The Office: Turf War, 8.23

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The Office: Turf Wars

Writers: Warren Lieberstein and Halsted Sullivan
Director: Daniel Chun

Summary (NBC): Who gets all the clients left behind — Andy takes a break from flambéing cherries and composing rock operas to jumpstart his Dunder Mifflin comeback. When Robert drunkenly shuts down a nearby branch, Jim and Dwight join forces to outsmart a salesman from Scranton’s uglier sister city. Guest stars: James Spader, Catherine Tate, Chris Bauer.

The Office Turf War extras

The Office Turf War rating

In a poll conducted May 3-7, 2012, Tallyheads rated this episode: 7.75/10

See all The Office Season 8 ratings.

The Office Turf War quotes

Gabe: Oh man, my delts are blasted.

Dwight: Protein powder, huh? Cut it with water? Why don’t you just take estrogen?

Dwight: Feast on this, Lewis!

Dwight: Jim, tell him where he stick his grapes!
Jim: In the fridge!

Robert: I had a one-man saturnalia last night.

Robert: In vino, veritas, as they say.

Nellie: The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes, and never.

Robert: Why don’t you list the things that would keep you from helping me.

Erin: Jim, Dwight, what are your last names?

Toby: I like to think Lloyd Gross is a no-nonsense guy who doesn’t back down from anybody. And he calls people “kemosabe.”

Robert: Shaping a company is, in a sense, similar to training a geisha.

Dwight: Does this thing have turbo? Nitrous? Hit the nos.
Jim: Nos? You mean like in “Fast and Furious”?

Angela: Hello, my clucking hens! Got room for another in the roost?

Angela: Robert sent me to take over if Pam fails. If?

Gabe: Sometimes I wonder if I have ovaries in my scrotum. Because I am great at girl talk.

Gabe: I think you’re going to need to have an Asian fetish, yeah. It’ll be upsetting if you don’t.

Andy: My wireless password is eatpraylove. Easy to remember.

Dwight: My pants fell down! I don’t have a belt!

Jim: Big Red Paper Company?

Dwight: Jim couldn’t land me in a thousand years.
Jim: But you’re saying there’s a chance?

Nellie: Can I do it, Pam? Can I pull off a gold Arabian sandal?

Nellie: Robert is a filthy beast.

Pam: Sometimes he talks about flesh. And bacchanals.

Nellie: Things are looking up. I might be a mother soon, I have Mastercard right where I want them, and I have a new friend. A friend. At work.

Dwight: Wait. You don’t even care about nationals.

Icon provided by pessimistreader.


  1. Hopefully we will see more Erin/Andy action here. It is not in the descriptions since Welcome Party. :-(

  2. OK. This is getting ridiculous. These episode summaries are out of control. They are insane. What happened to our Office? Surely this is the last season, yes? The writers are winding this down to an absurdist, 30 Rock-ish ending. And that’s too bad. Because that’s the thing that’s made The Office great: that we all actually know people like this; that we actually work in environments like this. Again, too bad.

  3. I can’t wait for this episode. The summary doesn’t give too much away, but I long to see Andy back in the manager’s seat.

  4. While I was initially excited after reading the description for this episode I’ve come to realize it just sounds like a bunch of episodes from the past just put together.

  5. @#7, you’re right, Michael Scott Paper Company + The Sting (i.e Danny Cordray, who never showed up after his two episode stint….)

    Still, if it’ll get Andy back to where he’s supposed to be, I’m willing to give this episode a chance!

  6. I should be hating everything I’m reading about Andy’s plotline for the end of Season 8–especially because some of it sounds nearly identical to the story P&R did when Ben Wyatt resigned from the Pawnee city government and was totally adrift for a while–but honestly, I kind of like this notion. Andy is weird enough, and Ed Helms talented enough, to make this into a kind of an anti-epic showdown against the awful, awful Nellie Bertram. It’ll work as long as they have some triumph for Andy along the lines of the one Michael Scott in Season 5’s “Broke”.

  7. How awesome would it be for Andy to form his own paper company. Most of the cast could join him and the few that don’t want to be back next season can leave without the show just getting rid of them. It would also make sense because Robert isn’t coming back next season either. For some reason, even though this season was the worst in 8 years, it leaves so many possible cool plots for season 9! Renew it NBC!!

