Obviously, I too find this episode ridiculous. I know that Buffy began as a monster-of-the-week-that-are-really-metaphors-for-high-school-experiences so I guess this episode represents…the dangers of statutory rape? I don’t know. This episode is quite silly but I CAN’T SEEM TO MOVE PAST THE FACT THAT THEIR SUBSTITUTE TEACHER IS CLEARLY PREYING (in the figurative sense!! Because even though they live in Sunnydale, I don’t expect parents/other students/teachers to immediately suspect Ms. French is a giant bug) ON UNDERAGE BOYS.
It’s funny that B wondered about my reaction to Xander’s daydream, because the first thing I wrote down was “Thank goodness the dream sequences get better after this season. Total cheese. Of course, it WAS Xander’s dream. Still.” This was actually the first viewing that I noticed it wasn’t quite a dream, but a DAYdream, and I feel better about it. Xander is allowed to have totally ridiculous daydreams. I am not a fascist.
Can I just say, I love Dr. Gregory! He’s the first character who shows confidence in Buffy’s academic abilities, so naturally, he dies before the opening credits. Poor Buffy.
Her tearful reaction to his death always seemed…weird to me when I watched this as a high-schooler. Probably because I don’t think I would have CRIED if a teacher I’d just met had died? But I get it more now. Dr. Gregory believed in Buffy and she has faced nothing but animosity from teachers and authority figures and her mom since getting kicked out of school. No one has had very much faith that she won’t make the same mistakes and repeat history…except Dr. Gregory, who simply tells her he expects her to do well, and not to let anyone make her feel badly about herself. That’s what Buffy needed to hear.
Angel, as usual, is ridiculously cryptic. Honestly, S1 just makes me laugh for how ABSURD Angel is. I have to wonder..did they know exactly who he was and where his character was going when they wrote these early episodes? Because he’s totally less annoyingly cryptic later, I swear. Oh, and David Boreanaz can take off his jacket and show off his manly wounds all he wants, cryptic messages or not. Mm.
Like B, I don’t understand why vampires (or at least…that one vampire, anyway) had a visceral, terrified reaction of Ms. French. I mean, sure, I guess she could behead them fairly easily since that’s kind of her thing. But did the vampire know that? Was it just something about her scent that put him off? I don’t get it and I wish it had been explained. I wish Ms. French had been explained at all, actually. Seems like they had Giles call his old friend who is mentally insane (from seeing a giant bug? From being raped by a bug? I’m not sure) so that he could make a joke about the dude’s mother being a Pekinese and then the writers just sort of…dropped the ball and gave up and had Buffy fight a silly-looking puppet.
But seriously, can I bring the discussion back to statutory rape for a second? Because NO ONE SEEMS CONCERNED ABOUT THIS. It’s possible that Buffy and Willow think Xander’s crush is silly and don’t expect Ms. French to make a move on him. That’s reasonable. And, like, I get that Xander’s mom isn’t the most nurturing of people and so I guess it’s possible he could go over to a teacher’s house (not telling her where, mind you) late at night for an “assignment” without ringing any alarms. I guess. I don’t know, I feel like it’s a really disturbing issue that isn’t really addressed at all. Like every other instance of female-teacher-preys-on-male-student…it’s sort of…applauded? (At least by the fellow male students.) I mean, until you find out she wants to bite off their heads while she mates with them, that is.
I literally NEVER thought about Dr. Gregory being used to fertilize those eggs in his science room but now I’m all giggly about it. I don’t *think* that’s what happened, just based on how quickly he seems to…well, get beheaded. No time for “throbbing.” I just assumed Ms. French killed one of the students who stayed after, used his sperm (this whole paragraph is very weird), and then…decided it was too risky and started locking them up in her house? Who knows.
Notes and…Answers 😛
The actor that plays Blaine is seriously 40 years old.
“His head! His head! Oh my God, where’s his head?!” Good question, Cordy. Better question, though: …where are his non-plastic hands? Major prop-fail.
LOL at the mantis puppet. I LOVE IT, OKAY.
I also wondered if it’s exactly legal for a principal to show teachers your permanent record. I mean…I think so? I don’t know, I’ve always felt like “YOUR PERMANENT RECORD” is a myth mostly on TV/in movies but not so much in real life. I’m pretty sure there’s no document stating the ONE detention I served my senior year for using my cell phone in study hall. Yeah. Cell phone. In study hall. I’m not bitter or anything.
High school boys do have those conversations, unfortunately. I mean, not as scripted as Blaine/black dude/Xander, but yeah. It’s pretty lame.
Ms. French doesn’t seem to be dressed too provocatively? I don’t really know if it would be allowed or not, honestly. I went to a pretty liberal school so while I’m sure there WERE dress codes that the teachers adhered to, I honestly never thought about it. I actually rewatched that scene to study her outfit, hehe, and yeah, okay, it’s a bit much. Maybe JUST the skirt or JUST the tank top, but not both? WHO KNOWS.
Ms. French probably knew she was more of a long-term substitute (since she’d just murdered the permanent teacher and all) so that’s probably why she assigned them long-term science-fair projects.