen Gregory, beheaded by the She-Mantis.
- Claw, staked by Buffy Summers.
- The She-Mantis, hacked to death by Buffy at her nesting lair.
Behind the scenes
- The puppet of the She-Mantis’ real form is a re-use of the N’Grath prop from Babylon 5 (1994) television series, created by Optic Nerve Studios.
- "Teacher’s Pet" captured a Nielsen rating of 2.0 on its original airing.
- This scene was cut because of length:
- 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-twisting 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".
- Superfine — "Already Met You" (Plays at The Bronze.)
- Superfine — "Stoner Love" (Plays when Xander smashes the mantis eggs.)
- Walter Murphy — original score
- French: "Le Chouchou du Prof" (The Teacher’s Pet)
- Finnish: "Opettajan Lemmikki" (Teacher’s Pet)
- German: "Die Gottesanbeterin" (The Praying Mantis)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "O Queridinho da Professora" (The Teacher’s Dearest)
- Spanish (Spain): "El Favorito de la Profesora" (The Teacher’s Favorite)
- Spanish (Latin American): "La Mascota del Profesor" (The Teacher’s Pet)
- The real Mrs. French was played by actress Jean Speegle Howard, director Ron Howard’s mother. Her husband, Rance Howard, appeared on Angel series portraying Marcus Roscoe.
- This episode is Xander-centric and is the first of several episodes of the series to focus on someone other than Buffy.
- Dr. Gregory (a recurring character who also features in "Witch") is the first member of the Sunnydale High faculty to die, but by no means the last.
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." (He laughs, as does Ms. French)|
|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, um, (checks her roster) Buffy. They just call and tell me where they want me."|
|Blayne - (in a low voice) "I'll tell you where I want you."|
|Ms. French - "Excuse me, Blayne?"|
|Blayne - (caught off-guard, but tries to play it cool) "Uh, I was just wondering if you were gonna pick up where Dr. Gregory left off."|
|Ms. French - (smiles) "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 - (casually, aside to Buffy) "Nothing wrong with an aggressive female."|