  8. I admit the plot summary for Fundraiser sounds a little bit ridiculous but I don’t see anything absurd about this one

  9. I don’t think we will see Andy starting his own company. Perhaps Robert fires Angry Andy for his office meltdown but then in turn gets fired himself by Jo Bennett, allowing Andy to return to his old job?

  10. Uhhhh…there really isn’t anything too ridiculous about this summary. And I’ve never understood why people get so bent out of shape about a two sentence summary anyway.

  11. @12, Limey…

    I thought Robert basically walked in and “took” Jo’s job, according to Jim in “The List? This isn’t the first time Jo has been mentioned before this season. In one recent episode, Robert mentions her as his boss and apparently she gave Nellie the Special Project Manger role, but I thought she was no longer with the company.

    And whatever happened to Cathy after Florida? No more mention of her at all. Two continuity gaps there, not to even mention Jordan from last season.

  12. as much as i love the office i don’t get why they keep recycling plot ideas. if it’s good i won’t really care but geez, there have been a lot of episodes this season that have given me deja vu. (eg. the cold open with andy not picking up the phone in order to impress his client, the “injury esque one”)

    there was also this one season 7 episode where jim was testing to see if there was anything stanley WOULDN’T notice. it strongly reminded me of the episode where they test if creed would notice he’s eating a potato instead of an apple. again any casual viewer won’t really notice these things so it’s mainly just criticism from a hardcore office guy…

  13. 15, Adam, Jo stepped down as CEO in favour of Robert, but she’s still the owner of the company so she still is both Robert and Nellie’s boss. There was a deleted scene from Special Project in which Dwight said he would take Kathy to Florida because Andy was going to fire her anyway since Pam was back, so Kathy’s job ended when the Florida trip did. And Jordan was never mentioned again because the actress left the show, so they probably reckoned that since Deangelo hired her, we could assume she was fired by corporate after Deangelo left.

  14. I agree with those above that said that this sounds like a mixture of previous plotlines and kind of stupid and over the top. Robert drunkenly closing a branch is a potential new low point.

  15. AndyisAmazing (post #3) wrote: “Wait so I don’t understand is Andy starting his own paper company?”

    And if that doesn’t work out, maybe Andy will start his own beet farm. :-O

  16. All-in-all, the episode is “so-so”. The plot was not at all realistic, and the dialogue was pretty boring. The characters were just bland today, and it focused too much on this new character from the other branch. The cold open was pretty funny, though.

  17. What a great episode – that really felt like the classic Office I know and love!!! (especially since it seems now that they’re not trying to recycle the Michael Scott Paper Company plot)

    The Jim/Dwight interaction was perfect, Pam was wonderful, and David Wallace is back???!!!! All kinds of yay!!

  18. This episode’s only real value were the final moments with Jim’s ominous look towards the camera and Andy’s big reveal of his likely business partner. Other than that, not a particularly funny or even good episode…and I had such high hopes, as Jim/Dwight pairings are usually golden.

  19. I actually loved this EP. Top 3 of the season. Also gives great hope for great story lines…

  20. I jumped out of my chair when I saw wallace!!! Screw robert california i really hate his character


  21. Where has cunning Andy been all season? Perhaps it takes having nothing to lose for one to reach out to DAVID frickin’ WALLACE!!! This could be good.

  22. I enjoyed this episode. I loved the cold open since I am on protein shakes and workout like a fiend. The episode wasn’t that funny, but had a lot of intrigue. So glad that Nellie had a reduced role. Solid episode and I like the story arc.

  23. My thoughts:

    The open cracked me up, when Dwight ate the dry protein powder and spit it all over Jim!

    Lots of very tall men in this episode. Gabe, Dwight, Jim, NY guy, David Wallace! Love the tallness!

    It felt like a mix of the Michael Scott Paper Co. and Sabre episodes, esp. when Andy pulled up to David Wallace’s house a la Michael Scott. But that was ok! Andy Buckley if you are reading, your smile when you opened the door and then repeat “Dunder Mifflin” is absolutely contagious! Of course, it could be the thought of multiplying that 20mil!

