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The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS

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The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS
Season 5, episode 4
101st overall episode of Friends
5x04 Joey phone
Joey is disappointed not to be the host of the PBS telethon.
Episode Information

October 15, 1998

Written by

Michael Curtis

Directed by

Shelley Jensen

Episode Guide

The One Hundredth


The One With The Kips


"The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on October 15, 1998.


5x04 Monica dance

Monica mimicks Chandler's overly-cocky attitude about their relationship.

Rachel goes into Monica's bedroom to bring her some mail and comes out screaming over the position she found Monica waiting in on her bed. Monica reveals that she has a secret boyfriend and claims it's a guy from work. Joey and Ross also show up and, a short while later, Chandler enters with a bottle of champagne. Upon seeing everyone there, he claims he wants to celebrate the fact that his office finally got wrinkle-free fax-paper. Rachel, unaware that the secret boyfriend is Chandler, asks Chandler if Monica has mentioned him and reveals that Monica told her that this guy is best sex she's ever had. Chandler is delighted with this news and goes overboard in his gloating. This annoys Monica, who threatens to cut Chandler off until he apologizes and tells her that, if he's the best, it's only because of her. He says that he was nothing before her, but when he's with her "Oh. My. God."

Joey wears a tuxedo believing he's hired as host for a PBS telethon, but is actually just hired as one of many phone operators on screen, even sitting outside the main camera view. Phoebe says she hates PBS because it reminds her of the miserable days when her mother watched Sesame Street on it before committing suicide and even complains that Joey's telethon is selfishness masquerading as a good deed; when he retorts that having the babies also wasn't a selfless good deed because that doesn't exists, she promises to prove there is. Because she fails at all her attempts, she decides to donate $200 to PBS, because "they bring happiness to lots of kids whose moms didn't kill themselves", and she won the bet. However, this donations leads to Joey being the volunteer which broke last year's record, so he finally gets on TV; which makes Phoebe happy.

Ross tries to make up with Emily by phone, but is asked to move to London, which he can't do because then he can't see his son Ben anymore, and he also can't convince Carol and Susan to move to London. When Emily finally agress to move to New York to work on their relationship there is one problem: she wants Ross to agree that he won't see Rachel anymore, which the others consider totally unreasonable. Because nobody, including Ross, has an idea how to solve this, he became desperate enough to leave the decision to a Magic 8 ball, which proves uncooperative. Not knowing about the condition, Rachel incites Ross to do whatever Emily wants, which he does.

Cast and CrewEdit

Main CastEdit

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Green
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting CastEdit

Helen Baxendale - Emily Waltham
Gary Collins - Himself
Sandra Thigpen - The Stage Manager
John R. McLaughlin - The PBS Volunteer
James Michael Tyler - Gunther
Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick (uncut version)
Jessica Hecht - Susan Bunch (uncut version)
Charles Thomas Allen or John Christoper Allen - Ben Geller (uncut version)


Directed By:
Shelley Jenson

Written By:
Michael Curtis


  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, Ross tries to convince Carol and Susan to move to London, to no avail.
  • In this episode, the Magna Doodle says "Evil Joe".
  • Phoebe got sent a key chain from Sesame Street, even though she was not living anywhere.
  • Joey shows an unusual amount of intellectual prowess in this episode, specifically over Phoebe. He knew that Santa didn't exist, that no selfless good deed existed, and that a bee would die after stinging something, all of which Phoebe didn't know.


  • When Susan and Ben come in, they knock, even though its Susan's apartment.
  • At the beginning of the episode when Rachel is going into Monica's room, she is wearing closed-toe heels. However, when Rachel bursts out after seeing Monica waiting for Chandler, she is wearing open-toe heels.
  • Monica comes to get her pan back from Chandler, and when she opens the door, the magna doodle pen is hanging down. The shot changes and it is attached to the board; it changes again and it is hanging once more.
  • It is very coincidental that every time Phoebe calls the PBS Telethon she only gets through to Joey every time even though there are at least ten other volunteers.
  • Monica and Chandler sneak into Central Perk from the inside door and are trying to act nonchalant. In an attempt to do so, Monica is shown picking up a coffee mug that was left behind by the previous customers. For a cleanliness freak like Monica its unusual so she must be so busy pretending that she did not think before taking a sip from it.


  • Ross's year of birth is inconsistent. In The Pilot (1994), Ross says he is 26, implying he was born in 1967. Also, in The One Where Monica And Richard Are Just Friends (1997), he says he is 29. However in the next season in The One Where They're Going To Party Ross also says he is 29, implying he was born in 1968. Furthermore, in this episode Ross says he is about to get divorced again before he's thirty, implying he is still 29 and born in 1969. Also, in The One With The Video Tape, Ross claims that he backpacked across Europe in 1983 then whispers to himself "I was thirteen?", implying he was born in 1969 or 1970. This inconsistency happens with all main characters in the show.  This is only a continuity issue if it's stated at some point that the show follows a real-time progression of events and set in the same year the episodes aired.
  • Chandler expresses to Monica that she is the one who made him the best sex she's ever had. This is actually true, as he is referring to the time she taught him about hitting all of the seven erogenous zones in a woman to dramatically improve his sex life with Kathy in The One With Phoebe's Uterus, who would be the last ever serious relationship he had before Monica.

Episode NavigationEdit

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Preceded by
"The One Hundredth"
The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS Followed by
"The One With The Kips"

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