I feel like people like Marco for a number of reasons but one reason that I don't think gets brought up is that a lot of people know a "Marco". What I mean is a lot of people know a person who is a very sweet, good hearted friend who suffers from low self esteem and confidence. Marco connects to people's desire to see their good but self-doubting friends improve themselves and see the potential within them that they see in them.
Marco is an extremely likeable and relatable character for a number of reasons. You are right, anon: we all met a Marco at some point in our lives. What is also really interesting to me is that yes, I have some good friends who kinda act like this dork, but very often I am this dork (I even wear hoodies!), as I’m that one friend with low self-esteem who does their best to support their (usually much more-talented and mature) pals.
He’s a very refreshing, well-written, good-hearted male character who can also kick ass. If I was younger, I’d definitely take this relatable dork as a role-model.
I think Wander and Stan would also clash in when trying to tackle Stan's self-worth issues. Between him and Ford, Stan's probably closer to Lord Hater in terms of demeanor and might not appreciate some fuzzy alien barging in and might misinterpret Wander's efforts to help as him trying to fix his problems because Wander thinks he knows better. And he might have less patience for Wander's (well intentioned) banjo songs about self esteem.
“Might misinterpret Wander’s efforts to help as him trying to fix his problems because Wander thinks he knows better.
Oh yes, that’s a very good point. I think the phrase “put that banjo away or I’ll break it over your head” would exit Stan’s mouth more than once. The main difference is Hater responds to Wander’s efforts with great aggressiveness, by trying to kill him. I think Stan would just want to shove him in a back room or send him to play in the woods or just generally avoid him.
Interestingly, I think Sylvia might be the one to really connect with Stan. She’s got a criminal past too, she’d probably understand a lot more of Stan’s thought processes. And she’s see that unlike Rider, Stan has a genuinely good heart. (Plus she isn’t unflaggingly cheerful like Wander, and could even understand how someone might get annoyed with that aspect of him.)
I think ultimately Stan would bond with Sylvia more than Wander. He’d come to like Wander, but for a while it would be a “I constantly complain about him and tell him to go away but if anyone tries to hurt a hair on his head I will murder them” kind of like.
It would take some time for Stan to genuinely warm up to him.