I propose the addition of a new word to the English language:
Tweedle - (n) an incompetent but endearing idiot!
I like Stanley. I really do. He's a little boy, wrapped up in himself and really quite lost in the big universe he's been dropped into. Petulant, egotistical and terrified by turns, I can't help but wonder how he's managed to survive for so long!
In the pilot films we are not told a great deal about Stan's history. We know that eight and a half years before the story starts, he was an 'assistant deputy backup courier' for the Heretics, for some as yet unknown reason carrying vital information concealed in two of his teeth...
Now how did that happen? Almost from the first moment we see him, it is made clear that Stan is a weak man - vacillating, suspicious, afraid (or possibly too embarrassed) to tell his superior the truth about his recent activities, not averse to lying to try to stay out of trouble... Assuming he was not born into their culture, how did such a character even manage to find the Heretics, let alone join them or be trusted with such a momentous task?
I would suggest it happened by accident. Most things seem to happen to Stan by accident. He has a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Upsetting the wrong people. Speaking when he'd be wiser to remain silent. He also seems to have the Cluster equivalent of a guardian angel watching over him...
Demoted from Class 2 Security Guard to the lowest post on the Cluster; so bored with his job that he finds it almost impossible to wake up every morning (or whenever it is - it's not easy to say); possibly haunted by his nightmare experiences at the hands of Feppo and Smoor; knowing that his responsibility for the destruction of ninety-four planets - even if it wasn't altogether his fault - has made him a despised and hated figure; reduced to taking petty revenge on his superiors (why else would he refuse a direct order from a line major?) to compensate for the sheer tedium of his life... Stan doesn't have much going for him, really. In fact, finding himself caught up with Thodin's group was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. It certainly saved his life!
I find him quite a complex character. Once away from the Cluster and over the shock of discovering he is now in control of the Lexx, he proves himself to be surprisingly resourceful. (Of course, this may be one of the reasons he was 'recruited' by the Heretics in the first place.) The prime example is his revenge on Feppo and Smoor....
790 started it, by suggesting he look up some old friends. Next time you play Giga Shadow, watch Stan's face. Underneath the expression of distaste there's the glimmer of a plan dawning. And that the plan works because Stan "knew what they'd do and...did them one better" speaks volumes about his similarity to the Sub-N's in terms of low (or should that be high?) cunning, grudge-holding and sheer malice!
I am a little concerned about Stan's comment about making Klaagya "a candidate for target practise." It is obvious, from Bog's words, that there are (or at least, were) people still alive onworld. So was Stan serious? Does living and working under the aegis of the Divine Order inculcate a severe case of inhumanity in the individual? Or was he simply indulging in a bout of self-assertion? I think we may have to wait and see what transpires in the series.
Stan thinks quite a lot of himself - apparently. He refers to himself as "All man", seems convinced Zev should simply fall into his arms (but then again, she does give mixed signals - she can't help it), and has an inflated opinion of his prowess as a lover. Personally, I have the sneaking suspicion that this is all simply show, an act to hide feelings of inadequacy (not necessarily sexual). He freely admits he is a coward and "not very good under pressure" (SuperNova), obviously loathed his job on the Cluster but did nothing to try to improve matters, and has a tendency to hide behind people (Zev, principally) when threatened. These are not the characteristics of a man who truly believes himself to be a superstud!
And yet - there is something touchingly sympathetic about him. He is not as selfish as he first appears. He moves to stand partially in front of Zev at the end of IWHS (OK, she'd more or less shamed him into it, and his own actions obviously took him by surprise, but nevertheless he didn't wholly retreat when threatened by Kai). A little later, when he watches Kai and Zev really look at each other for the first time, the knowledge that he now doesn't stand a chance with the love-slave-come-Cluster Lizard is quite clear in his expression - and he seems to be resigned to his fate. (That being said, how familiar is Stan with the function and functions of the Shadow Assassins, anyway? Does he know at this point that he would only need to wait for a while and Kai would run out of protoblood?) Watch his face as he tells Giggerota that he won't leave his friends (Super Nova) - given where his hands were at the time, that couldn't have been easy!
I agree that if it's a choice between people you know aren't going to eat you - at least, not while you control the Lexx - and a female who probably will ("but what a way to go!" I hear some of you cry...), you'd have to be either a consummate optimist or blindingly stupid to opt for the cannibal. Nevertheless, there is real feeling in that wonderfully expressive face. It took a strength of character we would not normally associate with Stan for him to make that choice.
In Eating Pattern, even when faced with Wist and momentarily distracted (and who wouldn't be!) he is still concerned for Zev. Despite his fear, he agrees to return to the Cluster for protoblood, in Giga Shadow. And if more proof were needed, in Giga Shadow he also attempts to repair Kai's cryotube. By this time it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the most he could hope for would be a thank-you kiss from Zev, if that - but despite the fact that if he is successful, the possibility of having Zev to himself is lowered practically to zero, still he tries.
Kai's "I didn't know you cared" is succinct; he does care. He probably isn't even aware of how much - Stan could not be called particularly self-analytical - but the implication is that, for perhaps the first time in his life, he is choosing to put other people before himself. And that makes him rather special, in my eyes.
© 1999 WordWrights.