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Cup Holders

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"[The] very latest in intercepts and countermeasures. Titanium armour, a multi-tasking heads-up display and six beverage cup holders. All in all, rather stocked."

What can you install into your Cool Car to make it even more awesome? You decide to pimp it out with a loud stereo, wings, lasers and cannons, a giant robot body, and cup holders.

For some reason, when a character gets a new car, he will usually show a friend all the cool features the car has. When those features include cup holders, you can expect the friend to become more excited about those than any other feature the car has. Surprisingly few works ever ask the question of why you would allow open containers of liquid anywhere near the interior of a car the character just spent most of their annual salary on in the first place.

This could be headed for Dead Horse Trope territory: cup holders have been standard equipment on most cars since at least the late 90s. Closely related in terms of sarcasm are floor mats.


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    Film — Animated 
  • Toward the end of Frozen (2013), when Anna presents Kristoff with a new sled to replace the one he lost earlier, she announces, "And it has a cup holder."
  • One of the features of getting an upgrade in Robots is getting cup holders built into your chest.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bad Boys (1995)
    Marcus Burnett: Hey man where-where-where's your cup holder?
    Mike Lowrey: I don't have one.
    Marcus Burnett: [Snap] W'you mean you don't have one? Eighty thousand dollars for this car and you ain't got no damn cup holder?
    Mike Lowrey: It's $105,000 and this happens to be one of the fastest production cars on the planet. Zero to sixty in four seconds, sweetie. It's a limited edition.
    Marcus Burnett: You damn right it's limited. No cup holder, no back seat. Just a shiny dick with two chairs in it.
  • Captain America: Civil War: When Tony is helping Rhodey adapt to the prosthetics after crashing in the Iron Patriot armor, he asks Rhodey to let him know if there are anything he can add, like air conditioning or a cup holder.
  • Thor: Ragnarok. Valkyrie (who's portrayed as constantly drinking) finally agrees to help them steal a spaceship to escape in. It has to have the best Deflector Shields on the planet as they're about to escape through a very dangerous wormhole, and cupholders "...because we're all gonna die, so, drinks!"
  • Watchmen. Whether Nite Owl has cup holders in his Cool Airship is unknown, but after they rescue civilians from a burning building, Silk Spectre is shown packing away styrofoam cups in a compartment. Presumably a nice cup of tea is part of the whole superhero rescue package.
  • The World Is Not Enough, which provides the page quote.

  • Discworld
    • In The Last Hero, Leonard's labelled sketch of the Kite's cockpit includes cup-holders.
    • In The Shepherd's Crown, when Mrs Proust sees Geoffrey's refurbished Flying Broomstick, she's impressed that it has "a little cup to hold your drink" ... although given the funny look the craftsman gives her, and his previous hushed conversation with Geoffrey about the adjustments needed for a gentleman's broom, it's quite possibly got a different purpose entirely.
  • In Greg Costikyan's sci-fi novel First Contract, aliens come to Earth peacefully, but are so scientifically advanced, Earth can't keep up with inter-galactic trade. So what can Earth manufacture? Cheap little doohickeys (which, due to disparities in interstellar exchange rates, the companies involved are able to charge thousands of dollars for). The one that's made in the story is a cup holder that works in zero gravity. It becomes ridiculously popular.
  • In the Real Mermaids series, Jade's dad invents the Merlin 3000, a portable bathtub designed to transform mers into humans as quickly as possible. In the third book, he upgrades it into the Merlin 3001, which has lots of new features, including five cup holders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Better Call Saul: After being hired at Davis & Main, Jimmy gets a company car with a cup holder that is unfortunately too small for his travel coffee mug, a metaphor for him not fitting in the firm. Four episodes later, as he's getting fed up with D&M, he solves the problem by tearing off the holder's cover with a tire iron.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: When Terry shows off the precinct's new squad car, Scully and Hitchcock are most impressed with the "burrito holders".
  • The Office (US): After Pam's breakup, she buys a new car. In "Grief Counseling," she tells Roy (jokingly) she only bought it for the cupholders.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Singularity" the crew become obsessed with trivial nonsense due to Space Madness, and engineer Trip Tucker tries to design the Ultimate Captain's Chair with interactive status displays, secondary helm control, inertial micro-dampers and cup holder.

  • "Canadaman", a song by the Arrogant Worms.
    Who wants to end all fighting except for in hockey
    Who shops for a truck based on the holder for the coffee?
  • "Short Skirt Long Jacket" by Cake
    She wants a car with a cup-holder armrest.

    Video Games 
  • Following on tradition from Q, R, the new quartermaster in Agent Under Fire presents Bond with a BMW Z8, with "a few modifications," namely rockets, machine guns, missiles, titanium armor, a rocket booster, and "of course, a refrigerated beverage holder."
  • Interstate '76 and its Nitro Pack expansion let you customize vehicles with cupholders. This has no in-game effect aside from using up one of the vehicle's three customization slots that could have gone to more practical items like armor-plated hubcaps or nitro boosters.
  • In Spark the Electric Jester 3, during the Mecha Madness boss fight, you can see that Spark and Float's Stratosphere Mk.II mech has these in its cockpit, complete with drinks.
  • Street Fighter IV: Shows up in one of Rufus' typically bizarre winning quotes:
    "So, my friend’s got this sweet low rider, right? It’s pretty cool an' all, but I think if I ever bought a car, I’d go for a luxury sedan or somethin', ya know? Seats, drink holders, all that classy stuff! 'Cuz I’m a classy guy, right? Anyway, I…"


    Web Original 
  • The story of a user who's so computer-illiterate that s/he uses the disk tray of a computer's CD-ROM drive as a cup holder is a common urban legend. Occasionally, though, it can also be Truth in Television.
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Bad's throne is said to have had "a hundred cup holders".

