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Here's How Jim Saved Dwight On The Office

When The Office debuted on NBC in 2005, salesmen Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) hardly seemed destined for enduring friendship. Shackled together by a shared workspace, their relationship seems more antagonistic than anything at first. While nitpicking stickler Dwight launches numerous attacks on the more laid-back Jim and his career, Jim fights back through creative pranks — like setting Dwight's stapler in a Jell-O mold and dressing as his identical twin.

In the early days, it seemed likely Dwight's head would eventually explode and that would be the end of it. But their relationship endures and their bond grows deeper over the series' nine seasons. In season 3, Dwight uses pepper spray against Roy to save Jim from a physical attack. And in season 4, we see Jim comfort a heartbroken Dwight in the stairwell, even opening up about his own feelings about Pam (Jenna Fischer).

When it really matters, Jim and Dwight have each other's backs. And the stakes are never higher than in season 8 when Robert California (James Spader) takes control. Initially hired as regional manager of the Scranton branch, he immediately becomes CEO of Dunder Mifflin Sabre. Robert wields a great deal of power over his employees, starting his tenure with a list that divides them and eventually deciding to fire Dwight.

Can a tenuous friendship possibly save Dwight? Here's how it all went down.

Dwight's big win was also his downfall

The Office's first season (season 8) without central character Michael Scott (Steve Carell) demanded new management play a large role in the plot points. When Robert California becomes CEO, Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) rises to the position of regional manager. As the season progresses, Andy incentivizes his staff by promising to tattoo his buttocks (and following through), throwing an ill-fated office party at Schrute Farm, and securing a job for Robert's wife against the CEO's wishes.

Meanwhile, Robert makes waves by insisting on higher sales quotas; crashing Andy, Kevin, and Darryl's band rehearsal; and finding entirely too much meaning in Kevin's ideas for using vending machines to grow the business. Of course, we continue to watch Pam and Jim's relationship unfold (they're on their way to having their second baby), and there's no shortage of pranks from Jim and Dwight.

By episode 11, however, Dwight is determined to land a management position. Robert's easy dismissal of his ambition foreshadows more career drama to come. In episode 15, Dwight finds himself pitted against the grating and ever-inappropriate Todd Packer (David Koechner), as both compete to become Sabre's new vice president, while simultaneously battling a severe case of appendicitis. After Dwight's successful surgery, the competition continues, though by now it's more about winning the heart of Sabre president Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) than anyone's professional aspirations.

Still, it feels like victory for Dwight when he defeats Packer and wins the position. He has no idea Robert has his own plans for Sabre's future.

Jim's job wasn't easy, but he made it work

In episode 18, "Last Day in Florida," Dwight, Jim, and Robert celebrate Dwight's new position on the golf course. But it turns out Robert isn't fully invested in the festivities. He tells Jim he's going to nix the project Dwight is on — and also that Sabre's vice president is going to take the fall.

Dwight's a difficult character, but to Jim's credit, he does everything he can for the guy. Jim tries to convince Dwight he shouldn't attend a meeting with Robert — where he'll surely be fired. When Dwight responds with insults and disbelief (they do have a history of pranking each other, after all), Jim doesn't give up. He even wrestles him in a brutal match to prevent him from going into the conference room. And with that extra step, Jim saves Dwight from losing his job.

While all of this is going on, someone has to fill in as vice president at the meeting. With trademark off-color charm, Todd Packer convinces Nellie to let him take Dwight's place. At the edge of the room, Dwight overhears everything as Robert fires Sabre's vice president — Packer.

Realizing what's just gone down, Dwight thanks Jim with a silent handshake. After this milestone moment, their relationship will never be the same.