The short answer for why Michael Scott doesn’t get along with Toby Flenderson on The Office is that he hates “so much about the things” that he chooses to be. But there’s a longer, more detailed explanation, too.
On the latest installment of the Office Ladies podcast (via Decider), hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed the season seven episode “Counseling,” in which Michael is assigned six hours of counseling with a professional after yelling at Toby and threatening to smash his face, among other workplace misconducts. Fischer brought up an interview with Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby and also wrote for the show, in which “he said that Michael’s hatred of Toby goes back to a deleted scene from [season one’s] ‘The Alliance.’ This is where they found this, like, true hatred of Toby.”
Fischer: “In the scene, Toby is coming in to sign Meredith’s birthday card. And Paul said, ‘I just go in, write something quickly and leave — that’s the scene.’ But when they were shooting the scene, I guess it took Paul a long time to physically write down what he was going to write down.”
Kinsey: “I have a memory of this — that he was writing in the card and it took a bit.”
Fischer: “Paul said, ‘I could just feel him watching me and I could feel this hatred burning.’ And he said that Steve [Carell] told him afterwards that it was in that moment that he decided as Michael to hate Toby so much. That was when they ran with it, that Paul went to the writers and said, ‘Michael hates Toby.’ Because, you know, if Jim took a long time to write a message, he would have all the patience in the world.”
Michael shouldn’t, because Jim is objectively way worse than Toby. And if you disagree, you’re the “biggest liar of… history.” You can listen to the Office Ladies podcast below.