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In the episode “Lifestyles of The Sick and Twisted”, after Robotnik shows Throbbin Screech the Egg-o-Matic Evaporator/Sonic Smasher, Grounder chimes in that “it even comes with a cup holder for those long rides”.
  • Taken to a (sort of) logical extreme in an episode of Archer in an episode where Archer is given a new spy car for his birthday. He geeks out over all the spy gadgets, but what really blows his mind is the fully stocked bar in the dashboard. His glee is somewhat tempered during his first drive when learns it's stocked with apple juice, but quickly notes that he can just have his butler refill the bottles with actual booze later.
    Archer: It's like looking into the face of God.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1", a Gadgeteer Genius built a snack compartment into Aang's glider. It turns out quite convenient.
  • In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Team Lightyear find themselves aboard an out of control alien (even by their standards) ship with no crew. When Buzz tries to stop the ship, all he can find at the control console were the Cup Holders. He was not amused. He was even less amused when said cup holders really were the primary control for the space ship, and the aliens in question had no concept of cup holders.
  • Camp Lakebottom: In the "Slimeball Run" episode, Buttsquat shows off that his new Beach Blitzer has a titanium frame, turbo thrusters, a missile launcher and seven cup holders.
  • In The Emperor's New School, when Kuzco is about to marry Princess Lalala so he can become emperor, he points out the features of his royal throne, and what's one of them? Cup holders!
  • On King of the Hill, when discussing a new lawn mower, Bill Dauterive utters this epic line: "And what I have to say will ROCK. YOUR. WORLD. I like the cup holder."
  • Molly of Denali: In "Spring Carnival," Tooey points out that he added a cupholder to Auntie Midge's sled chair.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Greece Lightning", there was this exchange:
    Phineas: Remind me, why did we put spikes on Buford's chariot again? And a bowling ball catapult? I mean, what were we thinking? Why'd we give them all the cool stuff? What do we have?
    Phineas: Cup holders? Sweet!
  • On one Regular Show episode, Benson buys a state-of-the-art cart to replace the battered old one they were using. Despite all of the fancy features like a navigation system and seat warmers, Pops was awed by the cup holders.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer Simpson designed a car for his half-brother Herb's car company, Homer insisted that it have a holder for his cup - not one of those wimpy regulation-size cup holders, but one big enough for a Super-Squishee.
    • In the monorail episode after Homer gets hired to be the driver, he shows off the monorail's cockpit to his family. He points out the cup holder to them and says he can use it to store is beverages "or if you want: a cupcake!"
    • One episode has Bart, after acquiring a fake driver's license, taking Milhouse, Nelson and Martin on a road trip. While checking out the rented car, Milhouse is over the moon to discover that it comes with a cupholder, and insists that they have to stop to get a cup to put in it.

    Real Life 
  • Car commercials often advertise the folding seats and other convenience features in a vehicle, paying less attention to more important features.
  • In The '80s, a popular item at gas stations was a rubber cup holder that had a tab that fit into the space between a car door and window.
  • The liquor cabinet had been since the early days of the automobile a luxury accessory to show the depth of the owner's pocket and found out naturally on limousines and luxury sedans, but the large space inside allowed for picnic tables rather than cupholders of a modern compact car. However, bespoke limousines could have both, such as this 1964 Bentley with Harold Radford interior. The coachbuilders went far enough to fit a bottle rack in the door, to have something to pour in the cup.
  • A cup holder as a gun accessory?
  • The mundane plastic cupholder has evolved into a heated-and-cooled cupholder for the modern Dodge Charger and a few other models. The cupholders are usually made by Amerigon Inc.
  • Bill Bryson provided a droll contemporary summary of the "Cupholder Revolution" in a newspaper column.
  • Cupholders are becoming very common on grocery store shopping carts (trolleys, for the UK reader).
  • Even bicycles can be equipped with a rack to hold a cup, or more often a water bottle.
  • Fun fact: cupholders have expanded in part because the lack of them exposes carmakers to liability. The famous "woman-sues-McDonalds-because-her-coffee-was-too-hot" case was not actually a Frivolous Lawsuit in large part because she was sitting in her grandson's car—a car with no cupholders. (The events happened in 1992, and she was sitting in her grandson's 1989 Ford Probe.) So she held the coffee between her thighs, and when she opened it to add cream and/or sugar, it spilled all over her crotch region, soaking into her cotton sweatpants and seriously burning her (the thick cotton of her sweats absorbed the hot liquid and held it against her skin in ways we would prefer not to mention). Ford didn't get hit with anything for that one, but the companies quickly wised up that someone running into the same problem might sue them; along with a number of other factors (including distracted driving—with the rise of the mobile phone, the specter of the idiot who holds his phone in one hand and his coffee in the other and tries to steer with his knees,note  which problem could also be avoided if the car had cup holders, began to loom large in the minds of automakers' lawyers), this influenced the automakers into adding these "conveniences" as a safety measure.
  • Some child car seats now come with cup holders.
  • Cupholders are often attached to wheelchairs, particularly non-motorized ones that require both hands to propel.
  • And coming full circle, the company Weather Tech, whose schtick is "laser-measured" floor mats, started offering a special cellphone holder that fits in your cupholder. Because of course the best place to put your phone is somewhere that requires turning your head away from the road to see it.
  • A popular joke among IT workers and the PC community is made up stories of non tech-savvy users, usually a Technologically Blind Elder or a kid too young to remember compact disks using a PC's CD drive tray as a cup holder. (Fitting the cup through the circular hole on the retractable tray.) Some have tried to recreate the joke in real life, sometimes with disastrous results. This has gone full-circle with some computer accessory makers actually making real cup holders that can be slotted into an empty 5.25'' drive bay.