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Monday, September 21, 2015

Stanley the Perfect, the mighty and terrible champion of the oppressed and unjustly maligned majestical being

See a few more Lexx quotes at TVTropes.


Pix and snips click to sources.


Fans who have followed me from the very beginning at GrandFortuna's League of 20,000 Planets way back in 2004-5ish know that Stanley Tweedle is my very favoritist scifi character ever dreamed up, displacing a decade-long first place by Doc Brown from Back to the Future. This might be surprising to fans of other space shows, especially given my lengthy Star Trek rant a few years ago (which went wild when I copied it to SyfyDesigns, a tightly locked forum and controlled for spam). I've recently 'come out' on a personal blog about my long history in fandoms, and after a decade of disgust over quickie review writers still not giving Lexx the kinds of write-ups it deserves, OH YES, I'm going there.


Stanley H. Tweedle, as far as we can piece together, worked in the position of Deputy Assistant Backup Courier within the League as a cover for his part as a double agent for the infamous Ostral-B Heretics, an underground rebel army hellbent on tearing down Order across the League of 20,000. Stan's job at the time of his capture was to smuggle detailed schematics for a new planet-killing bioweapon, along with maps and coordinates, across enemy space and deliver them to the underground. This might have gone without a hitch if he hadn't fallen for an S.O.S. call in transit.

We find out almost immediately that Stanley and Thodin, the notorious Ostral-B leader of the Heretics on His Shadow's most wanted list, seem like they must have known each other personally. Even though Thodin venomously berates Stanley for his failures, Stan is still very glad to see Thodin, not in an "I'm rescued" kind of way (Thodin was clearly not there to rescue Stanley), but in a more familiar way, as Stan's first words to him are a careful but grateful "You're alive!" Thodin isn't just a leader in a rebellion to Stanley. We don't know any more than that.


In season two's "Stan's Trial" we find out Stanley's capture, torture, and confession is directly responsible for the Reform planets being destroyed, most likely the Ostral-B Pair being top of the list. These planets had shielding so they couldn't be found and targeted by His Shadow's planet killers (non-canon, but deduced), the Foreshadow and the Megashadow, as Brunnis 2 was. Part of the information Stanley gave up was the locations of these resistance planets. We finally realize in season 3's "May" that a woman Stanley once loved very much (Lyekka, unrequited) was on one of those planets. All the years Stanley was a prisoner on the Cluster, he didn't know whether anyone he loved or knew had survived at all and that it was all his fault, and he was very publicly held up in the League as Arch Traitor. Everyone on both sides of the ongoing wars hated him, and he knew it.

How in the world Stanley managed to live with himself and stay alive on the Cluster for so long as a Designated Data Cooperator working in the most menial position as a 4th Class Security Guard is neatly condensed into one word spat in his direction so often that he barely flinched- coward. Even Giggerota knew who he was and called him Waste of Skin. He sold out, obviously. Or did he?


Stanley survived out of sheer miscreant stubbornness. He may have been a broken man, but he managed to passive aggressively maintain an attitude that kept him from going under where others might have caved to the tortures and despair that had to have haunted him behind everything for years. One might reflect that he had nothing left to live for, no hope at all, why not just let go? He knew the only way out was death, because he was surrounded by it. He knew he couldn't win all by himself. He knew he could never make a dent in the galaxy-sized machine eating humanity (literally) into a thousand years of strictly controlled slavery. If the reform planets were gone, what hope could there be? Stan was utterly alone.

No beer after work. No friends to talk to. No TV to watch. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to love. No one to blame but himself.


So, you're Stanley. You're on a mission that might help tip the scales in a war that's been going on hundreds and even thousands of years. You're wide open and all indication points toward success. You pick up a distress call in the middle of your mission. Do you ignore it and leave people to die? It looks like you've got time and space to go help, so why not? I mean, who wouldn't? That doesn't seem like a coward to me.

But that wasn't the problem. The problem was stopping off at a pleasure ship before that happened, while on the mission. The problem was bragging a little to the wrong person, who passed info along for bait later. The problem was Stanley caving to a weakness for some attention and a good time. The problem was that Stanley compromised the most important mission of his life because he got a big head and couldn't help showing off a little in a place he thought wouldn't hurt anything. But you know what? That still doesn't sound like a coward. It was an inappropriate decision, yes. It was a stupid braggart move that tempted the fates, you betcha.

So anyway, he spilled the beans. Coward. But did you see what they were doing to prisoners on the Cluster? We never really find out how much torture Stanley went through from mercenaries before he broke, and how much more torture he surely must have gone through once he was handed over to His Shadow, but we do know he never gave up the rest of the information embedded in another tooth. THAT doesn't sound like a coward.


