Saturday, 6 November 2010
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1, Episode 4 'Teacher’s Pet'
Writer: David Greenwalt
Director: Bruce Seth Green
What’s the sitch?
When Buffy’s favourite teacher turns up dead sans head, a sexy new substitute, Ms French, arrives at Sunnydale High and immediately inflames the lustiness of her male students…including Xander. Unfortunately for the lusty boys, Ms French is not what she seems. And Xander, blind to the danger, is about to become the lethally lovely teacher’s next victim.
What’s the sitch beneath the sitch?
It’s all about sex. Teenage hormone bombs getting hot for teacher is nothing new. Just ask Van Halen. Unfortunately neither is the occasional predatory teacher who will take advantage of the situation. Of course the Buffyverse’s take on a predatory teacher is utterly weird: a giant female mantis bug looking for boys to fertilise the eggs she lays. Yuck! The other underlying theme here is to do with the often awkward teenage embarrassment and peer pressure regarding all things sex. Something most of us can relate to.
Who’s giving us the wiggins this week?
Bug lady Ms French (Musetta Vander) and some anonymous vamp with a metal clawed hand who Buff uses as a sniffer dog to locate bug lady and save Xander.
Why it rocks
1. Metaphor. It’s another metaphor show. Part of what this series does so well.
2. Hot teacher. Musetta Vander who plays Ms French is a beautiful woman with a deliciously seductive manner. You can see why Xander and the rest of the boys go all googly for her.
3. Funny Xander. It’s a Xander comedy episode with Nick Brendon taking centre stage. And that’s never a bad thing. The episode’s opening scene with Xander daydreaming about Buffy is hilarious as is the brief call-back to it when he thinks he’s scored with Ms French. Brendon plays goofy awkward charm better than almost anyone. His arrival at Ms French’s house and his stumbled over words are very funny indeed.
Why it sucks
1. Silly bugs. It is funny and Brendon’s great and the metaphor works fine, however it is perhaps just a tad too silly. Plus, it doesn’t help that the actual monster – the giant mantis – is rather crap.
2. Mr Cryptic. Angel is Mr Cryptic guy who just turns up and delivers some needlessly cryptic and overripe warnings while missing out the fundamental piece of info Buffy needs. He should have just said to her, “Watch out for the vampire with the metal claw.” ‘Nuff said.
Xander has his heroic vampire slaying/guitar playing day dream at the episodes start with a love struck Buffy watching him go. The daydream is then wonderfully undercut by real Buffy waking him in class with a whispered, “Xander…you’re drooling.”
Dialogue to die for
Giles: “Uh, well, basically the, uh, the She-Mantis assumes the form of a beautiful woman and then lures innocent virgins back to her nest.”
Buffy: “Virgins? Well, Xander's not a, uh...I mean, he's probably...”
Willow: “...gonna die!”
And another thing
We find out in this episode that Xander's middle name is LaVelle and Willow's last name is Rosenberg.
This is the first script by David Greenwalt, who would go on to become a producer on the show and one of its main writers and would later co-create and run the Angel spin-off.
How many stakes?
Xander got bugged. 2.5 (out of 5)