The article also mentions a few new comedies starring Office cast members that sound various levels of unappealing to me.
It's a concept without much long-term quality potential, but I'm thrilled to be able to see the pilot. Especially if they cram all of their good ideas for the now-dead show into that single episode. I love joke-a-thon episodes.
Yeah, part of Dwight's appeal is trying together all the craziness of his homelife from the little clues on the show. If we saw Mose all the time it wouldn't have the same impact as a random cameo of him doing something odd and backwood.
It would be like if Cheers had decided to spin off Norm and we saw his wife. Or if Niles spun off Frasier and we saw Merris.
These are both good points about the long-term viability of the Dwight character. Frankly, I think we've seen all we can see and learn about Dwight already. "Frasier" was mentioned and the reason that spinoff worked so spectacularly well was that Frasier Crane was just a supporting character on Cheers, and even moreso, always a supporting character whose actions were tied to someone else (first Diane and then Lilith). The spinoff was the first time we'd gotten to see Frasier stand on his own as a character and get added depth to his personality.
Ironically, it seemed like The Farm was going to borrow the Frasier template of "let's take the character from the workplace ensemble and focus the spinoff around his family life." The problem was that we've already seen as significant amount of Dwight's farm life and even running a B-and-B on The Office, whereas on Cheers, Frasier's family life was never mentioned aside from an early episode that featured his mother (who had died by the time the spinoff came around).
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
I assume you are totally speculating that it is indeed Leben who returns, I personally don't think it will be him. My guess is Nathan's MRI comes back showing damage and he is done and a previously dismissed fighter takes his place, but not Leben.