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A pint-sized alien from the planet Irk, with an ego as big as he himself... isn't, Zim is a walking disaster area
that somehow remains oblivious to his own shortcomings and the contempt his people hold him in
. He thinks
he was sent to Earth as an Invader to ready the planet for hostile takeover, but really his leaders were just trying to get rid of him by sending him as far away as possible
(they didn't even know there'd be a planet there for him to try to conquer). On Earth, he aims to Take Over the World
, but is of course continually thwarted
, through Dib's interference, GIR's stupidity, or sheer bad luck, but often as not Zim's greatest obstacle to success is himself.
- Abusive Alien Parents: "I love you cold, unfeeling robot arm!"
- Alien Speaking English
- All of the Other Reindeer: Even though he's completely oblivious to it, his reputation among the other Irkens is less than amiable.
- He's not really liked on Earth, either.
- Amusing Alien
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Despite being an enormous thorn in their side, the Tallest and the Control Brains usually just punish Zim by demoting or banishing him. That's for all the death and destruction he caused. The crime that ultimately puts him on the fast track for termination during "The Trial"? Having a faulty PAK.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Zim has incredibly poor listening skills, and seems to retain only information he likes. "Walk for Your Lives" is probably the worst example, where Zim ignores literally everyone around him (even GIR) telling him that to speed up a time-locked, city-destroying explosion would produce... exactly that.
Dib: Zim, you're just going to blow us all up?!? This is stupid! This... is stupid stupid!
- Awesome Backpack: If you don't think that a backpack with spider legs, an organ-stealing device, goggles, an entire personality and history, memories, and a hologram device isn't cool, then you need to taste some DOOM.
- There's more to it. That backpack is part of what allows Irkens to live. Without it, they literally can only survive for ten minutes at a time, and it also serves as a backup brain, effectively making them amnesia-proof.
- Unfortunately, according to the unaired episode "The Trial," Zim was given a defective PAK, which is the reason (or at least part of the reason) why he is so uncontrollable.
- When he's found guilty in said episode and the main computer tries to assimilate the info on Zim's PAK, the result is that it goes insane within seconds, declares Zim to be the greatest Irken and even allows him to pilot the Tallest's ship for an hour.
- Ax-Crazy: Incredibly so.
- Badass: His final battle in the episode "Hobo 13" proved this without a doubt.
- Berserk Button: "YOU'RE AFTER MY ROBOT BEE!"
- Beware the Silly Ones: Zim may seem silly, but it's only to fool the humans.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: "Gah, my squeedlyspooch!"
- Blatant Lies: But most humans are too stupid to realize this. Who has a skin condition that includes earless and noseless side effects?
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Almost Blunt Words Trauma. Although Zim speaks perfect English, he has a tendency to mix up words, or in some cases he just doesn't listen and ends up hearing the wrong thing.
- Burger Fool: Zim was banished to a planet called Foodcourtia where he had to do community service for royally screwing up Operation Impending Doom I.
- Also, he works in a fast food restaurant on Earth in "Career Day".
- Butt Monkey: He fares slightly better than Dib.
- Card-Carrying Villain: "Now...back to my filthy evil, I guess..."
- Catch Phrase: "YOU LIE!!", "SILENCE!!!", and "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
- Clark Kenting
- Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder: To Gir all the time, even though he's a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander himself.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Most of his insane, self-centered and manipulative deeds are Played for Laughs.
- Cosmic Plaything: Sometimes. There's a good chance that circumstances will contrive to force him in the most hilariously painful way possible... then again, sometimes he succeeds and that doesn't really matter. But when his leaders want him gone, or for him to fail, it will blow up in their faces. More than any situation involving him usually blows up in someone's face, considering that it's seemingly impossible for him not to destroy anything.
- Crossdressing Voices: In the Japanese and Mexican dubs and as a smeet.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When he does put up a fight ("Hobo 13"), he can be quite competent and quick-witted.
