If you're like me, you've been watching Friends since you were a kid. Which means there are certain storylines on the show you've never questioned before, because you're so used to watching them over and over.
FOR EXAMPLE: The classic episode where Rachel gets an apothecary table from Pottery Barn, but lies to Phoebe about getting it at a flea market. I've seen this episode approximately one billion times, but I somehow never realized what was REALLY going on until now...
Cuz y'all, it turns out that episode was some good old-fashioned product placement!!! Like, it's basically just a 22-minute commercial for Pottery Barn.
Now listen. I know product placement happens on TV all the time, but it's rare for it to become so CENTRAL to the plot — which is probably why Entertainment Weekly ranked this episode #1 on their Best Product Placements roundup for the show.
Now, we don't know exactly what kind of deal was made between Pottery Barn and Friends. But according to one Warner Bros. executive, Peter Roth, the deal was necessary to "offset the high cost of production."
And Pottery Barn has been open about the episode's impact on their business. One of their executives called it "the gift that keeps on giving" because "phones light up with catalogue requests every time it airs in syndication."
Suddenly, I'm seeing everything in a whole new light!!! Like the scene where Rachel is SO excited to get her PB catalogue in the mail, and brags about the table she bought from them.
Or how SHOCKED Ross is when he finds out Phoebe hates Pottery Barn.
Or how Phoebe realizes in the end that she actually LOVES Pottery Barn.
Go ahead and call me dumb and naive in the comments, but I truly never put all of this together. AND I DON'T THINK I'M THE ONLY ONE.
Whatever. The episode is still funny as hell and I'll keep watching it, but the more you know...
Pottery Barn has reached out to BuzzFeed with a statement:
“Pottery Barn did not pay for product placement of the apothecary table in the eleventh episode of the sixth season of Friends. The table was donated and we continue to be grateful for inclusion in this episode.”
Representatives for Warner Bros. did not respond to BuzzFeed's requests for comment.