This article is about the episode. For other uses, see Ted.


"Ted" is the eleventh episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the twenty-third episode in the series. It was written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and directed by Bruce Seth Green. It originally broadcast on December 8, 1997 on The WB network.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

JOHN RITTER GUEST-STARS — The whole gang falls for Buffy's mom's new boyfriend, Ted — everyone, that is, except Buffy, who suspects there may be more to him than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Giles tries to repair his relationship with Ms. Calendar after her near-death experience with a demon; and still reluctant to let anyone know about their romantic involvement, Xander and Cordelia continue to hide their rendezvous from their friends.[1]

Summary[edit | edit source]

As Buffy, Xander, and Willow return from patrolling, they discuss the lack of vampire activity with Spike and Drusilla presumed dead. Angel, who is still recovering from his ordeal with Drusilla, has also confirmed the Order of Taraka has been called off. However, when the three enter Buffy's house, 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 traditional mannerisms; this is not calmed by Ted's offer of miniature golf.

That night, Buffy beats a vampire to an unusual violence 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. Later that night, Buffy asks Angel for his take on things, while she tends to his wounds. He says that her mother shouldn't be forced to be alone, and she should give Ted the benefit of the doubt. She reluctantly complies with this idea. Meanwhile, Giles approaches Jenny for the first time since she was possessed. She tells him that she's still not fully over what happened, and asks that he gives her space until she feels ready. He regretfully leaves, while Jenny is also left unsatisfied with how the encounter went.

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 group, but his cheerfulness comes back full force when rejoining everyone else.

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 work space. He has never missed a day of work, doesn't get sick, and is getting engaged. 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 one day get married. Buffy slips out for some slaying and on her return, finds Ted has read her diary. He threatens to tell Joyce about her being a Slayer unless she toes the line. She defies him and is slapped. In the resulting brawl, Ted falls down the stairs; Joyce then finds him, seemingly dead.

The next day, after a talk with the cops, Buffy is in a haze of guilt. Willow and Xander discover Ted's cookies are drugged. Cordelia finds Ted has had four wives since 1957, all of whom have since disappeared. That night Giles patrols since Buffy is dealing with a lot already. Jenny surprises him to apologize for her earlier harsh words, but the conversation is derailed when a vampire attacks and Jenny attempts to shoot it. Instead of hitting the vampire, she accidentally shoots Giles in the side. As the vampire bursts into laughter, Giles uses the distraction to pull the bolt out of himself and dust the vampire. He and Jenny then laugh over the misfortune, as she takes him to the hospital.

Buffy again finds Ted in her room; this second fight reveals he is a robot. He escapes to find Joyce. The Scooby Gang investigates Ted's bunker, decorated in 50s style. Xander finds the four wives, all of whom are dead. Ted confronts an astonished Joyce. His malfunctions reveal his true intentions, and Buffy knocks and destroys him out with a frying pan. The next day, Joyce swears off men forever and says that from now on, the two Summers women shall be manless. Buffy suggests renting a chick flick.

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.

All seems to have returned to normalcy, although Buffy, Willow, Xander and Cordelia once again walk in on adults kissing, this time the two being Giles and Jenny in the library.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • Ted is the first human-impersonating robot to appear in the series. The theme will be reused many times in later episodes, such as in "I Was Made to Love You," "Intervention," and "Villains."
  • Angel is still recovering from his ordeal with Drusilla from "What's My Line? Part Two."
  • Giles approaches Jenny for the first time since she was possessed. She tells him that she's still not fully over what happened in "The Dark Age."
  • During the episode, Ted and other characters use specific language to tease the audience about Ted's robot personality. Ted uses the phrase "I'm not wired that way" a couple of times, an employee at Ted's workplace describes him as a "machine," and Joyce tells Ted that every home "should have one of him," implying that he is like a house robot.
  • In "I Was Made to Love You," Dawn wonders if April might be like Ted, noting that, in the timeline according to the characters' altered memories, she'd always wondered if there was more than one of him.
  • Willow kept parts of Ted for educational purposes which certainly helped when she reverse engineered the Buffybot.
  • Cordelia turns out to be a better investigator than Willow and Xander, when she uncovers the past of Ted, foreshadowing her future partnership with Angel in Los Angeles.
  • Xander notes at the beginning of the episode how quiet Sunnydale's undead population has been since the events of the previous episode, but quickly stops to chastise himself for potentially jinxing their good fortune. Buffy and Willow criticized him for doing almost the exact same thing in "School Hard."
  • Giles and Jenny Calendar rekindle their relationship (at least until "Innocence").
  • Ted threatens to put Buffy in a mental institution, which we later find out she has been in before ("Normal Again").
  • Giles mentions that killing a human being is a hard thing to bear. He himself would murder Ben in "The Gift."
  • Angel reveals that the contract on Buffy's life with the Order of Taraka has been cancelled, which is why they send no more assassins after her after the defeat of Octarus, Norman Pfister, and Patrice ("What's My Line? Part One" and "Part Two").
  • Xander mentioned "creature feature." Dawn later says "feature creature" in "Tabula Rasa."