- Cultured Badass: Hilariously averted. He's neither really formal with the Tallest although he tries, and neither is he really badass in comparison to most Irken soldiers.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Or with a Paper-Thin Disguise...
- Disguised in Drag: At one point in "Walk For Your Lives", he's disguised as a giant old lady.
- The Dreaded: Hated, Ridiculed and Feared by his entire race.
- Enfante Terrible: He was capable of causing apocalypse-level damage even as a smeet (Irken baby).
- Evil Is Hammy
- Evil Laugh: In the theme song.
- Expressive Mask: His contact lenses change pupil size like real eyes.
- Expy: Zim himself is basically an alien version of Ren Hoek.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric.
- Faux Affably Evil: The few times Zim teams up with Dib to stop a more chaotic evil.
- Galactic Conqueror: As the show's title speaks for itself.
- Genius Ditz: It can be hard to credit, but he's demonstrated some true cunning on occasion. He's more insane than stupid, but his insanity is what makes him do stupid things in the first place, so it's hard to tell the difference.
- A recent interview with Richard Horvitz (which you can find on Tumblr) said this is partially because of his blind allegiance to his planet. Horvitz said Zim would tell right away GIR was just trash, but because the Tallest said he was "advanced," Zim instantly believed them.
- General Failure: He really is a moron. His stupidity is usually what prevents him from conquering anything at all (if Dib or Gir has no interference). The most common assumption for this is that he carries a defective PAK, which is basically an Irken invader's brain, knowledge and competence.
- Girl Scouts Are Evil: When he's selling Poop candy bars for a school fundraiser to get the mystery prize in "Door to Door".
- Gray Eyes: In his human disguise.
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Harmless Villain: If it isn't Dib who stops him, it's because of his own stupidity. Gaz herself lampshades it.
- Not So Harmless: But several episodes such as The Wettening or the Dark Harvest show that he can be a pretty big threat.
- Hates Being Touched: In "Mortos Der Soul Stealer", Dib wasn't touching him per se, but holding him down so Mortos could steal his soul. Zim reacted very negatively to it.
- In "Germs", he really doesn't want to be hugged by Gir, though this could be due to his germophobia.
- Also this dialogue in "Bestest Friend":
Keef: (hugs Zim) I'm so happy!
Zim: (pushes Keef away) Don't touch me.
- Hidden Depths: When he doesn't have time to let himself swell up in his own ego, he can be quite dangerous and a really skilled opponent. He's very intelligent, just reckless and too loyal to his race for his own good. He also has vivid fears: he's very obsessive-compulsive (to the point of almost crying when he discovered how filthy is house is) and has very specific fears of being discovered by humans, mutilated, and kept in a dark room for the rest of his life.
- Humans Are Ugly
- Humans Through Alien Eyes
- Hypocritical Humor: (laughs) "Inferior human organs! ...Ow, my squeedlyspooch!"
- Insane Troll Logic: "My Tallests, a new child attacked me with meat. My conclusion? SHE'S IN LOVE WITH ME!"
- Though given that the customary Valentine's gift in their world is meat, this might in fact be one of the few times Zim was actually paying attention to the humans.
- Insectoid Aliens: Zim, and all other Irken, resemble generic humanoid bugs, not helped by the fact that their PACK's contain mechanicalspider legs.
- I Reject Your Reality: Zim's remarkable ego is a great example of this.
- It's All About Me
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though he would never admit it, he can occasionally be a little attached to Gir. In Battle of the Planets, when Gir was actually being helpful (in his standard crazy state, no less), he said to himself: "Maybe that little robot isn't such a bad evil minion after all."
- In another unfinished episode, he screamed in sorrow when Gir transformed into a beef.
- "And I already promised the moon to Gir."
- In "Halloween Spectacular Of Spooky Doom", he was worrying if Gir could take on all the "zombies" all by himself.
- Once Zim gives Gir a lollipop when he cried, though it was mostly to shut him up.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In "FBI Warning of Doom" and "Planet Jackers".
- Karma Houdini: Sometimes, sometimes not. The most prominent example is "Dark Harvest".
