Stanley "Stan" Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. Voiced and based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, together with Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. Stan often trades places with Kyle as the protagonist of the show. Stan is arguably the most "normal" of the kids, and is generally honest, very mature for his age, and well-meaning. He is slightly more assertive than his best friend Kyle. He is often distinctly unimpressed by adults or adult influences, and although not particularly troublesome, holds very little respect for them.
Stan is modeled after his voice actor, co-creator Trey Parker
, also sharing the same birthday as him. Stan was born on October 19.
Stan is usually seen in a brown jacket, blue denim jeans, red gloves, and a red and blue hat. He is also seen in Terrance and Philip pajamas. He has black hair just like his father and blue eyes according to Kyle in "A Very Crappy Christmas
Stan is often considered the straightest of the four original boys, and the youngest. Normally he is the one with the most common sense
and maturity. He is often skeptical
of popular trends, such as in the episode "Cherokee Hair Tampons
", when he challenged the character Miss Information and her shop of alternative medicine, in the episode "Super Best Friends
", when he helped battle David Blaine
's suicidal cult, and in episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe
" where he accused psychic medium John Edward
of being a fake. Stan is usually the one who is unaffected by the many scams, cults, and mass influences that South Park has been subjected to, and has a knack for seeing through falsely glorified practices and celebrities (with the notable exceptions of the "Chinpokomon
" craze and the metrosexual
fad, to which only Kyle was immune). He shares this trait with Eric Cartman
, though Cartman usually exploits this for his own gain in some way, where Stan tries to rectify it. In the episode Trapped in the Closet
, he was at first taken in by Scientology
, but after finding out that it was actually a global scam, he denounced it and exposed it for what it really was; though rather unsuccessfully, as he received several lawsuit threats in response, as well as one from Tom Cruise
, who vowed revenge on Stan for "making him look stupid". The episode ends with Stan losing his temper and yelling "I'm not scared of you! Sue me!" Stan and Kyle's personalities tend to be similar, especially in the earlier seasons, but are not quite interchangeable, and they have developed more distinct and complex personalities during the show's run. Stan has shown a great deal of character development during this time. In earlier seasons, he was shown as simple-minded, naive, anxious and overly docile, but over time, and particularily after the escalation of political and social strife in South Park, repeated dealings with his father, and antagonism from celebrities, he has developed a cynical, unflappable, deadpan personality, as well as being extremely blunt and honest, rarely showing anger or passion, and often seeming simply weary or resigned in the face of crisis and conflict.
Stan is frequently embarrassed or infuriated at the stupidity of his parents (mostly Randy) and the other adults of the town, and he often goes against what his parents do. This is prominently shown in "My Future Self n' Me" when he finds out about the actor portraying his future self and goes so far as to trick Randy to cut the hand off of the actor to try and get them to admit they lied. In Child Abduction is Not Funny he comments "Dude, our parents are so goddamn stupid". The rather displaced cynicism that he exhibits when dealing with adults, as well as his inability to be impressed by celebrities or fads may stem from the fact that, due to his parents, he has probably never respected or trusted adults (with the exception of Chef and Jesus). Despite this, he is usually quite well-behaved.
Stan seems to like animals. He has a dog named Sparky. In “Fun With Veal” he saved a lot of calves with the help from Kyle, Cartman and Butters. In that episode he also said that he would never eat meat again, but he had to give that up, because it was causing him to die. In “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow”, after breaking a beaver dam, he said “I hope I didn’t hurt any beavers”. He also lived with PETA in the episode "Douche and Turd", though it was only to survive after being banished from the town, and it is clear that he was uncomfortable trying to live with PETA (since within the episode they were portrayed as loving animals to the point of bestiality). However, in the episode "Rainforest Schmainforest" it is depicted that Stan is panically afraid of snakes.
Stan often shows heroism and kindness and is one of the bravest characters in the series. He looks after his friends and has risked his life to save theirs on several occasions. Stan is not racist, which is shown in the episode Chef Goes Nanners where he accepts the South Park Flag not because of a black man on it but because he did not even see it that way in the first place. He is also intelligent and is fairly well-educated, but the exact source of his education is unclear (due to the apparent ineptness of his teacher Mr. Garrison).
Stan also appears to have a fear of hospitals, as shown in "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut"
Family and Home
Stan is the son of Randy Marsh
(a geologist with the United States Geological Survey
) and Sharon Kimble Marsh
(a receptionist at Tom's Rhinoplasty
). Stan is frequently embarrassed by their stupidity. In "Bloody Mary
" his dad asks, "How did I have such a smart son?", and Stan replies, "I had a great teacher." Randy says back, "Ah, thanks son.", but Stan instead says, "Not you, my karate teacher, he's really smart." In the episode With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
, Stan gets humiliated when Randy says the "N" word on Wheel of Fortune
. He has an older sister, Shelley Marsh
, who bullies and beats him up on a regular basis, although she probably does love him deep down inside, such as in "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig
" in which she lies to prevent Stan getting into trouble and in "Pre-School
" helps him when he was threatened by a bully. Stan's crotchety 102-year-old wheelchair-bound grandfather, Marvin Marsh, calls him "Billy" and often attempts to coerce Stan to kill him. He is also the half nephew of hunter Jimbo Kern
, Randy's half-brother, who is probably the only adult besides Chef
that Stan considers a close friend.
