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Paul Lieberstein on The Office

Published October 3, 2008 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
The Office The Office

The Office producer Paul Liberstein, who also plays Toby on the show, filled viewers in on what they can expect this season. Of course, all TV shows are super secret now, so everything he said had to be a tease. First of all, don’t count Toby out just because they replaced him with Holly.

Paul Lieberstein Runs The Office

“I think what brings him back is failure to escape,” said Lieberstein. “There was a friend of mine who’s actually one of the writers here that decided, maybe about ten years ago, collected enough money to live poor in Hawaii and he was going to just do it and surf because he loves to surf. He had made a big deal of it, had a going away party and he was back in two week because he was lonely. Nobody talked to him. He was robbed on the beach and that was it. So that was our model.”

At least when he returns, Toby might have some cool stories to share about Costa Rica. “Maybe the time his camera was stolen by a monkey or the time he was attacked by a monkey in Costa Rica, or the time when a monkey took his wallet. Probably one of those three. Somebody is picking on him is the theme.”

Stephen Merchant will be directing an episode. “He was in the writers room with us rewriting it over the last several days and so it was really exciting having him there. He brings a bit of that initial integrity of the documentary that the British had. So he calls us out every once in awhile. He’s like, ‘How are they going to do that with a little documentary?’ You know, when we seem to go a little too far or get too personal with them. We’ll set a scene in the bathroom and he’s like, ‘Really, I don’t think they follow them in there.’”

Jim and Pam will face another sort of separation. “Pam’s going to take an internship in New York and they’re going to try long distance dating. That’s going to be the source of obstacles for them. I think Toby is less of a threat than the price of gas for Pam.”

Perhaps even Ryan could return. “He’ll spring back up in a way that I think is typical for people who can spin anything.”

Season four ended with Angela accepting Andy’s marriage proposal, though getting it on with Dwight in the closet. That might not stand in Andy’s way. “They will make it to an alter of sorts but probably not what you’re thinking or in the way you’re thinking. I don’t have a good quip to answer that without giving away the good stuff but I think there’s a lot of fun coming up in that relationship.”

Jan’s pregnancy will feed some storylines too. “You will see a baby shower that the office throws for her. Then we won’t visit the father. Well, there is some talk about who the father might be.”

The Office airs Thursday nights on NBC.

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