Season 5 Episode 4

The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 15, 1998 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Trivia: For the record, "selfishness" is defined as a willingness to please yourself with complete disregard for--and especially at the expense of--others. Given that definition, even Joey's appearance on the telethon would not be "selfish" (although, neither would it be "selfless"). Phoebe carrying her brother's triplets would be an act of selflessness, even though it made her feel good to do it.

      Incidentally, there is a word for people who share Joey's point of view:
      noun [sin-ik]
      A person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts.

    • Goof: When Susan and Ben come in, they knock. Why would Susan knock at her own apartment?

    • Magna Doodle: EVIL JOE (with flames leaping from below the words)

    • Trivia: With this episode, the guys' Magna Doodle moves from various positions on the wall beside the door to hanging directly on the door. It remains there for the rest of the series.

    • Goof: 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. Then, when Ross and Joey arrive, she's wearing the closed-toe heels again.

    • Continuity: Phoebe claims to hate PBS and Sesame Street, but in Season 2's "The One Where Old Yeller Dies", she watched Sesame Street with Ben.

    • Goof: In the scene where Phoebe complains that she can't find a single selfless good deed, the boom mic is briefly visible at the top of the screen just before the camera zooms in on her.

    • Goof: When Monica walks into Chandler's apartment to get her pan back, the Magna Doodle pen is hanging down. When she goes to leave and Chandler stops her, the pen is attached to the board. When the camera angle changes, the pen is hanging down again.

    • Continuity: Ross's year of birth is inconsistent. In "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate", (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. 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.

  • Quotes

    • (Rachel knocks on Monica's bedroom door)
      Monica: (provocatively, thinking it's Chandler) Come in... I've been waiting for you...
      Rachel: (enters) Hi, I've just... (screams and walks quickly back out) Oh, my God! Monica!
      Monica: (following Rachel, doing up her robe) I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I was, um, I was taking a nap.
      Rachel: (still in shock) Since when do you take naps in that position?!

    • Ross: (on the phone) I, I don't care if I said some other girl's name you prissy old twit!
      Joey: Ross... Way to suck up to the family.

    • Chandler: (entering with a bottle of champagne for a secret rendezvous with Monica and surprised to see the gang) I'm so glad you guys are all here! My office finally got wrinkle-free fax paper!

    • Phoebe: (put off) Ooh, PBS...
      Joey: What´s wrong with PBS?
      Phoebe: Oh! ...what's right with them?!

    • Joey: Look, there is no unselfish good deed. Sorry.
      Phoebe: Yes there are! There are totally good deeds that are self-less.
      Joey: Well, may I ask for one example?
      Phoebe: Yeah, its... y'know there's... No, you may not!

    • Joey: That's because all people are selfish.
      Phoebe: Are you calling me selfish?
      Joey: Are you calling you... people?

    • Phoebe: Joey, when you said the deal with Santa Claus, you meant...?
      Joey: That he doesn't exist.
      Phoebe: Oh, right... (after thinking about it grows wide-eyed in shock)

    • Rachel: So, Chandler... have you heard about Monica's secret boyfriend?
      Chandler: Uh, yeah, she might have... might have mentioned him.
      Rachel: So, Mon, when are we gonna meet this new, secret waiter man?
      Monica: Ha-huh, he's really shy... I don't think he's up to meeting everyone, yet.
      Chandler: Yeah, I don't think he's up to meeting everyone, yet.
      Rachel: I don't care... I wanna meet this guy who's the best sex she ever had...
      Chandler (perking up): Really? That's what you heard? (to Monica) You said that?
      Monica: I might've said that.
      (Chandler starts cackling gleefully)
      Monica: Why is that funny?
      Chandler: Because I'm very happy for him... and you, ya lucky dog!

    • Phoebe: I will find a selfless good deed, because I just gave birth to three children, and I will not let them be raised in a world where Joey is right!

    • Chandler: Hey, Monica, can I ask you a cooking question?
      Monica: Sure.
      Chandler: If you're cooking on the stove, does that mean that your new secret boyfriend is better in bed than Richard?
      Rachel: (scolding) Chandler! (then suddenly interested, to Monica) Is he?
      Monica: Y'know, I think I'm going to respect the privacy of my new secret boyfriend.
      Chandler: Why? I mean, if this guy was me... and it was me who had learned that it was me who was the best you'd ever had, I'd be going like this... (jumps up onto the coffee table and starts dancing)

    • Chandler (to the chick and duck): How many times have I told you guys to never watch the cooking channel?!

