"Hi, it's me, Stan."
The bane of Dorothy's existence
Stan was Dorothy Zbornak-Hollingsworth's ex-husband, and was, according to Sophia Grisanti-Spirelli-Petrillo-Weinstock, a "yutz", which many characters (including his own mother) called him. They were married in high school in a shotgun wedding, after Dorothy became pregnant during a one-night stand in a Chevy at a drive-in movie. Dorothy claimed that the only reason she went out with him is because he claimed he was being shipped off to Korea, and "would probably die". In one episode, they were said to have honeymooned in Miami, while in another episode, it was said to be the Poconos. He stayed married to Dorothy for 38 years of marriage, but he had affairs with his secretary, and one-night stands with a waitress and another woman. He left Dorothy after he had an affair with a flight attendant named Chrissy (Simone Griffeth), whom he later married and divorced. Stan was also married to a woman named Katherine (Elinor Donahue), but that marriage also disintegrated.
Dorothy had her own terms for him. She has called him a "dirtbag," "barfbag," "yellow-bellied sleazeball", and a "big bald girl" among various epithets. On numerous occasions Dorothy also lamented his inconsistency at making love, namely his "timing". In fact, their first encounter that resulted in the pregnancy is said, by Dorothy, to have taken only three seconds.
Stan made his first appearance on the show in the first season, attending the wedding of his and Dorothy's daughter, Kate. At this point, Dorothy was still extremely resentful towards her ex, and confronted him after the ceremony to give him a piece of her mind. This stemmed from the fact that Stan had decided to have his lawyer call Dorothy and tell her that he was getting a divorce after leaving her, which Stan couldn't do face-to-face with Dorothy. This seemed to clear the air somewhat, and Dorothy's hatred gradually softened into mild annoyance where Stan was concerned. At one point, Stan sought Dorothy for comfort when Chrissy left him for a younger man; he and Dorothy subsequently had a one-night stand with each other, but it didn't lead to a reconciliation. In a later episode, Stan gets engaged to Katherine and Dorothy initially wishes him well. But when Sophia gets hospitalized due to pneumonia, Stan became Dorothy's unlikely rock, comforting her and staying with her in the hospital, even demanding answers from Sophia's doctor when Dorothy was given the run around. This makes Dorothy realize that she still loves him. She tries to tell Stan on his wedding day, but Blanche and Rose stop her. When Dorothy meets Stan's bride-to-be Katherine and finds her to be a nice person, she realizes that her time with Stan was in the past and lets him go.
Stanley made several appearances on the show from time to time, usually showing up on the doorstep, saying his trademark lines, "Hiya babe," and "Hi, it's me, Stan", which would result in the door being slammed on his face or Dorothy uttering a cry of exasperation. Stan would come to the house whenever something had gone wrong in his life (which happened often), and needed Dorothy's shoulder to cry on. Dorothy, albeit reluctantly, would usually offer advice or words of sympathy, with the occasional barb thrown in for good measure.
Dorothy's roommates, Blanche Elizabeth Marie Devereaux and Rose Nylund barely tolerated him, but Rose at least showed some kindness to him from time to time. On the other hand Sophia Grisanti-Spirelli-Petrillo-Weinstock, Dorothy's mother, was downright hostile to him. This never deflated the oblivious Stan, however.
Stan was, to be candid, one of life's losers. He was a novelty salesman, and was not a successful one. In one episode, he becomes homeless and broke after he loses all his money in a bad deal. In contrast, his brother Theodore "Ted" Zbornak (McLean Stevenson) is a very successful doctor who owns several shopping malls. Ted revealed that he had a crush on Dorothy and kissed her, which made Stan jealous. But when Ted asks Dorothy to babysit kids belonging to a woman whom he wants to date, Stan is overjoyed, while she is offended. Dorothy agrees with Blanche, who also had one date with Ted, that he is a jerk.
Accentuating Stan's cheesy persona was the fact that he donned a thick mustache and an obviously fake toupee for much of the first season. Both were gone later on in the series.
Stan was childish, selfish, and vain; even his own mother disliked him (though she pretended to pamper him). The one good thing about his life was his marriage to Dorothy, which he threw away (a fact he has lamented more than once). Late in the series, mostly due to dumb luck, Stanley became very wealthy and successful, due to his invention of the "Zbornie," a baked-potato opener. He became president of his own company, Zbornco, which took the Zbornie international, namely to Japan. Even when he managed to persuade Dorothy to remarry him, he ruined it by asking her to sign a prenuptial agreement. Dorothy told her guests that the wedding was off, because she "didn't want to make the same mistake twice."
