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"A Tale of Two Stans"[2] is the 12th episode of the second season of Gravity Falls and the thirty-second episode overall. It premiered on July 13, 2015.[2]

Official overview

Cornered underneath the Mystery Shack, Stan must finally reveal the secrets of his past and his mysterious portal to Dipper and Mabel.[2]


File:S2e12 twin confrontation.jpg

Stan Pines, cornered under the Mystery Shack, greets the Author with a hug. However, the author responds to this by punching Stan and refuses to thank him for freeing him from the Universe portal, saying that he took a huge risk by re-activating it. In addition, the author says that Stan was the reason he was trapped in the first place. Mabel interjects and asks what is going on, and Dipper is so excited to meet the author for the first time he nearly barfs, respectively. We soon learn that the Stan that Mabel and Dipper know is actually named Stanley and he stole his brother's name: Stanford. Stan says that he has a lot of explaining to do, and starts to explain his life story.

File:S2e12 stans boat.png

Stanley and Stanford were twins born in the town of Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey during the 1960s. Their parents owned a pawn shop, their father implacably stoic and their mother a pathological liar/phone psychic. The two loved exploring the town's beach and one day, they came across a cave that held a broken ship. The twins made it their goal to fix it up and use it to sail around the world together to hunt for hidden treasure. Throughout his life, Stanford was bullied for having six fingers, but he knew he always had his brother, Stanley, beside him.

File:S2e12 stanford and stanley.png

The twins could not have been any more different. Stanley was a troublemaker who was barely able to graduate while Stanford was a straight A student who won most of the science competitions at school. One day, a perpetual motion machine Stanford built for a science fair earned him an opportunity to be accepted into his dream college, West Coast Tech. Although Stanley still had his dream of sailing around the world in their boat, Stanford had his mind set to get into the college.

File:S2e12 I can make it on my own.png

One night, an upset Stanley went into the gym to look at Stanford's experiment and hits the table in frustration, accidentally destroying the experiment. When the college admission team came to look at Stanford's experiment the next day and saw it wasn't working, they denied Stanford,s entry into West Coast Tech. Stanford confronted Stanley at home, and Stan's family believed that he did it on purpose to try to prevent Stanford from going off to college without him. Filbrick gets so angry he kicked Stanley out of the house for ruining their chance of becoming rich. Stanley then dedicated his whole life to getting enough money to prove his family wrong by becoming a businessman. However, his products were unsuccessful and Stanley got banned from many states and countries, using fake identities to travel to new places. Stanley went to prison in three different countries (one of them Colombia).

File:S2e12 we already saw this.png

Meanwhile, Stanford gets accepted into Backupsmore University and graduated at the top his class, acquiring a grant for his scientific research. Stanford decided to study anomalies, attracted to them because of his anomalous sixth fingered hands. After some research, Stanford pinpointed the place in the world with the highest amount of anomalies, Gravity Falls, and moved there. Stanford enlisted the help of locals to build his house and went around the town recording all of his research and findings in three journals. Stanford ultimately believed that all the anomalies of Gravity Falls had to originate from another dimension, and decided to build the Universe portal to help him get there. He enlisted the help of his college buddy, Fiddleford McGucket, whose technical know-how resulted in the complete construction of the Universe portal.

File:S2e12 mcgucket one eye.png

When the portal was activated for a test run, McGucket was almost sucked in. Stanford managed to pull him out, but McGucket wasn't himself and began to act strangely. He spoke in backward ciphers and issued a strange warning: "When gravity falls and earth becomes sky, fear the beast with just one eye." After recovering, McGucket told Stanford that the portal was too dangerous and urged him to shut it off, quitting the project when Stanford didn't do so. McGucket decided to forget what he had seen. Once Stanford began to hear whispers and felt that he was losing his sanity, he asked the only person he could trust - Stanley - to come to Gravity Falls.

File:S2e12 this sucks.png

As the two meet in Ford's home, Stanford asked Stanley to hide the first journal far away from Gravity Falls to prevent anyone from being able to operate the portal. Stanley becomes upset at his brother for telling him to move all the way to the other side of the world after they had just met for the first time in ten years. After Stanley almost burned the first journal with a lighter, the two begin to fight over the journal. Stanley's back was burned on the portal's control console in the process, resulting in him getting his "tattoo." The portal ends up accidentally activating and Stanford got too close to it, getting sucked in. He throws the first journal to Stanley just before the portal shuts off, trapping Stanford in another dimension.

