the mystery of the urinal deuce

behind-the-blow  asked:

Hello! Your character analysis stuff is so well written and spot on! It makes my Matt and Trey analysis stuff seem total shit XD Have you studied psychology or something? Would you be interested in doing one about Stan and Kyle's friendship and how/ why they go from being best friends to threatening to shoot or beat each other up?

Hi! You’re very kind, but no, I’ve never studied psychology or anything. I just really love South Park and I think about the characters a lot. Too much, probably. And nonsense, I love your Matt and Trey analyses!

Stan and Kyle are my two favorite characters so of course I’ll discuss them and their friendship. I think these two complement each other very well and balance each other out. Normally, they’re attached at the hip, but these Super Best Friends have had an argument or two (or three or four). They’ve fought or betrayed or called each other out on five different occasions, if my memory serves: “Prehistoric Ice Man,” “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce,” “Crack Baby Athletic Association,” “You’re Getting Old/Ass Burgers,” and “Butterballs.”

The first two episodes are pretty useless in terms of analysis and characterization. “Prehistoric Ice Man” is the episode where Stan and Kyle have their first real fight. However, this is early South Park and the boys haven’t developed their distinct personalities yet. During season 2, Stan and Kyle are pretty much the same kid, which means the fight doesn’t add any merit to their friendship. “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” is also an exception because Stan betrays Kyle to protect himself from getting in trouble for crapping in the urinal. I don’t think he intends to target Kyle in any way, but Kyle gets caught up in the plot and won’t stop digging, in that Kyle way of his. Stan sort of has his back against the wall here and pulls a gun on his friend to save himself. That doesn’t make it okay, but it’s certainly understandable, and clear Stan didn’t do so because of any malice towards Kyle.

Now things get a little more interesting. I’ll compare “Crack Baby Athletic Association” and “Butterballs” because they’re very similar in the way Stan and Kyle disagree. “CBAA” has Kyle agreeing with Cartman and acting immorally so he seeks validation from Stan. He rants and raves in Stan’s ear about why what he’s doing is okay when he’s really trying to convince himself. He seeks Stan’s acceptance because Stan is the closest thing to himself he can find. If Stan says its fine, he can quit feeling guilty. However, Stan says “You sound like Cartman” and stares deadpan the rest of the time because that’s all he has to say. He knows Kyle enough to be aware that comparing him to Cartman is the ultimate insult and this comment will cause him to sort himself out.

On the flipside, Stan’s ego gets the best of him again in “Butterballs” and Kyle is the only one who tries to make him see that. He points out that the anti-bullying video is more about Stan helping himself than helping victims of bullying and repeatedly tells him to be careful he doesn’t wind up jacking it in San Diego. This sequence is played for laughs, but it shows just how intuitive Kyle is. He knows about the history of Stan’s big head and correctly predicts what will happen if it goes too far because he’s seen all this before. He knows Stan insanely well and is smart enough to see patterns in his best friend’s behavior that will spell trouble so he warns him because he cares.

Now, before the next segment, I want to say that I adore Kyle. He’s a good character, probably the best person on the show morality wise, but…not a super great friend. Stan has his issues, but he is a way better friend than Kyle. I couldn’t analyze Stan and Kyle’s friendship without ranting a bit about Kyle’s abandonment of Stan in “You’re Getting Old” and “Ass Burgers.” I’m still furious at Kyle for how quickly he turns his back on Stan during his depression. Kyle doesn’t even try to help Stan in his time of need, which is particularly frustrating if you look at how often Stan goes out of his way for Kyle. He schemes to get Cartman’s kidney to save Kyle’s life in “Cherokee Hair Tampon,” writes a hit song so Kyle can return to South Park in “Smug Alert,” and investigates the girls’ list to help Kyle’s self-esteem in “The List.” I don’t even think those are all the instances where Stan sticks his neck out for Kyle. And then, after all that, Kyle suddenly decides “I don’t care to be in this friendship anymore” the minute Stan needs him? That’s pretty shitty, but I think it makes sense if you look at Kyle’s character.

Kyle certainly has relationships with the people in his life and cares about their well-being, but his #1 concern is the right thing. If he sees someone being wronged, he will intervene, even if that person is Cartman and even if the wrongdoer is someone he loves. He is able to look at a situation objectively and figure out the right course of action. This mentality is what makes Kyle so great, but it’s also what contributes to his self-righteousness. I think, in Kyle’s mind, he thinks the right thing to do is cut Stan loose. Stan’s depression is sad, but it’s also a huge bummer to be around and he feels Stan is harming his friends without meaning to.

Meanwhile, Stan uses his heart rather than his head in decision-making. Often, he will only get involved in a cause if it affects him personally. He leads a charge to protect whales and dolphins because he loves animals, encourages people to drive Hybrids and save the planet because his best friend moved away, and campaigns for gay rights because his dog is gay. This sounds a little more selfish and, I guess it is, but most of us are guilty of it. However, Stan’s heart pushes him to protect his loved ones (i.e. Kyle) past the point when others would have given up.

Part of this is because Stan is extremely group-oriented. He needs a support system and clings to them no matter the situation. In “Raisins,” when he becomes goth he latches on to a new group of friends that share his values. In “You’re Getting Old,” Stan claims that the only thing that isn’t shitty to him are his friends. Kyle is a little more independent in that he can probably survive without being part of a clique. However, I think this is where the difference lies: Stan needs a friend group, but Kyle needs Stan specifically. Looking back at all the times Stan has saved Kyle’s ass, it makes me think that no matter how outgoing or badass Kyle is, he really needs Stan. Who else is going to confront a fraud psychic to convince him not to go to Jewish boarding school? Not Cartman or Kenny.

So there you have it. This was long as hell, but I wanted to get all my thoughts on the page. Basically Kyle is the head and Stan is the heart and neither can operate without the other. It’s what makes them such an iconic duo and a strong team. Maybe you can take this and write an analysis on how this compares to Matt and Trey’s friendship. I hope I answered your question to your satisfaction!