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"Frame Toby" is the ninth episode of the fifth season of The Office and the 81st episode overall. It was written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Jason Reitman. It first aired November 20, 2008. It was viewed by 8.40 million people.

Cold open

The Scranton branch enjoys brownies in the conference room. Michael opts to take two brownies so he may eat them later on. As Kelly takes two as well, she clarifies that she is giving the other one to Toby. Michael laughs and asks if she is going to mail it to Costa Rica, then is confused when Kelly says she'll just hand it to him. Jim asks Michael to check the annex to see if Toby is there. Michael humors Jim and walks to the annex "for old times sake" and finds no one there. Just as he thinks this was a bad prank by Jim, he turns to see Toby standing in front of him and he yells "NOOOOO GOD! NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!"


Michael tries to get CFO David Wallace to get rid of Toby, but David Wallace is annoyed with Michael for misusing the term "911" instead and wonders why the regional manager didn't notice Toby's return for an entire week. Michael says he has been unaware of Toby's return as he hasn't gone back to the annex since Holly was transferred. David says that he will just have to accept the fact that Toby is back and that he can only be fired for cause. (Michael's explanation of "it's be-cause I hate him" does not qualify.)

Michael tries to pretend to be friends with Toby, but he finds himself unable to do so. He then schemes with Dwight to frame Toby with a fireable offense. First, he tries to set up Toby up for sexual harassment via Pam, but Pam foils Michael's scheme. He then knocks some pictures out of Toby's hand and tries to goad Toby into hitting him, but Toby says he won't do it. Michael decides that "the ends justify the mean" and buys "two pounds of marijuana" for $500 from Leo and Gino from Vance Refrigeration and hides it in Toby's desk. Dwight then tips the police about possible narcotics in the office. Two policemen arrive and Dwight takes them to Toby's desk. Toby panics and Michael seems to regret his actions as he tries to call them off. The police search Toby's desk and find a bag of Caprese salad in one of the drawers, which the Vance Refrigeration guys had clearly sold to Michael on purpose, knowing he would not know the difference. The policemen leave and Toby berates Michael for calling the cops on him, specifically wasting their time when they could be out catching real criminals. Michael is disgusted that Toby is more worried about the cops' time than about possibly being framed, and begrudgingly accepts that Toby is again a member of the office. Creed clearly shows concern when the cops arrive, stepping forward with hands upraised when they head towards Toby's desk, and then telling the camera crew to pretend they are talking until the cops leave.

Pam gets frustrated when she finds a big mess in the microwave. She writes an anonymous memo on the microwave telling everyone to keep it clean, which nobody seems to care about, save for Angela, who agrees with the message, and Ryan, who tries to manipulate Pam into cleaning the microwave before being reminded that doing so is a temp's job, which he still refuses to do. Meredith all but admits to leaving the mess when she starts talking about how she doesn't have time to clean up after herself because she doesn't get paid to be a maid between her job at the office, tending to her children and being a part-time maid. Ryan tells Kelly that they have to break up again because he is allegedly going on a trip to Thailand with friends from high school (or, more accurately, friends from a high school). He asks her to have sex with him one last time and for any extra cash she may have, to which she hesitantly agrees.

It is revealed to the entire office that Jim bought his parents' house without asking Pam, mentioning to the camera crew that he is helping out his mother and getting a good deal. Jim begins to think keeping it a secret from Pam might have been a bad idea. Nevertheless, he takes her after work to show her. He gives her a tour of the imperfect house before showing her the garage, which he turned into an art studio for her. After noticing a seemingly disappointed look on Pam's face, Jim tells her he acknowledges that the house is not perfect and that he took a big risk buying it without telling her. He lets her know that it is okay if she does not like it, but Pam excitedly tells him that she loves the house.

Dwight's perfect crime

The episode ends with Dwight narrating his perfect crime.

I break into Tiffany's at midnight. Do I go for the vault? No, I go for the chandelier. It's priceless. As I'm taking it down, a woman catches me. She tells me to stop. It's her father's business. She's Tiffany. I say no. We make love all night. In the morning, the cops come and I escape in one of their uniforms. I tell her to meet me in Mexico, but I go to Canada. I don't trust her. Besides, I like the cold. Thirty years later, I get a postcard. I have a son and he's the chief of police. This is where the story gets interesting. I tell Tiffany to meet me in Paris by the Trocadero. She's been waiting for me all these years. She's never taken another lover. I don't care. I don't show up. I go to Berlin. That's where I stashed the chandelier.

Pam's memo

In a deleted scene, Pam holds up a memo.

