->'''Zim:''' And I will watch you transform more and more into what you really are, deep down in your heart!\\
'''Dib:''' Deep down I'm bologna?\\
'''Zim:''' Yes.\\
'''Dib:''' That's just dumb.\\
'''Zim:''' Dumb like a moose, Dib. DUMB LIKE A MOOSE!

'''''Invader Zim''''' was an AnimatedSeries by Creator/JhonenVasquez, which premiered in 2001 on Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}. It is the 14th show in the Franchise/{{Nicktoons}} brand, and is the franchise's [[EnsembleDarkhorse dark horse]].

Set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, this dark, {{Cyberpunk}}ish show starred Zim, an Irken Invader. He's sent by the [[LargeAndInCharge Almighty Tallest]] to take over Earth (see: [[ReassignedToAntarctica shipped off here because he screwed up on his last invasion attempt]]). They just want to get rid of him, but Zim doesn't know this, [[SmallNameBigEgo nor is he likely ever to find out]]. In fact, the Irkens aren't even sure there's a planet here; they just want Zim gone ''that badly'', given that he [[PersonOfMassDestruction destroys all that he touches.]] He is ineptly aided in this "mission" by a defective robot assistant named GIR, badly disguised as a dog.

This "alien invasion" attracts elementary school student Dib, a self-styled paranormal investigator just itching to expose something strange and weird. And Zim seems just the alien to expose...

Early episodes followed a basic format -- Zim would attempt to get rid of Dib and conquer the world, while Dib would attempt to expose Zim, only for both to discover that FailureIsTheOnlyOption. Later episodes sometimes used a {{Snapback}} to do all sorts of bizarre things unrelated to the plot, and developed into a StoryArc over time as well. Ultimately, the efforts of Vasquez and head writer [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 Frank Conniff]] developed into an idiosyncratic, [[WorldOfHam hammy]], and [[SatireParodyPastiche satirical]] style.

The dark humor and interesting storylines attracted loads of people [[PeripheryDemographic outside the targeted age range]]. Part of the reason for this is the show's distinctive art and writing style. The show's look is a variation of Creator/JhonenVasquez's [[ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac previous work]], simplified for animation but very elaborate regardless: colorist Rikki Simons jokes that they went into "fourth-ary" colors (most cartoons try to stick to [[PrimaryColorChampion primaries]]), leading to a hefty price tag of $500,000 per episode. (This was actually the standard Nicktoon budget, but none of the others ''struggled'' with it the way ''Zim'' did.)

Unfortunately, the show was gone quickly. While quite popular, especially outside of Nickelodeon's typical demographic, its ratings did not have far to slip before Nickelodeon deemed the show's hefty price tag not worth further expenditure. This alone would have provoked mass outcry, but Nickelodeon also declined to sell the show's copyright (and there ''were'' other networks interested in purchasing it), to the dismay of creators and fans alike. The InternetBackdraft was considerable, but sadly, largely unsuccessful, with one exception -- Media Blasters getting the rights to sell [=DVDs=] of the show, including several previously unreleased episodes. The Media Blasters [=DVDs=] have since gone out of print, and Amazon.com has released their own VanillaEdition collections of the show in an attempt to fill the void. Nickelodeon has also released a "best of" disc, ''Operation Doom''. [[NoExportForYou All of which were only released in North America.]]

Despite its short run, the show had and still has an über-huge fanbase, some of whom even now cling to the hopes of a revival. While logic would tell you that the odds are against it, even as late as 2010 [[http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/?p=2024 Nickelodeon actually has considered the prospect]], and by his own account Jhonen Vasquez would be willing to return should such a thing happen (which it most likely will not, but it's nice to know).

Not all was lost, though. Its was the sudden and unexpected unemployment that convinced the show's art director, [[Creator/BryanKonietzko Bryan Konietzko]], to develop a show with [[Creator/MichaelDanteDimartino his old college friend]]. As such, from ''Zim'''s ashes emerged Nickelodeon's powerhouse series ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''.

After over a decade since the show aired its last unaired episode, independent comic book publishing company Oni Press announced an Invader Zim comic book revival in February 2015, in collaboration with Nickelodeon and Jhonen Vasquez. The 1st issue was released on July 8, 2015 written by Jhonen himself. Following issue 2, it has been written by Eric Trueheart, drawn by Aaron Alexovich, and colored by Rikki Simons, all veterans of the television series. As of November 30, 2016, a total of 15 issues have been released.
!!This show provides examples of:


[[folder: A-F]]
* AdultsAreUseless: And how. So are most of the other children, for that matter. And a lot of the aliens. Really pretty much every one and every thing in this show is useless. The person who comes the closest to being non-useless is Dib, yet at times even he is useless.
* AerithAndBob:
** The Irkens must have some interesting naming conventions, as the individuals who are identified are ZIM, Tak, Skoodge, Spleen, Tenn and... Bob.
** Unproduced episode ''The Trial'' would have introduced Irkens named Miyuki and Spork.
** Even human children have an odd mixture of names. Nick, Kevin and Mary coexist with the likes of Dib, Gaz and Moofy.
* AgentMulder: Dib and the Swollen Eyeball people.
* TheAhnold: The Ice Cream Truck voice in Episode 1.
* AIIsACrapshoot:
** ZIM's computer, after admitting it doesn't have enough information about the FBI, just makes up a bunch of crap. Then again, it only did so because ZIM ordered it to make some "educated guesses" when it didn't have any info to work with.
** After being modified by a fed-up ZIM, GIR loses his CloudCuckoolander tendencies, and becomes very dedicated to "the mission". Unfortunately, he judges ''ZIM himself'' detrimental to the potential success of "the mission"...so he decides to eliminate him.
** [=GIR=] himself. He randomly shifts between a rather scary, red-eyed "duty mode", and his usual, [[CloudCuckoolander hilariously stupid]] (and blue) persona. This may have something to do with being cobbled together from junk parts.
* AlienAmongUs: The premise.
* AliensAndMonsters: A good number of the characters, especially their alternative selves in the Halloween special.
* AliensAreBastards: The Irkens like to conquer other species for [[ForTheEvulz no good reason]], and all seem to be pretty warped and sociopathic in their own way.
* AliensOfLondon: Tak has a British accent while none of the other Irkens do. [[LaResistance Lard Nar]] has one too, though we only have one other Vort to compare him to.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Although the Irken language had its own alphabet. Some fans have interpreted the grunts and snarls [[http://youtu.be/SqEkp9Yl9VY?t=2m27s heard briefly]] in "Mysterious Mysteries" as Zim speaking native Irken without the English filter for the viewers. (Which may be why he makes similar noises in his every-day speech.)
* AliensStealCable: How ZIM does a portion of his 'research.'
* AllCrimesAreEqual: Seargent Slab Rankle, Mall Security.
* AllPartOfTheShow: The ''Mysterious Mysteries'' host experiences an in-universe CreatorBreakdown in the middle of the show. [[ThrowItIn It saves his show from being cancelled.]]
* AlmightyJanitor:
** Agent Darkbootie, a high-ranking member of the Swollen Eyeball, apparently has a day job as a janitor at NASA.
** Sizz-lor is a very high ranking Irken ... Fry Cook.
* AllThereInTheManual: A lot of minor aspects of the setting and background for ZIM and the Irken race as a whole are only known thanks to WordOfGod from JhonenVasquez. Much of this backstory and extra info ''was'' going to be shown later on in the series but [[CutShort y'kn]][[TooGoodToLast ow]]...
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Breakfast Chunks, to an extent. Huge cubes of bran sold as convenient breakfast food has yet to happen, but General Mills did sell Breakfast Squares, advertised as "a complete meal in two frosted bars," in the '80s. And kids hated them ''so much.''
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: It isn't explicitly stated or anything, but one could infer this about the Irkens.
** Partially deconstructed as their vile natures and society make it so that for all the heinous things Zim did to their race, the crime that would've marked him for termination in "The Trial" was [[spoiler:having a faulty PAK]].
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: ZIM's Robot Parents. Unusually for this trope, it's his own fault they're like that.
* AmbiguousDisorder: ''Really'' ambiguous considering that Irken standards of mental health aren't really known, but Zim definitely has something wrong with him. In fact, the entire premise of "The Trial" is pretty much the quirky alien version of declaring Zim legally insane.
* AnimatedSeries
* AntagonistInMourning: In the unproduced episode "Mopiness of Doom," ZIM loses all motivation when Dib takes a TenMinuteRetirement to learn "real science".
* APlanetNamedZok: Irk.
* AppliedPhlebotinum
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Dib in "Lice". But hey, at least he admits he was wrong and apologizes.
* ArchEnemy: Dib to ZIM and vice-versa. The only time they team up is when circumstances and ulterior evil threaten Earth.
* ArtEvolution: Subtly. Most prominent when ZIM and the other Irkens are suddenly drawn with two fingers and a thumb, to set them apart from [[FourFingeredHands humans]].
* ArtificialHuman: In the DVD writer's interview Eric Trueheart said that had the show gone on for several years, Dib would have discovered (while on a quest to discover why his life was so horrible) he was one, created by Membrane.
* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy:
** All over the place in "Planet Jackers". Parodying the Twin Cities bit from ''{{Fargo}}'', one of the pilots points out a [[BinarySuns binary star system]], implying it's a rare sight. However the truth is that most stars in the galaxy, or at least the most visible ones, are part of a binary system.
** Plenty in "Battle of the Planets", too.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: In-universe, PlayedForLaughs and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]]. Dib's organ structure is laughably unrealistic: "Arm control nerve? In my... belly?"
* AssholeVictim:
** In "Game Slave 2," Iggins is stalked, harassed, terrified and almost killed by Gaz in retribution for taking a console she felt was rightfully hers. On the other hand, he's a loudmouth braggart who claimed a false identity in order to take the [=GS2=] from Gaz who WAS ahead of him in line, so the episode's narrative basically extends no sympathy to him whatsoever. The fact that Iggins actually survives the episode at all is a result of ExecutiveMeddling.
%%** Even moreso Gaz in "Gaz, Taster of Pork". Easily the most deserving example in the entire series.
* AsteroidThicket: In "Battle of the Planets".
* AudioAdaptation: Seven of the unfinished episodes already had their voice tracks recorded, so they were released on the Special Features DVD.
