Kyle is kind of an asshole to Stan tho. Think about it, every time Stan is upset and is dealing with some type of depression, Kyle tells him to either suck it up or ignores him until he’s back to being better. Like I think….he helped him out once but then gave up. However, Stan will do anything for Kyle (even though it always back fires and leaves Kyle’s life in danger,) and as much as I love their bromance, I’m kind of concerned that these two could drift apart in the future….but let’s not think about that because it’s upsetting me.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that too, but from my view, I think it’s mostly because Kyle just doesn’t know how to deal with Stan’s condition that wouldn’t make it worse. Kyle is very blunt with the truth and he’s not afraid to tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear, which is something you really don’t want to do to a person suffering from depression (especially not to their face). Also Kyle is very emotional himself and since Stan is usually very even-tempered, that balance between them is skewed when Stan becomes upset, thus throwing off Kyle’s emotional stability as well. So in order to preserve that equilibrium, he avoids him (as referenced in “Ass Burgers”). That’s not to say that he doesn’t try however. Like when he tried to help Stan when Wendy broke up with him in “Raisins”. Granted Stan was too occupied in his own world that he didn’t want to try to move on and indirectly rejected Kyle’s help, choosing instead to mope in self-pity. I don’t think it’s so much so that Kyle is abandoning Stan during these times, but more along the lines of he wants Stan to figure it out on his own and how to help himself out of this rough patch (which is actually rather sound advice for someone suffering from depression since there’s only so much other people can do to assist). Depression is a whole different ballgame though, but I think that falls more along the lines of Kyle doesn’t understand Stan’s condition and thinks that he is simply moping.
Kyle on the other hand is more like his polar opposite since he is more prone to anxiety and panic attacks, only falling into depression when he feels the whole world is working against him (this is really only evidenced twice during “The China Problem” and “Cartmanland”). I believe Stan is also more in-tuned with depression rather than anxiety because of his family structure, which is more somber and unstable than Kyle’s family. I believe if anything Stan just doesn’t know how to properly show his emotions, so when it all comes crashing down, he basically shuts down. He doesn’t actively seek help and instead just shoulders the burden until he can’t keep his emotions in check (like his random outburst during class in “Ass Burgers”, or his jealous aggression toward Kyle in “Follow That Egg”) thus causing the less than stellar adults to step in and try to figure out what’s wrong with him, which is actually worse than what Kyle does because the adults talk down to Stan constantly and see his problems as something caused by some happenstance event (growing older or vaccinations). Kyle on the other hand actually tries to do something about his emotional outbursts, be it trying to make amends between the people of two different religions (Passion of the Jew) or seeking out professional help in order to bring George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to justice for ruining the Indiana Jones franchise (The China Problem), or trying to get his brother to realize the love he feels for his teacher is inappropriate even going so far as to enlist Eric Cartman to help him (Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy).
I think that just like Kyle doesn’t know how to exactly comfort or help Stan during his emotional turmoil, Stan doesn’t know how to properly deal with his emotions and instead simply wallows in them. Another way of looking at this could be that Kyle knows how to receive justification and comfort for his ailments but can’t exactly give it, while Stan is good at giving comfort and support but doesn’t know how to receive it. And since his family is so precarious to begin with (a violent and condescending sister, a deadbeat father, a dying grandfather, and a judgmental mother) there really isn’t anyone he can turn to for actual advice or help that won’t involve him getting into a situation he didn’t need in the first place like his mother instantly taking him to a clinic to treat a misdiagnosis instead of taking him to a child psychologist to discover the actual problem. Also let’s not forget that Randy practically blamed his and Sharon’s divorce on Stan. Nevertheless, this is where the wonderful dichotomy of these two come into play, wherein they’re wonderful at their emotional roles in the franchise, but when it comes to a situation where they’re put in an emotional role they aren’t used to, they aren’t exactly going to perform adequately and will instead act upon intuition like anyone would.
We as fans can criticize Kyle as being aloof and cold toward Stan during his emotional turmoil, but that’s only because we’re in a state of intellectual enlightenment that allows us to actually diagnose the situation and thus provide appropriate treatment for it (be it from school or real life experience). However, if we were transported back to when we were 9 and 10 years of age, we’d be just like Kyle and Stan. We wouldn’t know what is wrong with us, why we are feeling the way we are, and most importantly how to cope. Stan is unfortunate to find a brief reprieve of his emotions through alcohol, while Kyle seeks the comfort of others. So don’t look at Kyle as though he’s an asshole. Think of him more like the confused albeit concerned best friend who wants so desperately to help his friend, but no matter what he thinks of, he hesitates because he’s not sure if his methods would help or hinder his recovery. He doesn’t like seeing Stan like this and probably wishes he could do anything to help, but his analytical side tells him that this is something that Stan needs to figure out on his own.
Besides, Kyle doesn’t completely abandon Stan since he’s always there after the problem has subsided. He has never stopped being Stan’s Super Best Friend, and while he may not exactly know how to comfort Stan presently, he may eventually. I don’t really see this issue as something that will tear them apart, but will actually strengthen their bonds in the future. Who knows, perhaps Kyle might one day teach Stan that it’s okay for a guy to express his emotions, while Stan can teach Kyle how to be more empathetic (granted the removal of one Eric Cartman might be required for that). I wouldn’t give up on their relationship just yet, once they learn more about the human psyche and each other, I’m sure they’ll be more active in terms of emotional intimacy than they are presently.
But that’s just what I think. Take it as you will.