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"Turf War" is the twenty-third episode of the eighth season of the American television comedy series The Office and is the show's 175th overall. It was directed by Daniel Chun and written by Warren Lieberstein and Halsted Sullivan. It originally aired May 3, 2012 on NBC. It was viewed by 4.44 million people.

Synopsis

Dwight and Jim are on a sales hot streak due to the recent closing of the Binghamton branch, which left all of their clients up for the taking. Andy comes in to return Erin's socks, which she left at his place. Andy decides to stay and make a special dish of his and talk to Erin however Erin tells Andy of a new rule that Robert has set in place where visitors must sign in and wear name tags. Andy becomes annoyed by this and becomes even more confused upon learning that Robert closed the Binghamton branch, as they were doing fine. Robert comes in with sunglasses and insists that everyone be quiet before he pukes next to Jim and Dwight's desks. He admits that now that he and his wife's divorce is final he opened a crate of alcohol and got drunk last night. When Oscar confronts him on why Robert closed the Binghamton branch, Robert reveals to the camera that he has no memory of ever wanting to shut down the branch and that he had done it last night while drunk.

A salesman from the Syracuse branch, Harry Jannerone, comes in demanding to speak to Jim and Dwight. He is angry that they're targeting clients from the Binghamton branch as they are in New York state and therefore should be Syracuse's clients. He also demands to speak to Lloyd Gross. Jim and Dwight reveal that Lloyd Gross is a fictional salesman that they made up in order to make more money due to the sales staff having commission caps. They enlist Toby to play him. Toby tries to play a no-nonsense guy, but Harry ends up scaring him off. They eventually decide to let Robert decide who should get the clients.

Nellie comes up to Robert and tells him that she received his voice mail and then proceeds to answer several questions he asked in that voicemail. Robert, who had been completely drunk, has no memory of that message and enlists Pam to help him figure out what the message said.

Jim, Dwight, and Harry approach Robert and ask who should get Prestige Direct Mailing Solutions, a large junk mail company that was Binghamton's largest client. Robert is more focused on learning what message he left on Nellie's phone, and he instructs the salesmen to avoid contacting any of Binghamton's former clients while he decides how they should be divided. Andy overhears Robert's decision and immediately runs out to his car. Shortly thereafter, Harry sneaks out to his car, followed by Jim and Dwight.

Andy is the first to reach Prestige and secure a meeting with their CEO. He makes an awkward yet effective sales pitch as "Big Red Paper Company".

Pam tries to engage in conversation with Nellie and figure out what Robert's voicemail said, but Angela arrives and ruins Pam's plans. Angela reveals that Robert sent her in case Pam should fail. Gabe also comes in causing it to be even harder for Pam to get the information from Nellie.

Jim and Dwight manage to get to the building before Harry, and Dwight latches the doors closed with his belt, causing his pants to keep falling down. Harry manages to get into the building. They all race towards the client's office only to learn that he has already picked Big Red Paper Company as his new supplier.

Pam ends up stealing Nellie's phone and she and Robert go through the messages and learn several secrets about Nellie such as she is a shopaholic, and she has failed to adopt a child. Pam feels guilty and deletes the messages.

Pam goes to Nellie's office and the two share what appears to be the start of a friendship.

Andy tries to convince Robert to rehire him because he just stole Robert's biggest client, but Robert declines harshly and warns Andy of a street fight. Andy then turns to David Wallace, to whom Andy suggests buying Dunder Mifflin; Wallace is skeptical, noting that the company has lost half its value over the last three years, but Andy seeks to turn this into a positive, countering that this consequence of Robert's mismanagement rendered it a bargain with significant upside.

Jim, Dwight, and Harry all sit outside the client's office and drink some coffee. Harry predicts that Robert is going to run Dunder Mifflin into the ground within six months, leading to nervousness from Jim and Dwight.

Connections to previous episodes

  • Robert calls Andy an "ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft-penised debutante", referring to Andy's Ivy League background and erectile dysfunction from the episode Angry Andy.
  • Jim mentions his dream of owning a bike shop again (Lotto).

Amusing details and trivia

  • Dan Castellaneta voices Homer Simpson and many other characters on The Simpsons.
  • When Robert California mentions "Colombian whites" (referring to cocaine) the camera shows Ryan nodding next to Creed, two characters who have a history with drugs.
  • Dwight's pants fall down because he uses his belt to tie the door shut.

Trivia

  • Actor Chris Bauer is the third major actor from The Wire to appear on The Office. He played Frank Sobotka.

Cultural references

  • A "turf war" is a dispute, usually between criminal groups like gangs, over who has control over a particular area.
  • Robert says he "got into a case of Australian reds and Colombian whites." The first half of the sentence refers to red wine from Australia, and the pattern would imply that the second half refers to white wine from Colombia. However, his "how should I say this" indicates that he's really referring to something else, namely cocaine.
  • In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that translates as "in wine (there is the) truth". The saying means "A person under the influence of alcohol will reveal their true feelings."
  • Toby refers to Harry as "Kemo Sabe" (from The Lone Ranger).
  • Dwight tells Jim to "hit the NOS!" and Jim replies, "Like in Fast and Furious?" "Hit the NOS" is a catch phrase from the movie franchise, referring to nitrous oxide, a chemical which boosts the oxygen intake of the car engine.
  • Andy says that his wireless password is "Eat Pray Love".
  • Robert compares shaping a company to training a geisha and claims he trained as one.
  • A hula skirt is grass skirt from Polynesia or Hawaii.
  • Andy's paper company is named Big Red Paper Company, referring to the name and mascot of Cornell University's sports teams.
  • When Robert excitedly says, "Excellent, excellent", he sounds like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

  • Chris Bauer as Harry Jannerone
  • Dan Castellaneta as Mr. Ramish (CEO of Prestige Direct Sale Solutions)
  • Aimee Shyn as Receptionist
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