* AuthorAppeal: Well, more like Creator Appeal, as Jhonen has a thing for saying the words "Doom" and "Dooky", makes references to piggies, and has a good number of morbidly obese jokes in some episodes.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Megadoomer, a HumongousMecha with a stealth feature that makes the mech invisible, but ''not'' the pilot. [[ShoutOut It also has such a massive power draw]] [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion that it requires an extension cord]].
** This trope is taken UpToEleven in the '[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Battle of the Planets]]' episode. (See the RuleOfCool entry below.)
* BabiesMakeEverythingBetter: Inverted in Plague of Babies.
* BadFuture: In Issue 12, Zim and Dib accidentally slingshot into a future where [[TheEmperor Emperor]] Zim has taken over the world. Dib is understandably horrified, and while Zim is initially pleased, he finds his future self an ungrateful jerk and [[EnemyMine teams up with Dib]] in order to defeat him and escape back to the present.
* BadHumorTruck: "[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: You like ice cream. You like ice cream. You love it. You love it. You cannot resist ice cream. [[Resistance Is Futile To resist is hopeless ]]
. [[SeriousBusiness Your existence is meaningless without ice cream.]]]]"
* BadNewsInAGoodWay:
** GIR does this all the time. Unintentionally, of course. GIR seems not to be able to tell the difference between good and bad news.
** There's also the Resisty member who tells Lard Nar how their engine core has been replaced with "a new horrible one!"
* BadVibrations: In "Megadoomer".
* BalefulPolymorph: What Chickenfoot [[WhatAnIdiot thinks]] he is.
* BalloonBelly: Zim in "Zim Eats Waffles" after GIR stuffs him for awhile.
* BedlamHouse: "We think Dib's even crazier than normal today! Can we use one of our crazy cards to send him to the Crazy House for Boys?"
* BeeAfraid:
** A bee causes ZIM's ship to crash in "Attack of the Saucer Morons".
** ZIM thinks Tak is after his robot bee. When it flies away, he is very upset.
* BigNo: ZIM and Dib each get their fair share, but the Soda Can Guy in "Battle of the Planets" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=autcUkX6sak takes the cake.]]
* BigRedButton: Parodied briefly in ''Tak: the Hideous New Girl''
-->'''Dib''': How did I [[LampshadeHanging miss]] ''that?!''
* BilingualBonus: At the end of "Walk of Doom," when Zim and Gir wind up in a vaguely Mexican town, a little girl offers them candy labeled "fio," Spanish for "ugly."
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Moofy, and Tak somewhat.
* BitingTheHandHumor: The whole character of Nick (ZIM's human test subject with an inserted happiness brain probe) appears to be a TakeThat at Nickelodeon.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The ZIM vs. Dib dynamic, on average.
* BlackComedy: Only JhonenVasquez could make the hostile alien takeover of our world so twistedly funny.
* BodyHorror: Dib and ZIM slowly morphing into giant bologna sausages.
** "Dark Harvest". Sweet Lord, '''"Dark Harvest"'''. *shudders*
* BondVillainStupidity: ZIM with Dib, especially of the WhyDontYaJustShootHim variety. It's particularly noticeable in "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom," where he had Dib helpless in his base, and shot him... with a [[AbnormalAmmo muffin-firing gun]], and then just let him go.
** Possibly [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in-universe as, at that point, ZIM's rivalry with Dib was pretty much the only thing keeping him on the invasion-scheming track...
* BootCampEpisode: In "Hobo 13", ZIM is sent to the military training world 'Hobo 13' and told that if he survives he can have a big sack of battle tanks.
* BottleEpisode: "ZIM Eats Waffles".
* BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill: Gretchen.
* BrainWithAManualControl: In the episode "[=NanoZIM=]" (Season 1 Episode 2B), Dib sneaks into Zim's base, takes incriminating pictures of Zim without his disguise on, and puts them on a floppy disk. Zim discovers Dib and shrinks to microscopic size to enter Dib's body via microscopic submarine. Zim accesses Dib's nervous system, giving him control of Dib's arms, and, as a result, making him crush the floppy disk.
* BrickJoke:
** In "Career Day," ZIM is told his ideal career is as a fast food slave, and the episode, like most others, suffers from NegativeContinuity and so the viewer thinks nothing much of it. Fast forward to "The Frycook What Came From All That Space," and we learn that an Irken Control Brain reprogrammed ZIM's PAK to register him within the Irken Empire as a fast food slave on Foodcourtia.
*** The joke started even earlier, in the first episode:
-->'''Tallest Purple''': Weren't you banished to Foodcourtia? Shouldn't you be... frying something?
** Super Toast, from the first episode to "Future Dib".
** Issue 14 opens with Zim falling into a hole randomly dug into his front yard, breaking his legs in the process. [[BookEnd At the end of the issue]], it's shown that he's still stuck in there, and trying throw his legs over his shoulders so that he can climb out.
* BridgeLogic: Subverted on Hobo 13.
* BuffySpeak: ''All the time.''
-->"All while gathering crucial information, assessing the planet's weaknesses, making it vulnerable to our big... space ship... gang!"\\
"Score one for the human race! Score ''nothing'' for the ZIM... thingy... race."\\
"By the way, it's not called parent teacher night, it's called ZIM doom parent... ZIM doom ZIMMY... doom... night."
** and so on...
* BurgerFool:
** This trope is taken to an absurd, horrific degree, to the point that it deters people from eating fast food and watching the show with a clear conscience. Pretty much every fast-food chain is portrayed as a disgusting, horrible place to eat or work, with the likes of Crazy Taco, [=McMeaties=], Bloaty's Pizza Hog, and Chicky Licky.
** Taken to it's logical extreme with Foodcourtia, an entire planet dedicated to fast food. Apparently because of Zim's banishment there, inflicting this on Zim is now Sizz-lor's job description. And he likes it.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: ZIM's reaction to Tak telling him how he ruined her life could qualify as this trope:
--> "Yes, yes, so you blame me for your horrible life, blah, blah, big deal!"
* ButterflyOfDoom: When ZIM starts sniping at Dib via a temporal displacement device, Dib starts accumulating more and more debilitating injuries, and is eventually driven to the point of death... After which he is revived and equipped with a [[GiantMecha bionic exoskeleton]] by Professor Membrane. All further attempts on Dib's past life result in upgrades to the exoskeleton.
* ButtMonkey:
** Dib, to the point where when he and ZIM are piloting Mercury and Mars respectively in "Battle of the Planets", Dib is piloting the ''Butt'' of Mercury, and gets there by a spaceship that was once used to shoot ''monkeys'' into space.
** ZIM fares slightly better compared to Dib, but he's been kicked around several times as well. Be it due to his various horrible injuries, frequent failures, or being despised by his own species due to his own incompetence and violent nature.
** Invader Skoodge, [[ChewToy so much]].
* TheCakeIsALie: In "Door to Door", ZIM and Dib's class is selling Poop candy bars for a fundraiser, promised that the student who sells the most candy bars will win a mystery prize. ZIM goes to ridiculous lengths to get it, eventually selling 1.2 million candy bars, only to find out that [[spoiler:there was no mystery prize, it was just made up to get the kids to sell more candy bars. But hey, they gave him a can of tuna as consolation]].
* CameraObscurer: ''Megadoomer'' had this happen at the end, with the HumongousMecha's {{Invisibility}} failed and Dib tried to take pictures of it.
* CardboardPrison:
** From the Christmas special.
-->'''Dib:''' Hey. (tastes the bars) these are made of real candy canes.
*** Immediately lampshaded and subverted with this.
--->'''ZIM:''' And this time throw him in the actually strong jingle jail.\\
'''Dib:''' Why didn't you throw me in the strong one in the first place?
** There was also an episode where ZIM got abducted by aliens even dumber and more incompetent than he was... all their prisoners escaped in no time at all.
** In "The Frycook What Came From All That Space", it's revealed that Zim was banished to a planet called Foodcourtia, where (as the name implies) he was forced to be a BurgerFool for the rest of his life under Sizz-Lorr. Security doesn't seem to be a huge priority in Irken Culture, though: once he catches wind of Operation Impending Doom 2, Zim easily and promptly escapes. Sizz-Lorr, [[GenreSavvy on the other hand,]] [[ItOnlyWorksOnce learns from his mistake]] and Zim is actually forced to figure out a way to escape a second time.
* CassandraTruth: Normally targeted at Dib.
* CatchPhrase
** GIR: "I love this show." or "This is my favorite show." or just, "TACOS!"
** Professor Membrane: "My poor, insane son."
** Dib: "MY HEAD'S NOT BIG!"
** ZIM: "I AM ZIM!"
*** Also, "SILENCE!", "DOOM!" and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rn-lqkE58I "LIES!"]]
** Dib: "You jerk."
** Police Chief: "GET HIM!"
* CavalierConsumption: Gir does this frequently. Other characters also have their moments.
* CerebusRetcon: The first issue of the comic reveals that Prisoner 777 is only supplying Zim with information because Zim is holding his children hostage.
* ChekhovsGun: When we first see the nurse in "Dark Harvest", she's playing with a mooing can. At the end of the episode, ZIM uses it to replace Dib's lungs.
* CharacterOverlap: In the ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'' spinoff, titular character [[MoralityPet Squee]] is in Ms. Bitters's class (although she is never given a name here), and nearly gets abducted by the two idiotic aliens from the ''ZIM'' episode "Abducted" a total of three times. The aliens first appeared in the original [[ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac JTHM]] comics.
* CheerfulChild: Keef. This being ''[[CrapsackWorld Invader ZIM]]'' it doesn't end well for him. [[UnexplainedRecovery But he gets better.]]
* ChewingTheScenery: Professor Membrane is really fond of this. As is Dib. And GIR. And the Tallest. And pretty much the whole cast except ZIM, who's [[LargeHam like this almost constantly]].
--> '''Professor Membrane''': "Not now, son! I'm making (electrical arcs flash from his workbench) ''TOAST''!"
* ChewToy: Poor little Invader Skoodge...
* ChildHater: Ms. Bitters, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
* ChristmasEpisode: "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever"
* ClarkKenting: ZIM.
* CloudCuckoolander:
** GIR.
** To a lesser extent, ZIM and Dib.
* CluckingFunny: Chickenfoot, as well as other isolated gags.
