"I will not be blackmailed by some ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft-penised debutante. You want to start a street fight with me? Bring it on. You're going to be surprised by how ugly it gets. You don't even know my real name. I'm the fucking Lizard King"
- Robert, after Andy tries to blackmail him in giving him his job backRobert California, also known as Bob Kazamakis, is a character in the NBC sitcom The Office. He is played by James Spader.
In season eight, he is selected to replace Michael Scott as Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, however, he convinces Jo Bennett to make him CEO of Sabre. In the season eight finale, he leaves the company after David Wallace purchases Dunder Mifflin.
Robert California is the former CEO of Dunder Mifflin/Sabre. An enigmatic individual, he was often inspiring, and intimidating, to the staff in the Scranton branch office, especially so to Regional Manager, Andy Bernard.
Robert has been married three times, and his third wife, Susan, leaves him after the events of "Mrs. California." Robert also has a young son named Bert, but is unknown if Susan was his mother.
In "Turf War", it is revealed that "Robert California" isn't his real name, and in the following episode, he introduces himself to David Wallace as "Bob Kazamakis", although it unknown if "Kazamakis" is his real surname or just another alias.
Robert manipulates situations around his a duplicitous manner, most notably seen in "Last Day in Florida", where he tells Jim Halpert that opening a new Sabre store was a poor concept, and that he only did it because Jo Bennett told him to, but in a meeting, pretends that the store was a great idea, and uses newly appointed Vice President Todd Packer a scapegoat for the store's failure, stating Packer executed it poorly.
Robert has a fascination with the children's show Sesame Street (referring to it as "The Street"). In "Garden Party", he reveals he's become acclaimed to Southern Italy, despite the fact he never been there. He also dislikes The Black Eyed Peas, stating "It's rock and roll for people who don't like rock and roll; it's rap for people who don't like rap; it's pop for people who don't like pop".
Upon meeting her in "Last Day in Florida", Robert develops an attraction towards Nellie Bertram, and as such, allows her to get away with her irrational and unprofessional behavior. While she would often imply to him that she was attracted to him, in "Turf War", this is revealed to be nothing more than a mere manipulation tactic, as she reveals to Pam that she is, in fact, repulsed by Robert.
Throughout his appearances, Robert has been shown to have an innumerable amount of unhealthily salacious appetites and beliefs (once proclaiming that "Everything... is sex" – even calling this opinion of his a "universal truth"). He has displayed a need for intercourse regularly, as shown in "Christmas Wishes", when he becomes depressed after being deprived of it for only ten days. On more than one occasion, Robert has attempted to convince the staff to engage in group sex with him; in the episode "Pool Party", after he becomes inebriated when they are visiting his home, he tries to start an orgy, and in a deleted scene from "Free Family Portrait Studio", asks Jim and Pam if they would like to have a threesome with him. It is hinted in many episodes that Robert is bisexual, most notably in the season eight finale, where he drinks an energy drink for Asian homosexuals (and complaining about the coconut taste in the "Coconut Penis" flavor), and by bidding Andy farewell by kissing him.
Seasons 7 - 8
Robert first appeared in the seventh season finale, "Search Committee", as an interviewee for the Scranton branch Manager position. While his intense personality disturbs the search committee, after he departs from the interview, Jim admits that, while Robert "creeps [him] out", he believes he might be a genius. Soon afterwards, he stops by Dwight's Caffeine Corner in the lobby, and attempts to sabotage Merv Bronte (Ray Romano), who is on his way up for his interview, by telling him that the office staff act as if they were imprisoned. When Dwight questions Robert why he feels he is qualified to judge a place after a mere interview, he studies Dwight for a moment. Dwight commands him to stop, but Robert states that he has already "figured [him] out". Dwight then asks him if he knows anything about paper, to which Robert responds to by saying he watched an episode of how paper is manufactured on Sesame Street. Dwight, disgusted by him, orders him to leave.
Later, in a talking-head interview held in the parking lot, Robert informs the documentary film crew that he is confident that he will be offered the job, as it is a call he has received many times.
In the season 8 premiere, "The List", it is revealed that Robert was hired as the branch manager over the summer. But, after one look at his new workplace environment, he quickly drives to Florida and convinces Sabre CEO Jo Bennett to give him her job. Once CEO himself, he appoints Andy Bernard as the Regional Manager. Jim notes that when Robert visits the office, he spends half of his time working out of the conference room, and occasionally ventures out and wanders around, randomly choosing employees to have conversations with, an experience that Jim describes as simultaneously terrifying and highly desirable. Robert makes a list of the all the workers in the office, dividing them between perceived "Winners" and "Losers"; after finishing the list, he takes the winners out to lunch. When confronted about the list, after he and the winners return, he states that those are his impressions, and they could change, challenging the office with: "winners: prove me right; losers: prove me wrong". Andy later imposes on Robert and makes up a new list, perceiving Robert's losers as Andy's winners, and it appears that Robert respects him for it.
