Stanley’s first episode was remarkably similar to his British counterpart’s.  However, it is once again the disparities between the two series that proves worthy of note.  Much like the pilot, Tony’s first episode, the adaptation is almost identical, save some script-tweaking to fit the American characters.  The chapter also follows the theme of teen absolution.  The British character, Sid, spends the episode screwing up his life by following the poor examples his friends set.  Yet, while there is parental disappointment and fatherly bellowing aplenty, it is apparent that it is Sidney alone who makes poor decisions.  One scene adeptly explains this point:  Anwar and Maxxie come upon Sid looking into his next class, deciding whether or not to go.  Anwar, dressed like an angel, comes up to his shoulder and encourages him to go to class, Maxxie, dressed like a devil, sidles up to him, “f*ck class, let’s go to the courtyard and get stoned.”  Anwar rebuts this, further encouraging Sid to do the right thing.  Sid looks to Maxxie:  “F*ck it.”  Sid looks at Anwar, “f*ck it?” and Anwar looks back and shrugs, “f*ck it.”  Arm-to-arm they stroll out to get high, Sid neglecting his classes like so many times before.

Stanley’s episode, however, absolves its lead character from any wrongdoing, despite his sloth and poor morals.  Instead, the episode seems to take his father to task.  From the first scene, Mark Lucerne is made to look the fool, wearing biking apparel sewn to look like a playing card (perhaps the card designation of Queen may be another jab at the character).  His parenting philosophy is explained fairly succinctly shortly thereafter:  “I treat him like an idiot.  He tries to prove me wrong.”  While he says this, Stanley is sneaking out behind him with the prized hatchback.

When Stanley visits Cadie, a scene I found to censure Stanley somewhat (what kind of person goes to their friend in the hospital to complain about their life?), the inclusion of her mother supplements the episode’s theme of parental fault.  When asked how Cadie ended up in the asylum, she responds simply:  She received a call when Cadie was in the third grade, and from then on she was in “the system.”  The evident lack of decision-making or concern on the part of Cadie’s mother during her daughter’s tribulations is recognized when Stanley counters:  “My Dad got a call like that once.  He just yelled at me to stop being so weird.”  Cadie’s mother says, with regret in her voice, that he must be a good Dad.  She seems to regret that parents will let the system take responsibility for their child’s wellbeing.  This is especially relevant to the next trial (literally) that Stanley faces:  being arraigned for Grand Theft Auto.

Stanley’s father, when presented with his son’s transgressions of the previous night:  breaking curfew, car theft, destruction of property, etc., refuses to deal with his son further and instead opts to have him criminally charged.  During the arraignment, the Judge calls Stanley to the bench and, in short, publicly declares his father a bastard.  The case is dismissed, and Mark Lucerne’s countenance of disbelief supports the theme of teen absolution.  The show continually demonstrates that it is the parents’ decision to allow their children to become products of their environment that creates the teenage crises.  Teens themselves are pardoned.


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Brian Stickel is a Blast Correspondent

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