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TED (ep 2.11)

(a.k.a. My Stepfather Is a Robot)

Written by: David Greenwalt & Joss Whedon
Directed by: Bruce Seth Green
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: John Ritter as Ted (Special Guest Star)
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Robia LaMorte as Jenny Calendar
Ken Thorley as Neal
James G. MacDonald as Detective Stein
Co-Starring: Jeff Langton as Vampire

Plot Summary

Buffy felt threatened by her mother's new boyfriend, who turned out to be a psychopathic robot.

Plot Details

Willow and Xander had a discussion on whether the Captain or Tennille was in charge, while Buffy and a good chunk of the target audience were wondering who they were. As they approached Buffy's door, she noticed that the door was ajar. She told Xander and Willow to stay outside while she investigated. After hearing a crash in the kitchen and a yelp, Buffy burst in and found her mother kissing a guy (Ted).

Buffy and Joyce had a talk while Ted charmed Xander with mini-pizzas and Willow with the promise of a computer upgrade. Buffy was not happy enough to eat a mini-pizza, but she claimed to be OK with the new situation.

Her encounter with a vampire that night suggested otherwise. Rather than simply exchange a few blows before a staking, she nearly beat the vampire to a pulp, destroying park property in the process. She then went on a rant on vampires making mini-pizzas. Even Giles figured out that something was wrong.

The next day, Xander and Willow speculated that there might be a psychological issue with Buffy's reluctance to accept Ted. She sort of agreed when Ted showed up and invited the three of them for a miniature golf outing. Buffy was reluctant, but Xander overrode her objections when Ted mentioned food.

Giles took advantage of a textbook shipment to check in on Jenny. She found the excuse to be quite flimsy and shooed him away.

While playing miniature golf, Buffy was not happy to hear that her mother told Ted about her grades. She was even more upset when Ted vetoed her mother's suggestion not to count a bad shot and when he caught her cheating. He even threatened to hit her when the others were out of earshot.

Back at school, Buffy asked Willow to investigate Ted's background. Both Xander and Willow were reluctant even though doing so proved fortuitous when it came to Ford a few episodes back. This conversation was interrupted when Xander noticed Cordelia walking by and went to talk with her. She did not want anyone to know about their kissing, but she did agree to go to a utility closet.

Willow found out where Ted worked, so Buffy paid a visit. A co-worker (Neal) said that Ted was focused on his job and was by far the best salesperson. Neal also said that Ted was planning to take time off for a wedding in a couple of months.

Ted joined Buffy and Joyce for dinner. Buffy asked if they were engaged, and Ted said that they were not yet engaged. In continuing the interrogation, Buffy clearly expressed her displeasure, which got her sent to her room. For Buffy, being sent to her room meant sneaking out her window and hoping to find some vampires to slay in the park. When none showed up, she returned to find Ted in her room reading her diary. He told her that she either obeys him or he will show her diaries to her mother, which would result in a long stay in a mental institution.

Buffy did not take this lightly and stood up to him. He responded by smacking her in the left cheek. She was happy to have the excuse to hit him back and responded. He then sent her to the ground with a blow to her right cheek. Right after that, Joyce showed up. Buffy proceeded to beat up Ted, eventually knocking him down the stairs, where Joyce declared him to be dead.

When the police arrived, Joyce neglected to say how Ted fell down the stairs. Buffy, however, told the truth, at least to the best of her knowledge. At the police station she explained that she had an argument with Ted in the past, but that this was the first time he hit her. The detective said that they were not charging Buffy with a crime yet, and that, if she were telling the truth, they probably would not.

At school, Buffy felt everyone watching her. Xander and Willow both went to comfort her. Xander was convinced that Ted was some sort of demon, bug, or dark god, but Buffy said that Ted was human. She left and ran into Giles, who also tried to comfort her.

Willow investigated Ted's background while Giles prepared to go on patrol that night. Xander was freaking out until he found one of Ted's cookies. Willow noticed the change and decided to investigate. She found that the food was laced with a tranquilizer. Meanwhile, Cordelia found marriage records and an address. Xander suggested checking out Ted's home.

Jenny startled Giles while he was on patrol. She started to apologize, when a vampire interrupted. While Giles grappled with the vampire, Jenny got the bright idea to try to shoot the vampire with a crossbow. Her aim was a little off. She missed the heart, which was fortunate because she hit Giles instead of the vampire. Giles used the bolt to stake the vampire. He claimed to be OK, but went along with the suggestion that a hospital visit might be in order.

Meanwhile, Buffy was moping in her room when she found the window nailed shut. She declared that the day could not be any worse when Ted came up from behind. They started fighting. When he tried to strangle her, she stabbed him in the forearm with what looked like a nail file. This revealed circuitry, meaning that Ted was a robot. He knocked her unconscious and went to see Joyce.

At Ted's home, Willow discovered that Ted had been married four times without being divorced. She also discovered that the first marriage took place in 1957, which suggested that Ted might be older than he looked. Meanwhile, Cordelia discovered a rug that did not go with anything else in the room. Underneath was a trap door. They went down to the secret room to investigate. Xander checked the closet and found the bodies that he presumed were of Ted's wives.

Joyce was relieved to see Ted. She assumed that Buffy would also be relieved, but Ted wanted to think about his plans. He wanted to take her away, but she was reluctant and a bit suspicious. When she hesitated, he knocked her unconscious. Fortunately, Buffy regained consciousness and bashed his head with a cast-iron frying pan. He eventually had a fatal malfunction.

