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Characters / South Park: Stan Marsh

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Stanley "Stan" Marsh
"Dude, sometimes I think our parents are really stupid."

Voiced by: Trey Parker

The straight man out of the original four kids, he is often the one to give An Aesop at the end of each show. The closest thing to a main character of the show, who tends to be the protagonist of many episodes and is probably not coincidentally the most "normal" character.

His role in Coon and Friends is Toolshed.

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  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In the episode "Guitar Queer-O". Becomes a regular character trait in later seasons where even when well intentioned, he ends up preferring glory and money over his original message.
  • The Alcoholic: Had intakes of whiskey in "Ass Burgers". The ending of the episode implies he may stay that way, though it hasn't been mentioned again since. One could argue this was foreshadowed in "Trapped in the Closet", when he asks, "What if I become an alcoholic, like Grandpa?"
  • Allergic to Love: He always barfed whenever Wendy got close to him in the early episodes. As of now, he no longer does this.
  • Angst: The closest thing to the series' poster boy. Parodied in "Raisins" (to the point where he becomes a Goth) and "You're Getting Old"/"Ass Burgers", played straight in other episodes.
  • Anti-Hero: Type 3 in the early episodes, turns into a Type 2 later on. "Ass Burgers" and onwards shows traits of a Type 4. Since the release of The Stick of Truth, he seems to be showing more heroic qualities, going back to being a Type 2.
  • Author Avatar: He's a stand-in for Trey Parker, which probably explains why he's the most prominent character.
  • Berserk Button: Do not swindle his grandfather. He will call your phone number and actually tell you to kill yourself.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Usually a friendly and pleasant boy, but the second you cross the line, you'll regret it.
  • Big Brother Instinct: To Butters, to an extent.
  • Big "OMG!": "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!"
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: At the end of "Raisins", Stan says "Screw you guys, I'm going home" (which was Cartman's old catchphrase) to the Goths.
  • Break the Cutie: It's pretty rare for him, but it happens. The most notable was when Wendy broke up with him and when he became cynical after his 10th birthday.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the earlier episodes, he was constantly bullied by his older sister, and now has to deal with embarrassing moments from his father (and in earlier seasons, his mother too). Also, while not as much of a target as Kyle or Kenny, he isn't spared from being insulted by Cartman.
  • Byronic Hero: He has endured a lot of anguish from the idiotic citizens of South Park, especially from his father and sister, to the point that his growing cynicism and depression was the subject of a particularly heavy two-parter. He is also incredibly impassioned when he takes up a cause, and as close to Tall, Dark, and Handsome as the art-style will allow him and still being the everyman.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Without puking on them if he likes them. This trait has disappeared in recent seasons.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Aw- awww!", "Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no!", and "God damn it!" In the earlier seasons, he had "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" and "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here!" He also has the simpler "Dude."
  • Characterization Marches On: Was more childish and mean-spirited in earlier episodes. More the Only Sane Man in later seasons. Starting with seasons 15 and 16, he has started to ease back a bit, having more obnoxious or immature moments. He is still much more toned down from how he began however.
  • The Cutie: In the first season character commercials, Cartman was known for being fat, Kenny as lucky, and Kyle as smart. Stan was known for being cute.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the later episodes, Stan has a habit of pinching the bridge of his nose and sigh when another character does something stupid. He often exclaims "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here", and in "Child Abduction is Not Funny", he remarks to Kyle, "Dude, sometimes I think our parents are really stupid", and as they rejoin their families at the conclusion of the episode, "Jesus Christ, dude, they've done some stupid crap before, but, Jesus Christ...".
  • Determinator: Once Stan sets his mind to something, it's pretty hard to get him to stop.
  • Dirty Coward: Happens often. When he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even think that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters. The most notable instance was the Trent Boyett pre-school incident.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Often involuntarily throughout "Ass Burgers".
  • The Everyman: As the leader of the group, and the most "normal" character.
  • Facepalm: Pinching the bridge of his own nose (or the space where the bridge of his nose would be, as the kids don't have visible noses) isn't uncommon.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The other three start avoiding Stan after he becomes cynical.
  • Friend to All Living Things: A more jaded and snarky example, but he still qualifies. He refused to shoot a rabbit as early as Season 1, gave up entirely on meat for baby cows, and was the only one determined to stop the Japanese from killing whales and dolphins. The Stick of Truth calls back on this with his dog Sparky accompanying him in battle, and he feels guilty when he decapitates a zombified version of Princess Kenny's unicorn.
  • Goth: In "Raisins".
  • Growing Up Sucks: The show has "You're Getting Old", where Stan turns 10 and realizes how shitty things are progressively getting to the point of seeing and hearing nothing but shit, a disorder called by a doctor "Being a cynical asshole". This leads to an end of his friendships and with his mother divorcing Randy after not being able to take his shenanigans anymore, moving away from South Park. Of course humorously, Status Quo fixes everything by the next episodes end. Though Stan need a little "help" to get through the days now.