Stan's parents share their names with Trey Parker's real-life parents, Sharon Parker and Randolph "Randy" Parker Jr. Incidentally, Trey also has a sister named Shelley, who behaved very similar to Stan's Shelley.
Stan's pets have included a gay dog named Sparky, and (temporarily), an evil goldfish who murders people and frames Stan, driving Sharon Marsh, who buries the dead bodies in her backyard and locks Officer Barbrady in the basement, to insanity.
Stan's dad Randy has also been depicted as a mild alcoholic in "The Losing Edge" and was later forced to become an AA member in "Bloody Mary", where Stan had to constantly object to Randy drinking. He told Randy he needed to learn some "disciprine" (a quote used in Engrish by his Japanese karate teacher earlier in the episode); this speech convinced Randy to drink in moderation. In the episode "Grey Dawn" it is stated that Stan's grandfather flew Spitfires over Germany. The Spitfire was used during World War II solely by Britain, and thus it is probable that either Stan's ancestry is British, or the creators of South Park made a mistake, or his grandfather was one of the American pilots sent to help the British during the early years of the war.
Since "Fantastic Easter Special", he has been a member of a group called "The Hare Club for Men", which his father, grandfather, and the entire male side of his family has been members in for generations.
Stan also had an evil clone in the episode "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" who had the same genetic material and blood as Stan; he is killed in the end of the episode, however.
Best-Friendship with Kyle
Kyle and Stan's relationship is a common topic throughout the series. The two have a lot in common and almost always share identical goals, from scoring 1,000,000 points in Guitar Hero
to saving a small town. They always sit or stand together whenever in class, assemblies, waiting at the bus stop or just standing around. In "Imaginationland Episode III
" Kyle was the only one who could hear Stan when he was trapped in Imaginationland. The two always stick together when there are situations that they are involved in, such as in Fantastic Easter Special
. Stan has saved Kyle's life three times without hesitation, even if the attempt to do so would cause him so much harm (in the episodes Cherokee Hair Tampons
, Super Best Friends
). Stan and Kyle have also saved each others lives, off-screen as well. In In the eleven and a half seasons that the show has been on the air, the two have only ever broken up or had Manbearpig
) Kyle is in the midst of saving Cartman's life, untill he gives up and almost drowns, but is seen with Cartman at the end of the episode, so it is predicted that kenny and stan saved them both. serious arguments nine times, in the episodes Prehistoric Ice Man
, Super Best Friends
, All About the Mormons?
, Follow That Egg
, South Park is Gay!
, Douche and Turd
, Guitar Queer-o
and Biggest Douche in the Universe
. The episode Guitar Queer-o
arguably focuses on their friendship more than any other, as a major conflict between the two that ends the friendship for a time is the main plot of the episode. The two finally do reconcile without any long-term damage to their friendship. Also, the episode Cherokee Hair Tampons
shows us the full depth of their friendship, as it is shown just how miserable Stan would be if Kyle died. In the episode Smug Alert!
, they hug at the end, the first time they express their friendship physically. In more recent episode The China Probrem
The two hug crying, and Stan says "I love you" and Kyle says "I love you too." There have been numerous times where they have put an hand on the other's back to show signs of affection.
Relationship with Wendy
A recurring topic in the early seasons was Stan's relationship with Wendy Testaburger
. Her first appearance in Cartman Gets an Anal Probe
shows Stan going on a date with her. A running gag in the early seasons of their relationship showed Stan vomiting out of nervousness whenever she tried to say anything to him or kiss him. The relationship started to diminish greatly in the later seasons, however, and it ultimately ended in Raisins
, which drives Stan into a state of depression and even causes him to briefly join a local goth clique. After this, the two spent two seasons barely on speaking terms and rarely saw each other eye-to-eye. However, the two still had feelings for each other lingering in the air, as seen in Follow that Egg!
, in which Stan worries about getting paired with Wendy on a school project and is jealous when she ends up paired with Kyle. However, at the end of The List
, the Season 11 finale, the two both work together to expose the secret corruption of Wendy's school list-making society and ultimately reconcile at the end, in a near copy of the end scene of Cartman Gets an Anal Probe
: Wendy is about to kiss him, when he vomits in her face. Their reconciliation was confirmed in the Season 12 episode Super Fun Time
, in which they pair up at their school field trip by holding hands, refusing to let go for a long time, and Stan confirms Wendy is once again his girlfriend.