* {{Comically Missing The Point}}: Oh, so much. GIR is a constant invoker of this trope, but other characters occasionally get in on it as well. For one instance, in Bestest Friends, ZIM is greeted by Keef, who is cooking breakfast in ZIM's kitchen and wasn't supposed to be in ZIM's house. ZIM angrily shouts at Keef to get out of his house, to which Keef replies "You don't like waffles..?"
* CompulsorySchoolAge: ZIM's older than any human alive, and in "[=NanoZIM=]" he taunts Dib that he's been flying ships since before Dib was born, yet he attends what appears to be an elementary school -- and with his height, he fits in, although [[PaperThinDisguise he really shouldn't]]. He opted to do so, believing it to be the best way to retrieve information about the species he intends to conquer.
* ConspicuousCG: It doesn't blend in as well as, say, WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}, but it still looks pretty good. The creators {{lampshade|hanging}} it in the DVD commentary for "A Room With a Moose", claiming that they spend the whole season's CG budget on the [[MundaneMadeAwesome 3D walnuts]].
* ConspiracyTheorist: Dib and the Swollen Eyeball Network.
** Issue 15 of the comic turns Gretchen into one, as she is shown to be utterly convinced that Miss Bitters is the HiveQueen of a race of bug monsters that are using the skool as a base to TakeOverTheWorld from.
* ContinuityLockout: Played with in-universe in [[ChristmasEpisode "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever"]]. ZIM's motive for trying to conquer earth and where the Santa suit came from [[MemeticMutation COMPLEEEETLY ELUUUUDES]] one of the kids Mr. Slushy is telling the story to, because he didn't elaborate on it. His response is to [[CrowningMomentOfFunny pick the kid up and tuck her 'under' the bed.]]
* ContinuityNod: Strangely, the use of the SnapBack did not serve as a deterrent to the use of this as well. In "Gaz, Taster of Pork" there's actually a ContinuityNod to an episode that ''was'' a SnapBack!
** Probably the best example of this is the way it's possible to trace the fate of planet Vort -- it's singled out for conquest in "The Nightmare Begins," seen briefly in "Walk for Your Lives" as the Tallest check up on the Invaders, is in the ''very next episode'' ("[=MegaDoomer=]") mentioned to have been conquered, in "Backseat Drivers" we learn it was turned into a prison, and in "Frycook" we hear about the faulty security systems that were initially put into place, presumably explaining how the Resisty's Vortian captain ([[AllThereInTheScript Lard Nar]]) is out and about.
** In the unproduced script "Day of Da Spookies" ZIM taunts Dib with knowing nothing about aliens, perhaps a nod back to "Room with a Moose" when Dib did not even know what ZIM's home planet was called. However Dib gives an update on what he's learned since, touching on other episodes in the process: ZIM is from a race of planet-stealing aliens called Irkens ("The Nightmare Begins"), their brains are contained in their backpacks ("Ten Minutes to Doom"), their eyes are synthetic implants (somewhat implied by "Planet Jackers"). The display thoroughly spooks ZIM.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: A lot of it, perhaps best exemplified by a room... ''With A Moose!''
** Banishment to the "Realm of Eternal Screaming and... Restlessness".
* CoolChair: Lard Nar, leader of the Resisty, has a chair that does not hover but has an extended attachment that lets it move around the ship.
* CosmicHorrorStory: The Halloween episode.
* [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Universe]]: It is a show made by Jhonen Vasquez, after all.
* CouchGag: Where ZIM is at after the world is wrapped in metal cables and it zooms out to show it in a thought bubble in the opening credits varies in episodes, though there are only a few variations.
* CreatorCameo: Various writers and animators were drawn into recurring background characters (including Frank Conniff, a.k.a. [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 TV's Frank]]). Series creator Jhonen Vasquez provided the voices of both ZIM's computer and Minimoose. Vasquez eventually asked that they stop doing this after he realized that it might be distracting.
* CreditsGag: Done in the episode FBI Warning, with the titular FBI warning in the beginning of ''Intestines of War''. Apparently, most FBI warnings are made by people threatened by smelly piggies.
-->"The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigates allegations of criminal copyright infringement. They will hunt you down like the dirty monkey you are and force you to wear a moose skin and ride a greased piggy while singing folk tunes. They’re forcing me to ride the piggy as I write this. The piggy is smelly!"
* CreepyChild: Gaz, Keef, Melvin
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass:
** ZIM is an idiot, but he is also a genius at times and shouldn't be underestimated.
** GIR also qualifies. While he's generally the ultimate CloudCuckooLander, he occasionally has moments of hypercompetence, if only by accident, and rarely screws up missions by himself.
* TheCuckooLanderWasRight: Dib spots right away that ZIM is a dangerous alien. And [[YouHaveToBelieveMe nobody will listen.]]
* CutenessProximity: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by ZIM with [[FluffyTheTerrible Ultra-Peepi]].
* CutShort: Jhonen Vasquez already plotted out a finale right before the series was canceled.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: "Ten Minutes to Doom."
-->'''Dib''': Dad, do you know what this means? This device... it IS ZIM. It's his brain and his life support. That means his body is just... something to carry his PAK around.
* CyberPunkIsTechno: The theme song and some of the soundtrack.
* DarkWorld: The Halloween episode features Dib flashing into an evil version of the normal world with monstrous versions of his already-weird home reality.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Compare the unaired pilot to the first episode of the series (or just the series in general). The unaired pilot was goofy, lighter, and had more of a basis of exaggerated fun, while the series was more darker, lighting was toned down, and the humor was much more darker.
* DeerInTheHeadlights: Parodied in the "Ultra-Peepi" episode, where the masses aren't paralyzed in fear, but are too busy adoring his cuteness to get away.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
** The ShowWithinAShow "Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery".
** Not to mention that a lot of ZIM's lines tend to use this. ("Let us rain some ''doom'' down upon the ''filthy'' heads of our doomed enemies!")
** An easy-to-miss one in "Nanozim". When ZIM's ship is scanning Dib's brain for the memory of where Dib hid a disc, it finds the memory and displays on the computer screen "Location Located."
* DestroyTheEvidence: In "A Room With a Moose", ZIM does this by having the evidence in question [[StuffBlowingUp self-destruct]] while [[NoIndoorVoice screaming]] "LEAVE NO EVIDENCE!"
* DeusAngstMachina: It's a JhonenVasquez creation, this should go without saying.
** In "Walk of Doom", ZIM walks into the tallest building to get to the top to get his bearings of the city. As it turns out, that building is a bank that was just robbed, and his human disguise looks just like the bank robber. Cue ChaseScene.
* DickDastardlyStopsToCheat: ZIM'd be a lot more effective if he could just learn when to quit. In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy" Dib had lost just about all of his ability to represent a threat to ZIM, but his continued attempts to KILL him after he'd already been crippled backfired rather spectacularly.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** ZIM and Gaz in particular. In ZIM's case, some examples (such as "The Wettening") overlap with ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill.
** The episode "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom" is practically made of this trope. Dib throws a muffin at ZIM during lunchtime at Skool one day. What does ZIM do to retaliate? He [[spoiler:constructs a brilliant LotusEaterMachine for Dib based on]] everything the boy wants to do in life, and in Dib's twilight years, while being interviewed on a TV show celebrating his accomplishments, the TV host asks Dib if he'd been the one who threw the muffin at ZIM all those years ago. Dib answers yes, and suddenly, [[spoiler:ZIM's face appears on the faces of everyone in the audience. Dib wakes up, in the real world, connected to a machine in ZIM's lab. With this unpleasant little fact known, ZIM coldly tells Dib to get out. Crushed, Dib begins walking away, only to have a gigantic gun aimed at his face. What fires out of the gun? A muffin.]]
** What happens if you have overdue books at the library? They ''[[EyeScream confiscate your retinas]]''.
* DoAndroidsDream: "... and why was my computer coughing?"
* TheDogIsAnAlien: Gir disguises himself as ZIM's pet dog. ... his disguise being a bad costume with a zipper and a tongue sticking out.
* [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom Be Doomed by the Doomy Dooms of Your Doomly Doom, Doomed One!]]: This is, after all, the show that gave us the Doom Song, the Megadoomer, and even titles like "Mopiness of Doom" and "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom". In the first episode alone there were no fewer than 36 "dooms," and said episode also gave us The Doom Song. Seriously, "Doom: TheSeries!" [[RunningGag might as well be an alternate title]].
* DoorToDoorEpisode: The episode titled... wait for it... "Door to Door."
* DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale: The way Gaz treats her older brother, Dib for bothering her is a non-romantic example. No wonder she's nicknamed "Dib's scary sister".
* TheDreaded: Subverted. The Slaughtering Rat People were briefly this to the Irkens, the task of taking over their Planet Blorch was one no sane invader wanted. Blorch was inevitably conquered [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu by Skoodge no less]], though the alien rodents seem to have spread to [[HalfHumanHybrid and lurk in Earth's shopping malls]]. Though it's [[TheNoodleIncident never addressed in depth]].
* DrillSergeantNasty: In "Hobo 13".
* DumbassHasAPoint:
** GIR does this fairly often:
*** In "Walk for Your Lives" ZIM's plan to eliminate the explosion ([[WhatAnIdiot by setting it ''off'' on full speed!]]) is so terrible even '''''[[TheDitz GIR]]''''' realizes it.
--->'''Zim''': That's it! Time!\\
'''GIR''': Whatchu sayyyyyy?\\
'''Zim''': If I can bring the time field around the explosion back up to regular speed, it'll fix everything.\\
'''GIR''': No it wooooon't!\\
'''Zim''': The explosion will blow up like normal and be gone foreveeeer!\\
'''GIR''': But won't it just explode? JUSTLIKETHIS, KABLAM!
*** Also in "Plague of Babies":
--->'''ZIM''': GIR! We've been seen out of our disguises! By a ''human!''\\
'''GIR''': But Dib's seen us. He knows where we live!
*** In "Walk of Doom", when ZIM and GIR get horribly lost in the big city:
--->'''GIR:''' Why don't we just ask the information humans for help?
** Dib's continued crusade against ZIM, really. Yes, it's true that ZIM is too stupid to deliberately ''conquer'' the world, but he's also crazy enough to accidentally ''destroy it''. Keeping ZIM focused on fighting Dib really is keeping the world safe... just not quite in the manner either of them thinks.