To: All Employees
From: Pam Beesly
Re: Parking Spaces

Deleted scenes

Scenes from the producer's cut:

  • Angela does not eat any brownies. Pam asks why, and Andy explains that she is dieting in order to fit into a child-sized wedding gown. Jim wonder why, and why such things even exist. Angela explains that it's from her pageant days. "I was Miss Tiny Mid-Atlantic Bride when I was ten."[1]:11:41
  • Pam talking head: She holds up the note and says, "This is the front of the note." She then holds up a memo. "This is the front of my latest office memorandum. This can only lead anyone to believe that I wrote the note, which I did."[1]:31:58
  • Angela talking head: "Everyone keeps asking if I wrote the note on the microwave. It was so perfectly worded and a little snotty. I wish I had written it."[1]:32:16
  • On top of Pam's original note is another note: "Hey, anonymous coward who left the note, be a man, spend less time writing notes and more time cleaning up the microwave." As the episode progresses, additional notes are added to the microwave and eventually even the cabinets. "Hey, whoever was bashing the first note. Grow up. The microwave is filthy and no one here is a maid." "You are all a bunch of idiots and privileged white ass wipes who weren't raised right. If I find you, I'm going to knock your teeth out."[1]:37:52
  • To get Toby away from his desk, Dwight takes him to the conference room to look at his photos from Costa Rica. Dwight feigns interest in Toby's photos.[1]:52:17
  • In a talking head interview, Michael tries to keep it a secret from the documentary crew that he planted the drugs in Toby's desk.[1]:52:17
  • Conclusion of the microwave story line: Angela storms into the bullpen from the kitchen holding a note with a penis drawn on it and accuses Pam of being a pervert. Pam denies that she drew a penis on her own note. Pam then announces to the staff that she wrote the initial note and defends it. Kevin says, "Listen, New York..." and Pam unapologetically says that she experienced far more in New York than in Scranton. She loves New York, especially the fact that people clean up after themselves. (Jim watches nervously.) Pam marches to the kitchen to clean the mess as Stanley slow-claps.[1]:48:19

These scenes from the script did not make the aired episode. It is not clear whether they were filmed.

  • In a talking head interview, Toby explains that he's been there for six days, and even talked with Michael, but Michael apparently didn't notice.[1]:13:48
  • In Michael's talking head, after referring to Toby as an "evil snail", he says, "The last four months without Toby have been absolute bliss. I fell in love with a beautiful blond woman. I fell out of love. I tried scallops. The office was broken into. I became a father. I grew a goatee. The Olympics were a great success for China. And now that I've tasted freedom, I can never go back. I'm going to kill him. No, too far. But I will do something. No, too little. I will get rid of him."[1]:40:30

Connections to other episodes

  • In a deleted scene, Angela says that she was Miss Tiny Mid-Atlantic Bride at age ten. In "Performance Review", she notes that she was active in youth beauty pageants as a child.
  • Jim replies "definitely we should" after Creed says they should hang out together and throw things by the quarry. Pam reveals Jim previously advised her to always answer "Absolutely, I do" to Dwight's requests in "The Job", likely using the same advice here.
  • Pam previously mentioned wanting to have a house to live in when she is married in "Boys and Girls".
  • The clown painting is eventually removed in "Garage Sale".
  • Michael goes to Leo and Gino to buy weed. According to a deleted scene from "Drug Testing", the discarded joint that kickstarted the episode's plot was theirs.


  • On November 25, 2008, a producer's cut of "Frame Toby" was posted on NBC.com. This cut ran approximately four minutes longer than the original airing. After nearly a two-year absence, this is the first producer's cut since season three's "The Return".
  • When Ryan presents his "cup of soup" to Pam, the "Maruchan" branding has been blotted out using what seems to be a liquid paper tool. Obscuring brand names is common in television shows to avoid conflicts in case that company's competitor becomes an advertising sponsor.
  • In this episode, Michael says, "NOOOOO GOD! NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!" This has been an iconic line throughout the show and a major meme on the internet.
  • When Michael is giving his money to the “weed dealer,” his wallet can be seen containing a Lackawanna County Library System card. It is the actual logo, which is 4 books surrounding a globe.
  • Angela's wedding dress mentioned in the producer's cut was posted to the Angela and Andy wedding web site. Archived copy

