Following the series’ two-part premiere, creator Joss Whedon and his writing staff made a conscious effort to show that vampires aren’t the only threats drawn to the Hellmouth which Buffy will be forced to battle. In both “Witch” and “Teacher’s Pet” new threats come from unexpected places. Along with giving us Buffy’s limited time as a Sunnydale cheerleader, “Witch” introduces Amy Madison (Elizabeth Anne Allen) who would go on to be famously know as “Amy the rat” for a large chunk of Buffy’s time on television. Here Amy is a victim of her mother (Robin Riker) who has stolen Amy’s body and attacked other cheerleaders in an attempt to make the squad and relive her glory days.
The follow up introduces what will become a long-running gag of the show involving Xander (Nicholas Brendon) falling for, and being taken advantage by, a monster in beautiful wrapping. In “Teacher’s Pet” that monster is the new substitute biology teacher Natalie French (Musetta Vander) who is actually a giant female praying mantis with the ability to take on human form in an effort to mate. In another common theme to the show, the episode shows Buffy lose someone as the mantis kills the only teacher (William Monaghan) at Sunnydale High who has any faith in her.