* DysfunctionJunction: ZIM is an egomaniac and strongly implied to be legally insane, GIR is a crazed CloudCuckoolander, Dib is a ButtMonkey who desires affection and validation, Gaz is freaking scary, Professor Membrane is a MadScientist and neglectful father with a burning hatred for Santa Claus, and Skoodge is an oblivious ButtMonkey. And that's just the main cast! The universes status as this would have been delved into more had the show gone on longer.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the original pilot, Dib is genuinely crazy, ZIM isn't hammy (and is also voiced by Creator/BillyWest instead of Creator/RichardStevenHorvitz), GIR is actually helpful, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and Gaz's hair is purple instead of maroon.]] Each character also appears to have MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily.
* EasilyConqueredWorld: Which makes ZIM's repeated failures all the funnier.
* EasterEgg: Bloody GIR, a transparent image of GIR covered in blood that is hidden in frames throughout the show.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: ZIM's.
* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler: Santa]]
* ElectionDayEpisode: An election is triggered after the actual class president goes crazy in front of the class. Zim wants to win the election because of the power that it would imply (never mind it's just an school election) and Dib wants to stop him because... well, it's his job, and his school life would suck with Zim in charge. He can't win because he's not popular, so he helps a secondary candidate. [[spoiler: Dib succeeds in making Zim lose, but it turns out that the school just [[MindRape lobotomizes the election's winner]] to do the school's bidding, so in the end [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Zim thanks Dib for saving his life]].]]
* EmpathicEnvironment: "[=GameSlave=] 2": "The rightful order has been restored."
* TheEmpire: The Irken Empire.
* EnemyMine: "Bolognius Maximus" (which provides the page quote), "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom", "Tak: The Hideous New Girl" and "Hamstergeddon".
** Zim attempted this in "Planet Jackers", but Dib refused thinking it was a trick.
** Issue 12, with Zim and Dib teaming up against Zim's future self, Emperor Zim.
* EnergyBeings: The Meekrob.
* EskimosArentReal: After Dib proves that "Chickenfoot" is a fraud.
-->'''Reporter 1:''' I bet this means [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Bigfoot]] is a fraud too!\\
'''Reporter 2:''' And [[FlyingSaucer UFOs.]]\\
'''Reporter 1:''' And [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers hobos.]]\\
'''Dib:''' No wait! Those are real! Except the hobos. Wait, no. They're real. I... I guess. But- [[SurroundedByIdiots what's wrong with you people!?!]]
** Likewise [[CloudCuckooLander Bill]], a paranormal investigator who believes that cereal mascots are real, nevertheless insists that dinosaurs are a fraud.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: The Angry Monkey Show, Suckmonkey, "babbling like a maniac-monkey" "screaming like a howler monkey"...the list goes on. It should be noted that Jhonen Vasquez's original works often refer to monkeys ''a lot'' and this show is no exception.
* EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods
* EvilBrit: Tak, Lord Nar and the stupid aliens from "Abducted".
* EvilDuo: ZIM (ego) and GIR (id).
* EvilIsPetty: ZIM and Gaz.
* EvilLaugh:
** ZIM, regardless of onlookers.
** Tak pretty much dethroned ZIM with her laugh.
** Dib has a decent evil laugh.
** As does his father.
** Sizz-Lorr has one too.
* EvilTastesGood: "I can almost taste the humans being destroyed -- IT'SDELICIOUS!"
* EvilTeacher:
** Mrs. Bitters.
** Inverted with Mr. Elliot. He's so happy it makes you want to choke a kitten.
* EvilVersusEvil: ZIM vs Tak.
** Actually, Zim Vs. any character who treatens his mission (except for those with good intentions.)
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin:
** The Doom Song; the "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom"; "Parent Teacher Night"
** "ZIM Eats Waffles," "Career Day."
** Many [[PlanetOfHats Planets of Hats]] have notably obvious names, such as Foodcourtia (a planet of almost nothing but restaurants) or Dirt (which Tak was assigned to clean).
* {{Expositron 9000}}: ZIM's base computer.
* {{Expy}}: On the commentary for "Walk of Doom", everyone is quick to point out how much the creepy drooling baby on the bus looks like [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Stewie]].
* EyeScream:
** Walk of Doom. ZIM looks directly into the sun... which causes his eyes to [[{{Squick}} burn and crust over]].
*** Even worse given it's not just his eyes but the plastic lenses he wears over them to make himself look human. Molten plastic in the eyes.
** There's also a brief moment in "Planet Jackers" where, after crashing his cruiser, ZIM's eye ''pops out of its socket and into his hand'' for a couple of seconds. He quickly replaces it, but Jesus.
** While it's only shown in silhouette, "Bestest Friends" ends with Keef's eyes being ''ripped out by a machine'' and replaced with a pair of robotic ones that also filter his vision.
*** [[BlatantLies It gets better!]] It's implied that while being attacked by a squirrel on the roof of the building next to ZIM's house, Keef ''fell off'' and the impact '''''CAUSED HIS NEW EYES TO EXPLODE'''''.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: ZIM will never conquer the Earth and Dib will never reveal ZIM as an alien. More often than not, one's failure causes the other. Gaz herself [[GenreSavvy knows this]] and as such she never really gets involved in their rivalry willingly.
-->'''Dib''': Don't you care that ZIM is trying to destroy all mankind? Huh?\\
'''Gaz''': But he's so ''bad'' at it.
* FauxAffablyEvil: ZIM. The Tallests are arguably even moreso.
* FauxtasticVoyage: Inverted in "Room With a Moose".
* FictionalCurrency: The Irken empire money is called ''money.'' And the plural is called ''moneys.''
* {{Flanderization}}:
** Keef's stalker-ish aspects were highly amplified in "the Return of Keef" compared to his original appearance.
** Dib got comparatively more crazy and "ZIM-like" as the series progressed.
* FollowTheLeader: After Invader ZIM hit cult status and became immensely popular with the preteen demographic, many other animated TV shows started turning towards dark and random humor. Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, The Misadventures of Flapjack, Adventure Time, and Making Fiends are a few examples.
* {{Foodfight}}: Pilot episode
* AFormYouAreComfortableWith: Spoofed; not only was the original form not that uncomfortable, but they turned into ''shoes''.
** Dib lampshades this, and gets smacked for it.
* FreezeFrameBonus:
** Almost every headstone in the graveyard in "Mortos der Soulstealer". Messages range from "JEFF: HE WAS NICE" to "LET ME OUT" and more.
** Bloody GIR, to an extent.
** The end-credits of GIR'S movie at the start of "FBI Warning of Doom" are mostly normal, but they also credit an actor named Private Poop who [[AsHimself plays himself]].
* FriendlyEnemy: ZIM and Dib in the Pilot.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: In "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom", three of the levels on the elevator are shown to be "Gym" "Pool" and "Tacos."
* FutureImperfect: ''Invader ZIM'' takes place TwentyMinutesInTheFuture and some traditions we have today have apparently changed. For Valentine's Day, people give out meat instead of chocolates due to a past event that Miss Bitters [[YouDoNOTWantToKnow refuses to talk about]]. Also, SantaClaus has been changed from a person who gives out presents to a Jesus-like figure whose SecondComing is anticipated by the people of Earth.

[[folder: G-M]]
* {{Gainaxing}}: ZIM's giant growing bubbly zit "Pustulio" bounces in this fashion when ZIM flicks it.
* GamerChick: Gaz
* GenkiGirl: Moofy from "Girl Who Cries Gnome".
* GilliganCut: In Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom, ZIM is seen worrying whether GIR will be okay. Cut to GIR attacking trick-or-treaters and stealing their candy, [[CrowningMomentOfFunny flying tackling someone so hard their underpants fly off.]]
* GirlScoutsAreEvil: Moofy and the Girly Rangers.
* {{Goth}}: The entire show has a gothic theme to it. Gaz and Tak are considered as goth girls.
* GrandfatherParadox: In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy." The resulting LogicBomb causes GIR to [[YourHeadAsplode literally explode]]. (That happens to him sometimes.)
* GrossoutShow: It had its moments. Mostly highlighted in "Dark Harvest", "Germs", and "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom."
* GrowlingGut: Happens to Gaz in "Bloaty's Pizza Hog" after watching a commercial for it
* HatesBeingTouched: ZIM
--> Keef: ''(hugs ZIM)'' I'm so happy!\\
''(ZIM pushes Keef away)''\\
ZIM: Don't touch me.
* HaveYouComeToGloat: In "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom", future ZIM asks this of future Dib.
* HerrDoktor: Countess [[TheVonTropeFamily von]] [[MeaningfulName Verminstrasser]].
* HeterosexualLifePartners: The Tallest are this when they're not being VitriolicBestBuds. Though likely unintended, ZIM and GIR can come off as this sometimes to.
* HiddenBadass: Tak
* {{Homage}}: "FBI Warning of Doom".
* HomageShot: A scene from "Hamstergeddon" which the crew admits they lifted from the first episode of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zim_vs_eva_41.jpg Compare]].
* HotBlooded: ZIM's computer; a strange mix of this (''Processing...'''PROCESSING!''''') and a StraightMan.
* HughMann: ZIM when out in public.
* HumanAliens: Subverted.
* HumanoidAliens: Almost all of them. The Meekrob, the Slaughtering Rat People, Shloonktapooxys of the Resisty -- and possibly the Plookesians -- are some of the only exceptions.
** Well, a lot of the background aliens look different, though a ''loose'' humanoid form does seem to be standard for "important" races.
* HumanOutsideAlienInside: Despite the fact that ZIM appears to be able to pass for human with only a minimal disguise, his inner workings appear to be quite different. "Ow, my squeedlyspooch!"
-->'''ZIM:''' "Don't come any closer! Don't try anything on me or I'll...I'll...I'll lay eggs in your stomach! I mean it!"
** Although that one may or may not have any basis in reality as he was primarily trying to scare off his "worshipers".
* HumansAreMorons: Every human is an idiot, except for Gaz, Dib, Agent Darkbooty and Professor Membrane. Although it should be noted that the whole universe is portrayed as stupid much of the time, so they're really not any worse off.
* HumiliationConga: Everything ZIM had set up for the humans in "Backseat Drivers from Beyond The Stars" blows up SPECTACULARLY.