  24. all i’m gonna say is i laughed so hard at the windshield wiper scene when jim turned on the “nitrous”

  25. Very disappointed in this one. And that’s disappointed in the recalibrated thinking about Office episodes. Strike one was “drunk person does something dumb”. A big part of my diatribe against PDA last year.

    Strike two – corporate fraud from Dwight and Jim. Creating a fake employee to steal commissions was even worse than Pam’s “full on corrupt” computer for Andy and bonus sick time for Darryl to cover up the computer.

    Strike three – ripping off David Brent as the office unwelcome guest. At least it’s not…

    Strike four – ripping off Michael Scott again. Hey I’ll start a paper company, or just get back with the old one through strongarming them.

    Strike five – apparently you can drive from Scranton to Binghampton, NY in almost no time at all. That or Jim’s wipers really are nitros.

    To quote from Toby in Casino Night “You know is that enough? Should I keep going?”

  26. Not as bad as the last one but it is bad nonetheless.

    More Erin/Andy please. The season is withering after Angry Andy. Still, it is still the best season ever.

  27. I really kinda liked this episode. I liked the cold open. I also enjoyed to see how Dwight and Jim were outsmarting the rival salesman, as well as Andy negotiating with and threatening Robert, and coming to see David Wallace at the end. But I must admit I hate Nellie. She and Robert shouldn’t be on the show forever. I can’t wait to see the season finale next week, it’s gonna be awesome!!!!!

  28. I actually liked this one. The Andy storyline is a retread, but at least there appear to be some real stakes involved. Of course they could have spent the last three weeks actually giving this more depth, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

  29. I loved it. David Wallace is back. Jim & Dwight were working as a team. And Andy was awesome. I’m excited for the finale!

  30. I guess I thought this episode was pretty good. I’ll admit that it could have been executed a bit better, and that parts of it seemed a bit frantic, i.e. going all over the place. But there were sure some funny moments.

  31. The office is just so messy these days :( I’m a massive office fan and will never give up on it but I do hope the writing improves next season, this David Wallace arc could be interesting!

  32. Llyod Gross was a great joke. Seeing Toby acting tough was funny. Great episode. Excited to see David Wallace and seeing Robert California and Nellie leave.

  33. Hurray! David Wallace! A believable CEO who has the intelligence to get rid of the pretenders. The Office has life again. Continuity, yes, but no more retreads in story lines or characters, please. Yep, I think we’re going to make it! Wallace’s presence gives us confidence. Thank you!

  34. It was wonderful to see Andy finally winning while Robert and Nellie crashed and burned. I also always love it when Jim and Dwight are forced by circumstance to pull together and work as a team.

  35. This! was the best Office episode of the season. Half way through, I realized what makes The Office so compelling. It’s the quick hits, the smart, nod-to-the-fan witty comments, and the realization that the ensemble is an ensemble.

    The truth is they could have brought in anyone else to be manager of DM and it would have been great. The mistake was trying to take an ensemble guy and turn him into the main attraction. Andy as a member of the ensemble is a fantastic character. And because the rest of the DM staff isn’t trying to build him up, they are free to be themselves and the results are much better for it.

    Based on this season, this episode was a 9 for me. I loved it.

  36. Loved this episode!….David freakin Wallace? Doesn’t get any better than that. :) Dare I say…I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for Nellie.
    Loved Jim and Dwight! And Andy Bernard is my hero…Go Andy Go Andy…;)

  37. Really enjoyed this one. My favourite line: “Jim, Dwight, what are your last names?” And I like both Robert California and Nellie – you can’t have tension without people who make things tense…

  38. @44 – Yes, noticed Homer (and Krusty, groundskeeper willie, grandpa, etc)!

    I actually didn’t hate this episode as much as the last ones probably because I am crossing my fingers that David Wallace is coming to boot Nellie off this show!

    Yet again, I do not appreciate attempts to try and humanize Nellie. I don’t like her character. She’s not funny, and not at all likeable. Also, I don’t particularly feel bad for a compulsive shopper with credit card debt…

  39. DAVID WALLACE TWICE! Be still my heart.

    I have always liked his character, and I am excited about the idea that he may be back on a more regular (maybe not every episode, but back) basis. I think that this would be a good move on their part to have him come back after having a subpar season.

