Teacher’s Pet (BTVS 1.04)
This is part of my ongoing Buffy Project, where I write notes/meta for every episode in an attempt to better understand the characters and themes of the show. You can find the full list here. Gifs are not mine.
Some of the season one stuff is going to be short. It’s more monster of the week/designed to be watched without prior knowledge.
I. This was the first kinda-sorta Xander-centric episode. We get more insight into his point of view and feelings than usual, at least. The opening scene is his dreaming that he saves Buffy from a vampire and then going onstage to perform a solo. He has masculinity issues and is desperate to be cool.
II. Dr. Gregory is the first teacher to point out that Buffy has a lot of potential and doesn’t use it. She really appreciates his faith and resolves to make a change (but I’m not sure it lasts past this episode, and it definitely doesn’t last in further seasons). Buffy has most of the knowledge about the monster and comes up with all the defenses. My guess is that Buffy doing everything just didn’t work writing-wise. But it shows us she’s capable if she ever had to be without her friends.
III. This is the first episode that Xander sees Angel. He calls him a “very attractive man” and immediately views him as a threat for Buffy’s affections, which is understandable since Angel gives Buffy his jacket and she looks a little smitten.
IV. Virginity and the male embarrassment of it is discussed a lot in this episode. Xander is very inexperienced and totally flails when a hot teacher talks to him. Even though he has a crush on Buffy he’s pretty easily distracted by the new hot woman. Joss subverts another trope by making “pure” males be necessary instead of the typical female virgin.
V. Principal Flutie’s obsession with policy is interesting. He has no real interest in knowing how Buffy feels about Dr. Gregory’s death but insists on pushing her through the “system”. He’s hyperaware of all school rules and makes Buffy stay away from words like “dead” or “decapitated”. It was a neat little message about the way school officials can be worried about all the wrong things.
VI. Xander is too eager to believe an attractive woman would be interested in him to see the signs that something is up. Even when Buffy warns him he takes it personally and accuses her of being jealous. It’s worth noting that he immediately takes responsibility and apologizes to her when she turns out to be right.
VII. The word “rape” is never used this episode despite it being what the “she-mantis” wants to do to Xander and Blaine. When they escape the boys are more concerned with people knowing they’re virgins than what they almost experienced. Willow is kind of hilarious and mom-ish with her response that they’re doing the “right” and “smart” thing.
VIII. Couple things about the ending: how did they never follow up on this? I want to know what happened to those damn eggs. Also since they’re in Dr. Gregory’s closet and he was decapitated I’m assuming he’s the daddy (which means he was like a sixty year old virgin).