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YMMV / The Cable Guy

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The behavior of "Chip Douglas," or whatever his name is, takes on a slightly different tone when you realize that much of his behavior — reciting TV shows, misreading social situations, and blatant scripting ("The future is now!") — are typical of the autism spectrum.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack is full of great mid-90s alternative rock!
    • "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods is just an example.
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    • Gerald Fried's music for the iconic fight sequence of Amok Time (aka the Decapodian National Anthem) is quite appropriate for the fight in the Medieval Times restaurant, especially because of Chip's insanity.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Steven's nightmare sequence.
  • Heartwarming Moments: For a dark comedy, this film does at least have one genuinely good moment between the Cable Guy and Steven. At the karaoke party, Steven gives the Cable Guy a speech therapy cassette called "Lose Your Lisp in 30 Days". The Cable Guy is genuinely touched by the gift, possibly even the one time in his life anyone has shown him any sort of true compassion and thought. For the brief moments afterward, the Cable Guy and Steven could possibly even be considered friends. Of course, everything falls apart shortly after that, but it's still a decently touching moment in an otherwise pitch black film.
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  • Ho Yay: Though Chip just desperately wants to be friends with Steven, there are shades of this about his longing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Just about every single thing that the Cable Guy says about the future of media has come true in the last 20 or so years.
    • On the other hand, the advancement of the internet and social media has brought (cyber)stalking into the spotlight, which makes people like Carrey's character Truth in Television.
    • Compare Jim Carrey beating up Owen Wilson in a bathroom in this film, to kicking his own ass in a bathroom in Liar Liar.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Chip Douglas gets really lonely. I mean, look at him, come on.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The trailer pitched the film as being just another wacky Jim Carrey comedy, which led to many audiences being shocked by the unsettling nature of the actual movie. The poster, at least, was appropriately sinister.
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  • Mood Whiplash: The movie can never decide if the title character is funny-creepy or scary-creepy. He spends an inordinate amount of time being the first, whereas if he were played by anyone other than Jim Carrey it would be intensely uncomfortable. When he ratchets his creepy-factor Up to Eleven near the last third, it seems almost like a different movie.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Chip crosses this when he kidnaps Robin with the implied intention of committing a "friend" version of Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The highly publicized Stan and Sam Sweet murder trial is clearly inspired by similarly high-profile Menendez brothers trial.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The guy who fixes your cable? He might be a Stalker with a Crush that will insert himself into your life and not let go.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Partly because Ben Stiller was connected to the alternative comedy scene of the 1990s, there are a number of supporting actors who were virtually unknown at the time but would go on to become much more famous: Jack Black as Steven's friend, his Tenacious D bandmate Kyle Gass as the couch potato who picks up a book, Bob Odenkirk as a member of Robin's family, David Cross in a bit part as a co-worker of Steven's, and Owen Wilson as Robin's rude date who gets beaten up in the bathroom.
  • Tear Jerker: When Steven retrieves Robin from Chip after a struggle atop of a satellite dish, all Chip has to say after the fact is "I just wanted to be your friend! ... but I screwed it up." His confused, heartbroken face tells the whole story.
  • Values Dissonance: Mixed with Values Resonance.
  • Values Resonance: A very interesting example: in the Netherlands, many critics interpreted and even recommended the film as a psychological gay drama. Possibly because homosexuality is widely accepted in the country (so interpreting Chip's stalker behavior as romantic love isn't weird — rather, it's dramatic), and because the comedy style is somewhat similar to Dutch surrealist drama as a genre.
  • Vindicated by History: When it was released in the '90s, Cable Guy got mixed response from critics and audience alike who thought it was too far of a departure from Carrey's traditional goofball roles. Today, Cable Guy is regularly brought to the table as one of the best Jim Carrey comedies, and even possibly movies in general in his résumé.


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