How the Turntables - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you talking with a friend about how their gaming skill is now better than yours? If that’s the case, you could get a laugh out of them by saying, “My, how the turntables.”

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the origin and meaning of this idiomatic expression and how to use it in conversation.

How the Turntables Meaning

If you’re using the phrase, “how the turntables,” you’re probably a fan of the American version of the hit TV show, “The Office.” “How the turntables” is a mispronunciation of the phrase, “how the tables have turned.”

Essentially, it means that the situation has changed from being in someone else’s favor to being in favor of your position. It’s a somewhat ironic statement to tell people, but you wouldn’t use it in professional settings because it would make you look like an idiot.

Typically, the change of circumstances or the reversal of fortunes will happen between you and someone you know or in a social situation where you’re trying to make others laugh. The Office is a popular show, and many people will have watched the episode where the character makes this mistake.

If someone tells you “how the turntables,” it means that they are now in the winning position, and you are the loser.

How the Turntables Example Usage

“So, you realized that those people were conning you, my, how the turntables.”

“There was a time when you had better player scores than me, how the turntables.”


Chris: “Darn Jack, I thought I was going to beat you in the monthly sales figures; I was well ahead at the beginning of the month.”

Jack: “My how the turntables. I told you, all it takes is one big customer to change your month.”

How the Turntables Origin

How the turntables” is a mispronunciation of the phrase, “how the tables have turned.” The use of the phrase first appears in the smash-hit TV series, “The Office.” The term appears in 2009 during the 23rd episode of the fifth season of the American version of the series.

During the episode, the character, Michael Scott, uses the word. Michael is a blundering idiot in the series, and he’s the office manager. Michael would steal clients from the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, causing the organization to buy its competitor or face bankruptcy.

During a meeting, the corporate bigwigs appear in a position of weakness after previously ridiculing Michael.

When Michael appears at the management meeting for the acquisition, he says the phrase, “how the turntables,” instead of the grammatically correct, “how the tables have turned.” Bering that Michael is somewhat of an idiot, there is an awkward pause before the meeting begins.

Phrases Similar to How the Turntables

  • How the tables have turned.
  • What goes around comes around.

Phrases Opposite to How the Turntables

  • Nothing changes.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • How the turntables.

Ways People May Say How the Turntables Incorrectly

The phrase is grammatically incorrect. Therefore, you should only use it when you’re around people that watched “The Office.” Using it around people that have never seen the show may cause them to think that you don’t have a good command of the English language.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase How the Turntables

You can use the phrase “how the turntables” in lighthearted conversation, social media, and chat. Typically, you’ll be using the phrase with friends because it is grammatically incorrect. You’ll also be using the phrase in the presence of other people that watched “The Office,” and they’ll likely crack up at your use of the phrase.

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