  • The Hero: Usually.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Stan's had two. The first one is when Wendy dumps him to the point that he becomes Goth. Butters' speech about loving life helps him out of it. The second starts in "You're Getting Old" and ends in "Ass Burgers" due to Status Quo Is God. One could argue that it's still going.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kyle.
  • Hey, You!: Shelly almost never calls him by name. Poor Stan. His grandpa always calls him Billy instead of his real name as well.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Shelley's abuse of Stan is played for laughs, as is the fact that his parents refuse to believe him, regardless of how many bruises he has or how much he asks for help. Only once did they attempt to defend him ("Over-Logging"), but Shelley went right back to abusing Stan halfway through the episode without Randy, Sharon, or their grandfather caring.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: In "A Very Crappy Christmas", when Butters draws the boys' cartoon forms for their short film, Kyle (who notes that he has a sharper nose) notes that Stan has blue eyes while explaining that their drawings kind of look like them.
  • It Runs in the Family: Some of his Catch Phrases are also used by his father.
  • Jerkass Ball: He and Kyle are usually Only Sane Men to the craziness of the world around them, and act as more moralistic foils to Cartman. At times however, often when Cartman is not in a starring role, they can act rather selfish or immoral, having nothing against using similar bullying or conniving tactics to Cartman to get what they want. This is more toned down in later seasons, though still pops up every now and then.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he does have some Jerkass and Kids Are Cruel moments, he still a decent and friendly guy.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Although not as much as Cartman, Kenny or even Kyle.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Frequently hates doing the right thing because Being Good Sucks and he always gets screwed over, but he will still make the right choice every time... eventually.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining".
  • Nice Hat: A blue one.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
  • No Respect Guy: Stan would usually get no respect from his father at the very least.
  • Not So Above It All: Every now and then.
  • Only Sane Man: Most of the time, save for the episodes where he gets thrown the Idiot Ball, leaving the role to Kyle.
  • Out of Focus: He gets the short shift of the trio of him, Kyle, and Cartman.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: In "Whale Whores".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Kyle's Red.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: His tearful remorse in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" is induced by his inability to trade the 5th generation iPod Nano that he sold his friends out for.
  • Satellite Character: In Season 19. He gets very little screen time, and he's not used to advance the main plotlines. This is true to an even greater degree in Season 20, as despite the fact that he is directly affected by the girls' Lysistrata Gambit, he is completely absent from several episodes.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Not quite as much as Cartman, but when something happens that he doesn't like or doesn't want to see the outcome of he's usually the first (second if Cartman goes first) to bail.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Cartman's Manly Man.
  • Sell-Out: Several times in Season 16.
  • Straight Man: The Straight Man to the WHOLE town in later seasons.
  • Straw Nihilist: Played with in later seasons, particularly after "You're Getting Old". Of all the main boys, Stan's certainly the most cynical of them all. Lampshaded in "Member Berries". Kyle straight up calls him a nihilist in "Super Hard P Cness".
  • Symbiotic Possession: Used as a vessel for Satan towards the end of "Freemium Isn't Free".
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: A subtle example. Subtle, because he's a piece of crappy cartoon. Stan is the calm, collected one in his group, has dark hair, and even joins the Goth kids in one episode. Plus, he's the only one who has had a stable girlfriend for a very long time. It helps that he is South Park's best example of an Adorably Precocious Child. His #3 rank in "The List" (assuming he wasn't among the ones moved) adds to this too.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: In You're Getting Old.