Friendship with Kenny
Not much is shown about his relationship with Kenny but it's probably strong, as he mourned Kenny's death in "Kenny Dies
" and can understand Kenny's muffled voice perfectly. Kenny and Stan are paired up for most of "The Passion of the Jew
", where they attempt to get a refund from Mel Gibson
after watching The Passion of the Christ
. Stan spends his time with Kenny when Cartman and Kyle are having one of their usual arguments, but when Kyle finishes his fights with Cartman, Stan returns to Kyle's side. Stan also risked his life (as well as his dignity) to save Kenny in "Super Fun Time
Attitude towards Butters
Stan and Butters are generally on friendly terms, although in the earlier seasons, Stan sometimes picked on Butters, for being "a melvin". They communicate fairly well and there are times in which they have helped each other out, and it is clear that he would rather choose Butters over Cartman (due to him agreeing with Kyle to not invite Cartman to a birthday party, instead inviting Butters). He also seems to hold a level of concern over him, due to his reluctance to allow Butters to be on the receiving end of Cartman's schemes and volunteering to search for him when he is deemed missing. However the rest of the time Stan, as well as everyone else, makes fun of Butters - in the first episode in which they are together (Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub
) he makes fun of him throughout most of the episode. He also agrees to "fire" Butters from his circle of friends when Kenny died, replacing him with Tweek. Like Cartman though, Stan does not hesitate to manipulate Butters whenever possible for his own personal advantage, although he does give a little concern for Butters' safety at times. He even usually let Butters hang out with him as well.
Friendship with Cartman
Although Stan does not share Kyle's deep-seated hatred of Cartman, Stan will defend Kyle whenever the two get in a fight. Despite the fact that Stan dislikes Cartman and enjoys making fun of him, he does show a slight bond with Cartman. He and Cartman, when the others aren't present, have also been shown together in a couple of episodes, playing and enjoying themselves at it, like in “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow
”, where Cartman said that it was nice to be together just the two of them. Stan is also amused by Cartman's sense of humor, which only disgusts Kyle. In the episode "Hooked on Monkey Phonics
", Stan even admitted that he and Cartman were friends. Contrarily though, in the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die
", Stan claimed that he along with Kyle hated Cartman.
Catchphrases and Mannerisms
Since its beginning, the series has had a running gag where, when Kenny
, Stan will announce a variation of the line, "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" Kyle will then respond: "You bastards!"
Stan's often-used catchphrase during the early seasons was, "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here," which originated in the second Spirit of Christmas short (the profanity was bleeped out). In recent episodes however this catchphrase faded.
In many episodes, Stan often sums up the episode's main points in a small speech that often begins with, "You know, I learned something today." In different episodes Kyle does this instead, and a few other characters such as Cartman or the Mayor have as well.
In the late episodes, Stan also has a habit of pinching the bridge of his (unseen) nose and shutting his eyes tightly and looking down when frustrated or exasperated (as the actor Lino Ventura). A good example of this is in the episode "ManBearPig" where he does this motion when on the phone with Al Gore. Another example is in the episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", when he does it all the way home from the TV show. The gesture seems to be a learned habit developed by his constant frustration with his father. Kyle also makes this gesture on occasion.
Stan often groans, "Aw-awww!" when he's upset, as does his father which is an exasperation used by Trey Parker who voices the characters.
Whenever he gets mad, frustrated or gets dragged into something he often mutters, "Goddammit", not to be confused with Cartman's catchphrase, "Aw! God-damn-it!"
Stan is quite athletically proficient, and is regularly the captain or star player of his school's sports teams, except in basketball where Kyle is the best player in the school. He was the quarterback
of the school football team in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride
" and the pitcher and apparent Captain of the baseball team in "The Losing Edge
". Stan proved to be quite knowledgable in football, as shown in "Raisins
". He was also on the South Park dodgeball team that won the world championship as in the episode "Conjoined Fetus Lady
", and was on the Pee-wee hockey team when he was 4 years old, revealed in "Stanley's Cup
He is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos.
Although without the musical ability of Kyle or Cartman, Stan did manage to write and perform a song about the importance of hybrid cars in "Smug Alert!
", playing the guitar rather well. He wrote a song for Wendy, which was sung by Elton John in the episode "Chef Aid
". Like Kenny, Kyle and Cartman, he plays the violin. He is seen strumming a guitar in the episode "Die Hippie Die
". Stan is also, according to the episode "You Got F'd in the A
", a talented line dancer, instructed by his father. Of course he can also be seen playing instruments with his classmates in "Summer Sucks
" and "World Wide Recorder Concert
". Stan was the electric guitarist in the boys' band "Moop" in the episode "Christian Rock Hard
". Stan also discovered his talents in the video game Guitar Hero
, and eventually pursued the goal of scoring 1 million points in the episode "Guitar Queer-o
" with the help of Kyle.
Stan has been shown to be quite able to drive in quite a few episodes, despite his age and height, such as in "Towelie
" (with Kenny operating the gas and brake pedals, he drove a pickup truck to "Tynacorp" in order to get Towelie
out of reach of the military to play his addicting video game as well as the others (But he seemed to enjoy it most)), "Bloody Mary
" (when he drove Randy to the Virgin Mary
statue), "Night of the Living Homeless
" (when he drove a modified bus through the hordes of homeless and then lured them away to California
), and "Guitar Queer-o
" (when he played a driving video game in a very serious manner). He also (very ineptly) drove a boat in "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow