Lieberstein—best-known to Office fans as the irrationally hated and potentially murderous HR rep Toby—said that he would be open to a quick trip back to Scranton.
“I think a one-off special would be the way to go,” he said in a chat with The Daily Beast. “Some event that brings everyone back together.”
The interview was about Lieberstien's new film Song of Back and Neck, but he couldn't help but reflect on one of his first major acting credits. Lieberstein served as a writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner during his time at Dunder Mifflin and he was game to share all sorts of facts about the wildly popular single-cam sitcom.
He explained that he played Toby as if he was a parent keeping toddler boss Michael Scott in line.
“I always felt a little different as Toby,” he explained. “To me, it always felt like Toby was the parent of a three-year-old in Michael Scott, who’s constantly having tantrums. He’s just there to be patient, wait it out. Of course it impacts his day, but you can’t get too mad at your three-year-old, so you have to just internalize it.”
Surprisingly, the hatred between Toby and Michael wasn't planned out. Lieberstein said that Toby was one of a few characters at the Scranton branch who were "created line-by-line" and the writers didn't realize Michael would hate Toby until a tense birthday card scene in the first season.
“I just go in, write something quickly, and leave—that’s the scene,” he said. “But it takes me a while to physically write it, and I could just feel him watching me, and feel that burning. Steve [Carell] told me afterwards that it was in that moment that he just decided to hate me so much.”
That hate blossomed over the next few seasons. And Lieberstein is right to shoot for a bite-sized return. While other cast members recently tried to convince Carell to get on board with a reboot during a mini-reunion on Saturday Night Live, Carell said that he doesn't believe a full-on revival of the show would work in today's climate.