- Kill All Humans: That or enslave them — he changes it from enslaving, ruling, killing, poisoning their food supply and cutting their legs off depending on the episode. The bottom line is that the Earth needs to be ready for the other Irkens to conquer, so the humans need to be gone or easy to enslave.
- Lack of Empathy
- Large Ham: So large it has its own gravitational pull.
- Laughably Evil
- Lethally Stupid: On his home planet, where he had a killing rampage on his own home planet. In the unfinished episode "The Trial", it's revealed that he destroyed several planets by scratching himself. Unfortunately, where it's required for him to actually destroy everything (Earth) he doesn't quite succeed.
- Little Green Man
- Mad Eye: This is a Jhonen Vasquez production.
- Mad Scientist: He was once formerly a military scientist, albeit one responsible for killing the previous Tallests.
- Made of Iron: Probably another good reason the Tallest fear him. He gets burned by toxic rain water, gets his lenses boiled by the sun, takes a brutal beating from a Planet Jacker, gets flayed alive in Lice, gets grotesquely swollen up by a cosmic eclipse, and gets feasted upon by a brain Parasite,among other injuries. He never loses his confidence, and if anything these just seem to encourage him to keep trying.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In the unproduced episode "The Trial," it's revealed that he has, in fact destroyed more than one planet. By scratching himself.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain
- The Napoleon
- Neat Freak: In "Germs".
- Nice Hat: In "GIR Goes Crazy And Stuff", he wears a police hat he took from Officer Squidman.
- No Indoor Voice: "You lie! You liiiiiiiiiiiiie!!!"
- Off Model: In one shot in "Megadoomer", his uniform is red instead of pink.
- Omnicidal Maniac: He even scurried about on a destruction spree on his own planet. Either he didn't understand how much holocaust he caused or he just doesn't care.
- The Only One Allowed To Destroy Earth: And he already promised the moon to GIR.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Consists of a wig and contact lenses (that apparently are very uncomfortable and can be knocked out just from hitting him in the head) doing nothing about his vibrantly green skin. Which may may you think at first, since Irkens have the technology to make themselves look completely human, but he only picked that one because he thinks he's too attractive to be covered up.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Tricky to place, but Zim does do a lot of damage, intentionally or not. According to the unmade scripts, he single-handedly started a crippling global blackout when he was about four minutes old. And according to that same script, he once seemingly blew up a planet just by standing there while scratching his butt. In fact, he was sent to military research because, in the words of the Tallest Miyuki (the Tallest at the time) "He destroys everything he touches!"
- Pet the Dog: Rather literally, Zim has had a few moments of genuine-seeming kindness directed at GIR.
"And I already promised the moon to GIR..."
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: His rivalry with Dib... although, technically, they ARE the same size...
- Pintsized Powerhouse
- Psycho for Hire
- Really 700 Years Old: Word of God has him "older than any human alive," at any rate.
- Real Men Wear Pink: His uniform is pink.
- Reassigned to Antarctica
- Secret Identity: On Earth, through his Paper-Thin Disguise.
- Screaming Warrior: Mostly averted; Zim attempts this but usually ends up with a high-pitched squeal.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Dib's manly man. Although not "sensitive" in the soft and feminine sense, he is a lot more emotional than Dib is.
- Slasher Smile: In many of his Ax-Crazy moments.
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Smug Snake: His super ego is what usually prevents him from succeeding, because when he doesn't have time to let his ego have any impact on his decisions, he's actually quite Badass (Especially prominent in "Hobo 13").
- The Sociopath: Given that he is part of a race who's obsessed with conquering planets for petty reasons, it's not surprising. Justified still, since he isn't very good at acting out false feelings, however, the humans are too stupid to notice.
- Spider Limbs: Almost a crossover with Awesome Backpack.
- Stupid Evil
- Super OCD: "GERMS!!"
- Sycophantic Servant
- Take Over the World: The premise.
