Written by David Greenwalt, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, co-starring Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter and Anthony Stewart Head, featuring David Boreanaz, Ken Lerner, Musetta Vander, Jackson Price and Jean Speegle Howard, also with William Monaghan, Jack Knight, Michael Ross Verona and Karim Oliver.
I have recently noticed that it is difficult to explain the metaphors of the different episodes without revealing some of the content. So from now on, I will not hold back on the details and if you are currently watching “Buffy” and do not wish to find out the crucial storylines, don’t read this.
This episode, “Teacher’s Pet”, is focused strongly on Xander and his love for Buffy. He is jealous of her when she seems a bit to comfortable around Angel, and deludes himself into thinking she is jealous when he develops a crush on Miss French, the substitute Biology teacher. While Xander struggles with his masculinity, Buffy is obviously starting to slowly discover her feelings for Angel.
This episode is all about the pressure on teenage boys to have sexual relationships. Indeed, male virgins are considered uncool, while it is totally the opposite with girls. This leads Xander to believe that Miss French provides him with a chance to lose his virginity. For this reason, even when Buffy tries to warn him that the new teacher isn’t what she seems, he chooses to ignore her and falls headfirst into the trap.
But what exactly is Miss French? As Buffy says after seeing a vampire running away from her, “So I’m an undead monster that can shave with my hand. How many things am I afraid of?” Well, for one, praying she-mantises the size of human beings that prey on innocent virgins.
I have been lucky to receive a guide on “Buffy” that clarifies certain obscure points of each episode. At one point, it is written, “But why a praying mantis?” This is a good point; of all the members of the insect world, why choose this one for “Teacher’s Pet”? As it is explained later in my guide, “An important feature of the mantis that isn’t broached in this episode is its ability to blend into its surroundings. (…) Similarly, Ms. French is camouflaged as a substitute teacher, and the boys have no idea how dangerous she is.” Musetta Vander is absolutely phenomenal as the womanly predator in this episode.
And to conclude this fascinating episode about relationships and teen pressure, Xander’s funny “Thank you” quote: “Just for the record: you were right, I’m an idiot, and God bless you.”
20th Century Fox Television and Mutant Enemy Inc., Kuzui Enterprises and Sandollar Television.
Next time: "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".