* HypocriticalHumor: "Attack of the Saucer Morons" opens with ZIM flying around in the Voot Cruiser making police cars crash to test Earth's defenses. He concludes that Earth vehicles are "PATHETIC!!" ZIM's ship then ''collides with a bee and explodes''.
* IHaveAFamily: "I have children. And a toilet. [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs And toilet... children.]]"
* IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight:
** In "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff", ZIM tries to remind knowledge-mad duty-mode GIR of having been ZIM's servant before.
** In "Dibship Rising", the Dibship, under ZIM's mind control, is about to destroy Dib. Dib attempts to stop the ship by reminding it that it is essentially Dib too.
* IncessantMusicMadness: As ZIM flies to Earth, [=GIR=] decides to sing the "Doom Song" on the way... ''for six months straight.'' ZIM is just about to lose it when they finally arrive.
* IncomingHam: The first time we see Professor Membrane is when he is making... *sparks fly* '''[[MundaneMadeAwesome TOAST!!!]]'''
** Of course, he is the inventor of "Super Toast!"
* IncrediblyObviousBug: Lampshaded, and so played for comedic value.
-->"Hey! Look at that garbage can!"\\
"Why yes, it ''is'' quite impressive, that can."
** Not to mention the time the 'tracking device' ZIM uses on Dib is just GIR clinging to the back of his [[RunningGag 'enormous' head]].
* IneptAptitudeTest: "Career Day", in which only Dib gets the job he's so desperately trying for.
** Considering the circumstances surrounding ZIM's banishment from Irk, his results were pretty appropriate too. He was banished to Foodcourtia after Operation Doom I.
* InformedAttribute: Used as a RunningGag brought on by ExecutiveMeddling (though the cast apparently enjoyed the joke) with Dib's freakishly large head, which is actually no different from any other characters' heads.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Oh there is a lot for this show. But one noticeable one is when the School Psychiatrist stopped believing in aliens because his foot got trapped in an escalator and aliens didn't come to save him.
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: The Irken aren't even really sure if there ''is'' a planet in Earth's vicinity when they send ZIM away. [[SnipeHunt Which was the whole point in sending him there...]]
* InstantAwesomeJustAddMecha: The Megadoomer, among others.
* InvisibleToNormals: Spoofed.
* IronicEcho: "You just don't get it, do you?"
* ITasteDelicious: Dib, in "Bolognius Maximus".
--> "Gaz! Taste me! I'm delicious!"
* {{Keet}}: Gir, the hyperactive robot.
* KickedUpstairs: ZIM's task of ruling earth.
* KidnappedScientist: The Vortians are essentially an entire ''[[SlaveRace race]]'' of such.
* KidsAreCruel: But also stupid.
** Pretty much the entire reason for "Room With A Moose."
** Subverted in the pilot. Dib points out that Zim has green skin. Zim pases it off as a skin condition. A random kid in the room chews Dib out for picking on Zim for being "a little bit different".
* KillItWithWater: Drives the plot of "The Wettening".
* KnightTemplar: The Delouser in "Lice," being rather [[{{anvilicious}} pointedly]] NotSoDifferent from Dib. Slab Rankle, the security guard from "FBI Warning of Doom," could be argued as one too.
* KonamiCode: It's a code for extra lives in one of Gaz's games.
* KryptoniteProofSuit: ZIM's solution to being melted by water? A paste based coating.
* LaResistance: The Resisty.
* LittleGreenMen: The Irkens, though some actually aren't all that little.
* LittleMissBadass: Gaz is a hardcore preteen girl that you don't want to mess with.
* LotusEaterMachine: Is revealed to be the generator of most of the plot in [[spoiler:"Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom".]]
* MagicalDefibrillator: In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy." The paddles turn to pigs.
* MaximumFunChamber: Based on Dib's reaction, a room with a nut-eating moose is either this or a psychological BrownNote.
* MeaningfulName: GAZ and ZIM are a make and model of Soviet-produced car, respectively.
* TheMentallyDisturbed: An incomplete episode revealed that [[spoiler: ZIM]] is this. There's a ''reason'' he's so crazy y'know.
* MessyPig
* TheMillstone: GIR is usually far more [[UnwantedAssistance hindrance than help]] with ZIM's mission.
** The fact that ZIM himself is one for the Irken Empire is the whole reason he was ever banished.
* MisappliedPhlebotinum: Spoofed to no end with ZIM's inventions. Here's someone that builds a machine that can suck all the water off of the planet, but only uses it to win a water balloon fight.
* MissingMom: There is a lack of a mother in Dib's family. It is unknown if Professor Membrane was ever married.
* MoreDakka: While [[WorldOfHam common]], ZIM accidentally grants ''[[NiceJobFixingItVillain Dib]]'' this in [[spoiler: [[ButterflyOfDoom "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy"]]]].
* MostDefinitelyNotAVillain: ZIM and the two aliens from "Abducted".
* MultipleChoicePast: Miss Bitters gives a few slightly contradictory accounts of her childhood at different points. Issue 15 of the comics follows up on this, with different students all sharing their vastly different beliefs of what her origins are.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: The series loved this trope. Almost every episode featured ZIM or GIR or both turning the most mundane things into sheer awesomeness.
** "I'm making...''toast!!''"
** "Jumping in a ''puddle''? ''That'' was your [[LampshadeHanging 'fate-of-the-world work'?"]]
** ''ZIM''... ''EATS''... '''WAFFLES'''
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAFkqZBubnU&feature=related ZIM uses the bathroom]].
* MushroomSamba: Literal example in the Halloween special. When Ms. Bitters says that she used to be a fairy princess, we're shown a clip of a vividly-colored rainbow world with dancing mushrooms.
* MythArc: Or there would have been...

[[folder: N-Z]]
* NegativeContinuity:
** "Attack of the Saucer Morons" has not one, but two fairly-large groups of humans discover ZIM's true identity. There's also the time ZIM and Dib got turned into baloney, apparently permanently.
** ZIM never returns Earth to its proper place at the end of "Planet Jackers", plus the moon falls onto it.
** The same goes for the ending of "Hobo 13", where ZIM is sent to the sun on a ship with locked controls by the Tallest. We never know how he managed to get out of that situation either.
** "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy" ends with ZIM's brain replaced by a rubber pig.
** "Backseat Drivers from Beyond The Stars" ends with Zim getting his brains eaten by a parasite.
** Reinforced twice in Issue 3 of the comic book adaptation of Invader Zim. The first time was "Recap Kid" getting run over by Zim's voot (meaning the rest of the comic does not follow the previous two issues), the second being at the very end when Dib recalled Issue 3's events and Zim denied them.
* NewMediaAreEvil:
** Inverted with Professor Membrane, who believes the reverse.
-->'''Prof. Membrane:''' Video games develop hand-eye coordination, and make children into better human beings.
** Possibly played straight with Gaz who has freaked out every character but Gir and Membrane.
* NighthawksShot: The setting at the start of one episodes is not dissimilar to Edward Hopper's painting called ''Nighthawks''.
* NightmarishFactory: The skool's boiler room. Surprisingly though, it has plenty of guard rails, averting NoOSHACompliance.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot:
** The "Ninja Ghost" Dib claimed to see in his toilet. The giant, flesh-eating, demon squid. The giant, flesh-eating, demon squid's cyborg demon minions. And so much more.
** When trying to come up with a name for their resistance movement, one of the suggestions for the Resisty's name was "The Pirate Monkeys."
*** Issa awesome name!
* NobodyCanDie: ExecutiveMeddling forced a number of changes in this department, although some deaths did manage to make it past the radar.
** The most humorous example of this is the mutated hamster episode, which ended with a still frame saying that nobody died. If you listen to the commentary of that episode Jhonen and the other cast members off-handedly mention "Oh, he's/she's dead" and ''completely ignore the still frame.''
* NoEnding: As mentioned under negative continuity, a lot of episodes just end with no resolution to the conflict of the episode.
* NoIndoorVoice: ZIM basically speaks in screams. Creator/RichardStevenHorvitz was forced to record on alternating days so he wouldn't permanently damage his voice.
-->'''ZIM''': Miss Bitters, I have a ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=OAFkqZBubnU MIGHTY NEED]]'' to use the restroom once again.
** Also, [[MeaningfulName Screamy]], a Skool student from the unfinished episode "10 Minutes to Doom." To the point where [[YourHeadAsplode his head explodes]].
-->'''Screamy''': ''HI DIB! HOW YA DOIN'?''.
* NoodleImplements: The final tier of ZIM's test to see who is most fit to be his friend involves a toy taxi and a stuffed beaver. Whatever happened, it took half an hour and left the other participants other than Keef covered in third degree burns and barely conscious.
** The third degree burns were from ZIM's second test of electrical conductivity.
** Issue 14 opens with Zim setting out to gather the supplies needed for his latest EvilPan -- a robot pie oven, seven million pairs of rubber gloves, and a space amoeba with a giant... something. (He falls into a hole before he can finish the sentence, let alone grab anything.)
* NoodleIncident: Several, especially concerning Dib's past:
-->'''Professor Membrane''': Son, there better not be any ''walking dead'' up there!\\
'''Dib:''' It's nothing to worry about, dad! And I said I was sorry about that!\\
"Hey, you're Dib, aren't you? Tell me, did you ever get that [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ninja ghost]] out of your toilet?"\\
"Yes, no thanks to you!"
** Then there was this little gem in "The Nightmare Begins":
--->'''The Letter M''': Yeah, what's wrong with you? All you talk about is aliens and ghosts and seeing bigfoot in your garage!\\
'''Dib''': He was using the belt sander...
** Don't forget whatever gave the Mysterious Mysteries host his scar. Honestly, it's probably safe to say that Dib's entire life is one big NoodleIncident.
** ZIM's actions during Operation Impending Doom 1 would have been one of these if not for a ''very'' revealing {{flashback}}.
** Also, whatever changed the way Valentine's Day is celebrated to include meat instead of cards and candy.
** Then there's what ever it was that happened to the previous guidance counselor...
** The beginning of "Tak the Hideous New Girl Part 2", where Zim destroys a mysterious meaty monster who he has clearly been fighting, and casually remarks: "What a horrible adventure with that ham demon".
