Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Cable Guy (1996)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Cable Guy (1996)

In director Ben Stiller's satirical black (or dark) comedy, it told about an intrusive, obnoxious, semi-pathological, disgruntled and annoying cable installer ("The Cable Guy") who stalked his customers; he admitted that he used his job to find friends: "That's why I became a cable guy. To make friends like you. Every time I walk up to a new door, that door is a possibility for friendship":

  • one of his cable customers, heartbroken architect Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick), had recently experienced a failed marriage proposal with his girlfriend Robin (Leslie Mann) (an employee at Sassy Magazine), and was forced to move into a new apartment during a "trial separation"

The Cable Guy (Jim Carrey)

Cable Customer Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick)

"You mean illegal cable?"

"I'll juice you up!"
  • Steven ordered cable TV services for his new apartment and met clingy and needy cable guy Ernie "Chip" Douglas (Jim Carrey), who arrived and joked: "You might want to put on a bathing suit. You'll be channel surfing in no time"; Steve asked if a $50 dollar bribe would get him hooked up to free movie channels, and was asked ominously: "You mean illegal cable?...You're offering me a bribe. What you have just done is illegal and in this state, if convicted, you could be fined up to $5,000 or spend six months in a correction facility!", but then he burst out laughing: ("I'm just jerkin' your chain! Ha ha ha") and offered the deal for free (Chip: "I'll juice you up") - essentially in exchange for an abusive friendship ("Consider it one guy doing another guy a solid")
  • the next day, the cheating cable customer Steven was coerced - as one of Chip's "preferred customers," to visit the city's cable company satellite dish, where Chip espoused the benefits of cable TV while they looked up at the night sky: "The future is now! Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel, or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam. There's no end to the possibilities!"; he also confided how his neglectful and abusive single-mother was frequently absent and how he was raised by television: ("When I was a kid my mom worked nights. Never met dad. But the old TV was always there for me")
  • throughout the remainder of the film, the vengeful Chip engaged in a never-ending assault to interfere with and ruin Steven's romantic life, by stalking him, and manipulating his relationship with his estranged girlfriend Robin
  • an aggressive Chip wrecked Steven's pick-up, full-court, shirts-and-skins basketball game with his friends, beginning with an endless non-sensical warm-up sequence, and afterwards assaulted Steven with multiple, annoying phone messages on his answering machine: ("We're having ourselves quite a little game of phone tag here. You're it"); when Steven ignored Chip's calls, Chip vengefully sabotaged Steven's cable connection (curtailing Steven's movie-night with Robin to watch Sleepless in Seattle), and then when summoned to fix the problem, Chip arrived with the severed cable wire in his hand and blackmailed Steven into "hanging out" with him the next evening in exchange for restoring the signal
  • Chip took Steven to the "finest restaurant in town" -- a "Medieval Times" dinner theatre -- where they wore paper crowns and dined while watching knights in mock battle; the two were waited upon by "serving wench Melinda" (Janeane Garafolo) wearing a period costume; Chip ordered for them: "Dos thus have thou a mug of ale for me and me mate; he has been pitched in battle for a fortnight and has the king's thirst for the frosty brew dos thou might have for thus!"; when she returned to the table, Steven asked for a knife and fork, but was denied: ("There weren't any utensils in medieval times. Hence, there are no utensils at Medieval Times. Would you like a refill on that Pepsi?"); he wondered about the incongruities: "There were no utensils but there was Pepsi?" - she rebuked him: "Dude, I got a lot of tables"; in one of Chip's many references to TV shows and movies, he pretended to be Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs (1991) by placing pieces of chicken skin on his face: "Hello Clarice, it's good to see you again"
  • the two of them - armor-clad "noblemen" from the audience - were called upon to "battle to the death to resolve a grievance" in the arena with swords and other medieval weapons, and with a jousting competition; Chip admitted that he had bribed the knights (with free cable) in order to call them to battle