File:S2e12 tropical skeleton.png

Stanley tried to find ways to reactivate the portal, but couldn't without the other two journals. Eventually, Stanley ran out of food and went into town. He tried to buy some food but had no money. When the people inside the store noticed him and believed he was Stanford, they asked if he gave tours of his house, which was legendary for the strange things inside. Stanley agreed to give people tours in order to gain money and assumed his brother's identity, Stanford Pines, to do so. He also faked his own death in a car crash to further bury his old identity and his past. The Murder Hut, later renamed the Mystery Shack, became a success over the years, but every night, Stan tried to re-activate the portal to get his brother back. Stan also admitted that he had to lie to everyone in town (including the twins) over the past few years, as he couldn't risk anyone learning the truth about the portal.

File:S2e12 found something.png

Realizing now that Stan was just trying to save Ford, Dipper apologizes to Stan for his disbelief towards him, and Stan forgives him. Unfortunately, the government agents overhear the gang talking downstairs and are about to head down toward the basement. Soos claims that he forgot about the government agents, which reminds Dipper that he still has Old Man McGucket's memory eraser. Ford uses the device to make a sound wave that wipes the memory of the government agents. He then pretends to be a government official and tells the government agents that the readings they got were just radiation from an unreported meteor shower, and tells them to leave. After the agents leave, Dipper and Mabel express their gratitude towards Ford, and Dipper get prepared to ask the "2 billion questions" he has for Ford, but Stan tells the twins to go to bed, much to the twins' disapproval. Soos then slides off to call Wendy about the events that had occurred.

File:S2e12 all grown up.png

Later that night, Stan and Ford look themselves in a mirror, pondering how much they've changed over the years. Ford then proposes a deal: Stan can stay for the summer to watch Dipper and Mabel while Ford stays in the basement; but when the summer is over, Stan must give Ford his house and name back, and the Mystery Shack must be closed for good. Stan bitterly agrees on one condition: Ford must stay away from the twins as he doesn't want them in danger and he claims them to be the only family he has left. Mabel, who was eavesdropping, is concerned and asks Dipper to promise that they won't turn against each other in the future, which he does, but Mabel is still uneasy about it as she lies awake and Dipper goes to sleep.

As the credits roll, Soos is still seen talking to Wendy on the phone about the two Stans at three in the morning.


Production notes

Template:Production notes

Character revelations

Series continuity

  • "BLENDIN WAS HERE" is written on a board at Glass Shard Beach, a reference to Blendin Blandin of "The Time Traveler's Pig" and "Blendin's Game" fame.
  • Stan and the twins' "PINES!" cheer from "Scary-oke" is shown to have originated from Stan and Ford's childhood.
  • The episode continues immediately where "Not What He Seems" left off, following Ford's emergence from the portal.
  • Soos mentions his fan fics written about Stan, which were first brought up in a cryptogram found in Dipper's and Mabel's Guide to Mystery and Nonstop Fun!
  • Stan and Ford's hometown of Glass Shard Beach was previously mentioned in "Society of the Blind Eye" on a page of Journal 3.
  • A restaurant called "Hot Belgian Waffles" can be seen next to the Pines family's pawn shop, a phrase Stan yelled in "Headhunters" and "Not What He Seems."
  • Stan and Ford christen their ship as the "Stanowar," the same name of Stan's rowboat in "The Legend of the Gobblewonker."
  • The mask Stan used to scare Dipper in "Tourist Trapped" can be seen on Stan's bed.
  • The science project next to the Ford's "Perpetual Motion Machine" is a "Footbot 1000" made by Stan, a callback to the Footbot in his story from "Bottomless Pit!."
  • Stan recalls his adventures outside of the country, referenced in "Dreamscaperers" and "Soos and the Real Girl."
  • Octavia, the eight-legged cow from "Mabel's Scrapbook: Petting Zoo," appears as an illustration in a book that Ford reads at college, though it is likely a different mutant cow as this occurred 30 years prior to Octavia's appearance on the show.
  • A box reading Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons can be found in Ford's dorm room, a reference to his fondness of the game and the name of the succeeding episode.
  • A photograph depicting Stan and Ford boxing is taped to Stan's car, alluding to their days of boxing lessons first seen in "Dreamscaperers."
  • The giant wooden hand that grabs Ford's car bears a strong resemblance to the giant wood foot from the promotional art for the show.
  • Shmebulock's father, Shmebulock Senior, is examined by Ford during his study of Gravity Falls.
  • The Shape Shifter from "Into the Bunker" is seen hatching from an egg.
  • Ford investigates the Floating Cliffs and documents them within a page of Journal 1, which was first briefly shown "Not What He Seems."
  • The room Ford performs his supernatural research in is the same room first discovered by Soos in "Carpet Diem," and is later where Stan spends his first few nights alone in the Mystery Shack.
  • Several photographs that appear in the show's opening sequence make an appearance.
  • Ford drafts the portal schematics in Journal 1 first revealed in "Gideon Rises."
  • McGucket's laptop found in "Into the Bunker" appears as a prototype within his home.
  • The partnership between Ford and McGucket initially established in "Society of the Blind Eye" is revisited during their construction of the portal, as well as the unholy visions Fiddleford is subjected to during his time in the machine.
  • Stan mentions Rico, his former Colombian cellmate from "Dreamscaperers."
  • Stan's failed Stan Vac product from "Dreamscaperers" appears in his motel room.
  • The postcard that Ford sends Stan from Gravity Falls is the same one appearing at the end of the opening sequence.
  • The trap door concealed behind the living room wall Stan mentions in "Little Dipper" is seen during Ford's inhabitance of the Mystery Shack.
  • The tattoo on Stan's back, first revealed in "The Legend of the Gobblewonker," is revealed to be a burn mark from a fistfight between him and his brother.
  • The Dusk 2 Dawn convenience store from "The Inconveniencing" is seen before it's closure, with a living Ma and Pa Duskerton operating it.
  • Stan Bucks make a reappearance, first used in "Summerween."
  • Pictures of Dipper and Mabel from "Legend of the Gobblewonker" are seen on Stan's desk.
  • The memory eraser from "Society of the Blind Eye" returns.
  • On "the very real report" Stanford is reading to the Agents, Mabel has drawn the possible outcome of the snake's and badger's child, a snadger. This couple was brought together previously in "The Love God."
  • Ford mentions retreating to the basement to contain any damage from the portal, which was later revealed to be a dangerous interdimensional rift in the following episode.