* NotMeThisTime: In "Planet Jackers", ZIM initially thinks GIR is responsible for screwing up his telescope, but this turns out to not be the case.
-->'''ZIM:''' Something is broken, and it's not your fault?\\
'''GIR:''' I know. I'm scared too!
* NotWorthKilling: The Irken empire have ''no desire'' to conquer Earth. They consider it a remote dump, the climate is horrible, and the natives are mostly morons. Only two rogue invaders are obsessed with claiming it for the Tallest. Tak (who was driven to insanity), and Zim (who has always been insane). The Tallest don't acknowledge them, and as long as Zim occupies the planet in exile, it makes the world ''even less'' desirable to the alien race.
* NoteToSelf: Seen in "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy".
* TheNotSoHarmlessPunishment: "Gaz, Taster of Pork" ends with one. And, of course, the "Room With a Moose."
* ObliviousYoungerSibling: Sort of -- Gaz isn't oblivious, she just doesn't care. See above.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: Parodied in "Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff".
-->'''Squid Man:''' I want to thank you. That was quite an adventure! The car wreck... the library fight... and the galactic space battle that happened on the way to this beach.\\
'''Zim:''' Yes, yes, very nice. Now into the ocean where you can tell no one of these things.
** Also in "Gaz Taster of Pork", Dib and Gaz are trapped by the police but in the next scene they are seen in Beaver suits exiting a car.
--> '''Dib:''' Woo! What an incredible and daring escape! That was amazing! \\
'''Gaz:''' I liked the part where the giant robot squid launched missiles at us.
* OldMediaAreEvil: ZIM despises television, which is constantly portrayed as garbage. Commercials in particular.
* OminousLatinChanting: Meats of Evil, "Bolognius Maximus".
* OneManArmy: Apparently skilled-enough and well-equipped Irken Invaders are capable of conquering the planet by themselves, though it seems it's mostly a case of leaving it up to their technology to do it once they enter the planet.
** Hell, a single functional SIR unit seemed pretty capable of conquering the planet, as shown during the episode where GIR gets (temporarily) repaired, and with Tak's functioning SIR unit.
* OneProductPlanet: Foodcourtia, the food court planet, Callnowia, the mail-order planet with Conveyor Belt Planet for shipping, Blorch, which is now the parking structure planet... the Irken love doing this.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Drives the plot of both "Planet Jackers" and "Tak, the Hideous New Girl," as ZIM won't tolerate an attempted takeover/destruction of Earth from anyone else. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that Zim was the one assigned to Earth, not Tak; and in the case of "Planet Jackers", Irken invaders don't destroy planets, but prepare them to be terraformed for reasons unstated. The Planet Jackers wanted it for their own gain.
-->'''ZIM:''' The Earth is ''mine'' to devastate! And I already promised the moon to GIR.
* OnlyOneName: Dib and Gaz do not seem to have a last name (ZIM's holographic Meekrob refer to Dib as "Dib... whatever-your-last-name-is"). A Nick.com e-card for the show claimed that Membrane's first name was [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Professor]], but Jhonen (and the original flash version of official website) says that, in fact, Membrane is the professor's first name and his last name is a mystery like so many other things about him.
** Dib replies to "Dib... Whatever-Your-Last-Name-Is" with "that's right," which could be taken as confirmation of its correctness, unless he was just confirming his ''first'' name, or agreeing that it wasn't important and indicating that the speaker should just continue with their main point. Some fans jokingly like to say Dib's full name, then, is "Dib Whateveryourlastnameis."
** Though this hasn't stopped fans from referring to Dib as "Dib Membrane," however, who seem to love using that as his last name. On occasion Jhonen himself has even referred to him (possibly mockingly) as "Dib Membrane" on his blog.
* OnlySaneMan:
** Dib. Even moreso Gaz, who's content in just letting ZIM screw himself over.
** Gaz gets antsy if it involves video games...
** On the Irken side, Tallest Red.
** Zim gets to be this in "Abducted", after being abducted by what may be the only alien species dumber than [[AquaTeenHungerForce the Plutonians.]]
* OrganAutonomy: Arm-control nerve.
--> "''Arm-''control nerve?"\\
[[OverlyLongGag "Arm control nerve."]]
* OrganTheft: "Dark Harvest".
* OtherMeAnnoysMe: When Zim meets his future self Emperor Zim in Issue 12, he finds the Emperor to be an ungrateful jerk, while Emperor Zim finds his younger self an incompetent idiot.
* OutrunTheFireball: Or "Walk for Your Lives", as the case may be.
* OverlyLongGag:
** The Doom Song, again.
** The dodgeball fight in "Vindicated"
* [[PaintingTheMedium Eating The Medium]]:
** GIR eats the floating splitscreen for the snowman in "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever".
** In the original storyboards for "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" (which can be seen on the DVD), one of the scenes had Tallest Purple licking donut crumbs off your TV screen.
** ZIM wishes you a Merry Christmas at the end of "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever."
* PaperThinDisguise: Almost every single one.
** ZIM's disguise consists of a wig and two contact lenses.
** GIR's dog disguise is green with a visible zipper.
** ZIM's robot "parents" only bear a superficial resemblance to actual human beings, yet fool a roomful of people at ZIM's parent-teacher conference. Even when "dad's" arm blows off in a shower of sparks, ZIM is able to {{handwave}} it.
-->"My Dad lost his arm in, uh, ''the War.''"\\
"That was my squeezin' arm! They took my squeezin' arm! Why my squeezin' arm?"
** Then there were the literal paper-thin disguises of the aliens in the episode "Abducted". They were basically thin smocks with an image of a human body, and what appears to be papier-mâché masks. (This is made even funnier by the fact that they're supposed to be husband and wife, and [[TooDumbToLive they got the nametags mixed up.]])
** In "Planet Jackers" when ZIM is looking through his telescope at the other Invaders, the only one we see is ''in'' disguise basically has a rock strapped to his head, making ZIM's costume look brilliantly thorough in comparison. It is apparently sufficient to fool the natives, however, who are seen fanning him.
*** ''Tak'', at least, had a reasonable disguise though.
** Then there is ZIM's secondary disguise from ''The Girl Who Cried Gnome'' and ''The Mose Horrible X-Mas Ever'' Which has his undisguised face peeking out through the mouth of the costume. Hilariously, at the end of ''Girl who Cried Gnome'' an artist's rendition of the "hero who saved the little girl" shows that they saw through the disguise, but still thought he was human as the depiction shows a normal human face peeking out of the costume's mouth.
* ParodySue: In "Dib's Wonderful Life Of Doom," when Dib gets superpowers [[spoiler:(or seems to)]].
* PeopleJars: Where little Irkens come from.
* PetTheDog: ZIM treats GIR noticeably better than everyone else and actually expresses concern for his safety multiple times. He gets a few other moments where he treats people surprisingly well, but for every Pet The Dog moment ZIM gets, he gets three KickTheDog moments in return. This prevents the audience from forgetting that ZIM is a bad guy.
* PickOnSomeoneYourOwnSize: Interesting subversion here, as ZIM and Dib ''are'' the same size, and ZIM is from a culture that directly equates worth with height. The result is a rivalry that by all logic should be completely one-sided, as an alien older than any human on Earth, equipped with technology they could only begin to understand, finds an arch-nemesis in a grade-schooler.
* PlanetOfHats: ...sort of. The planets that have been conquered are retrofitted to suit the Irkens' needs: Foodcourtia, the food court planet; the convention center planet; the shipping center planet; Hobo 13, the military training-planet; and so on...
** Played [[strike:straight]] straighter with some mentioned planets and dimensions such as: Exploding head planets, broken glass planets, a dimension of pure itching (you can't tell from the photo, but that stuff's really itchy), and a dimension of pure... [[ToiletHumour organic material]].
* PlanetSpaceship: The planet Mars itself gets converted to a spaceship.
* PlugNPlayTechnology: Apparently, the Irkens use the same operating system that Dib uses. {{Lampshaded}}, and considering the way the line is delivered, it's likely a TakeThat at Film/IndependenceDay.
* PolitenessJudo
-->'''Dib:''' The only way back home is through ''my'' head! Anything happens to me and you're stuck here forever!\\
'''ZIM:''' [[BigNo NOOOOOOOO!]] CURSE YOU!...Wait. I can still do stuff to your legs, right?\\
'''Dib:''' I guess, but -- wait! No!\\
* ThePollyanna: Keef. Getting his eyes plucked out, screwed completely over by Zim, and the kid is ''still'' [[GenreBlind happy and]] [[NiceGuy cheerful.]] He even tries to make friends with him again in the unfinished episode "Return of Keef".
* PokeThePoodle: In issue 1 of the 2015 comic, Zim's "reign of terror" includes such heinous crimes as: Kicking over a trash can, switching people's mail around, and reading a newspaper despite never subscribing.
* PsychopathicManchild: ZIM, Chicken Foot, too many to count.
* TheRashomon: The episode "Mysterious Mysteries".
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: We're never actually told how old Ms. Bitters is, but WordOfGod is that she teaches at the school because they ''built it around her''. ZIM is "[[http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=552&page=5 older than any human alive]]."
* RealityEnsues: "FBI Warning Of Doom" has the villain of the week try to kill ZIM with zombies. Except that the zombies just sort of wander about uselessly and run into things. As it turns out, a mindless corpse that just sort of shambles towards people trying to bite them isn't exactly a huge threat.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: How ZIM came to Earth.
* RedOniBlueOni: Used most prominently in "Rise of the Zitboy." ZIM is red and Dib is blue.
** ZIM is red and GIR is blue. Check out their eyes. ZIM maybe more normal by default but he throws away all common sense when pursuing a goal. GIR somehow holds it together.
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: Professor Membrane parodies this. He's quite capable of creating such things as a Perpetual Energy Machine but will also on a whim decide that the populace is undeserving.
** He also averts it. The official website stated that he routinely creates miracle cures for all the ills of the world (according to ''Gaz, Taster of Pork'', he considers it incredibly horrifying that he still hasn't found a cure for "pigmouth" after ''one day'' of trying). With apparently no effect, since the world still sucks.
* RegionalBonus: In "Game Slave 2", Iggins mentions that he already had the Japanese version but wanted the American version as it had a new level.
* ReligiousRussianRoulette: How guidance counselor Dwicky lost his faith in aliens.
