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A discussion of Ted. And a suggestion for Freud.

Discussion in 'Season 2' started by AnthonyCordova, May 23, 2017.

  1. AnthonyCordova

    AnthonyCordova Apocalypse Engine

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    Sineya
    Why is it that so many people hate Ted? I'm just curious how out of touch I am, because I laughed the entire time I watched the episode recently. It is so funny how he threatens Buffy when no one is around and is nice when everyone else is around. I think it is the blatant audacity of his word assaults on Buffy, coupled with the fact that everyone else just loves him. It's an old story trope but it works.

    Also, I have no doubt that Freudian interpretations on the show and this episode in particular have been tried. The show and Buffy in particular seem far too easy to look at with a Freudian lens. I have sometimes made use of Freud myself in psychologizing Buffy, specifically with the missing father figure, Giles as a surrogate father figure, her full possession of her mother's love, the interesting differences in Buffy being female for this fact of her life and the challenge to all of that by what Dawn represented, etc. (which I always felt enriched my appreciation of Season 5 in particular).

    Anyway, I am not aiming at anything in particular, but I was wondering what you thought. And to repeat the question another way: do we dislike Ted because of how slimy Ted is? If that is so, than ought we to consider that a success? It's weird because I never really liked Ted until I connected it to my psychological observations of Buffy and suddenly, the show also became both interesting and funny. And now I can't recall any longer why Ted was a bad episode for me to begin with. Let's re-open the case of Ted and discuss it.
     
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  2. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    I think many people are bothered by the fact that this is the first episode of Buffy lacks any big supernatural element; you have a vampire or two but the main plot? Evil Robot.
    Even IRYJ had the whole 'demon in the internet' thing, mind-controlling and stuff; this is a robot that uses chemicals in food to make people like him. No magic involved.
    It's a big leap outside the shows initial premise- high school as supernatural horror.

    There are a couple of other things; its really very dark as episodes go-robot Ted hacks up his wives and stuffs them in his basement for example, and yet doesn't affect any of the characters going forward; not Buffy or Joyce or anyone. Buffy almost killing a guy is glossed over and never mentioned again.
     
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  3. Priceless

    Priceless I didn't forget y'know

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    I enjoy Ted, though I didn't find it funny, in fact I thought it was really sad. Poor Joyce is so lonely she takes a robot as a love interest (a theme we'll go back to in later series) and is mind-controlled by him (another theme we'll revisit). I really feel for Joyce, being a single mother is tough and she wants adult company and love, it really isn't too much to ask.

    Ted pushes Buffy out of her very comfortable nest, she's been her mother's centre of attention her whole life, and Ted's presence brings out the worst traits of our hero. She tries to talk to her bf, but he's bored by her whining and see's it from Joyce's pov, the scoobies are also being brain washed, so they can't see what Buffy sees. For the first time ever (I think) Buffy is psychologically alone, having opinions no one else shares, she can either cave into the majority view, or stand her ground and stick with her beliefs. Of course being a hero she sticks with her gut instinct and is proved right.

    I also love that she is seen suffering the after effects of killing a human, (another theme we'll come back to) without actually killing a human. We see her guilt and distress, and we know Buffy wouldn't be able to live with herself if she had truly done such a thing. I think Joyce's reation is also very true to life.

    Ted isn't a great episodee, but the themes and stories are, and it's important because we'll revisit them again, to much better effect imo, later in the series, and that's why this episode is actually fascinating in some ways. And John Ritter's performance really is great, we don't get many 'guest stars' on BtVS so I enjoy it when we do
     
    AnthonyCordova: nice point of view
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  4. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Scooby

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    My impression is that many didn't like how Joyce essentially sold Buffy out for Ted, like refusing to believe her about Ted threatening her because Joyce wanted to believe something else. However, that's pretty much Joyce: she believes what is convenient when she can get away with it.

    And unfortunately, I've known more than one person who became utterly blind to how bad someone was (and didn't care if their children got abused in the process) just because the love chemicals in their brain made them do the wacky (IIRC the expression used earlier). Seriously, there are brain scans that show that love can make people very delusional (here's an article I quickly found on it, and ETA: another on how it affects perception of the one in love here ), and I knew someone who was much worse than Joyce (and without any drugs, and he wasn't even hot or rich), and it was really distressing to see.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
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  5. flow

    flow Will you just hold me ?