Amusing details

  • Pam and Angela are both being judgmental, and they are dressed similarly (V-neck sweater over short-sleeved blouse).
  • Jim seems unaware of some of the features of his parent's house such as the clown painting being unremovable and the wood being paneling, despite growing up there.
  • Phyllis asks Jim where his parents house is and immediately gives an awkward "oh" and glances at the camera after finding out it is by the quarry.
  • Michael insisted that he tried to be friends with Toby, yet describes his conversation with Toby as feeling like he is "dying inside", although their conversation was pleasant.
  • Michael talks about the murderer in the movie Scream 2. Spoiler: The murderer in the movie was played by Timothy Oliphant, who would later appear on the show as salesman Danny Cordray.
  • Jim sets off his own ringtone so he can pretend to be taking a call.
  • Michael carries $500 in his wallet, which is a lot.
  • Leo and Gino tell Michael that he is buying two pounds of marijuana. Not only is what they sell him not marijuana, it's also nowhere near two pounds.
  • Michael gives a look of betrayal when Ryan tells Toby to punch him, even though that was Michael's goal.
  • Dwight reveals he framed a bear for eating out of the garbage, implying he himself once ate out of the garbage as a child.
  • Dwight makes an effort to pretend that it was Andy who called the police about Toby having drugs, yet gives his own name to the police when they arrive.
  • Creed initially believes that the police are there to arrest him and raises his hands. He then goes into a talking head and tells them to pretend like they are talking until the police leave. Spoiler: Creed's full list of crimes is revealed in "Finale".
  • As Andy proudly proclaims that the two of them have no secrets, Angela guiltily looks away due to her ongoing affair with Dwight.
  • Jim says about the garage "It's got great light in here," but the garage turns out to be windowless.


  • In Ryan and Kelly's break-up scene, they are wearing different clothes from the rest of the episode. The scene was originally intended as the episode tag, which took place on a different day. In editing, the show decided to use Dwight's perfect crime as the tag and moved the break-up scene into the main episode.[1]:56:59

Behind the scenes

  • Show writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky reprise their roles as Vance Refrigeration employees Gino and Leo.
  • Location manager Kyle Alexander tried to find a house that could be used as Jim and Pam's new house for both interiors and exteriors, but was unsuccessful. Jim's parents' house is a combination of two houses, one for exterior shots and one for interiors.[1]:23:24
  • The exterior of Jim and Pam's house was filmed at 13831 Calvert Street in Van Nuys.[2] The intention was that the house was a little run-down, so so set designer Michael Gallenberg added a broken rain gutter, added the screen door that bangs into the awning when you open it, and asked the homeowners not to water their lawn for a week so the grass would turn brown.[1]:26:03
  • The interiors of Jim and Pam's house were filmed at an unoccupied home on nearby Allot Avenue. The show added the shag carpeting and wood paneling.[1]:26:27
  • To make the two homes match up during filming, the show provided a front door that was installed into both houses.[1]:26:27
  • Paul Lieberstein returned as Toby even though he was also co-showrunner. Jennifer Celotta explained that the departure of Holly left the office without an HR representative, and their choices were either to bring back Toby or to cast a new actor.[1]:05:06
  • According to the script, Phyllis made the brownies. It is not explained why.[1]:11:41
  • The script called for Michael to scream. The entire sequence of "No, God, no" was developed by Steve Carell.[1]:14:48
  • According to the script, Pam was microwaving egg whites in the microwave when she discovered how dirty it is, described simply as "a saucy mess".[1]:21:36
  • In the deleted scene in which Dwight looks at Toby's Costa Rica photos, the concluding line "Tell me about this monkey" was improvised.[1]:53:34
  • Jenna Fischer says that filming the scene in which Jim can't get the clown painting off the wall is the second-hardest she laughed on the show. (Second to the scene in "Dinner Party" when Michael shows off his television set.)[1]:01:03:35
  • According to the script, Jim is unable to remove "a hideous painting of some clowns putting out a fire." An artist was hired to make several versions of the painting, and one was chosen to be used on the show.[1]:28:40
  • Pam's question, "And the clown?" was improvised, as was Jim's reply, "Yeah, I can't really move him." The two actors are hiding their faces to keep from laughing.[1]:01:04:31
  • The scenes in which Ryan refuses to clean the microwave[1]:47:54 and Dwight's perfect crime were both performed as-scripted.[1]:01:06:20

Cultural references

  • 9-1-1 is the emergency telephone number in the United States.
  • Kurt Russell is an American actor.
  • Caprese salad is an Italian salad consisting primarily of mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil.
  • Neve Campbell is an actor who starred in the Scream movie series.
  • Michael sings, "Pamtown lady sing this song, doo-dah doo-dah" to the melody of the American folk song Camptown Races. The original opening words are "Camptown ladies sing this song."
  • When talking about framing Toby, Dwight says that "everything they do on The Shield is illegal." The Shield is a television crime drama about corrupt police officers.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael notes that "the Olympics were a great success for China." The 2008 Olympic Summer Games were held in Beijing, China, the first time China was chosen to host an Olympic Games.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast