Since half the cast of The Office are also its producers, nobody leaves the show for very long, at least nobody who’s a producer. So Ryan left briefly only to return again and Toby is back too, with Holly’s departure in The Office 5×08 Frame Toby. Naturally Michael reacts much as you would expect and tries to get rid of Toby in just about every way possible. With a premise like that you would think that The Office 5×08 Frame Toby would actually be a much funnier episode than it is.
Of course The Office 5×08 Frame Toby has its moments, from Dwight identifying himself as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy to the arriving police officers to Michael trying to purchase weed from some of Bob Vance’s employees, but it never really delivers the kind of comedy you would expect. A sizable part of the problem is that the Jim and Pam storyline is now a serious drag on episode after episode, that mires it in mundane and unfunny material. This week Jim shows Pam the house he bought for her, it’s got shag carpeting and a clown picture on the wall he can’t remove, she loves it anyway. The end. That kind of thing makes you wonder when The Office became 7th Heaven or Providence.
Dwight also continues to be underused for several episodes now, the actor may be less available because he’s doing more movies, but the lack of screen time is taking a toll. The Office does not have that many basically funny characters, subtract Dwight and you’re left with Creed and Michael, and since Creed is best taken in small doses, that means we’re left with Michael. The Office worked best when it dynamically balanced its cast. When half the episode is Jim and Pam’s happy untroubled relationship and the other half is Michael flailing on his own, it just does not work out.