lokisdottir wrote:Lisa just admitted a motive, to make her friends owe Stan and like him as a result. She lied to her friends that the camera was from her dad, whom P&A&Co. were willing to owe a favor to, when in fact it was from Stan, whom they didn't want to associate with. She put them in a bind by tricking them in this way, because Stan asking for credit is a fully reasonable request which was very foreseeable even if she has the lame excuse that she thought--imagined--otherwise. It's pretty rich of her to accuse her friends of being wrong for not liking poor, misunderstood Stan under those circumstances. Especially when she turned out to be so wrong about Stan being the kind of guy to do something nice for nothing.
I'm not saying Lisa's a horrible person or malicious or anything; if she's horrible then I've been downright awful at times. Pavement on the road to hell, etc. The mistake endears her to me as a character and gives depth to someone who until now was largely a commentator who tended to stay above the fray. She may be ready to step in with friendly tricks and trippy life lessons at a moment's notice, but she turns out to have her own flaws and blind spots when her desires and feelings are on the line. I find it refreshing, and look forward to where this is going.
I was more talking about them seeing Stan as having bigger ulterior motives (other than wanting credit), though I agree Lisa had an ulterior motive herself.
How about comparing to some baseline of integrity instead of to other characters? I don't get the whole "better than someone" game anyway. Having personal principles and trying to meet them is more meaningful to me. So let's look at Stan's principles or lack thereof.
I won't dispute that Stan has good impulses, and he tends to do the right thing when it doesn't interfere with his desires. Driving Helen home didn't cost him anything in terms of power, popularity, or poontang. (Sorry, love my alliterations too much.) Neither did checking up on Michelle. As for watching out for Jack and Katy-Ann, he asked Penny to help him watch out for them so he can be class president without any worries. Again, doesn't cost him anyhing, in fact it's mighty convenient for him. None of these were real tests, just showed that Stan isn't all bad--when it's convenient for him.
But when he actually has to choose between his desires and things like integrity or friendship, he's made the same choice every single time. He did so during the first and second elections, and did the same with Karen at first until her tactics became too much for him. And it wasn't like the defection was a sacrifice anyway--being Karen's advisor was more of a sideline for him and not his main thing. All he had to give up was his enmity for Penny, which again showed his good impulses but wasn't one of the things he really wanted.
Real or fictional, it's people's choices that define who they are. It's easy to stand for integrity or friendship when it's, well, easy, when you don't have to choose between doing right and getting what you want. If you go out of your way to destroy people, then you're a bad person; if you choose to stand for principles or the people around you when it's convenient but not otherwise, well, you're not terrible but you're just not committed to principles or people. By sacrifice I'm not saying Stan should have given his life for Brandi or anything--I'm pointing out that he has consistently shown his priorities. That's why Brandi very wisely got out, because relationships are miserable when priorities don't match. It's why the Pennies and the Aggies bailed on him, because they don't agree with his values, or some might say lack thereof.
I've seen arguments that all this is a tempest in a teapot, and things like high school relationships or class presidencies don't say anything about who Stan is. I'd like to turn that proposition around: if Stan prizes small prizes like being class president so highly over his integrity, why in the world would he value the bigger prized less when he goes out into the "real world?" Stan won't get magically better as an adult, not unless he goes in a different direction. Not unless he makes a different choice.
I can agree that he tends to make the wrong choices. I even think his big issue is that he values his image too much. Stan chooses actions based on his image. His problem, though, is that he values almost everyone's image of him.