- Temporary Bulk Change: He becomes enormously bloated in "Dark Harvest" as a result of stealing organs from his Skool classmates and eating them.
- That Liar Lies: Zim's proclamations of lies, and how they usually bring out his hamminess, is a Running Gag.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If it's not his personal motto, it ought to be.
- They Would Cut You Up: Zim fears this would happen if he were caught by Earth's natives. Dib explicitly threatens him with it. At one point he's seen vividly imagining his fate, human scientists stuffing him in a jar, dancing around his helpless body, cutting out limbs and eyes and keeping him a dark room for the rest of his life.
- Third-Person Person: "I am Zim, and Zim shall rule!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Unable to learn from his various lethal mistakes... and it doesn't help that he often comes out of them unscathed.
- Twitchy Eye:
- Villain Protagonist
- Weaksauce Weakness: To water. It was supposed to be to polluted water only, but that didn't come across to the writers/animation team/storyboarders.
- Though, given Earth's state in this setting, one could argue that ALL water has been polluted.
- Also, meat.
- Well Done Invader Guy
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: A Running Gag with him is that he'll continually interrupt people trying to tell him something, demanding they tell him about the very thing his interruption is preventing them from saying in the first place.
"Who are you?"
"I AM —"
"Who are you?"
"I AM —"
"WHO ARE YOU?"
- Another is for him to randomly accuse people of lying for no apparent reason.
Zim: Hey, these [waffles] aren't bad. What's in 'em?
Zim: YOU'RE LYING!
- Would Hit a Girl: In "Bestest Friend".
- Would Hurt a Child: Considering that he is actually an adult and that he has no issues with trying to kill or harm any children who get in his way, he is an example of this.
- You Don't Look Like You: His Series 2 Palisades toy is missing his PAK.
Rosearik Rikki Simons
"I like waffles!"
Zim's robot sidekick
, on Earth disguised as a dog. Supposedly a "SIR" (Standard-Issue Information Retrieval) unit assigned to all invaders, but GIR is an "advanced" model the Tallest specially gave Zim. And by "advanced", we of course mean "moronic
," thanks to having a head literally full of garbage.note
While usually too flighty to be of any consistent help, GIR will now and again go into "Duty Mode," signified by a change of eye-and-panel color from blue to red
, and act like a real SIR.
- Ambiguous Innocence: GIR is, indeed, innocent — it is hard to imagine he even has the mental capacity to understand that there is a difference between right and wrong, much less know what that difference is. GIR often relishes in destruction only seemingly without malice, but an increase in understanding and competence (such as in the episode "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff") would simply provide the needed motivation to apply that destructive force purposefully. In short, just because he's dumb and innocent doesn't mean he'd be a sweet-tempered do-gooder if left to his own devices.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: While GIR's usual level of helpfulness is questionable at best, when Zim temporarily locks him into hyper-competent Duty Mode, GIR decides that Zim himself is a threat to the mission and decides to take over.
- And I Must Scream: According to Rikki Simons, there is a perfectly competent "inner-GIR" desperately wanting to fix the outer "broken GIR" in order to get out and/or gain control of himself.
- Anti-Villain: Type IV (unless he "goes crazy and stuff")
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
- Ax-Crazy: In duty mode.
- Badass: Taking over the world all by himself in an unfinished episode definitely makes him this, especially since he wasn't in duty mode.
- Bag of Holding: The inside of his head.
- Berserk Button: Don't make the Taco Man die in front of him, not even if it's fake.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Well, technically, he is never really nice, but not really mean either... he's just selfish, and usually, he's too stupid to realize how evil he is... and when he's in Duty Mode...
- Beware the Silly Ones
- Blue and Orange Morality: We have absolutely no idea why he does anything he does, and if we could look into his thought processes our brains would a splode.
- Big Eater: Waffles and tacos mostly.
- Breakout Character
- Bumbling Sidekick
- Catch Phrase: (in duty mode) "Yes, sir!"
