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What was the message in "Ted"?

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Sineya
I'm curious as to what everyone thinks the message was meant to be in Ted. Was it, "Yes, your mom's boyfriend really is a monster"? Was it, "Believe victims"? Or something else? What do you think?
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
Honesty in relationships.

The episode dealt with:
Ted + his wife
Robot Ted + his wives
Joyce + Robot Ted
Mr. Giles + Ms. Calendar
Xander + Cordy

each of them were hiding either aspects of themselves or the relationship itself from others. They all paid the consequences in this episode, or in the subsequent episodes, for not being "honest" to themselves or those around them

Everyone in a relationship in this episode was a "Ted"
 
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Faded90

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I think there’s a general metaphor of the ‘Mums new boyfriend is an abuser and no one will believe me because he’s charmed the pants off them all’.

I think there’s an underlying message of ‘just because Buffy is the slayer doesn’t give her the right to do what she wants and still needs to play by human rules’. This is more for Buffy’s character development and is something the show is relatively consistent on
 

KaitKat

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I agree completely with Faded90. This episode explores abuse of power. Ted is the worst and as satisfying as it would be to watch Buffy wail on him it’s still not okay. She went beyond self defense.
It also for the first time in the series explores if Slayers are above the law.
 

Priceless

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Apart from what other's have said, some of the Buffy books I've read have suggested that a lot of the episodes in season 2 are about people not being who you think they are, tying each episode back to Angel/Angelus. Ted is not who anyone thinks he is, Giles wasn't who Jenny thought he was and Xander/Cordy don't know each other very well at all. Joyce's view of Buffy changes as does Buffy's view of herself.

I think the message of the episode and perhaps the season is that we can never really know anyone else and a lot of people don't even know themselves. Maybe.
 
Antho
Antho
Where are you ???

KaitKat

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Apart from what other's have said, some of the Buffy books I've read have suggested that a lot of the episodes in season 2 are about people not being who you think they are, tying each episode back to Angel/Angelus. Ted is not who anyone thinks he is, Giles wasn't who Jenny thought he was and Xander/Cordy don't know each other very well at all. Joyce's view of Buffy changes as does Buffy's view of herself.

I think the message of the episode and perhaps the season is that we can never really know anyone else and a lot of people don't even know themselves. Maybe.

I’ve never heard that before but I do think that you’re right about that possibly being the theme of the Season. Thanks for the perspective.

I would like to add to my answer that I think it’s a tug a war between abuse of power and being powerless. While Buffy is physically stronger than Ted she’s still a girl whom nobody is listening to when she has a bad feeling about mom's sleazy boyfriend. She’s still the girl that the cops don’t believe when she says it’s self defense. It’s an interesting dynamic.
 
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T
thrasherpix
I don't blame the cops for not believing her. And headcanon wise, I think they knew she was part of the weirdness in that town so even more skeptical. Though competent detectives would notice Ted's "corpse" was weird, too.

thrasherpix

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I didn't see a message. If there was one, I'd go with an exploration of being the Slayer and above the law.

There are mothers who are worse than Joyce there (I dare say that Buffy was getting to be the same way toward Spike as Joyce was toward Ted near the end of the series, but the writers gave her all the plot armor and then some so it ends differently). I've seen much worse in real life, and it terrifies me because it baffles me, and makes me fear that one day it might be what I'd become (no longer me).

One that particularly scares me is a woman I considered incredibly strong at a mental level who lost herself to a guy who was not good looking or well off (I think she made more money than him), and he moved in under HER roof before making her give up her beloved dog of many years (whether out of jealousy as she loved that dog for longer than she even knew of his existence, fear the dog would defend her, or just the thrill of control is unknown for me). It actually made me consider the possibility of TV-level magic since it wasn't just tight abs or financial security. She was no longer the same person, much that she became was what she used to despise back when we were close. It scares me because if it can happen to her then I must consider the possibility that it can happen to me as well (and I did make plans with 2 close friends in case that happened, which goes to show how shaken up I was by it).

