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Revisiting James Spader's Legendary Character From The Office: Robert California
As one of The Office's greatest guest stars, Spader is a scene-stealer as Robert California.
While there is no shortage of memorable characters in The Office, who could possibly forget James Spader as Robert California?
Like Spader's character on The Blacklist, Robert is a mysterious force to be reckoned with, never afraid to stand out among his Scranton colleagues. He doesn't work out weekly; he instead has a monthly wrestling match. He refers to Sesame Street as simply, "The Street." He goes by many names: Bob Kazamakis, R.C., the Lizard King. But most know him by his main alias, Robert California.
The larger-than-life CEO of the Scranton branch and all-around anomaly made his way into The Office during the series' later seasons but became a fan favorite fast. What began as a one-off guest appearance quickly turned into a recurring character, with Robert's Reddington-like monologues and manipulative schemes earning Spader a guest spot in Season 8. And fans are lucky he did, because Spader is easily one the best Office guest stars of all time.
Robert is an endless mystery, which made him a comedic delight for all Office fans. Check out the top five episodes of The Office where Robert California radiated ridiculous hilarity.
Season 7, Episodes 23 & 24 - "Search Committee"
Robert California makes his first appearance in the two-part Season 7 finale when the former oil-rig salesman stopped by the office to be interviewed by Jim for Michael's former position. While interviewing for the role, Robert tells Jim and the Scranton hiring board that there is no difference between "someone wanting to purchase a $100 worth of paper or $100 million worth of deep sea drilling equipment." At the end of the day, Robert believes there is no such thing as products, his universal truth is that "everything.... is sex." And Spader weaves this monologue in such a compelling way that the employees agree, and Jim claims Robert is a genius despite creeping them out.
Robert sabotages a fellow candidate in the lobby (Ray Romano), running into Dwight in the process. Dwight questioned Robert's knowledge about paper, and Robert responds by claiming he learned how paper is manufactured by watching an episode of Sesame Street. As Robert leaves the office feeling confident with his odds, Office fans instantly fell in love with his fanciful monologues and ridiculously manipulative behavior.
Season 8, Episode 1 - "The List"
In the Season 8 premiere, it is revealed that Robert landed a position as the Scranton branch manager but somehow managed to drive to Florida and convince the CEO to give him her job. This leads Andy, the second choice, to be chosen for the managing position. After Jim notices Robert conversing with different coworkers, they realize Robert has split up the office between the "winners" and "losers" and has a list to help keep track. Robert tells the employees, "Winners: prove me right; losers: prove me wrong." Andy sets the record straight for his coworkers, and slowly Robert starts to respect the Scranton branch.
Season 8, Episode 9 - "Mrs. California"
Robert has been married three times, with his third marriage collapsing in "Mrs. California," when we meet his wife Susan. After Susan gets a job in Scranton's accounting department, Robert becomes enraged, projecting his anger onto Andy. Andy then concocts a plan to get his coworkers to bully and ridicule Susan to convince her to quit. But this is Robert Calfornia's wife, after all, so she catches on pretty quickly.
Season 8, Episode 12 - "Pool Party"
In response to his pending divorce from Susan, Robert decides to sell his mansion and throw an office pool party as the perfect send-off. Robert's tour of his home is hilariously dark as he reminisces about the parties he never had, leading him to an epiphany that he must enjoy the pool party happening now. As a result, Robert strips naked and jumps into his pool, and Ryan and Gabe quickly follow. If you love watching Spader play a drunken millionaire, this episode is comedy gold.
Season 8, Episode 23 - "Turf War"
Ah yes, the episode that brought us this fantastic quote a-la Robert California: "I will not be blackmailed by some ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft-penised debutante. You wanna start a street fight with me, bring it on. You’re gonna be surprised by how ugly it gets. You don't even know my real name. I'm the f---ing Lizard King." After he is wrongfully fired by Robert, Andy gains some leverage by securing one of Robert's largest clients. Andy offers to give the client back as long as Robert rehires, and Robert takes it poorly. By the end of Season 8, Robert is revealed as a fraud as he abandoned his post to pursue alternative ventures outside of Scranton. But make no mistake: No one forgets Robert California.
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