- Chaotic Stupid
- Chick Magnet: Was seen dancing with a bunch of girls at a club, then dropped off at the house hours later by his new friends.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Blue/green = regular GIR. Red = duty mode.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His duty mode proves this without a doubt, especially in "Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff". Not to mention that he managed to Take Over the World all on his own in an unfinished episode.
- Cuddle Bug: "Aww, somebody needs a hug!"
- Curtains Match the Window: Well, not quite — his eyes are the same color as the lightbulb on the antenna on the top of his head.
- Cute and Psycho: In "Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff".
- Death Glare: When delivering his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Zim in duty mode in "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff".
- Deadpan Snarker: During his moments of clarity, GIR can be pretty snarky towards Zim.
Zim: You now possess superior geographic guidance abilities, GIR.
- The Ditz
- Dumb Is Good: This was not the intent, but the fandom picked it up and ran with it. GIR is often misconstrued as a harmless or even compassionate character rather than a merely stupid one. "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff" was in part a measure dedicated to correcting that.
- Easter Egg: The infamous "Bloody Gir" (an image of GIR in duty mode and covered in blood), hidden as a Take That against the network for not allowing the image into a scene.
- Eating Optional: being a robot, GIR doesn't need to eat, but he does anyway out of enjoyment of Earth food.
- Extreme Omnivore: To name a few... A live chicken, tacos, burritos, taquitos, cupcakes, waffles made outta peanuts and soap, a fish (or tried to), pizza, Acne Blast acne cream, puppies (maybe)...
- Flat Joy: This line in "Gir Goes Crazy And Stuff":
Duty!GIR: Blend in with the indigenous life, analyze their weaknesses, prepare the planet for the coming badness. Yay.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine.
- Genki Robot
- The Glomp
- Hanlon's Razor: Well, he actually never has an malicious intent whenever he does help Zim, but in duty mode...oh boy, is this trope ever averted.
- Head Pet: He rides on Zim's head in a few episodes such as "Battle of the Planets" and "Attack of the Saucer Morons". In "Tak, the Hideous New Girl", he uses Dib's head instead.
- Heh Heh, You Said X:
Zim: I'm going to attempt to lock you into duty mode with this behavioral modulator.
- Hyper Competent Sidekick: In duty mode. Unfortunately for Zim, that usually only lasts for a few seconds.
- Killer Robot: In duty mode.
- Lethal Chef
Zim: GIR! Your waffles have sickened me! Fetch me the bucket!
- Lethally Stupid: Especially in "Invasion of The Idiot Dog Brain".
- Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM.
- The Millstone: If it isn't Zim himself or Dib who foil his plans, it's usually Gir who does.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Sometimes; in particular he holds no malice toward Dib (or anyone, usually) and helps him on occasion.
- Not Afraid to Die: His reactions to impending doom can be downright gleeful, and he's even expressed disappointment at avoiding it. Doesn't quite cross the line into Death Seeker territory, though.
GIR: Aww. I wanted to explode.
- Ocular Gushers: "WHYYYYYY?! WHY, MY PIGGY?! I LOVEDED YOU PIGGY! I LOVEDED YOU!"
- Person of Mass Destruction: In Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: In duty mode.
- Occasionally in his "normal" mode as well. In "Megadoomer" he was able to carry a contact five times his size without any troubled effort.
- Punch Clock Villain: He only does what Zim says because he is his servant. Not that he often does what is asked of him, anyway.
- Raymanian Limbs: His metal legs. Averted in the toys, where his legs are attached to his body.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In duty mode, again.
- Robotic Psychopath: GIR is one of the few cases where A.I. Is a Crapshoot is a good thing.
- Servile Snarker: Not often, but can be this during his moments of clarity. Not to mention when he's in duty mode.
Zim: You now possess superior geographic guidance abilities, GIR.
- Stepford Smiler: If one is to take Word of God in the commentary of "Bestest Friends" literally, "GIR hates life and he wants to die", which would make him Type A.
