Re-Watching AToTS and...
I was re-watching A Tale of Two Stans, and I got to this scene, that upon first (second, third, okay and fourth) left me heartbroken. You know the one:
However, after my recent re-watch, I noticed that my kneejerk reaction to this scene had shifted from “Oh, no!” to you “Yes. This is painful, but necessary!”
Like, I’ve suddenly realized what an empowering, important character growth moment this was for Stan.
His brother has just rejected him again. Has arguably given him an eviction notice from not only the Shack but also Stanford’s life. We’ve seen this happen before. It could almost be considered a parallel to this scene from the exact same episode:
But instead of spending the next decade trying to prove his worth as a family member or try to get back into Ford’s good graces, what does Stan do here?
He accepts the rejection. Sadly and regrettably, of course, since Stan obviously wanted to make up with his brother. But here’s the thing: This moment shows that he does not rely on that reconciliation for happiness. And then you have this line:
Stan: “You stay away from the kids; I don’t want them in danger. ‘Cause as far as I’m concerned, they’re the only family I have left.”
I don’t think this is so much Stan not considering Ford his brother anymore, but the narrative asserting that what Stan and Ford have between them now is not a functioning family unit. And Stan knows this because he’s spent the summer with Dipper and Mabel.
In this very same episode, you have Stan revealing all his lies and secrets, and the kids forgive him. They forgive him, and still love him, because forgiveness and unconditional love is part of what makes a family.
Now that I look at it, I'm glad and grateful that this scene was included, even though it hurts.
Obviously, I want these broken old teacups to make up, and so does Stan (and they most likely WILL) but the fact that he outright states that he does not need Ford’s approval or acceptance because he already has these things from other people (the kids, and Soos and Wendy, too) he now considers family is so, so important.