* RememberTheNewGuy: Parodied. "That's Minimoose! He's been here all along, mm-hmm, yup!"
** Since the introduction episode was never shown, it was initially planned to show a montage of scenes from the series with Minimoose [[StylisticSuck crudely pasted into them to go with the joke]], but the idea was scrapped for time.
** In the very first episode, ZIM tries to pull this off in-universe as a method of discrediting Dib's allegations:
--->'''ZIM:''' Yeah, he's always saying stuff. I remember that one time--\\
'''Dib''' (incensed): YOU JUST GOT HERE!
* RentAZilla: Ultrapeepi.
* ResetButton:
** After catastrophically screwing up with a time machine that replaces objects in the past, ZIM sends himself a note not to use the time machine. By replacing his past-brain with the note.
** Almost the same thing in "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom," except it never happened to begin with.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Peepi the hamster. ZIM attempts to weaponize his cuteness, resulting in the world's most adorable {{kaiju}}.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: GIR. He is undisputably the most insane character in the entire series. "He" eats with ExtremeOmnivore tendencies, (in [[HalloweenEpisode Halloween Special]] of Spooky [[DoomyDoomsofDoom DOOM]] he attacked every trick-or-treater in the vicinity of ZIM's house, apparently getting a sugar rush, then eating all their candy and becoming even fatter than the guy in the costume at [[SuckECheeses Bloaty's Pizza Hog]].) drinks, sleeps, has a sense of smell (in one episode, for no discernible reason, he held a smelly dog in front of ZIM and yelled "look what I found! He smells reeeeeealll bad!), cries, parties down and basically acts like a human child. "He" is also assembled from random bits of garbage, and is dangerously (and often explosively) defective.
* RiseOfZitboy: TropeNamer
* RobotAntennae: GIR has one on top of his head.
* RobotBuddy: GIR, obviously, but the house computer to a lesser extent.
* RudeHeroNiceSidekick: Zim is a brash, foul-tempered UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist, while his ditzy MinionWithAnFInEvil GIR is much friendlier.
* RuleOfCool
-->'''Mars-oid''': My people worked themselves to extinction converting this planet into a navigable space vessel.\\
'''ZIM''': Why would you do all that?\\
'''Mars-oid''': Because it's ''cool.''\\
'''GIR''': Mmm-hmmm.
* RunningGag:
** Dib's ([[InformedAttribute supposedly]]) big head, Membrane considering Dib insane, and spinal injuries.
** The mentioning of moose.
** During a crowd scene with people cheering, there's usually gonna be someone yelling "[Thing we're cheering about] rocks!"
** ZIM losing interest in whatever he's doing at the moment.
-->'''Dib''': You're going to use it to walk right past security at the generator, aren't you?! (ZIM takes a few seconds to finish drinking his soda)\\
'''ZIM''': Ah... What? Oh...(turns on the LargeHam) OH YES!
** While a lot is made about how terrible ZIM's disguise is, if you pay attention you'll notice that ''all'' of the invaders we ever see in disguise are pretty terrible. Apparently tying rocks to your limbs or a prosthetic nose is all you need to get by as a covert agent. Tak alone seems to be the only invader to avert this.
** DVDCommentary RunningGag: Several.
*** "Hi, I'm Eric Trueheart, and I had ''nothing to do with this episode!''" (This was repeated to the point where, when an episode he ''did'' write gets commentary, everyone else involved absolutely refuses to believe he actually did write it. Richard Horvitz thinks Trueheart just transcribed it or something.)
*** "America ''loves'' GIR!"/"America hates Dib." (And, fittingly. "America loves Rikki!"/"America hates Andy.")
*** Pronouncing homage "oh-mah-g" in a drawn-out manner.
*** "How's it goin'?" said in the voice of Old Kid from the first episode.
*** "Did you color this, Rikki?"
*** Rikki Simons recollecting his consistent fear about being out of a job after each completion of the more... er, ''questionable'' episodes (such as "[[OrganTheft Dark Harvest]]").
* SacrificialPlanet: The show has an alien race from the [[StealthPun planet Jackers]] that captures other planets in a giant transportation sphere and throws them into the dying sun that orbits their world in order to stave off their own destruction, [[TooDumbToLive even though they could easily just move to a different, more stable planet instead.]]
* SadistShow
* SanityBall: GIR seems... different... in the episode Walk For Your Lives. He's a lot more focused than usual, and is quick to point out the obvious flaws in ZIM's plans.
* SaveTheVillain: Dib agonizes over whether or not to save ZIM in "Hamstergeddon" -- on the one hand, Zim's the only one who can stop Ultra Peepi, but on the other ZIM will return to his attempts at world-demolition if Dib saves him. In a funny subversion, ZIM recovers just fine on his own while Dib is agonizing over the decision.
* ScareChord: [[NightmareFuel/InvaderZim Unsurprisingly]]
** "Dark Harvest" gives us the music that plays when Dib goes looking for Torque after losing sight of him.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrQXYlu9hkA The credits music]] and the theme music (especially that growling/screaming noise at the end when the title "Invader Zim" comes up)
** In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", you can hear what sounds like a ticking clock in the background starting after Dib is hurt for the second time and lasting up until he flatlines.
* TheScream: Too many to count.
** The guy in "Battle of the Planets" might be the best.
* ScreamerTrailer: The host of [[ShowWithinAShow "Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery"]] has these regarding Dib.
* SecretKeeper: Gaz is a subversion.
* SelectiveEnforcement: "Hey! That kid's throwing punch!"
* SelectiveObliviousness: It's obvious in the ''first episode'' how hated ZIM is by the Tallest. ZIM never notices.
* SeriousBusiness:
** Mall security, [[FrickinLaserBeams lasers]] (and Smoke Machines!), lice, ''video games'', parent-teacher-night, pizza... hell, is there an episode where this ''didn't'' feature?
** Not to mention the fact that apparently the library [[PoliceBrutality confiscates your retinas if something is overdue.]]
** Poop Cola Candy.
* ShadowDiscretionShot: A running gag in the series. Most notably with Keef getting his ''eyes ripped out'', or in "ZIM Eats Waffles" when he grabs something (slightly resembling a plunger) and blasts away the demon squid.
* ShapedLikeItself: Quite a bit, actually...
--> '''ZIM:''' But...I ''must'' get my battle tank or I...[[CaptainObvious won't get it]]!
* ShouldntWeBeInSchoolRightNow: Fairly well averted, as very little seems to get past Mrs. Bitters. ZIM or Dib (mostly ZIM) will mysteriously go absent occasionally, usually to plot revenge, but all battles for world domination must take place after school, or under the guise of a bathroom break.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/InvaderZIM So very many]].
* ShowWithinAShow: The Scary/Angry Monkey, Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery, and Probing The Membrane of Science With Professor Membrane!
* ShrugTake: "ZIM Eats Waffles" ends with Dib about to freak out, but he can't get into it, breaks off with an irritated "whatever" and rolls into bed.
-->'''Sizz-Lor''': Wait, how can you remember what I said if you weren't even there?\\
'''ZIM''': *shrug*
* SmartBall:
** ZIM gets spiked in the face with one of these whenever Dib threatens to blow his cover, pulling off such stunts as nanoscale laser brain surgery, zit-based hypnosis and bulk organ theft.
** Dib also catches hold from time to time, repairing alien spacecraft and hacking into supercomputers.
* {{Snapback}}: Quite a few. Some could plausibly have an off-screen explanation, like "Planet Jackers," while others apparently stand in total defiance of canon ("Future Dib"). Likewise there are a few time skips that remain unacknowledged.
** "There was a time-warp or something." --Sizz-Lorr
* SolarCPR: The Planet Jackers transport planets so that they can drop them in the sun of their own home planet, to prevent it from shrinking away.
* SpaceTrucker: The Planet Jackers are quite reminiscent of long-haul truckers.
* SpannerInTheWorks : A small chain of it. ZIM is the spanner in the works to the Irken Empire, ruining Operation Impending Doom I, killing the Almighty Tallest, destroying part of the Irken fleet with Mars, and countless other failures such as forcing Tak to have to work as a janitorial drone. GIR is often the spanner in the works to ZIM's plans, however idiotic they may be. And to top it all off, a spanner (or spanners) in the works for the Irkens (or a member of LaResistance, or just a slave really pissed at the Irkens) is sending machinery meant to help invaders to ZIM, and malfunctioning machinery sent by the Tallest just to kill him to Invaders that are actually doing their job.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS:
** It's very rare to see the word "squeedlyspooch" spelled correctly in an ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZIM'' fanfic. Because of this, there are innumerable misspellings of the word, but the most common are "squeedily-spooch", "squeedilyspooch" and "squeedly spooch".
** "Darkbooty" vs. "Darkbootie" is also an example, as is "GIR" vs "Gir" and "[=MiMi=]" vs "Mimi".
** Some disputes have arisen on the issue of people or items originating from planet Vort -- "Vort/Vorts" versus "Vortian/Vortians". The latter term never made it into production, but appeared in at least one script ("The Trial").
* SpiderLimbs: ZIM's [[AwesomeBackpack PAK.]]
* SpoofAesop: The morals to Ms. Bitter's life stories. Usually extremely pessimistic and spirit crushing.
-->'''Ms. Bitters:''' The lesson is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
* StalkerWithACrush: Keef certainly has shades of this in 'Bestest Friend', and was upgraded to complete stalker by the time of 'Return of Keef'.
* StandInParents: ZIM has robots to stand in as his parents, and despite them being horribly malfunctioning, nobody notices.
* StayWithTheAliens: Dwicky. The jerk.
* StealthPun: After GIR gets a ride home from a pig in "Germs," we hear the sound of a motorcycle engine. As in, [[DontExplainTheJoke hog... you know, Harley-Davidson...]]
* TheStinger: [[OnceAnEpisode In every episode]], a brief quote is played over the Nickelodeon logo following the credits.
* StylisticSuck
** In an ironic bit of WhatCouldHaveBeen, the writers wanted to do a bit in the last produced episode that retroactively "[[RememberTheNewGuy introduced]]" the planned character Minimoose by having him crudely pasted into old scenes as if he'd been there all along, but the idea was scrapped for time -- yes, an intentionally crappy montage had to be cut for the amount of time and effort it would have taken to make it look bad on purpose.