After ruining his second wedding with Dorothy, Stan decided that he would go to therapy to try to get some form of closure. He said that if Dorothy joined him on a session it might help him get over her sooner. Dorothy reluctantly agreed, however, as soon as they started the session Stanley started begging Dr. Halperin to help them - or, actually, him - "put this crazy marriage back together." After being yelled at by Dorothy he accidentally said 'Sophia' instead of 'Dorothy' while trying to proclaim his love for her. Dr. Halperin says that he made the same slip-up in an earlier session and concludes that Stan really wants to be nearby Sophia who "represents Stan's own mother who passed away before the two of them could resolve things." After Dorothy lied to get Sophia to the therapy session she reluctantly tells Stan that the one time she loved him was when baby Michael Zbornak was being wheeled out of the hospital. She says that she loves him for that one moment when there was a whole happy future in his smile. Dr. Halperin eventually managed to get Stan to transfer his love for Dorothy to a fake monkey (a traffic cone with carpeting and a monkey head) which he had such an attachment to that he named it Fifi, didn't allow anyone to get near it, took it to play bridge, and even set it at "a separate table with the other wives" at a Japanese investment meeting. Dorothy resented the monkey because of his sick attachment to it. She stated "I had to ride in the back seat all the way over! Stan said the monkey called shotgun." As the final step in their treatment, Dr. Halperin suggests they spend two years apart, which Dorothy is thrilled about. This is short lived, however, because a few days later Stan is found in bed with Dorothy's sister, Gloria, who was visiting after losing all her money. Afterwards, Stanley is rarely seen until the final episode.
He is known to be very cheap, yet he made extravagant romantic gestures toward Dorothy. The first time he proposed to her, it was in a very expensive restaurant where he placed a ring in the champagne glass, which she unknowingly gulped. Many years later after they had been divorced, he proposed to her a second time, it was again at a restaurant, where he placed a ring in a hot potato. During their marriage, he had given her a mink stole, which was stolen but later recovered. (Interestingly, in an earlier episode, when Rose asked Dorothy if Stan had ever given her a mink stole, Dorothy said that he had not.) On their 38th wedding anniversary, he spent $2500 for a ring, which she later pawned off to pay for their joint back taxes after they were divorced. Stan bought back the ring for her. He pays off their back taxes by selling off his Corvette. When he becomes rich, he purchases her a car with the license plate, "pothead." (meant for potato head, but he couldn't get all the letters in). There were several episodes, where we see Dorothy receiving bouquets of flowers from Stan. Stan also "purchases" Dorothy at a charity bachelorette auction for $500. In another instance, he gave back the $50 to Sophia, when she initially paid him to act like he's still Dorothy's husband for Uncle Angelo. Stan never really stopped loving Dorothy, and had to live with the fact that he'd really messed up a good thing with his bad judgments. Even when Dorothy was on the way to marry Lucas Hollingsworth in the final episode, he posed as her limo driver and pulled over on the side of the road to ask her if she really loved her fiancee. When Dorothy says yes, Stan intimates that he will always love her, and Dorothy says the same to him. He then takes her to the church "in style".
He attended the ceremony and when the minister asked if anyone objected to this pairing, Stan almost did so, but he decided to hold his peace. At that moment, he realized that his place in Dorothy's life was at an end. Although they would forever have a connection due to their two children, Dorothy had moved on.
He has a cousin named Magda Yitchinson, who was a firm communist from Czechoslovakia and constantly irritated Dorothy with her views on America, saying the only good thing was Slurpees - "They taste so natural and fruit-like!" She was living with Stan, and he charged her rent, and she had to pay for the ice. She had a disagreement with him - "He saw himself as human being, I disagree".
In an episode of The Golden Palace, Stan appears to be faking his death to avoid taxes by the IRS and moves to Madrid. However, he is only seen by a grieving (and increasingly senile) Sophia, who can't seem to let go, and conveniently ducks out of sight when anyone else is approaching to avoid being caught. Whether or not Stan is truly dead is left somewhat ambiguous.
"Hi, it's me - Stan"- said many times when entering the house