- His glee at being ordered to self destruct in "Dib's Wonderful Life Of Doom" seems to back this up, as does his admission in "GIR Goes Crazy And Stuff" that he even when he was normal (normal for GIR, anyways) he despised being Zim's servant.
- Superpowered Evil Side: GIR's Duty Mode briefly becomes this when Zim locks him into it.
- The Starscream: In GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff. Especially since the episode was made in attempt to show fans that he isn't supposed to be good-natured.
- Talkative Loon: "OOH! LEPRECHAUNS!"
- Temporary Bulk Change: The metal he's made of is apparently very flexible because he grew to a massive size in "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom" from eating the candy stolen from a bunch of trick-or-treaters.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Tacos and waffles.
- Transformation Sequence: The first time he assumes dog form, he leaps into the air, poses amid a field of spinning bones, lets out a slow howl, and lands, picking up his costume and zipping it on snugly.
- Twitchy Eye: When locked into duty mode permanently, and Zim leaves the room, you can clearly see his twitching.
- Wolverine Publicity: Good god. If we had a dollar for every individual piece of merchandise that featured GIR in his dog suit, we'd have enough money to bribe Nickelodeon into uncanceling Invader Zim.
- You Don't Look Like You: In the toys that feature Robot!GIR, his legs are connected to his torso instead of floating apart from it, for obvious reasons.
"My problem is that the human race seems to want to be destroyed!"
An 11 year old (at the beginning of the show), (or thereabouts
) self-styled "paranormal investigator", and one of only two people on Earth (the other being his sister Gaz) to realize Zim's extraterrestrial origin. Dib's goal is to expose paranormal phenomena to the rest of the world, but is regarded as a loon by pretty much everyone, and essentially treated like crap by the very people whose lives he's trying to save. Nonetheless, while he means well, he's fairly ruthless (at times bordering on sadistic) when it comes to dealing with Zim, making him not very highly regarded by viewers who like to cheer Zim on
, but the other half of the fanbase staunchly defends his status as The Woobie
- Adorkable: His little dance with GIR near the end of "The Frycook What Came From All That Space" comes to mind.
Zim: "Your loony "PARA-CHUTING" powers don't scare me, Dib. All it does is make you look stupid!"
Dib: "It's para-NORMAL, and you're wrong, it makes me look cool!"
- All of the Other Reindeer: Like Zim, he's extremely disliked in skool, assumably for his "insane" outbursts.
- Anime Hair: And according to "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom," it gets more and more extreme as he ages.
- Agent Mulder
- Artificial Human: In the DVD commentary, Eric Truehart says he wanted this to be a reveal later on in the series, had the show not been cancelled.
- Badass: In "NanoZim," he hangs upside down from the ceiling, does a series of ninja backflips to evade the security system of Zim's house, and escapes without a scratch.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Gaz...sometimes.
- Brainy Brunet
- Brown Eyes
- Buffy Speak: Quite often—"I'll be there, DOING STUFF!" and the meme-tastic "Things he do!"
- "Score one for the human race! Score zero for the...Zim...thingy...race."
- Butt Monkey
- The Cassandra: Arguably Dib's strongest character trait is that he constantly talks about things that are true, but nobody believes him.
- In Halloweenies, he explains to the psychiatric counselors that he's not crazy, he's slipping between dimensions because he used his father's inter-dimensional viewing device. Even the fact his father is right there and confirms that such a device exists doesn't keep the counselors from shipping him off to an insane asylum.
- Character Development: Arguably more than any other character in the series. He starts off as something of a Knight Templar, but by the end of the series has definitely become its primary Straight Man.
- Child Prodigy: He could spell the word "aliens" when he was still in diapers, and by the time of the show can hack extraterrestrial technology.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: There's a good chance that most, if not all of what he says is completely true. Unfortunately, the stuff that's true is so bizarre that it makes him into The Cassandra.
- Collector of the Strange: Haunted gummy bears and magical "spell drives."
- Conspiracy Theorist: Though he's often right, and is often contrasted with even more insane and deluded conspiracy nuts.
