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The Office Fans Agree That This Supporting Character Deserved Way Better

As much as we backed certain characters throughout the entire story of "The Office," some didn't get nearly as much attention as others. In the early stages of the show, some of the cast were there as punchlines with not much else to do, with the primary focus being on the likes of Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer) and their questionable journey, or Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) right up until he departed from the series. Of course, though, there was more to Dunder Mifflin than that.

What about the Kevins (Brian Baumgartner), the Angelas, and the Stanleys (Leslie David Baker) of the workplace? Well, thankfully, all got some heartfelt times to shine as the shows progressed, but there was one person in particular that never caught a break in the nine seasons the show ran for, mainly because a lot of people thought they didn't deserve it. Yes, it seemed that — beside one employee who committed fraud, and another that ended the show being arrested for murder — Dunder Mifflin's HR representative became the most-hated staff member in the office. It was a treatment that fans admitted was sometimes far too harsh on the character, no matter how funny and meme-worthy these moments might've been.

Fans think Toby had far too many hard days at The Office

Besides being a writer and showrunner for "The Office" Paul Lieberstein would be best known as Toby Flenderson, the HR rep who was everything Michael hated, and regularly got the short straw — a treatnebt which even fans deemed a bit too much in the long run. Over on the r/DunderMifflin page on Reddit, one fan's billionth rewatch highlighted just how harshly the character was treated on the show. "I was just watching the beach day episode and just thought how bad Michael treats him," said u/Karaman1025. "I remember feeling the same in some other episodes that I don't remember the names. Do you also feel like me or do you think he deserves it?"

Naturally, this led to a conference room meeting between fans, with u/SkepticalGoat adding, "Toby was just doing his job and didn't deserve all the crap he got, as funny as it was, it was always mean-spirited." For some, the emotional weight was more than that, with u/Useful-Emphasis-6787 saying, "Yes! I feel horrible! Sure, Toby has his negative things, but so does everyone else. Michael just hates him for doing his job, and no, he didn't deserve that hate." 

No matter what side of the office partition you stood on, it's an impressive feat that Lieberstein stuck out being the show's comedic punching bag. Establishing that perfect balance of pitifulness and powerlessness wasn't easy, though, and it was only thanks to another work colleague that he successfully tapped into his inner Toby.

Lieberstein got the best acting tips from The Office's Brian Baumgartner

Appearing on "The Office Girls" podcast (via Mashable) with hosts Jenna Fischer, who played Pam, and Angela Kinsey, who played Angela (another character who doesn't get enough credit), Lieberstein discussed his struggle being in front of the camera instead of behind it during the early days of "The Office." "There was very little acting I was doing. They kept saying, 'talk louder,' and I wouldn't. I was like, 'No. I'm talking to a person right here. Why would I talk louder?'" In hindsight, that low-level grumbling still stuck and became a quintessential Toby trait that collided brilliantly with Michael. When it came to finally mastering this whole acting gig, though, it was wise words from another cast member that helped everything fall into place.

Lieberstein recalled how Brian Baumgartner gave the best advice when they were filming a scene together in the office kitchen. Still struggling to speak up in a scene, the actor that played Kevin suggested imagining that the fridge, which wasn't actually turned on in reality, would force him to adapt. "'Why don't you imagine that the refrigerator's on and you have to talk over it?'" said Lieberstein, sharing Baumgartner's pearl of wisdom. "And I was like, 'Oh, an actor does that... They don't just do what feels real. They have to like find a way to do what they need to do and make it feel real.'" The rest as they say is history and a mountain of paperwork.