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The One With The Apothecary Table
Season 6, Episode 11
Air date 6 January 2000
Written by Brian Boyle
Directed by Kevin S. Bright
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"The One with the Apothecary Table" is the eleventh episode of the sixth season of the American television situation comedy Friends, which was broadcast on NBC on January 6, 2000.[1] The plot concerns Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) buying an apothecary table from Pottery Barn and trying to keep roommate Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) from finding out that she bought it from a chain store.

The episode was directed by Kevin S. Bright, written by Brian Boyle (from a story by Zachary Rosenblatt) and guest-stars Elle Macpherson in her final appearance as recurring character Janine Lecroix.[1] The episode and producers attracted criticism for the blatant product placement present in the story.

Plot[]

Rachel buys an apothecary table from Pottery Barn for the apartment she shares with Phoebe. Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) warns her that Phoebe hates mass-produced products and anything that does not have a history. In order to keep the table Rachel pretends to have bought it at a flea market, so Phoebe will think it is an antique. Eventually, Rachel ends up buying a lot of home decor from Pottery Barn, still lying about where they were all purchased. When Phoebe finds out Rachel has been lying she admits she likes the Pottery Barn furniture and does not want to part with it. Phoebe notices a lamp at Pottery Barn, which is the one thing Rachel hadn't bought, she intentionally coerces Rachel to move out if she does not buy that lamp.

Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Janine go on a double date with Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Monica. When they get home, Janine tells Joey that she does not like his friends. Joey is torn because of his feelings for Janine. The situation escalates into an off-screen fight between Janine and Monica. Joey breaks up with her and she moves out.

[edit] Reception[]

Entertainment Weekly rates the episode B+, describing Janine's criticism of Monica and Chandler as inspired, and enjoying the mockery of the "omnipresent" Pottery Barn.[2] The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends point out that viewers are aware that new characters will not remain on the series for long, citing Paolo, Julie, Richard Burke and Emily Waltham as examples. They further describe Janine's character as lacking personality, suggesting it is either bad writing or bad acting by MacPherson.[1]

In a 2004 feature to mark the end of the series, EW compiled a "best product placement" list, placing this episode at number one.[3] When questioned in 2000 about why there was product placement in the episode, Peter Roth of Warner Bros. played down the criticism by stating that the deal struck with Pottery Barn "offset the high cost of production".[4] The episode had lasting effects for Pottery Barn; in a 2004 interview Patrick Connolly of Williams-Sonoma said the "phones light up with catalog requests every time it airs" in syndication.[5]

This episode is cited in a study of product placement in television.[6]

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