  40. 33. Robert – You have all valid points why this episode was a lot of recycling of previous office ideas. I particularly disliked the Andy starting his own paper company ala Michael Scott. However, the rest didn’t bother me because Iiked so much about it. Namely:

    Harry – He seemed very “real” and I LOVED his dislike of Robert California and calling him out as the idiot he is. None of the Scranton characters ever vocalized what a pervy creep he is and how he was a terrible boss, but Harry kind of woke them up.

    David Wallace back!

    I love compassionate Pam! She was very sensitive to Nellie and it was sweet, even though I hate the way Nellie has finagled her way into Andy’s job.

    Dwight and Jim and the fake fraudulent salesperson is funny. Although they are risking their jobs and it doesn’t seem consistent with Jim, caps for salesmen commissions is ridiculous and this is just a show.

    I love that we have only one more episode of Robert California.

  41. For the younger fans of the show….I am fairly certain that the CEO of the “mail” company was Dan Castellaneta-voice of Homer Simpson.

  42. Great episode! I’m glad to see David Wallace back and now he can turn the office back into what it was and get rid of Robert and Nellie. Andy was always my favorite character and witty Andy is pretty fun to watch. It’s kind of open ended for Jim and Dwight but I’m tuning in for sure. The writing was really great and the other branch manager was pretty funny.

  43. What are everybody’s thoughts on Nellie after this episode? I enjoy her character more and more each week. She has really developed a lot over the past few episodes and it makes her much easier to relate to.

  44. Personally, I LOVED this episode! Jim and Dwight had some really good chemistry with the competing salesmen. Dwight charging into the building and taking things out of hand as usual was PRICELESS and had me on the floor laughing. I like what Andy did and I think it’s making for some really good plot action. I thought everything about this episode was A-OK!

  45. This episode was HILARIOUS. Nonstop laughs all the way through. Great Dwight / Jim interactions, a more likable Nellie, a fun but not overstated Andy… all good stuff. I loved it. Restored my faith in the show. If the finale is this good I may just keep watching season 9.

  46. Overall, I felt this was one of the better episodes of the season. I look forward to next week’s episode and still have hopes that it will be the series finale – there was a great set up for it at the end of the episode. This is my favorite show EVER but the last 2 seasons have been hard to watch.

  47. @54 – Alan: I understand that you are starting to like Nellie because it appears that the writers are attempting to humanize her a little more. However, I still don’t like the character because I think she is not funny and she still stole a job away from someone. Also, I don’t understand how we should suddenly like her because she went through a breakup and shops too much…I respect the writers’ attempts to make her more likeable, but her stale attempts at humor still make me cringe.

  48. This was a terrific episode and a great mix of awkward, hilarious, uncomfortable and sweet. There were so many interesting story lines going on at once and I am hooked on finding out what happens next! Well written and acted and directed. With an episode like this, I really hope the show comes back next year, and comes back in full force!

  49. I don’t see why they’re trying to write Robert California as a terrible person and a terrible business man all of a sudden. Is it so that we’re alright with his departure at the end of the season?

    Up until the Nellie story-arc he was portrayed as a genius business man who operates in a strange intimidating manner. All of a sudden he’s a dick who will eagerly fire Andy because there is a girl around in his place and is apparently running the company into the ground.

  50. I like the Jim and Dwight duo this episode. Nobody knows that Andy won the client and I can’t wait to see if David and Andy pair up!

  51. I’m actually kind of starting to like Nellie. This may be a crazy thought, and I might get hate for this, but I could see Nellie taking Kelly’s old job, that is if they don’t keep her as manager, and if Mindy is indeed leaving. I just think it would be funny having her as the customer service person.

  52. You know, I’ve defended the show all this season. Now we have an ep where all the commenters seem to love it, but I thought that, while it was good, it had only a few funny moments (Lloyd Gross, for one), and the rest was just… hmph. And why don’t Phyllis and Stanley get a say in this clients debacle? That bugged me.

