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Trivia / The Cable Guy

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  • Accidentally Correct Writing: Some of Chip's predictions about what cable will do for the future came true, like having the Internet, phone and TV through cable as well as having the ability to play video games online.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Jim Carrey came up with the idea of having his character push his chest up against the glass like in Midnight Express.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Done by Chip (and possibly the writers of the film too). He exclaims "Dry land is not a myth! I've seen it!" and then cites the quote as "Kevin Costner, Waterworld." This line is never actually spoken in Waterworld at any point, and Costner's character even says the exact opposite thing.
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: Ben Stiller planned to play the title role, but decided that acting and directing was too much work. He took the smaller part of the Sweet Brothers.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Judd Apatow gave The Los Angeles Times a list of excised scenes, including one where Chip shoots Stephen with a staple gun and stitches his butt in the shape of a television, another where Chip pretends to be a volunteer firefighter and hurls a fireman's ax at Stephen, and one scene shot in 40-degree rain in Griffith Park, where Chip rides up on a horse resembling the headless horseman and leaps at Stephen, who puts a rock to Chip's head and threatens him until Chip implores him to "go to the dark side of the force!" The latter was cut because "the evil in Jim Carrey's eyes look too realistic." Another scene that was cut out because it didn't get big laughs and scared test audiences had Chip on top of Stephen's car acting like The Terminator.
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    • A scene was filmed, but cut which at the prison, Steven's dad mentions that Steven stole an X-Men comic book when he was 8 years old which he had lied about and Steven's dad found it in his underpants drawer.
  • Doing It for the Art: Once, when asked about the notoriously mixed reception the film got, Jim Carrey replied that he was just honored to put the character of Chip Douglas on the screen, and was satisfied in having a great time making the film.
  • Inspiration for the Work: First time screenwriter Lou Holtz, Jr. had the idea while working as a prosecutor in Los Angeles, declaring that he once saw a cable company employee in the hallway of his mother's apartment building and started thinking, "What's he doing here so late?"
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: For a film that came out (in the grand scheme of things) rather recently and a "late night movie" staple on cable, finding a widescreen version of this film is remarkably difficult. It was one of Sony's first films to come to DVD in the late 90s, as a Vanilla Edition two-sided disc with a widescreen version on one side and pan-and-scan on the other. Several years later, Sony it into a single-sided disc which used the pan-and-scan side that overrode the flipper disc almost everywhere. After being the sole digital release of the film for years, in 2011, Sony put out a more comprehensive Blu-ray release of the film with a widescreen transfer. That release randomly went out of print in 2015 and goes for high prices on auction sites, putting a release of the film in proper aspect ratio in limbo yet again.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Several scenes appear in the trailer that do not appear in the film. Among these scenes are:
    • Chip and Robin are having lunch outdoors. Chip tells Robin that Steven is "gonna need some tough love."
    • Steven and Robin leaving his parent's house after hitting Chip with Robin looking upset and Steven telling her that Chip leaves him messages night and day and never leaves him alone.
    • Chip walking up to Steven during the evening at his parent's and telling him to not mess with him.
    • Another shot of Chip through the eye hole in the door after knocking excessively and yelling "Cable Guy!".
    • Additional footage of Chip calling through the telephone wires trying to call Steven.
    • Chip holding two beans in his upper lip to make it look like a mustache.
    • Chip and someone else popping up from behind a couch and surprising Steven.
    • A very brief slow motion shot of Steven staring at something off-camera with an uncomfortable face during dinner (presumably Chip).
  • Playing Against Type: A retroactive example in Jack Black playing a straight man, before he became famous as a comic actor.
  • Playing with Character Type: Jim Carrey is just as zany and over-the-top as always, but in the context of a creepy Stalker Without a Crush rather than a living cartoon character like in Ace Ventura and The Mask. This famously alienated audiences at the time and caused the film to fail at the box office.
  • Real-Life Relative: Ben Stiller's sister Amy is the secretary.
  • Romance on the Set: Judd Apatow, a producer on the film, met his future wife Leslie Mann when she auditioned for this film.
  • Technology Marches On: In The Nineties, the number of households with cable television was increasing. Now, streaming video services have led to cable’s decline.
  • Throw It In!: The scene at Medieval Times where Chip asks for Steven's chicken skin and then performs his Hannibal Lechter impression was all improvised. During one take, Jim Carrey asked for the chicken skin out of nowhere. After doing the bit, Ben Stiller loved it and wanted to keep it in the film even though it wasn't in the script. If you look at Matthew Broderick's face during this scene, you can tell he is genuinely cracking up.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The Nineties. The entire plot of the film centers around the already late Old Media Are Evil trope as a plot device, all the while Ren & Stimpy blares from television sets, Grunge mostly sets the mood for the soundtrack, and the "information superhighway" is stealthily taking public interest by storm. Also if Chip had done his suicidal stunt in the 2010s, it wouldn't have stopped people from finding out Sweet's verdict — they would have just whipped out their cell phones to watch a news feed (unless hitting the dish cut out the cell service of the whole county... somehow).
  • Vindicated by Cable: The film did not do well at the box office in spite of Jim Carrey's peaking fame and popularity, but the film's dark tone and social commentary have allowed it to find an audience on cable and video.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The role of Chip was originally written with Chris Farley in mind, but he was forced to decline due to being contracted to make Black Sheep (1996). Adam Sandler was also considered.
    • In one Judd Apatow script, Chip gets impaled on a cable dish. Apatow later admitted, "Jim was very intent on dying at the end of the movie. That was something we couldn't get past everybody. He thought he should sacrifice and die at the end."
    • This could have been Apatow's directorial debut, but the studio rebuffed his interest.
    • The original screenplay by Lou Holtz, Jr. was a lighter comedy, described by Apatow as "a What About Bob? annoying friend movie" where the Cable Guy was a likeable loser who intrudes upon the cable subscriber's life, but never in a physically threatening way.


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