  • shortly later, Chip had secretly broken into Steven's apartment to update his home entertainment theater system; he had installed a 65 inch big screen television set (with massive speakers), a laser disc player, a deluxe karaoke machine, stereo and CD player; Steven declined the gift, but it couldn't be returned for a few days, and Chip proposed a karaoke party ("It sure would be a pity to leave that karaoke machine a virgin"); during a karaoke party (with other misfit 'preferred customers' of Chips) before the system could be returned, Chip crossed the line by hiring a stunning looking prostitute ("working girl") named Heather (Misa Koprova) to have sex with Steven; he urged Steven to take advantage of the situation ("I'd strike while the iron is hot. He who hesitates, masturbates, know what I'm saying?"); while they were passionately kissing in Steven's bedroom, Chip burst in and took a flash picture of them with a Polaroid Instamatic camera - to use for future blackmail purposes
  • the next morning during a breakfast of bacon and eggs prepared by Chip, admitted openly to Steven: "It was my treat!" - and then explained that he had bought Heather for Steven's sexual pleasure ("I bought this time. You buy next time... Don't let your eggs get cold...You think a woman like that would hang out with us if we weren't paying her?"); Steven was extremely upset ("Just get out. I don't ever want to see you again. Robin is never going to forgive me!"), but so was Chip: "Everything was going so well. Why are you doing this, Steven? I made you breakfast, and we were eating and - scramby eggs, and..."
  • meanwhile, Chip's manipulative vengefulness to "set up" Steven continued: (1) in a restaurant bathroom, Chip (with a mustache disguise as the attendant) assaulted and beat up Ray (Owen Wilson), Robin's date, and warned: "Stay away from Robin. She's taken"; (2) Chip upgraded Robin's cable system and told her Steven ("a secret admirer") had paid for it; Steven even took credit for ordering the upgrade; (3) Chip phoned police to report Steven's possession of stolen merchandise (the large home system), resulting in Steven's arrest and temporary detention in the county jail; while antagonizing Steven during a visit disguised as his lawyer, Chip explained his motives: "I taught you a lesson. I can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. You seem to prefer the latter"; he re-enacted a scene from Midnight Express (1978) by opening his shirt and placing his left pectoral against the prison visitation window-glass; (4) Chip interrupted Steven and Robin invited for dinner at his parents' house for their celebratory 40th wedding anniversary - and encouraged everyone to play "Porno Password," a X-rated, naughty parlor game-version of the TV game show, with passwords such as "vagina," "nipple," and "clitoris"; and (5) he also orchestrated the firing of Steven from his job by circulating (via every workers' computer) a privately-recorded video of Steven speaking to Robin while berating his boss; afterwards, the Cable Guy appeared in Steven's nightmare as a threatening, menacing and evil stalker with green eyes
Steven's Nightmare About The Cable Guy as an Evil Stalker
  • Steven discovered that Chip's names were all aliases - of actual classic TV characters; for example, his name - Ernie "Chip" Douglas - was a combination of the children's names from the TV sitcom My Three Sons; he was actually a cable company employee named Darren Stevens who was fired from his job six months earlier, and then stole a company truck ("He was fired for beating up a customer who yelled at him for being late")
  • in the film's denouement set at the cable satellite dish during a rainstorm, Chip kidnapped Robin and tied her up as his hostage; a brutal fist-fight between Steven and Chip resulted in his lisp temporarily disappearing before Steven was briefly knocked out; Chip apologized for screwing up their friendship, and gave a detailed dramatic speech about his abusive childhood when he was raised by TV: ("You were never there for me were you, mother? You expected Mike and Carol Brady to raise me! I'm the bastard son of Claire Huxtable! I am a Lost Cunningham! I learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life! Oh God!")
  • in an attempt at suicide, Chip explained how somebody had to "kill the babysitter" (a reference to his childhood's 'babysitter' - the TV: "Say good-bye to the baby- sitter") to prevent others from becoming like him; he threw himself off the platform into the center of the satellite dish to disrupt the broadcast signal, and injured his back
  • the film concluded with Steven and Robin reconciling together, it was revealed in the helicopter taking Chip away for treatment that the EMT paramedic (David Bowe) had been deviously manipulated to be Chip's next victim or "buddy" (Paramedic: "You're gonna make it, buddy")

Chip Disrupting Basketball Game

"Medieval Times" Serving Wench Melinda (Janeane Garafolo)

"There were no utensils but there was Pepsi?"

Chip Posing as Hannibal Lecter

Steven's Passionate Night with Prostitute Heather - Paid for by Chip

The Morning-After Breakfast Scene - Chip: "Everything was going so well..."

Chip Posing as Mustached Bathroom Attendant to Assault Robin's Date Ray (Owen Wilson)

Pretending to Be Steven's Lawyer at County Jail - Re-enacting a Scene From Midnight Express (1978)

"Porno Password" Game

Fight Between Steven and Chip on the Satellite Dish to Rescue Robin


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