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How A Toaster Might Connect Malcolm In The Middle To The Office

For dedicated fans, it can be fun to see characters from one of their favorite TV shows cross over into another show, even if it's just for a moment. Most of the time, this intersecting of fictional worlds is done as a gimmick, made to extract a giddy response from viewers. "New Girl" linked worlds with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" crossed with "The Jeffersons." In fact, the "Power Rangers" even joined forces with "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

However, sometimes the intersection of two shows is purely coincidental, often manifesting from the minds of the fans. After all, the working actors who play our favorite characters have typically appeared in other shows during their careers. Thanks to social media, these fan theories are often dissected in order to determine whether these moments are brilliant connections from behind-the-scenes or simply a stretch of fan imagination.

For example, fans think that it's possible that one of the supporting players from "The Office" may have made an appearance in another hit show, "Malcolm in the Middle." It's not as simple as the actor in question appearing in both shows, but it's what the character has done in each of these shows that is important.

Stanley may have bought a toaster from Hal

A possible connection between the character Stanley (Leslie David Baker) of "The Office" and a past scene in the show "Malcolm in the Middle" has fans wondering whether the writers knowingly made this connection. 

The first step of this (possible) clashing of the worlds happened in Season 4, Episode 13 ("Stereo Store") of "Malcolm in the Middle," when a customer (Baker) approaches Hal  (Bryan Cranston), who is working at an electronic department. Hal rambles on and on as the customer patiently waits to get a word in.When he finally does, it's a simple statement of, "I just want a toaster." 

Cut to three years later, when Season 3, Episode 1 ("Gay Witch Hunt") of "The Office" premiered. Here, during a confessional (to the camera) scene, Stanley talks about buying a toaster as gift for Pam and Roy's wedding. With the wedding called off, and the toaster now discontinued, he's unable to return the gift to the store. So now he frustratingly has two toasters

So what's the deal here? Is that customer in "Malcolm in the Middle" supposed to be Stanley from "The Office" all those years later? Was Stanley alluding to that moment in the department store when he simply wanted to buy a toaster? Right now it's just a fan theory. Unfortunately, years have passed without actual confirmation. It might seem unlikely, with "The Office" being at NBC and "Malcolm in the Middle" at Fox. However, it should be noted that the two shows share writer/producer Jen Celotta, so maybe it was a fun little nod after all. Stanley had to buy that toaster from somewhere!