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Individuals[edit | edit source]

Organizations and titles[edit | edit source]

Species[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Objects[edit | edit source]

Death count[edit | edit source]

  • Vampire, staked by Buffy Summers at Sunnydale Park.
  • Ted's four wives, died in captivity (only mentioned).
  • Vampire, dusted by Rupert Giles.
  • Ted Buchanan, deactivated by Buffy.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

  • According to David Fury, when he questioned the amazing technological abilities of Sunnydale residents (reanimating the dead in "Some Assembly Required", making lifelike robots in "Ted" and "I Was Made To Love You"), Joss Whedon replied "You're just way overthinking it. The Hellmouth should be able to provide us with anything we want to do; the energy that comes out of it makes mad scientists out of humans who then go ahead and create something evil."[2]
  • "Ted" was shot during the Halloween holiday. Many members of the cast and crew came to the set in costume; Kristine Sutherland 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.[3]
  • Ted's cooking skills are an inside reference to John Ritter's famous sitcom Three's Company, in which his character is a chef.
  • During the filming of the final confrontation between Buffy and Ted, both Sarah Michelle Gellar and John Ritter were ill. Gellar had the flu while Ritter had food poisoning from the night before.[3]

Deleted scenes[edit | edit source]

  • One of Willow's lines in the teaser was cut:[3]
Willow: I'm just saying that if Tennille were in charge, she would have had the little captain hat.

Broadcast[edit | edit source]

  • "Ted" had an audience of 3.9 million households.

Pop culture references[edit | edit source]

  • Xander quotes: "So many have come, so few have conquered," a reference to the famous Latin phrase "Veni, vidi, vici" – "I came, I saw, I conquered."
  • Buffy references the Stepford Wives.
  • Upon seeing Ted's multiple marriage certificates, Xander suggests that Ted might be Mormon. This is a reference to the no longer practiced polygamy by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aka the Mormon religion.
  • Buffy to Joyce: "I guess we're Thelma & Louise-ing it again." In the 1991 movie Thelma & Louise, two women go on a road trip during which they kill a would-be rapist, blow things up, break numerous laws, and generally bond with one another.
  • Captain & Tenille are a married pop music duo.
  • "I think maybe we're in Sigmund Freud territory." The Austrian psychiatrist is known as the father of modern psychoanalysis.

Music[edit | edit source]

  • Christophe Beck — "Accused"
  • Christophe Beck — "She'll Come Around"
  • Christophe Beck — "I Hit Him"
  • Christophe Beck — "Robot Rampage"
  • Christophe Beck — "Ted Attacks Buffy"
  • Los Angeles Post Music — "Untitled"

International titles[edit | edit source]

  • Armenian: "Թեդ" (Ted)
  • Czech: "Ted"
  • Finnish: "Ted"
  • French: "Le Fiancé" (The Fiancé)
  • German: "Ted"
  • Hungarian: "Ted"
  • Italian: "Il fidanzato di mamma" (The Mom's Boyfriend)
  • Japanese: "テッド" (Ted)
  • Polish: "Ted"
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Ted"
  • Romanian: "Ted"
  • Russian: "Тед"
  • Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Ted"

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

  • John Ritter claimed this episode influenced his understanding of his own step-daughter.[4]
  • Alyson Hannigan lists this as her third favorite episode to shoot: "John Ritter was the best. We would all just hang out in his trailer and be like 'Hi, John Ritter!!' and he didn't care. And, we got to shoot at a mini-golf place."[5]
  • The plot of the episode is similar to that of the 1987 horror film The Stepfather, where a teenage girl suspects her new stepfather (who is obsessed with "old fashioned values") is a serial killer who marries women, and murders them when they fail to live up to his exceedingly high expectations.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Promotional stills[edit | edit source]

[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

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, is, rapidly becoming, uh, text."
Buffy: "So mom's like, 'Do you think Ted will like this?' and 'This is Ted's favorite show,' and 'Ted's teaching me computers,' and 'Ted said the funniest thing,' and I'm like, 'That's really great, Mom,' and then she said I was being sarcastic, which I was, but I'm sorry if I don't wanna talk about Ted all the time."
Angel: "So, you gonna talk about something else at some point?"
Buffy: "Sorry."
Joyce: "I just wish I could be sure he's gone."
Buffy: "Trust me, he's on the scrapheap... of life."
Giles: "I think I'm alright."
Jenny: "No, you're just in shock."
Giles: "No, no, really. I, uh, I don't think it went in too deep. The... advantages of layers of tweed. Better than kevlar."
Xander: "So, I'm Ted, the sickly loser. I'm dying and my wife dumps me. I build a better Ted. He brings her back, holds her hostage in his bunker o' love until she dies. And then he keeps bringing her back, over and over. Now, now that's creepy on a level I hardly knew existed."

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original June 9, 2001.
  2. Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Slayers & Vampires. Tor Books, September 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1. Pocket Books, oCTOBER 1998.
  4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Second Season on DVD. Perf. John Ritter. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002.
  5. Amy Ryan, "Alyson Hannigan's favorite 'Buffy' episodes". EW.com, October 19, 2005.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.