The Office ‘Frame Toby’

Friday, November 21 by

Once Michael discovers that Toby has returned, he is none too pleased, as evidenced by the multiple times he screams “oh God please no!” in his face.  So while he and Dwight try and come up with ways to frame him, Pam must deal with a dirty microwave and Jim has to figure out how to tell Pam about a real estate purchase he just made.

Toby or not Toby
Brownie party!  As Kevin stuffs his face with brownies under Angela’s disgusted and disapproving eye, Michael wanders in and take a couple of brownies, while Kelly informs him that she’s going to take a couple to Toby.  Michael refuses to believe her until Jim convinces him that yes, Toby is actually back at the office working, which causes Michael to go back to the annex to investigate.  His screams of protest could probably have been heard in the entire office building.  Of course, something must be wrong if Toby has shown his face again, so Michael calls David Wallace to inform him, and when he is asked, “Is anybody hurt?” Michael responds, “No, not on the outside.”  David refuses to listen to him, and we even learn that Toby has been back for a whole week, and Michael hadn’t found out because he refused to go the annex because that’s where Holly worked.  David instructs Michael that he has to get along with Toby.

Extreme Makeover: Jim Edition
Andy approaches Jim in the break room about the house Jim just bought, which he knew about because he had been snooping in Jim’s e-mail.  Apparently it’s the house that he grew up in, and he bought it on impulse.  We take a small tour through the house, with ugly wood paneling, old 60’s shag carpet, and a painting of a creepy clown on the wall that refuses to come off.  He asks them not to talk about it because Pam doesn’t know yet, but while Andy rebukes him for having secrets from his lover Phyllis congratulates him on the idea, until she learns that it’s located by the quarry, to which Creed enthusiastically responds by telling Jim that he lives there, and they should hang out sometime.  This makes Jim kind of apprehensive, and later on after they’re off work for the day he takes Pam to see the new house.  She reacts with complete silence, while Jim awkwardly explains the house, with the final reveal being an art studio that he made in the garage.  Pam smiles.  “I love it.”

Microwave madness
Upon discovering that the microwave is an unholy mess of spaghetti splatter and chunks of unidentifiable meat, Pam types up a note informing whoever perpetrated the pulp they should clean up after themselves, but to her chagrin, Oscar and Andy, reading the note, become more pissed off at the person who wrote the note than the person who made the mess.  Angela, solemnly giving Pam the kiss of death, tells her she likes her note.  Later on, Ryan approaches Pam about cleaning the microwave as he’s carrying a cold “Cup Of Noodles.”  Pam asks him why he can’t do it, but Ryan manages to weasel his way out of it before returning back to the annex to inform Kelly that they need to break up because Ryan needs to go to Thailand with som high school friends, and won’t Kelly please have sex with him one more time and give him a little extra cash.

You’re fired
After one attempt, Michael decides that trying to be friends with Toby is
like trying be friends with an “evil snail,” so he enlists Dwight’s help to find ways to get Toby fired, and decides the best way is to catch him in the act of hitting on somebody, so that he can be fired for sexual harassment.  Dwight volunteers to be the bait, sexy-ing himself up and declaring, “Men find me desirable.”  Michael refuses Dwight’s generous offer and tries to get Pam to be the bait by giving her a note to read to Toby, but Pam reads it beforehand to find it asks for hugs and kisses because she’s too scared to tell Toby that she loves him.  One attempt failed, Michael and Dwight approach Toby themselves and rudely knock his Costa Rica pictures to the ground while taunting him to fight and hit Michael.  Obviously, Toby’s not gonna do it, so Michael and Dwight walk off, defeated again, while Ryan, a spectator, shakes his head in disappointment.  “Shoulda punched him, man.  Once in a lifetime opportunity.”  Both sexual harassment and violence exhausted, Dwight suggests framing Toby for drug use, and Michael says seriously, “That’s pretty mean.  But sometimes the ends justify the mean.”  So he approaches a couple of warehouse guys and buys weed from them, but suspiciously they charge him five hundred dollars.  Oblivious and inexperienced, Michael pays and plants the weed in Toby’s desk while Dwight calls the cops with the tip.  The cops show up, making Creed just a wee bit nervous, but when they search Toby’s desk they find nothing more than a salad in a Ziploc bag.  The episode ends with Dwight explaining to the camera his perfect crime – stealing a chandelier from Tiffany’s and sleeping with Tiffany herself.

Toby’s return to the office seems to have little to do with his character and more like the creators of the show felt like they had to give Michael and Dwight something to do now that the Holly and Andy and Angela routes have been exhausted.  It’s good to see Toby back in the office again, but not much happens  – he merely plays off of Michael, and whereas all the other characters have had time to develop over the past several episodes, Toby seems like he’s stuck back in season four.  That being said, the antics surrounding the attempts to frame Toby are flat-out hilarious, so their inclusion in justified.  Jim buying a house seems kind of out of the blue, but it works for the Jim/Pam storyline, although the microwave story goes absolutely nowhere. As for the Ryan and Kelly issue, it seems like the creators added that part of this episode as an afterthought – this specific plotline feels underfed, and we don’t even get a real closer – it’ buried under the much more interesting and engaging plotlines of Jim/Pam and Michael/Dwight/Toby. The episode as a whole is the usual we’ve come to expect from The Office this season, and that’s not a bad thing, so let’s hope this run of good episodes keeps up.

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