Do you ever think about this little phrase that Doc is “always saying”? We never even hear it from him, but it’s apparently such a frequent occurrence that even Jennifer has it set firmly enough in her memory to immediately pull it out when Marty needs a reminder (& the way Marty instantly finishes her thought).
That gives me such feelings about the friendship between Doc and Marty. Just the fact that Doc is evidently so intent on encouraging Marty and trying to help him believe in himself, which is such a beautiful thing because, I mean, look at what Marty goes home to every day.
The dinner scene at the McFly house opens with George (& Dave!) telling Marty that not being chosen to play at the dance is probably for the best. It’s better to save himself from the potential “headaches” and stress.
Earlier that morning, Marty was verbally harassed by Mr. Strickland, who just hurled one insult after the other at him. Marty has “a real attitude problem.” He’s a slacker. He’ll never amount to anything, so why bother trying? (Side note: Strickland also gives Marty a shove & then grabs his jacket & pulls him back as he tries to leave and like…this man should not be around kids, ok?)
Anyway, fast forward to the audition. Marty and his band are stopped like 30 seconds into their performance and the one rejection seems to send him into a tailspin. He’s so discouraged that he’s considering abandoning music altogether.
Then Marty goes home. And though we don’t get to see what plays out right before that peanut brittle is poured into the bowl, let’s just imagine, shall we? Marty just had his dreams crushed. Jennifer gave him a nice pep talk, but I’m sure he was still upset. He sits down to dinner, surrounded by people who are lost in their own little worlds, but decides to share his day with them anyway. Maybe there’s a part of him that hopes they’ll have some comforting words.
Instead he’s met with further discouragement. It’s probably safe to assume that George is in the habit of trying to dissuade his son from doing things that are difficult to save him from the potential rejection. It’s also probably safe to assume that Marty has been on the receiving end of insulting rants from Strickland many times before. Marty is left kind of bouncing back and forth between these two places. School, where he’s made to feel like a failure and an idiot, and home, where he’s met with complete apathy. That, friends, would do a number on a kid’s mental health/self-esteem for sure. (And we know that Marty is kind of an anxious, disheveled guy)
Except there’s a third place. A cluttered, chaotic garage owned by a mad scientist who’s repeatedly saying, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Doc knows what it’s like to have people look down on you. And after all these years, he knows Marty, perhaps even better than George and Lorraine do. He knows that his friend needs to hear the words, so he drills them in, hoping to be louder than all the other voices around Marty that say the opposite. He sees the potential everyone else, even Marty himself, doesn’t. Whether Doc realizes it or not, he’s likely Marty’s one true safe-haven amidst all these dysfunctional adults who either don’t care enough or have their mind set on dragging him down.
And I just can’t help but think about how deeply this “crazy” old man cares for this kid who happened to sneak into his lab one day. It’s like….
Oh, people think your music is too loud/not good enough? Here, play in my lab on this GIANT AMP I built you.
Your family is a mess and you don’t want to be home some nights? Here, spend the night in this bed I got for you. Just come over whenever, you know where the key is.
People keep telling you you’ll never amount to much? Well, I think if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
(NOTE: this post honestly started out as just a few sentences that I jotted down quickly but it completely spiraled out of my control because I can’t get enough of how beautiful Doc & Marty’s friendship is, ok? I just love it.)