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    But isn`t she really shocked at first ? After she found out he is not a human but a robot, she might have looked at it differently. But ist didn`t seem to me that she didn`t care about hurting a human.

    flow
     
  6. brinkster130

    brinkster130 Riley's BFF Staff Member

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    Sineya
    I thought it was a terribly boring episode. The amazing boyfriend who turns out to be bad wasn't that interesting of a story; and over all it seemed so out of the blue. The drugged cookies were lame, people siding with Ted was lame, Ted being a robot was lame, Buffy defeating him by smacking him with a pan was lame. I also wasn't a fan of John Ritter in this role.
     
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  7. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    It still has no ramifications beyond the end of the episode. Maybe when something similar had happened the very next year somebody would've mentioned it. Maybe Buffy could've been a bit more 'I know what you're going through' to somebody else who had accidentally killed a human. Maybe.

    But we get nothing, so the episode doesn't matter so it seems kinda pointless and a bit annoying. Except robots existing is now a fact. Did that really add to the rich mythos of the show going forward?
     
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  8. flow

    flow Will you just hold me ?

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    I agree that it is not the best episode of the show. And not one of the best 100 episodes either ;-)

    flow
     
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  9. Carrie Hopewell

    Carrie Hopewell Little girl lost in the woods

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    Sineya
    My reasons not to like this episode are a bit shallow I guess... It just annoys the hell out of me. I feel so defensive of Buffy. Ted is an asshole who treats her badly and no one cares. Neglecting/ignoring abuse is very common and a serious issue. Seeing it happen throughout the episode with no nuance at all is just so irritating. Can't stand the episode because of that. But I agree with everyone else who complains about the lack of ramifications that this episode has overall.
     
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  10. GraceK

    GraceK Grr Arrg

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    But if she had been like " I know what your going through ", it would have seemed empty because she DIDNT actually kill a human.

    I think the circumstances are different anyway. Ted was clearly the aggressor, and although
    She did hit him harder than she should
    Have, he wasn't innocent. If she had
    Been just a normal teenage girl Ted could have done some real damage to her . And she turned herself in immediately afterwards, made
    No excuses, took full blame and was devastated about it. It didn't need to go beyond the episode in my opinion because he was serial killer who made himself a robot. So she didn't actually kill anyone. It wouldn't have
    Made sense for them to drag out the issue and make a big melodramatic thing out of it when the "victim" was actually a murderer who wasn't human. Why should she torture herself about it when the truth came out about who he was?

    What I say next isn't directed at you, but I hear a lot of fans throw the Ted situation in her face to prove that she's a killer too , or to make her on the same level as other people who murdered someone, and it's not fair at all. The situation was entirely different and her reaction when she DID think she killed
    A human being couldn't be more appropriate or well handled.
     
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  11. AnthonyCordova

    AnthonyCordova Apocalypse Engine

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    Sineya
    My opinion is that I agree that involving robots didn't exactly enrich the mythos, but I would add that it wasn't because robots or artificial intelligence are therefore topics that can't succeed. I know you aren't suggesting this either. You are right though that the robot-ish elements of the mythos, e.g. Adam are some of the weaker elements of the mythology taken whole, sadly. That said, Ted as a stand alone episode doesn't offend me any longer and the Buffy+Joyce parts help add shading and coloring to each character's psychology, which is what i am all about these days...
     
  12. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    We see her response to a similar incident in "Dead Things 6x13" where she is led to believe she has killed Katrina Silber. She decides to turn herself in but Spike tries to dissuade her and gets punched out for his efforts. Then we get the news that it was Warren's girlfriend and the Rwasundi demons can change perception of time, leading people to believe things have happened in a different order from reality. Before that, Buffy was willing to go to the police and get charged for manslaughter so something does happen years later and she was prepared to accept punishment.
     