    And yes, I noticed Dan Castellaneta (aka Homer Simpson) as the big client. It was also nice to have the twist of Andy sweeping the client out from under everyone else while they bickered with each other. For once, the good guy won!

    Overall, though, it’s a filler episode that tries to force itself to be more than that – and it succeeds, but the humor takes a hit. Should set up for a great season finale, though!

  53. Rob Slater (#52) nailed it – businessman WAS Dan Castellaneta… Homer! Once he came on screen, all I could think was “Do Homer’s voice!”

  54. I need that Gabe-Dwight Sleepover pic ASAP! That was awesome! Great episode! I haven’t laughed so hard that I was literally laughing out loud at a new episode of The Office in a long time, but this week’s episode was hilarious! “Jim couldn’t land me in a thousand years.” “But you’re saying there’s a chance?” Bahahahaha!

  55. (BTW, I’m not Dwigt from 46, just another guy who’s always used the same name here)

    Nellie simply doesn’t work within the show. She’s obnoxious, and instead of giving her any redeeming feature, the writers have decided to spoon feed us early on with large chunks of backstory (the nasty break-up, her desire for adoption) to explain that she’s miserable. But this pain is just an excuse here to allow her to be outlandish, the backstory seldom connects with what she does on screen.

    They did the same mistake with Andy in “Garden Party”. Before that, we had allusions peppered over several seasons, but they had to show the whole family to explain his personality. Fortunately, we had enjoyed Andy even without that, while they seem unable to make Nellie likable without playing the pity card. They desperately try to shoehorn her in the show.

  56. Wow, was this a great episode! There were so many great parts, it’s too many to list. One of the best this season.

  57. Andy isn’t starting his own paper company. He’s buying Dunder Mifflin with David’s money. I knew that David’s revelation to Andy about the 20M was going to matter at some point! Stealing DM’s Binghamton client was a leverage move, and Robert didn’t go for it (“I’m the f***ing lizard king”…wow). It kind of feels like Andy is conjuring a hostile takeover. It’s all about him getting revenge on Robert and Nellie now.

  58. @MattMartin I totally agree…where did this character come from. Paul Lieberstein might have said Spader wanted to only do one year, but it looks as though they were surprised he wanted out. The character has done a 180 degree turn since it was announced Spader would be leaving the show.

    The new Robert California was hysterical this evening; he had a lot of really good lines in this episode, plus I liked his interactions with the other characters.

  59. David Wallace! <3 I loved this one.
    It probably won't happen, but I think he would make a great manager… At first Michael was the wacky outgoing character to the rest of the office's straight-man. Now that every character has gotten inevitably wackier, it would make for great comedy to have a straight-man in the manager's position. Either that, or somehow revert the situations back to being more subtle, which may be more difficult at this point. Although, David Wallace works perfectly as a supporting character. Whatever happens, based on this episode I am excited for next season.

  60. @62: Isn’t the idea sort of that Robert California has gone off the rails since his wife left him? He seems to have been getting worse ever since that storyline–sort of like a prolonged break down, as evidenced by his one-man saturnalia when his divorce was finalized.

  61. After plenty of thought, I can comfortably say that this episode was the best of all episodes in Season 8. The salesmen battle between Jim/Dwight and that other guy was funny and I love the Andy and David Wallace stuff.

  62. Does Robert California blame Andy for the breakdown of his marriage? I re-watched Mrs California earlier and it seems quite probable.

  63. Solid episode! My two favorite moments were:

    1) Erin’s reaction to Robert vomiting into the waste basket.

    2) Robert’s line…”I am the f*c%ing Lizard King.”

    Lieberstein and Sullivan must be Doors fans!

  64. One of the best episodes of the past few seasons.
    Makes me even sadder that it is potentially coming to an end.

  65. Frank Sobotka! It’s been driving me crazy and I just rewatched this fine episode and finally remembered who he is! Harry is Frank Sobotka! (Well, Chris Bauer playing Harry also played Frank Sobotka). This was probably mentioned many times in other comments but I was so excited to pull it together. What a great actor — and he sure cleans up well from the docks to the Office! :) How many Wire guest stars/cameos are we up to now?

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