  • This episode aired 4 months and 4 days after Not What He Seems.
  • The episode is thirty minutes long and during its debut airing, had no commercial breaks.[4] For reruns, the run time of this episode is 36 minutes, including commercial breaks.
  • In this episode, a new photo replaces the pterodactyl in the theme song, one where Ford is putting the first journal in his jacket.
  • The words "BLENDIN WAS HERE" can be seen on the boards that blocked the cave on Glass Shard Beach.
  • One of Stan's failed products was called "What a Racket!" Alex Hirsch has said that Bobby Renzobbi once sold a product with the same name.[5]
  • One of the projects next to Ford's Perpetual Motion project was named "Footbot 1000" made by Stanley, which was mentioned by Stan in his story in "Bottomless Pit!."
  • The shop on the left side of "Pines Pawns" in Glass Shard Beach is named "Hot Belgian Waffles." Stan frequently uses these words to swear. The shop on the right side is named "Knuckles Sandwiches."
  • Ford referred to McGucket's Memory Eraser as "one of these," suggesting that there are more than one.
  • This episode was viewed by 2.3 million viewers on Disney XD, a new record for the network.[6]


File:S2e12 end journal page.png
File:S2e12 end credits cryptogram.png
  • The ending cryptogram is 23 / 5-4-3-22-22-9-6-10 / 4-9-3-17-16 / 10-19-1 / 14-19-6-5-19-25 / 10-23-4-15-2-19 / 18-15-12-22-6-15-21-13 / 1-23-5-10'4 / 4-9-9 / 21-6-19-23-4-15-2-19 / 16-23-2-15-10-17 / 4-1-15-10-5 / 1-23-5 / 10-9-4 / 16-15-5 / 8-12-23-10 / 5-9 / 16-19 / 14-3-5-4 / 5-16-6-3-17-17-19-20 / 23-10-20 / 10-23-11-19-20 / 22-9-4-16 / 5-4-23-10. Once decoded it reads A STUBBORN TOUGH NEW JERSEY NATIVE, FILBRICK WASN’T TOO CREATIVE. HAVING TWINS WAS NOT HIS PLAN, SO HE JUST SHRUGGED AND NAMED BOTH STAN.
File:S2e12 Key.png
  • The code at the end, TIZOLHAJSIW CKMMWZPMKQ: GLY KJQBH can be decoded using the Vigenere cipher, and the key SIXER, to reveal the message BACKUPSMORE UNIVERSITY: YOU TRIED.
  • The key to the cipher can be found on the map in the Stans' room all the way to the right.


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de:Die Geschichte der zwei Stans

ru:Повесть о двух Стэнах pl:A Tale of Two Stans es:Un cuento de dos Stans

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