I'd like to propose that Stanley is more of a whiner than a coward. He doth protest, sometimes too much. Wouldn't you? He has really good reasons most of the time. He's been through crap most people haven't, he really doesn't want more.

I think my favorite Stanley scene is when he's making the Divine Predecessors sing a song that praises him, and threatening them with a cluster lizard if they don't cooperate. Up to that point, no human in Cluster history had ever dared taunt, belittle, and demoralize humanity's biggest enemy, and I doubt very many had ever handled cluster lizards of any size, even in the torture arenas.


Ok, I've overstated my point, can we move on now, you're saying. NO. I think it's important to understand how Stanley survived. He survived more stuff far longer and way more personally than just about anyone in the whole series, and he's talked about the least. He's easily dismissed because he's a whiner, a grumbly guy. I would be, too, after all that crap. Would you be as nice as Stanley after all that crap? I'm going to point out some cool things about Stanley Tweedle.


Stan is just as lonely as Zev/Xev. They're alone on a big ship. Yes, he's a bit of a selfish bastard sometimes, but he never once tries to rape or hit her. (I just spoke volumes to people who might've missed that part.) They're both coming from the blackest pit of evil where abuses and atrocities are common everyday things, and Stanley never once inflicts Zev/Xev with his personal whims. He's not exactly a gentleman, but he's not awful, either. Maybe he's not the cool suave hero she wants, but he's the man who saved her and whisked her away from a horrible life. When reviewers blow Stanley off over being rejected by a love slave, what I see is a brother-sister relationship growing where both of them have been stripped not only of their families, but their very selves. They were two naked and pitiful souls running into each other in the pit of hell, and neither one ever let go of having the other's back. I think it's marvelous that two people who could have easily come to despise each other became so close through all that thick and thin. By the end of season three, they've even literally been through hell together.


I have so much respect for Stanley surviving all that without becoming a monster himself, a monster he was purported to be by other monsters, the 3 biggies coming to mind being His Divine Shadow, Grand Prosecutor Jihana, and Prince. He came close in season 3, didn't he? Perilously close! Had it not been for Prince's devious scheming through May, though, I doubt he'd ever have gone that far in his mind on his own. While Stanley's not a coward, and totally a whiner feeling sorry for himself (who wouldn't?), he's also not really a monster.

He's broken. He's an emotionally shattered person who holds it together somehow, and season 3 gives us a glimpse into how sad he's really been all this time. He hides his sadness behind that word coward. He allows others to think the worst of him because there's no way anyone will ever see him cry. And when his sadness finally comes out to the surface, Prince uses everything he's got (the cruelest woman in his minion) to pull Stanley toward his own selfish end game. Is Stanley a monster for falling for it? I think Prince pushed him to a precipice- he was already responsible for all those other planets, how could one more really mean anything now? Especially if it meant someone would finally love him after all this time. Don't be too quick to judge. We all know people in real life who've sold out their own families for another hit or a gambling problem. Stanley is us. He is the picture of who we are when we are broken, and promised beautiful things if we'll only do something for very bad people.

There are better words we can use with Stanley. Cynical is a really good one. I'm surprised he's not either a meaner person or curled up in a blubbering ball. I don't know about you guys, but I know several crabby cynical guys, easy to blow off as jerks until you stop and take a second look at how they got that way in the first place, and then you see that underneath it all is a sweetheart needing a second chance and maybe never getting it. As Prince so carefully coaxed out on The Beach, Stan is harder on himself than anyone. Watching two halves of his own conscience condemn him is proof of that.


This guy carried the weight of 94 blown up Reform planets, accidentally unleashed a monster (Mantrid) that destroyed an entire universe, wound up in hell even though he didn't do what Prince wanted him to, and above all, was reminded of the woman he loved and lost every time an alien plant showed up. I cannot help but love this character.

This pic still clicks back to content that is no longer there.
Sorry about that.
I also discuss Stanley Tweedle in these articles, click to read beyond the snips-

Why Lexx Is Important-
Stan is the Everyman, the average person who winds up caught in the stuff all around him everywhere he goes. He’d *like* to be the hero, but he’s a normal person with normal flaws, and it’s easy to see how we might also be just like him.

Why Lexx Is Personal-
Stanley Tweedle is my all-time favorite scifi character because the twisted irony that swims through spacetime around that guy makes me laugh and want to hug people for all the suckiness they go through, even when I’m feeling crabby. If anyone could finger His Shadow, I’m really glad it was him, because he’s like the rest of us, stumbling through our days and stubbornly hoping for the best even if the only way we can get it is to make it up.

and these film review sections-

I Worship His Shadow- part 3- Stanley Tweedle

I Worship His Shadow- part 7- Termination


Stanley Tweedle was played by Brian Downey.


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