During "The Incentive", Andy tries to get on Robert's good side by picking out a tie that he thinks will impress him. Robert challenges Andy to get the branch to double their sales with a motivational speech. Upon why he chose Andy for the job, he says of Andy that he is "all surface...uncomplicated, what you see is what you get" and that causes people to rally behind him, because he is an underdog. Robert later says, even if it's an underdog to unexceptional people. He also detects that Erin is attracted to Andy and tells Andy that he's aware of it, before saying he's already lost interest in that little tidbit of information.
Andy organizes a garden party at Schrute Farms during "Garden Party", to impress him. When California arrives, various employees make attempts to make a good impression, most notably Ryan and Gabe, who offer him their jackets. California also discusses the possibility of holding his birthday party at Schrute Farms, with Dwight.
In "Spooked", Robert brings his young son, Bert, to the office Halloween party. Throughout the episode, Robert attempts to figure out everyone's deepest fears, in order to tell a ghost story that simultaneously frightens the entire office, itself a conscious effort to prevent the staff from allowing fear to run their lives
During "Doomsday", Robert is unhappy after discovering that an accounting error allowed a billed order to go to a client for free. He orders Andy to correct the error and Andy turns to Dwight, who uses a system nicknamed "The Doomsday Device". The device will count the number of errors made in the office and will generate an email report to Robert. Dwight also reveals several e-mails that are unflattering of Robert, including Jim, Oscar and Kelly that all discuss his odd and intense personality. When the staff initiates an error e-mail report to Robert, Andy tasks Jim with intercepting him at his squash session. The ploy is successful, particularly when Dwight decides to stop sending the report after a crisis of conscience. However, Jim plays quite poorly against California, who is particularly skilled at the game.
In "Pam's Replacement", he joins Andy, Darryl and Kevin's band with a surprising talent for the harmonica, but it gradually appears that when his musically talented friends come to play, the original trio are phased out.
When Andy takes much of the staff to visit Gettysburg, Robert is elated to see those who stayed behind and calls them the "free thinkers". He then has a staff meeting where they will present all their best ideas. While he shoots down many of the ideas, Robert takes a shine to Kevin's cookie idea with the vending machine. Although he perceives Kevin's simple ideas as metaphors, he eventually realizes that Kevin is speaking literally.
In the episode "Mrs. California," Robert's wife, Susan comes to the office looking for a job, something he does not want, although he pretends to help her out. Andy ends up giving her a job with accounting, enraging Robert. Andy then gets the staff to be mean to her to urge her to quit. She catches on and confronts Andy and her husband. Susan later asks Jim if Robert didn't want her working in the office. Though he does not answer, Jim says he loves working with his wife, Pam. Andy and Jim then leave the conference room as Robert and Susan sit and talk afterward. The episode ends with Susan talking to Andy later and asking him on a date.
During "Christmas Wishes", it is revealed that Robert's marriage is ending in divorce, prompting him to become quite despondent and lonely. He arrives at the branch Christmas party in a track suit, despite wearing his normal dark blazer with hopes of being cheered up by the party, after the Sabre party is a bland affair. California becomes a bartender for the party and notices early on, that Erin is visibly unhappy over Andy's new girlfriend. He assigns Oscar to take over and ends up comforting Erin, who ended up intoxicated and arguing with Andy. Robert drives her home, hugs her and gives her advice on how to cure her hangover, much to the relief of Andy who trails them in Meredith's car as her designated driver.
In "Trivia", Dwight travels to Florida to meet with Robert for an interview over a potential manager position. However, a two-faced Robert says he now can't meet with Dwight and will have him meet with another executive. Robert secretly calls Gabe to tell Dwight that the executive can't meet him either, and to have Gabe listen to Dwight's proposal as a manager before rejecting it. Frustrated, Dwight manages to force Gabe into directing him toward Robert's condo and calling him out. When Dwight finally meets with him, it is revealed that the CEO has a hired wrestling partner once a month as a form of exercise, a task that he performs in his apartment before Gabe and Dwight. When they later discuss Dwight's proposal, he attempts to put Dwight down easily by offering him his grandfather's war medal in lieu of a manager's position. Dwight initially seems taken before snapping out of it, and telling Robert that he came for an interview, "Not a flea market". California is then prompted to tell Dwight that he's better as a salesman than he is a Manager, but when and if something comes up, he will let Dwight try it out. Dwight seems pleased with this, before Robert says "Get the hell out of my house".
