|“||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 in Vietnam. There's no end to the possibilities!||„|
|~ Chip Douglas giving an epic speech.|
|“||I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You seem to prefer the latter.||„|
|~ Chip talking to Steven.|
Ernie "Chip" Douglas, also known as The Cable Guy, is the titular main antagonist of the 1996 dark comedy film The Cable Guy.
Chip Douglas (or rather the Cable Guy) was nothing more or less than just an obsessed and delusional individual with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). He also developed a sociopathic nature, and a severe obsession to gain friends and to torment them.
He is much like Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction; he was a really obsessive, psychotic and stupidly delusional individual who just always sought to have Steven as his best friend forever much like that Alex wanted Dan to be her boyfriend forever.
Yet, he wasn't pure evil because of the reason for which he always sought a friend even if he wishes to torment this specific friend forever.
The Cable Guy was raised in a neglectful home by his mother who worked nights and told him to stay near "Mr. Babysitter" which was what she called the television, which is effectively what raised him. He never met his father. Later in his life he became a cable installer for an unknown cable company. The company fired him for stalking customers, but he remained undeterred and still used his profession and his knowledge as a cable guy to make friends.
Despite Steven wrongly calling him a "sociopath", The Cable Guy actually has Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, self-image and relationships. He has such a severe case of the behavioral illness that he exhibits behaviors that meet virtually all nine of the major diagnostic criteria symptoms for BPD, when you only need five for a diagnosis. These symptoms include: fear of abandonment, intense and unstable relationships with alternation between love and hate, unstable self-image or sense of self, impulsive behaviors, self-harm or suicidal behaviors, mood swings, chronic feelings of emptiness, inappropriate, intense anger and transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms. Because of him meeting virtually every criteria for the disorder, The Cable Guy could be considered a poster child for the illness. This is a very common disorder (with over 3 million U.S. cases alone annually, affecting 1-2% of the adult population) and is often caused by an unstable childhood. This is actually foreshadowed by a scene where, as a child, he watches "Play Misty For Me" on television, a film about an obsessed stalker, herself suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder.
His real name is never actually revealed, not even in the credits. He was known under various aliases from tv sitcoms, his most used one was Ernie 'Chip' Douglas which were the children's names from My Three Sons, other names included Larry Tate (Bewitched), The Big Ragoo also known as Carmine (Laverne and Shirley) and Murray Slaughter (the Mary Tyler Moore show), George Jetson (The Jetsons) and Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek). The Cable Guy claimed that his real name was "Ricky Ricardo" but this is undoubtedly another television reference because he does the Ricky Ricardo laugh and says "Babalú" from I Love Lucy after this.
Meeting Steven and Tormenting Him
Chip first met Steven Kovacs (the movie's protagonist) when he first installed his cable in his new apartment. Steven tried to bribe him with 50 dollars to get all the channels for free and he refuses the money, but accepted with the condition that they should be hang out as friends. He started off as a seemingly nice and enthusiastic guy, he first took Steven to the large Satellite dish where the company sends shows to peoples' televisions and then took him to his favorite restaurant where they had a realistic medieval duel.
However he became a bit of a stalker by spoiling a basketball game that Steven was having with his friends and leaving him one phone message too many on his answering machine.
Chip tried to make up for it by giving Steven a large home system of a deluxe karaoke machine, CD player and a big screen television set. They then had a karaoke jam in Steven's apartment, but Chip crossed the line when he allowed Steven to be with a prostitute named Heather making Steven angry because he already had a girlfriend named Robin and ended their friendship.
Chip decides to make it up to him again by beating up Robin's new boyfriend and installing free cable for her. Steven appreciates what he has done, but tells him gently that he doesn't want to be his friend.
Hurt by these words, Chip then sets out to ruin Steven's life instead, firstly by phoning the police saying that Steven was in possession of stolen goods which was the large home system which places Steven in jail, then he is invited by Robin to a visit at Steven's parents' house where he drives him mad and uses blackmail by showing Steven a photo that he took of him and Heather that he would show to Robin if anything happened. Eventually, he pushes Steven too far when he plays a sexualized game with the family and then whispers disturbing things to him about Robin resulting in him being punched in the face. He then leaves.
He later sent a video recording of Steven insulting his boss to every computer in the place where Steven worked resulting in Steven being fired and haunting him by setting off all the car alarms at once. He also appears in Steven's nightmare as a menacing figure with green eyes who is a psychopathic stalker.
He finally performs his final act of cruelty by kidnapping Robin and taking her to the same place he showed Steven many days before. When the film reaches it's climax he admits that he didn't really have a plan as such and he was just going from moment to moment. He apologizes to Steven, he claims that he only wanted to be his friend but he screwed it up and that he never intended to go to such great lengths. When the police arrive Chip gets entranced by the police helicopter search light, he makes a speech about how his mother was never there for him and how he was practically raised by the TV, he even goes as far as to claim that he learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life.
Chip throws himself off the platform that he, Steven and Robin are on by reasoning with Steven despite Steven's promises that he would be his pal if he climbed back up that somebody has to kill the babysitter (a reference to what his mum called the TV when she worked nights) and destroys the dish receiver, this gives everyone a blackout screen and freedom from the TV. He makes up with Steve and Robin, before the paramedics take him away just before he is flown away Steven asks what his real name was, to which he jokingly replied "Ricardo, Ricky Ricardo" (I Love Lucy reference). A paramedic tells him he'll be alright as they fly to the hospital and he addresses him as 'buddy'. Chip asks him if he's really his buddy. He says yeah. Chip gives him a happy but dark smile, implying that the paramedic is gonna be the next victim.
- It is never revealed what his true name was as he used various aliases from TV sitcoms so he was credited as Cable Guy.