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The Office

The Office is a comedy set in a paper sales company Dunder Mifflin. Shot in a mockumentary style the show follows the exploits of regional manager Michael Scott whose excruciating behaviour can make life difficult for his fellow employees. NBC 2005-???

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Episode 8 - Frame Toby

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Toby returns at the HR rep and Michael is not happy. He and Dwight try to force him out by planting drugs on him. Ryan tells Kelly he is going to Thailand. Jim shows Pam his parents’ house and she is happy.

The Good: Toby’s return does lead to some good jokes for Michael and Dwight (see Comic Highlight). Their attempt to goad Toby into hitting Michael provokes amusing reactions from all concerned. While Michael is back to his misunderstandings when he says that sometimes “the ends justify the mean” and his admission that he learnt some important lessons from Scream 2. His tactic of always texting 911 to people because they weren’t responding otherwise is typically foolish and Dwight calling the cops in Andy’s name is pretty funny too. They are both consistent in their behaviour as is Toby who takes it all on the chin without reacting as usual. When the cops come Michael regains some of his moral standing by being so uncomfortable with the reality of what he had done and then confessing to his crime.

Jim creating an art studio for Pam is a really nice touch and helps us believe that she wouldn’t be bothered by living in his parents house. It’s another brave move from the writers because it definitely makes Jim and Pam move against the current of culture. The underlying values of Western society would generally look down on Pam for giving up on art school and moving in to her fiancée’s childhood home. But if this is what makes them happy then why shouldn’t they? Jim’s decision to buy the house was in part to give his parents a proper retirement which is very worthy of him.

Elsewhere it is good to see Oscar and Andy being friendly in the kitchen after last episodes bonding. Creed hiding from the cops is a neat little joke. Ryan being an ass hole is consistent.

The Bad: Toby returning is not something I’m a fan of. It’s nothing against him, the actor or character. I was a fan of him leaving to give us a fresh dynamic in the office. But his return not only means we sit through the same animosity with Michael but it gives the impression that nothing is really changing about the show. With Ryan and Kelly back together, Dwight and Angela secretly back together and now Pam and Toby back in the office, it all sends the message that there are no consequences to any stories on this show. It’s not as damaging as it has been on a show like Heroes because The Office is a comedy and its stories are less dramatic. But in life some people leave their jobs and move on and if no one does here, it can undermine the plausibility of the show.

The same old dynamic means we have to see Michael being bitter and mean which is sad. Though we shall see how that develops as time goes on.

Comic Highlight: Dwight and Michael are conspiring against Toby to get him fired. Michael likes the idea of catching Toby in the act of hitting on someone. Dwight admits he loves catching people in the act, “That’s why I always whip open doors.”

That’s what I said: Another decent episode. I’m not happy to see Michael and Toby going at it again but I will give the writers more time to see where this is going. Otherwise the characters are consistent and the jokes flow nicely.

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  • I just saw this episode via rerun, and I couldn't help but notice you ignored the microwave subplot. Not a big deal obviously, but just something i wanted to point out.

    Posted by Ben F., 07/07/2010 2:16am (9 years ago)

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