In "Special Project", while he is not seen, he texts Jim, inviting him on the trip to Tallahassee. Jim and Pam attempt to respectfully reject his offer, by informing him that, as a father of two infant children, Jim should remain in Scranton. However, Robert responds to this by texting back "LOL" (Laugh Out Loud). Jim and Pam eventually agree that Jim should just go.
Robert appears in "Last Day in Florida", accompanying Dwight, Jim, and Nellie Bertram on a golf outing celebrating Dwight's new Vice President position. After playing, Robert stuns Jim by revealing that he dislikes the business plan for the Sabre store, and that he had only approved of it because Jo Bennett wanted it. But with the knowledge that Sabre products are inferior and will illuminate the fact that the store is a failure, he plans to sandbag it at a high-level meeting of the Sabre company board, and also strongly hints that, despite liking Dwight, he is going to fire him over it. Later, after Jim stops Dwight from attending the meeting, Nellie appoints Todd as Vice President in his place. During the meeting, Robert chastises Packer for the failure of the store, pretending that the Sabre store itself was a great concept, but that Packer botched in execution. While Packer protests that he has only been Vice President for half an hour, and that Dwight is to blame, Robert commends Dwight for being smart enough not to show up at the meeting, and terminates Packer. Robert and Nellie's interactions also hint that the two might be attracted to one another.
In "Get the Girl", to the employees' surprise, Robert allows Nellie to have a job at the Scranton branch. Despite the fact that Andy is already employed as Regional Manager, Nellie declares herself the new Manager and takes over the position. However, Robert is unable to stand up to her, and instead takes on a detached Darwinian view of her antics.
In "Welcome Party", Robert forces the office to throw a welcome party for Nellie, and, throughout the episode, he makes very obvious attempts to make a good impression on her.
In "Angry Andy", Andy enlists Robert to give him his job back from Nellie by claiming it was an interim position for her. Nellie refuses, but manipulates Robert by flirtatiously hinting that she is attracted to him. Robert then stays detached from their conflict until Andy has an anger outburst, in which he throws his chair at Robert and then punches his hand through the wall over Nellie stealing his job. Robert then chooses Nellie as the branch Manager and demotes Andy to a position that they will create for him. When he tells Andy and Erin this, Andy calmly says "no", to which Robert replies that he will fire Andy if he keeps saying "no", and asks if he has anything else to say. Andy replies "no", and Robert fires him.
In "Fundraiser", Angela's husband, the State Senator Robert Lipton, hosts a silent auction fundraiser for aging dogs. Robert purchases two tables so the Scranton branch can attend, of which Erin brings Andy with her. This leads to an awkward situation when Andy, in an emotional crisis, causes an argument with Robert. Robert in turn, politely makes an offer to treat Andy and Erin out for their own romantic dinner. When Andy rejects it, Robert tells Andy that he should leave. As he is about to make a speech at the fundraiser, Andy interrupts his former boss and volunteers to adopt the 12 dogs brought by the animal activists.
In "Turf War", while celebrating the finalization of his divorce, Robert drunkenly shuts down the Binghamton branch in Binghamton. Meanwhile, Andy decides to land an important client as a "rogue" and jumpstart his Dunder Mifflin comeback by using his success as leverage with Robert. After Nellie reveals to Robert that he sent her a sexually suggestive voicemail, Robert tasks Pam to find out what the voicemail entailed. Pam manages to steal her cellphone, however, as Robert goes through Nellie's messages, Pam relents and tells Robert that she will not help him anymore. The two struggle over the phone, but Pam manages to delete the messages before Robert can hear his voicemail. Later, Andy calls Robert, after having stolen his largest client, and offers him the client back if Robert will rehire him. Robert is furious with his former employee's attempt at blackmail, and tells Andy that he does not even know his real name, proclaiming that he is "The fucking lizard king". At the end of the episode, when Jim and Dwight talk with Harry Jannerone, an employee from the Syracuse branch, Jannerone predicts that Robert will ruin the company within six months.
In "Free Family Portrait Studio", Robert is surprised when he learns that David Wallace is purchasing Dunder Mifflin. He then quickly introduces himself to David as "Bob Kazamakis", and offers to brief him on the company. After talking with him in the conference room, David announces that Robert is leaving, but that he will be working on an important new charity: seeing college-aged girls (particularly gymnasts) in developing countries on their paths through to college. Wallace also mentions that he has donated one million dollars in matching funds for Robert's three-year-long mission. Robert then bids his Andy goodbye, kisses him on the mouth, and states that "It's been a great year".