** To a lesser extent, Gir being played by a non-actor. WordOfGod says that having someone who couldn't actually act play him was meant to emphasize how the character was "broken."
* SuckECheeses: Bloaty's Pizza Hog.
* SuckySchool: The elementary school in the setting is simply called ''Skool'', and is a massive TakeThat against public schools in America, being portrayed as a underfunded hellhole.
* SuddenlyShouting: Oh man, everybody does this.
-->'''Tallest Red''': I was curious to see when you'd shut up on your own, but it's been ''three'' hours now, ZIM. '''''THREE HOURS!!'''''
* SuperiorSpecies: Provides the actual page quote. Although his mission is to blend in with Earth, ZIM hilariously can't resist rubbing it in everyone's face how far more advanced and superior the Irkens are.
* TakeThat:
** In "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff" and "ZIM Eats Waffles", ZIM is shown to have a human child captive in order to experiment with the happiness receptors in the child's brain. As a result, the child is compulsively happy. The child's name? [[{{Nickelodeon}} Nick]].
** In one episode Dib tries to take over an Irken computer, hoping out loud [[Film/IndependenceDay that they just happen to use the same operating system as him]].
** The hilarious fact that being banished to Foodcourtia, a fast food civilization, is regarded as the lowest position as an Irken citizen.
** Really, ''the whole show'' involves making fun of human society, in some ways that are true, in some ways that is regarded by a LargeHam who tries his hardest to hate mankind. "Walk of Doom" is a huge example of this.
-->'''Zim''': ''(after stepping off the bus)'' What is ''wrong'' with these humans?!
** Issue 9 of the comic gets a lot of mileage out of its YouTube parody, with its obviously faked videos and the string of {{troll}}ish and downright moronic viewer comments.
** Breakfast Chunks are a stab at the equally disgusting Frosted Breakfast Squares General Mills sold in the '80s, which pretty much nobody liked.
* TakeThatAudience: In "Dib's Wonderful Life Of Doom," the [[ItMakesSenseInContext shoe aliens]] address Dib as "Dib... er, whatever your last name is," to which Dib firmly replies "That's right," a jab at all of the fans who insisted that his last name is Membrane (this being before it was made canon).
* TeachersPet: Zita to Ms. Bitters
* TemporalParadox: Discussing them makes GIR's [[YourHeadASplode head blow up]].
* TenMinuteRetirement: Dib in "Mopiness of Doom" (the unproduced script).
* TerrifiedOfGerms: Zim has mysophobia in the episode "Germs".
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Female Irken (there aren't that many of them) are distinguished by having fuller eyebrow/lashes and curly feelers. [[SelfFanservice Fandom typically chooses to ignore this.]]
* [[ThatLiarLies That Filthy Lying Liar Tells Lies of Lying Filth!]]
* ThemeNaming: The main characters all have three letter names: ZIM, GIR, Dib, Gaz.
** Red and Purple also count, though the other Tallests mentioned have different names.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: The Wettening.
* ThirdPersonFlashback: Lampshaded. ZIM remembers escaping from Frycourtia, and Sizz-Lor coming in and swearing to recapture him. Back in the present, Sizz-lor asks how he can remember that last part if he already left. ZIM doesn't have an answer.
* ThirdPersonPerson: ZIM does this a lot, especially when he's [[ChewingTheScenery hamming it up]] (and when is he not?).
* ThrowTheDogABone: After being the ButtMonkey his whole life, Dib gets the chance to salvage Tak's ship.
* TimeyWimeyBall: Lampshaded and discussed by ZIM and Sizz-lor after Sizz-lor describes how he spent twenty years on Foodcourtia even though ZIM only left a year or two ago. Sizz-lor tries too pass it off and ZIM dosen't seem convinced by it.
* ToiletHumor
* ToiletTeleportation: This is the main method of transportation.
* TooDumbToLive: The vast majority of the human race.
* TotallyRadical: Parodied by Poop Dawg in "Door to Door".
* TouchedByVorlons: Played straight [[spoiler: and later averted]] in Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom.
* TransformationSequence: GIR doing a MundaneMadeAwesome version of putting on his dog costume.
* {{Transplant}}: Ms. Bitters and the Abductors were major characters in Jhonen's comic ''ComicBook/{{Squee}}'', though neither had names. Two Vortians also appear as rivals of the Abductors.
* TrueMeaningOfChristmas: Dib actually does effectively [[ShamingTheMob shame the mob]] on Christmastime by expounding on it and urging them to go home and spend time with their families. It holds for about five seconds before ZIM shows up as the "Easter Platypus" and turns them against him.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* TwoHalvesMakeAPlot: "Tak The hideous New girl" has this when Dib's Sister Gaz found files containing Tak's plan, which gives this exchange:
-->'''Zim:''' I'm the only one with the technology to decode those files!\\
'''Dib:''' And we're the only ones with the files to be decoded!
* TwoTeacherSchool
* UltraSuperDeathGoreFestChainsawer3000: Vampire Piggy Hunter, which actually looks to be a decent game.
* UndyingLoyalty: ZIM is clearly loyal to the Irken cause.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Is a RunningGag for poor [[TheChewToy Skoodge...]] First he was sent to Blorch, home of the slaughtering rat people, for being the shortest Invader of Operation Impending Doom II. When he actually did conquer it, the Tallests still didn't like him and launched him out of a cannon. This still didn't stop him from making an appearance in "Hobo 13", where his remarkable recovery was {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d and {{handwave}}d:
-->'''ZIM''': Skoodge? I thought the Tallests killed you!\\
'''Skoodge''': Yeah, but I'm okay now.
* UnwantedFalseFaith: In "Attack of the Saucer Morons" ZIM somehow fails to see the benefits of dozens of worshipers and instead has to escape from them.
* UsedFuture
* TheUsualAdversaries: Irkens for most of the galaxy. ZIM for the Irkens.
* VillainEpisode:
** Inverted, given that ZIM is a VillainProtagonist -- Dib occasionally gets episodes entirely dedicated to himself such as "Battle-Dib" and "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot" where ZIM does not appear at all.
** Also Gaz, in "Game Slave 2".
* VillainProtagonist: ZIM.
* VillainsOutShopping: "Mortos Der Soulstealer", "ZIM Eats Waffles".
* VirtualRealityInterrogation: A variation is present in an episode where Zim puts Dib in a virtual reality where he gains ultimate power and uses it to defeat the Irken and become a major celebrity just so he could get Dib to confess that he threw a muffin at him during lunch.
* VitriolicBestBuds: The Tallests ''big time''.
* VomitDiscretionShot:
** "GIR! Your waffles have sickened me! FETCH ME THE BUCKET!"
*** In the Latin American dub, it was changed to "GIR! Your waffles have sickened me! [[BileFascination BRING ME MORE!]]"
* VomitIndiscretionShot: In "ZIM Eats Waffles", GIR is seen eating 2 waffles (while ZIM is being attacked by [[EldritchAbomination the "giant flesh-eating demon squid"]]) and vomiting shortly afterwards.
* WackySoundEffect: Lots. The sound of air being slowly let out of a balloon is the most common, used for stupid people are straining their brains.
* TheWalrusWasPaul: Jhonen Vasquez decided to celebrate the "one month only" rerun of the show in March 2010 by giving an Invader ZIM "fact" each day in his [[http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/ blog]]. All of them devolve into [[CrossesTheLineTwice very, very sick]] tall tales. Considering he rails against the misinformation about the show and its circumstances on the first post, it's not hard to interpret this as his attempt to outdo his own fanbase at bullshitting.
* WasOnceAMan
-->'''Rat person''': I was once a man!\\
'''Dib''': But you're a woman.
** Also Chickenfoot. [[WhatAnIdiot Except not really]].
* WatchThePaintJob: "Police, I'd like to report a ... giant house that flew out of the sky and destroyed my car, okay, thank you! ... AAAGH!!"
* WaveOfBabies: In "Plague of Babies".
* WeaksauceWeakness: ZIM's ship crashes after a bee hits its windshield. The bee survived. Also, ZIM's aforementioned issues with water.
* WeHaveReserves: "Hobo 13" is this trope over and over again.
* WhatTheHellIsThatAccent: Tak's voice starts off as fake American, then wavers somewhere between that and British before becoming full-on Brit. She's played by the British-American Olivia d'Abo, who's most famous role was [[Series/TheWonderYears as an American with a slighty more consistant accent]].
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield
* WhiteVoidRoom: "A room... with a moose!"
* WickedWeasel: "Computerrr! Take me to the ''WEASELS!''"
* WombLevel: "[=NanoZIM=]".
* WontTakeYesForAnAnswer:
-->'''ZIM''': Is that Irken equipment you're using? That's Tak's ship you're sitting in, isn't it?\\
'''Dib''': Yes it is, ZIM! It fell from the-\\
'''ZIM''' ''(yelling)'': '''''Isn't it!?!'''''\\
'''Dib''' ''(also yelling)'': ''I said it was!'' Man, you have a problem with listening, ZIM!\\
'''ZIM''': '''''[++ISN'T IT!?!++]'''''
* WorldGoneMad
* '''[[WorldOfHam WORLD OF HAM]]'''
* WorldOfSnark
* XMustNotWin: Even when the fate of the world isn't at stake, Dib will stop at nothing to oppose Zim. His only reason for participating in the fund-raiser in "Door to Door" is to see Zim fail to win the "secret prize".
* YankTheDogsChain: "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom" is ''all'' this, but "Vindicated" is probably worse.
* YouCanRunButYouCantHide: Dib says it to ZIM, or rather ''tries'' to say it but just winds up contradicting himself. ("You can hide, but you can't.... hide!") In his defense he was seriously brain damaged by that point.
* YouDoNOTWantToKnow:
-->'''Dib:''' Miss Bitters? I read that long ago that people used to give out cards and candy on Valentine's Day. How did the whole meat thing get started?\\
'''Miss Bitters:''' [[NoodleIncident You don't want to know...]]
* YoungerThanHeLooks: The aptly-named "Old Kid".
* YourHeadAsplode: GIR does that sometimes.
* ZombieGait: A mall security guard sends a horde of zombies after ZIM. He is initially scared, but soon realizes just how useless they are as they fall over each other and are completely incapable of harming him.
-->''Imma sing the Doom Song now! DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM, DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM!'' ♪