    • Chandler: Hey, Joey's gonna be at the telethon the rest of the day and we have the whole place to ourselves.
      Monica: Yeah, so?
      Chandler: Well, I thought maybe you'd want to book some time with the "best you've ever had"...
      Monica: Y'know what... champ? I think I'll pass.
      Chandler: Why?
      Monica: Why...? (starts doing an exaggerated version of Chandler's ego dance)
      Chandler: What's your point?
      Monica: With all that stupid gloating, would you wanna sleep with you?
      Chandler: Well, I think I'd be a little out of my league, but I'd give it a shot.

    • Phoebe: (on the phone to Joey at the telethon) I just found a selfless good deed... I went to the park and let a bee sting me.
      Joey: How is that a good deed?
      Phoebe: Because, now the bee gets to look tough in front of his bee friends... The bee is happy and I am not.
      Joey: Now, you know the bee probably died when he stung you...
      Phoebe: Dammit!

    • (Emily has agreed to be with Ross, but only if he never sees Rachel again)
      : (letting a Magic 8 Ball decide) Here we go... Magic 8 Ball, should I never see Rachel again? (reading 8 Ball) "Ask Again Later." Later is not good enough! (shakes 8 Ball violently and reads) "Ask Again Later." What the hell?! This is broken! It... it is broken!!
      Monica: Alright... let me see. (takes the 8 Ball) Will Chandler have sex tonight? (turns it over and reads the answer) "Don't Count On It." (shrugs) ...Seems like it works to me.

    • Phoebe: (about donating $200 to PBS) By supporting them, I'm doing a good thing... but, I'm not happy about it... So, there! A selfless good deed.
      Joey: Alright... you don't feel a little good about donating the money?
      Phoebe: No, it sucks. I was saving up to buy a hamster.
      Joey: A hamster?! ...but those things are like, ten bucks.
      Phoebe: Yeah, not the one I had my eye on...

    • Chandler: Look, maybe I got carried away before but there's something you gotta know. If I'm the best, it's only because you made me the best.
      Monica: Keep talking...
      Chandler: I mean, I was nothin' before you... Call the other girls and ask--which wouldn't take long! But when I'm with you... and we're together... Oh... my... God!

    • Chandler: (to Monica) Now, I understand if you never want to sleep with me again. But that would be wrong. We're too good. We owe it... to sex!

  • Notes

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Phoebe a dobrý skutek (Phoebe and a Good Deed)
      Unlike the English title, the Czech title focuses on Phoebe's search for a selfless good deed, rather than her hatred of PBS ("PBS" would have little meaning for a Czech audience).

    • Gary Collins (telethon host) is billed "as Himself".

    • Helen Baxendale, who plays Emily, was pregnant during the filming of the Season 5 episodes. In this episode and the next, she hides her midsection with either a quilt or a pillow.

    • This is the only episode in Season 5 that uses Phoebe's name in the title.

    • Music: "Pizzicati" from Sylvia by Leo Delibes (plays during the tag scene when Monica and Chandler are making out in the Central Perk storage closet)

    • This episode runs 24:47 on DVD (a typical sitcom runs about 22:00). Among other things, there's a scene added with Ross trying to convince Carol to move to London.

  • Allusions

    • Ross: Magic 8 ball, should I never see Rachel again...?
      The Magic 8-Ball (also referred to as the "Mystic 8-Ball"), is a novelty toy developed in the 50's and manufactured by Mattel. It's function is to answer everyday questions in an interesting, but not necessarily informative way.

    • Monica: I'm seeing a guy from work!
      Rachel: That cute waiter guy from your restaurant? The one that looks like a nonthreatening Ray Liotta?
      Ray Liotta is an Emmy Award-winning actor known for his roles in Goodfellas and Something Wild. He frequently portrays psychotic characters.

    • Rachel: Looks like Stella's gonna get her groove back tonight!
      Rachel was referring to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, a 1998 romantic comedy/drama starring Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs.

    • Gary Collins: (hosting telethon) Now, if you've been enjoying the performance of Cirque du Soleil and you'd like to see more of the same type of programming, it's very simple...
      Cirque du Soleil ("Circus of the Sun") is an award-winning French-Canadian stage production which combines elements of circus performance with dance and musical accompaniment.

    • Ross: It'll be just like Three's Company only there's a kid and my wife... and you're the gay ones.
      Three's Company is a popular American sitcom about a guy who pretends to be gay so that the landlord will allow him to share an apartment with two girls.

    • Phoebe: ...After my mom killed herself, I was just in this really bad place, y'know, personally. So, I just thought that it'd make me feel better if I wrote to Sesame Street, 'cause they were so nice when I was a little kid!
      Sesame Street is an entertaining and educational children's television program that has been appearing on PBS since 1969.