Stanley "Stan" Marsh is the overall main protagonist of the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Parker and long-time collaborator Matt Stone in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).
Stan is an elementary school student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Stan is generally depicted as kind-hearted, intelligent, trustworthy and patient (if somewhat arrogant). He is outspoken in expressing his distinct lack of esteem for adults and their influences, as adult South Park residents rarely make use of their critical faculties.
Like the other South Park characters, Stan is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), as well as South Park-related media and merchandise. While Parker and Stone portray Stan as having common childlike tendencies, his dialogue is often intended to reflect stances and views on more adult-oriented issues and has been frequently cited in numerous publications by experts in the fields of politics, religion, popular culture and philosophy.