A prize for whoever can get that joke
Really the more Joyce in an episode the better it is. She was originally due to be a very minor character as in the movie but the cast and crew all fell in love with Joyce/Kristine Sutherland and the writers kept giving her more and more to do. She's excellent here, the pained scenes between Buffy and Joyce are wonderful in their awkwardness (note Joyce just tells the police that Ted fell, still trying to protect her daughter, it's Buffy who admits she fought with him). Full marks also to John Ritter playing essentially an evil version of his character from 8 Simple Rules. Great scene where Buffy plays nurse to Angel (which she also enjoys doing later with Riley and season 7 Spike and later fantasises about doing so in uniform in the comics). Buffy taking out some frustrations on a very unfortunate vamp (Giles still accompanies her sometimes) plus Giles and Jenny beginning to get back together. Cordy's miniskirt and knee boots are smashing. Lovely scene between Buffy and Joyce at the end although not the best they'll ever have.
Labours a bit in the middle and the robot makeup is a bit dodgy (although if it's 50s technology maybe it should be crude?)
Giles; "I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming a text" (one of my great favourites which I use often) plus "DO let's bring that up as often as possible" when Cordy remarks on the Eyghon affair. Also great;
Cordy; "Buffy's a superhero, shouldn't there be different rules for her?"
Willow; "Sure in a facist society"
Cordy; "Yeah, why can't we have one of those?" (Wait until 'Shiny happy people')
Questions and observations;
Willow and Xander discuss The Captain and Tennile. Quite weird as their last big hit was in 1980 and that would have been before they were born. More the sort of talk a bunch of 30 year old scriptwriters would have. Xander suggests Buffy play 'the naughty stewardess' which is probably the one outfit SMG hasn't worn for a men's magazine. Giles becomes the 3rd Scooby to be shot, Buffy and Joyce knocked out. How exactly does Willow analyse Ted's cookies using a microscope?
Ted's creator, like Willow, Daryll Epps and ultimately Warren seems to be a recipient of the Hellmouth energy genius. No Oz. Buffy's antipathy to Ted actually seems pretty unreasonable although did any child of a divorce ever not want their parents to get back together? (I always think of the hair dye ad where the two little girls tell their dad that he'd be a great catch for someone, in real life you just know that if their mother was still alive they'd want him to get back with her and if she was dead they'd want to keep him for themselves).
Big question, what did Dawn make of Ted? Did she like him as Joyce did or did she share Buffy's hatred? Due to her comments in 'I was made to love you' I think probably the latter. Surely being only 16 Buffy should have a solicitor or at very least an adult with her when the police talk to her? Shouldn't Joyce contact Hank and tell him what's going on? Ted threatens to put Buffy in a mental institution which she was in before (and if 'Normal Again' is to be believed remains in until she regains her sanity again at the end of 'Chosen'). Slayer healing is referenced for the first time, Buffy telling the detective that she doesn't bruise easily. Just as Buffy is repeatedly saved by her fashion sense Cordy discovers Ted's secret lair due to her sense of interior decoration (which we see again later in 'Rm w/a vu')
All told 6/10, a standalone ep that's ok in itself, it's strengths largely lying in the dialogue. The series increasingly relying on the relationships between the characters rather than the demon of the week, no bad thing.