I've seen much worse, but didn't know them well enough so those didn't scare me as much.

Since then I've read of the effects of "love chemicals" in the brain. Though it can be at a level that something normally annoying is cute, it can also completely change a person, much like drug addiction (that's much of what the brain acts like, if drug addiction is ever tested with brain scans, they will, literally, have to make sure the person hasn't just fallen in love to avoid many false readings). It's scary stuff. I'd rather never love at all, not romantically, if I were prone to that.

And that does facilitate a lot of child abuse, including much worse than shown on that show. And not just mothers turning a blind eye (or even participating in it--and I vaguely recall one mother who made the news by murdering her kids, failing to make it look like an accident, because the guy she was interested in wouldn't be with her as he didn't want kids) and hating their daughters to "be so selfish to sabotage MY happiness" but fathers can also be that bad in the same way.

Love is horrifying. The fact that many want that level of devotion only makes it worse.

But I don't think the show was trying to make a statement on that, just tell a story that too many could relate to (and very likely inspired by some real life experience of someone the writers knew).
 

Stake fodder

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But I don't think the show was trying to make a statement on that, just tell a story that too many could relate to (and very likely inspired by some real life experience of someone the writers knew).
I think the show was saying that. Not going as far as some examples in your post perhaps, but it seemed to me that Joyce was being one of those women who would endure a lot to have a man, ignoring his treatment of her daughter and his controlling of her. The way he pushed for an early engagement is a classic abuser tactic. It mostly seemed OOC for Joyce, but then she did often feel like she had no control over Buffy, so it makes sense that she'd welcome a "stronger hand." I definitely think it was saying something about abusive relationships.

I also agree with others that it was also to show that Buffy has limits, that she's not supposed to kill humans. This may have been foreshadowing for Faith showing up.
 
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Black Thorn
I thought it was related to narcissistic step parents and portraying narcissism in the show. When Ted was charming to her friends and family and abusive to her in private. Causing her family and friends to be in disbelief about Ted when she told him the truth.
 

thetopher

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Not all cookies are good. Some cookies are evil. Valuable lesson.


Also in general Ted is about love/obsession and losing yourself in a relationship. Ted was the creepy guy who repeats the same pattern over and over, destroying the thing he thinks he loves in an effort to keep them all to himself.

Ted is static, unchanging and basically immortal. Joyce's own 'obsession' with him is to the detriment of her relationship with her daughter; it's harmful and puts those she loves in jeopardy.

So, all kinds of foreshadowing really.
 

Plasma

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“Robot stepdads are the worst.” ;)

I really think the episode was more of an exploration of Buffy’s responsibility and power set than it was an actual theme-based episode. There may have been undertones of a deeper message in there somewhere, but I think that the big thing this episode was trying to explore was what happens if Buffy kills an innocent person?

Now, luckily Ted turned out to be a creepy and…bizarrely advanced for his creation date…robot, so consequences more or less went out the window. The fact that her killing him was the big set piece though definitely goes to show the priorities of the episode, though

Just my thoughts! :)
 

Dora

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The whole Robot/ human concept is missing from BTVS. The Scoobies, Buffy and Joyce have no idea Ted is a robot, The scoobies have no idea at first that the the Buffy bot is a robot, Spike supposedly has no idea Buffy is not the bot after his encounter with Glory , what's wrong with these people, heart beat ,breathing, feel? I think the message is that people change when they get into certain relationship and sometimes not for the best
 

Ann

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Be aware of cookie bearing new man in your life because he might turn out to be a serial killer.
Believe your son or daughter when he or she says something is wrong with the new man in your life.
Make sure the new man in your life is really dead or he might come back and try to attack you.
 

RonWesley

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I really like this episode for some of the best combat in all BtVS. You can really feel the physicality and the power of the punches here.
 
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