Normally, when I write these up, I go through a week’s worth of episode before I move on to the next one.
The episode I watched for this space last week was so good, I went ahead with an extra one anyway. And here it is: the origin of Stan Pines and Mystery Shack.
Actually, there are two Stan Pineses: Stanley and Stanford. Stanley is the one we’ve been seeing all along. He’s a huckster who’s been passing himself off as Stanford for reasons that will become clear. Stanford (voiced by J.K. Simmons) is Stanley’s twin brother, a genius with a pair of six-fingered hands. Why did Stan pass himself off as the brother who prefers to go by the name of Ford?
It seems the pair grew up on the Jersey Shore, a close pair raised by their tough guy father Filbrick (voiced by tough guy actor Jonathan Banks) and their mom, a phoney telephone psychic (Dipper and Mabel are the offspring of a much younger sister seen briefly as a baby). The two were inseparable until Ford’s perpetual motion machine got the attention of some college recruiters. As the brothers were planning on restoring a boat they found to sail the world for treasure, this upsets Stan and he accidentally breaks Ford’s machine, costing the smart twin a free ride to a fantastic West Coast college. Unable to forgive his brother, Ford doesn’t object when their parents toss Stan out.
Stan follows up with a series of schemes that always cause him to have to change his name and move to another state. That would be why he has a box full of fake IDs.
As for Ford, he went to a cheap back-up college called Backupmore, and eventually got his Ph.D three years early. Having always felt like a bit of an outcast thanks to his extra fingers, he decided to study weird phenomena, and that led him to build a lab in Gravity Falls, chronicling all the weird stuff he could find and recording the data in a series of journals and even working with Young Man McGucket to build a dimensional portal. But then when McGucket got sucked partway in and came out fretting over a one eyed terror (hmmmm), Ford decided he needed to separate his journals to keep anyone from duplicating his work.
That meant writing to his long estranged twin Stan. But all he wanted Stan to do, because he trusted Stan, was to take the journal out to sea as far as he could and toss is overboard. Stan is kinda mad about that, and if Ford really wanted it destroyed, Stan could just burn it. That led to a fight which led to Ford getting sucked into the portal. Stan, bereaved, then took it upon himself to rescue Ford.
But first, he passed himself off as Ford because he needed the cover and the income. Setting up the Mystery Shack as a cheap tourist trap, he kept the basement off-limits and worked to bring Ford back, a task he couldn’t accomplish without the other journals.
As it is, Ford isn’t happy Stan took his name and home, but after mindwiping the feds, Ford agrees Stan can stay until summer’s end, but then he has to go. Stan agrees, but he wants Ford to stay far away from the kids because Ford’s experiments are dangerous and the kids are the only family Stan feels he has left.
Wow. That’s cold.
For what it’s worth, it looks like Dipper, Mabel, and Soos have all forgiven Stan.