    GraceK: Good point
  13. Fuffy Baith

    Fuffy Baith 2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member

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    Sineya
    I actually really like Ted, maybe a big part of that is just that I love John Ritter.
    This could be part of the reason. It's not meant to be a funny episode, it's a serious tone. There's a lot of dark themes in the episode, that don't really get addressed. Plus he's just a plain robot, no supernatural aspect. Sci-fi tech in Buffy always feels out of place. None of that really bothers me though, I still enjoy the episode.
     
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  14. Bluebird

    Bluebird two by two, hands of blue

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    Black Thorn
    I enjoy the episode as an hour of entertainment. For some reason, before I came on BB, I thought the episode was quite well regarded, when that's obviously not the case lol. I can see why people don't like it but I don't think the negatives are that bad tbh. I can think of a dozen episodes that are way worse or less entertaining.
     
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  15. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    But Buffy DID know what she was going through- she killed somebody without meaning to and- for 24 hours- had to deal with that fact. So that's a basis for empathy right there, not hollow at all.
    And yet 'Ted' is never referenced, which seems like a failing for a show that likes call-backs and forshadowing so much.

    But isn't that more an echo of S3 'Consequences'? An episode that actually does ask some tough questions about the responsibility that comes with slayer-power.
    After all the circumstances are markedly similar; Buffy accidentally kills a human whilst battling demons on patrol. Plus Spike covering up the murder just like Faith did; those parallels are stronger than anything that happens in 'Ted'
    So really Consequences should get the credit, not Ted.
     
    GraceK: Good points :)
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  16. Taake

    Taake Bella Staff Member

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    Black Thorn
    Boooo, I usually trust you to be a voice of reason Brink! *Tsk tsk tsk* Disappointed! :p

    Personally I love Ted, for kind of personal reasons I guess. But overall I found it relatable - the "monsters" of high school don't just apply to the people in school, but the powerlessness you can feel at home as well.

    Everything, literally everything, brinkster just said was lame I thought was great, haha!

    The amazing boyfriend who turns out to be bad wasn't that interesting of a story; and over all it seemed so out of the blue. (For me: Was an interesting story. Mom getting a new boyfriend can be out of the blue!)
    The drugged cookies were lame great, psycho's be doing psycho shit
    people siding with Ted was lame was great, really showed how alone Buffy felt in the situation and fed her isolation and frustration
    Ted being a robot was lame a great new twist for the show
    Buffy defeating him by smacking him with a pan was lame awesome, *does the smacking bad guys with a pan dance*
    I also wasn't a fan of John Ritter in this role
    :D

    Also, for season 2 (i.e. so early in the shows career) it's pretty brave that they had Buffy "kill" a human so soon, even if they did wrap it up in a nice creepy robot sandwich at the end.
     
  17. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    Faith was the one who killed Deputy Mayor Allan Finch and Buffy tried to stop it but was too late. In "Consequences", Faith had told Giles that Buffy had killed Finch although Faith was to blame. Buffy had to deal with the consequences of slander but not killing someone - she was not responsible for the death although she may have been tried as an accessory to murder since she was there with the murderer.
     
  18. Ann

    Ann Nee chatwuann Bangelite

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    I liked John Ritter's acting and in Ted I thought he was equally as good. I liked the whole idea of Ted turning out to be a Robot. It addressed topic of domestic violence very well and like so many other movies shines the light on it? That said the best part of Ted for me is the Bangel scene in it.
     
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  19. MarieVampSlayer

    MarieVampSlayer I’m the thing that monsters have nightmares about!

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    Sineya
    I actually love the Ted episode and John Ritter was great in my mind. I also I think it was necessary to have Joyce date a little, she was a single hot mama after all :) It also explains why she doesn't date after that because with Hank and Ted it's hard not to have trust issues.

    You may not like the way it was adressed with the cookies and the robot thing but I still think the theme of the episode was interesting and that a lot of teens can relate to abusive stepfather/mother.
     
  20. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer Surrealistic Ninja

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    Black Thorn
    Drugged food or no, I hated Joyce in this. (And I still think she's an alcoholic who doesn't treat Buffy very well)

    Anyway, Ted freaked me out. Just because you're boinking a girl's mum does NOT mean you can hit her. So when Buffy nearly "killed" him, I cheered. :D

    Hey...maybe Warren's dad created Ted. Just a thought.