- Crossdressing Voices: In the Japanese dub, he is voiced by Ayumi Kida.
- Crying Wolf: He has the reputation of making bizarre and unverifiable claims (see Noodle Incident below), although it's quite possible he was right about those too. It doesn't help his case, though.
- Dib Can Breathe In Space: "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom". Subverted at the very end when the sequence was revealed to be part of a Lotus-Eater Machine,
- Disney Death: In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy."
- Deadpan Snarker: "How did you pass the verbal portion of the exam?"
- Deuteragonist: To Zim, of the opposing kind.
- Determinator: By necessity.
- Dork Knight
- Eye Glasses
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic.
- Good Is Not Nice: Particularly earlier on, where it's not only clear that just because he's right about the alien invasion doesn't mean he's not crazy, but that when he is right about stuff he tends to engage pursuit almost cruelly, Zim just being the most recent example. He loses a bit of that as the show goes on, though.
- Hero Antagonist
- Hero with Bad Publicity: In spades.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood
- Idiot Hair: His hairstyle appears to be an ahoge.
- Informed Deformity: His supposedly big head.
"My head's not big!"
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: His classmates go out of their way to avoid him and are sadistically vicious when they do have to acknowledge him.
- Iron Butt Monkey: He has taken a lot of damage. He's been killed at least once, had his whole childhood ruined in horrible pig-related accidents, turned into bologna, turned inside out while having a hole ripped in his head...
- I Take Offense to That Last One
Zim: Despite his large head, the Dib-monkey is quite stupid.
Dib: MY HEAD'S NOT BIG!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Becomes more and more like this as the series continues.
- Kid Hero
- The Klutz: He can display some impressive moves in the middle of a battle, yet tends to trip over and bump into things in normal situations.
- Leitmotif: A violin, which goes with Gaz's harpsichord.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Briefly sheds his Butt Monkey status several times, one of the most noteworthy being "Battle of the Planets."
- Mr. Exposition: Dib. "Wow.....WOW! I'm boring! Do I always explain everything like that?"
- The Necromancer: One of Professor Membrane's lines from "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" implies it.
"SON! There had better not be any walking dead up there!"
- Noodle Incident: A Running Gag is that someone will allude to some crazy-sounding paranormal event that Dib claims to have discovered before. Given how weird this show is, it's plausible that they really happened.
Greg from the FBI: Hey...you're DIB...right? Heh-heh, you ever get that ninja ghost outta your toilet?
Dib: Yes, no thanks to you!
- Whatever led to Dib bringing the dead back to life the first time.
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!
- 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. Speaking of which, the Mysterious Mysteries host has an entire room (apparently very large) that's overflowing with reports from him, which he lives in mortal fear of having to visit. Honestly, it's probably safe to say that Dib's entire life is one big Noodle Incident.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Also from "Dibship Rising":
Random kid: Hey, Dib's being all weird and giant again!
- No Respect Guy
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Given the sheer weirdness of Dib's world, it's very plausible that Dib really has seen all the paranormal craziness he claims to have seen — in "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", we actually see Dib trying to catch what is quite clearly a baby Sasquatch, despite its own claims of being a human kid. Not to mention the whole thing about Zim really being an alien, even though nobody believes or recognizes it.
- Only One Name: Played with. At one point, he is addressed as "Dib... Whatever your last name is," and Dib says that's correct.
- Only Sane Man: Which is saying something, as he sometimes seems not entirely sane himself.
- Parental Neglect: Although it's more workaholic neglect then outright abandonment, Membrane scarcely acknowledges him.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Towards Zim at times.
- Properly Paranoid
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "You will pay for ruining my childhood, Zim! You! Will! PAY!!!"
- Running Gag: So, how many fans are convinced Dib's head really is drawn larger than the rest of the cast's, I wonder?
- In the animation project God Save The Dib, Jhonen changed him so he actually does have a larger head.
- Sanity Slippage: Most obvious in "The Fry Cook That Came From All That Space".
