Many great things happened in the year of 1996, in terms of entertainment, with many great films and many unforgettable film characters being born. So, we aim to serve you with an occasional running feature of nineties’ film character greats’ here at Brainstain, so that you can wallow in nostalgia for a while and perhaps re-visit some of these cult classic motion pictures. “The Cable Guy” (buy here) or “Chip Douglas” is surely an unforgettable cult film character, producing some of the best dark comedic moments ever seen. The screenplay written by Lou Holtz Junior is full of macabre and exaggerated humor, whilst the film is directed by none other than Ben Stiller and we all know his panache for comedic genius. (Buy Zoolander 2 here)
Chip (Jim Carrey) comes into Steven’s (Matthew Broderick) life after he has recently separated from his long-term girlfriend. As he’s just moved into his own separate apartment, he decides that he needs some cable television, . That’s when Chip Douglas knocks on his door, your over friendly and slightly strange but seriously generous installation guy. For $50 Steven had heard from a friend that he could achieve all cable channels under the table with a slight of hand bribe, to which Chip jokingly threatens him with a huge fine and a possible prison sentence, a felony offence in illegal cable services. Only to later laugh and say, “I’m just jerking your chain. You are too easy. Wake up little snoozy, smell the smelling sauce. I’ll juice you up!”
And thus, their friendship is born as Chip parades into his apartment with a power drill and finds his apartment’s cable sweet spot. Having Steven up and channel surfing in no time. But, there’s a catch, the fifty dollars didn’t just give him a questionable and illegal cable package, but also a new best friend for life and to Steven’s later amazement, even an apparent stalker. Chip takes an active role in Steven’s life or lack there of, in trying to help him get over his ex- “Robin” with hilarious circumstances or are they merely creepy circumstances? Either way, this is black comedy at it’s best and our high five goes out to the Screenwriter, Ben Stiller, to Jim Carrey and to Matthew Broderick in one sweep for making this classic film.
Chip later organizes a gift of a karaoke home entertainment speaker system to Steven for being such a good friend, following a competitive basketball game and a visit to the famous the ‘Medieval Times’ restaurant. Steven accepts this gift reluctantly, feeling bashful in receiving such an expensive gift from his new friend, Chip. This later leads to a house warming party in his new apartment with most of Chip’s happy cable clients, while they all let it rip on the karaoke machine. Simultaneously, a beautiful woman at the party catches Steven’s eye, called “Heather”. Steven later gets lucky with her and he feels like a new man the next morning, his first sex post break up with his ex-Robin.
The next morning Chip is making Steven scrambled eggs and watching ‘Ren and Stimpy’ (buy here), as Steven comes in and asks, “Where did Heather go?” “Oh, I heard her leaving early this morning. You cat” says Chip. “I was getting so used to being rejected. You know, I really liked her” Steven says. “Hey, it was my treat” says Chip, as he eats his scrambled eggs. “What do you mean it was your treat? asks Steven. “You know, I bought this time, you buy next time. Don’t let your eggs get cold” Chip remarks. Then it sinks in for Steven, “Do you mean that Heather is a prostitute?” he asks. “Of course she is, do you think a woman like that, would hang out with us, if we weren’t paying?” “Hey, hey, hey, it’s okay, she’s totally clean, I checked her out about a week ago. I made sure she was top quality and I’m healthy as a horse.” says Chip. “Would you like some juice?” asks Chip. This leads Steven to kicking Chip out of his apartment and then distancing himself from him in anyway possible.
However, Chip knows that Steven wants his ex- back and he decides to help Steven out with this, without his knowledge. Chip starts to stalk “Robin” after installing her some free cable, which he says was sent and paid for by a secret admirer of hers’. Chip then stalks “Robin” and assaults her dinner date in a restaurant bathroom, played expertly by Owen Wilson (Stiller’s main man). Later, when Chip has played his part in leading Robin back to Steven, much to Steven’s joy, he makes the mistake of shunning Chip’s part in the secret reconciliation tactics in getting her back for him. Later telling Chip, “You’re a very nice guy. But, I just don’t have any room in my life for a new friend. Okay?” “I don’t wanna’ be your friend”.
A big mistake by Steven! Chip thus feels wrong done by. Wouldn’t you? The comedy then turns into a dark comedy, as Chip becomes the forlorn friend, offended by Steven’s lack of appreciation for his manipulative work in bringing Robin back to him.
As Steven and Robin reconcile, Chip feels left out and he starts to manipulate Robin and then becomes her best friend, to stay even closes to Steven, while later Steven is even arrested for possession of stolen goods. The home entertainment system gift from Chip lands Steven in jail for a weekend. Upon his release, Robin and Steven go and visit his parents, only to find Chip there already, who was invited by Robin and then hilariousness ensues as Chip further blackmails Steven with a polaroid photo of Steven and the prostitute “Heather”, threatening to show it to Robin if he doesn’t play along, instead of exposing his post break up shenanigans. Then in a family game of not charades, with Steven’s family, but a game called “Porno Password”, Chip further embarrasses and humiliates Steven in front of his family.
We could go on and on about the wondrous humor of this black comedy directed by Ben Stiller, who also makes a double acting cameo as ‘Stan and Sam Sweet’. These two twin film characters’ are the subject of an on-going subplot throughout the film. The sub-plot concerns the murder trial of one of them, accused of murdering the other which is later hilariously said to be played by Eric Roberts in a made for TV movie, playing both characters inside the movie. Whilst, Ben Stiller stars as both ‘Stan and Sam Sweet’.
The Cable Guy is comedy genius and here at Brainstain, this classes “Chip Douglas”, ‘The Cable Guy’ as one of our favorite film characters . In conclusion, be nice to your friends and watch out whom you keep as your very-very close friends. Buy the great Soundtrack here.
“I can be your best friend or your worst enemy, you seem to prefer the latter” Chip Douglas aka “The Cable Guy”
<Story by The Narrator>
Watch that Kitchen scene here from The Cable Guy
Featured photo courtesy of ‘The Cable Guy’ Official Movie Poster