The next day, Buffy assured her mother that Ted was "on the scrap heap." At school, Xander explained that when the real Ted was dying, he built a Ted robot who kept bringing home women until they died. Willow apparently kept a few Ted parts, to Buffy and Cordelia's disapproval. The four of them were about to enter the library but walked on when they saw Giles and Jenny kissing. Buffy and Willow found this to be a little too weird, but Xander and Cordelia were quite amused.

The Good

John Ritter may be the first instance of stunt casting on Buffy, but he put in a good performance.

Sarah Michelle Gellar did a great job in delivering Buffy's rapid-fire rants on Ted.

The Bad

This is another filler episode that a viewer can skip without missing anything important.

We just had an episode in which Buffy felt like she was being replaced.

Overall Rank: 97

Action: 6

Buffy nearly beat a vampire to a pulp before staking him.

Buffy and Ted had a fight that resulted in Ted falling down the stairs and "dying."

Giles fought a vampire in the park. Despite Jenny's attempt to assist him, he managed to stake it.

Buffy and Ted had another fight. He knocked her unconscious, but only after she found out that he is a robot.

Finally, Buffy finished Ted off using a cast-iron frying pan.

Comedy: 1

Buffy had a couple of amusing rants.

Drama: 7

Buffy had to face the possibility of a new step-parent.

Buffy believed that she might have killed another human being.

Romance: 4

Joyce had a new boyfriend.

Giles and Jenny appear to be back together.

Character Development: 4

Buffy once again showed that she gets very upset with any perceived changes in her place in life. In the last episode, she was upset with the fact that there was another slayer in the world. Here, she is upset at the possibility that there may be someone new in her mother's life.

Joyce has apparently had a hard time dating as a single parent. She was very happy to find someone interested in her. However, Buffy still comes first in her life. When Ted "died" the first time, she tried to cover up Buffy's involvement in the incident.

Cordelia helped investigate Ted, so she apparently still wants to be part of the Scooby Gang despite the possibility of kissing Xander. In fact, the possibility of kissing Xander is becoming much less undesirable.

Importance: 0

This was another filler episode that one can skip without missing anything important.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

Buffy earned the MVP for taking out Ted.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Buffy figured out that there was something wrong with Ted long before the other characters did. It probably helped her cause that she neglected to eat anything that he made. Willow gets a lot of credit for figuring out that Ted was spiking the food, and Cordelia discovered the rug hiding the trap door.

Goat of the Week: Jenny

Shooting the crossbow was a dumb move. She was lucky that her aim was so bad that she did not kill Giles.

Random Commentary

The crossbow was originally designed to penetrate armor. A person could shoot a bolt much more powerfully than she or he could shoot an arrow from a normal-sized bow. Despite what Giles said, tweed is not like kevlar. He should have been injured much more seriously.


There are two things in this episode that many people view as errors. The first is the presence of a miniature golf course when it was stated in "When She Was Bad" that there were no miniature golf courses in Sunnydale. First, it is possible that one was built between the episodes. Second, it is possible that they drove to a course outside Sunnydale.

The second is the fact that Buffy said that Ted hit her on her right cheek. Those who call this an error remember that he hit her first on her left cheek. This is true, but he followed up with a blow to the right cheek. The first blow merely staggered her, whereas the second blow knocked her to the ground. I interpret this as meaning that the second blow was harder, which may be why she remembered it more in the police station.

Memorable Quotes

"You're loving playing nursemaid?" Willow
"Oh, yeah." Buffy
"So, better than playing naughty stewardess?" Xander

"Vampires are creeps. "Buffy
"Yes, that's why one slays them." Giles
"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 and start making these stupid little mini-pizzas and everyone's like 'Oh, look a mini-pizza' but I'm telling you." Buffy
"Uh, Buffy, I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming a text." Giles

"You're having parental issues; you're having parental issues!" Xander
"Xander." Willow
"Freud would have said the exact same thing, except he might not have done that little dance." Xander

"Seeing my mother Frenching a guy is a ticket to therapy-land." Buffy

"I'm doing pretty good, actually. I stayed out of mortal danger for three whole weeks. I could get used to it." Jenny

"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 talk about Ted all the time." Buffy
"So you're gonna talk about something else at some point?" Angel

"Ah, the dreaded five-par cuckoo clock. Ha, so many have come; so few have conquered." Xander

"I think you're missing the point here, little lady. Right is right; wrong is wrong. Why don't people see that?" Ted

"You wanna go to the utility closet and make out?" Xander
"God, is that all you ever think about? OK." Cordelia

"What was he? A demon? A giant bug? A dark god with the secrets of nouvelle cuisine? I mean we are talking creature feature here, right?" Xander

"I don't get it. Buffy's the slayer. Shouldn't she have…" Cordelia
"… a license to kill?" Xander
"Not for fun, but she's like this superman. Shouldn't there be different rules for her?" Cordelia
"Sure, in a fascist society." Willow
"Right, why can't we have one of those?" Cordelia

"She's taken a human life. The guilt is pretty hard to bear. It won't go away soon." Giles
"I guess you should know, since you helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time." Cordelia
"Yes, do let's bring that up as often as possible." Giles

"This is evidence! This is real evidence that Ted was some kind of crook. Buffy's cleared. Willow, you are the best human ever! I adore you! That's the cookies talking, but you rock!" Xander

"Feels like home, if its the 50s and you're a psycho." Cordelia

"Willow, tell me you didn't keep any parts." Buffy
"Not any big ones." Willow

Characters in Peril


Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Spoiler Questions

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This page was last modified on November 7, 2012