- Seeker Archetype: His anxious following of his favorite TV show Mysterious Mysteries is this trope objectified.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Zim's sensitive guy.
- Speech Impediment: Temporarily as a result of Zim screwing with his past in "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy".
- Straight Man: He seems to be the only one on the show who realizes how insane and horrible it can be.
- Surrounded by Idiots
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: In fanart. Especially if said fanart involves ZADR.
- Thinking Out Loud: A habit he frequently lampshades in later episodes.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Fanon seems to have established that he likes Chinese food.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Does displaying a desire to strap Zim to an autopsy table and dissect him to see his alien organs count?
- The Unfavorite: Dib's dad seems to notably favor his sister, just because she's not 'insane'.
Prof. Membrane: My poor, insane son.
Prof. Membrane: (to Gaz) You're my funny child!
- Subverted in "Bloaty's Pizza Hog" when Professor Membrane refuses to leave Dib behind on Family Dinner Night.
- Twitchy Eye: At the end of "Vindicated!", and arguably during his mental breakdown in "The Fry Cook That Came From All That Space".
- Verbal Tic: "NYAH!!!"
- Vocal Evolution: Andy Berman couldn't seem to make up his mind: in some episodes, Dib sounds like he did in the premiere (more nasal and fast-paced), and in others, Dib's voice is much rougher and lower, and he talks more slowly. The latter voice makes him sound more teenaged.
- Worth It: This dialogue in "The Wettening".
- Worthy Opponent: "You're one of the only people who can appreciate the amazingness of this plan, so I'm going to let you in on what "it" is..."
"What you need is to give the Game Slave to me or I will plunge you into a nightmare world from which there is no waking!"
(after getting a negative response): "I hope ya like NIGHTMARE WORLDS!"
Dib's younger sister. Like Dib, she knows Zim's real origin, but unlike him, she doesn't much care, on the grounds that he really isn't very good
at the whole world-conquering thing. That, plus she seems to be something of a misanthrope herself. (She did once have a very hard time deciding whether to destroy all life on Earth or not, when putting a can in a super-powered microwave.) Mostly Gaz sticks to her video games and snarks
at the insanity around her.
The Almighty Tallest
Wally Wingert (Red), Kevin McDonald (Purple)
"The universe will be ours for the taking! It's only a matter of time before all the races of the Universe serve the Irken Empire!"
"I'll have them serve me curly fries."
The leaders (or more accurately, figureheads) of Irken society. Their height being the only qualification for office, they're not necessarily well-equipped in the brain department, although Red does seem to have it together more than Purple. Pretty much they sit around snacking and acting like jerks. Their role can be likened to a pair of teenage bullies picking on and ordering around a bunch of smaller kids.
Red and Purple weren't the first Tallest. Some of the previous leaders were slated to appear in flashbacks if the show hadn't been canceled.
One should address the Almighty Tallest respectfully as "My Tallest", the equivalent of "Your Majesty" (or, more appropriately, "Your Highness") on Earth. As a general rule of both grammar and respect, "My Tallest" is never pluralized, even when two Tallest rule in tandem.
- Aliens Speaking English
- All There in the Script: Their real names are Red and Purple. (Guess which is which.)
- Amusing Aliens
- Bare Your Midriff: The design of their "Tallest" outfits.
- Big Bad Duumvirate
- Bigger Bads: They're the ones who sent Zim to Earth to take it over.
- Although not intentionally. They didn't even know Earth existed; they just wanted Zim off their planet.
- Big Eaters
- Brilliant but Lazy: In certain situations Red shows himself to be quite competent, however he seems to prefer not to have to exercise his intelligence, instead allowing underlings to handle problems for him in all instances save those in which his personal safety is being directly threatened.
- Butt Monkey: Purple to a degree, mostly due to Red's abuse of him.
- The Caligula: Both of them, although Purple is especially useless.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You'll never guess which one is Red and which one is Purple.
- Culture Clash: They are utterly baffled when Zim explains to them that adult humans are generally a lot taller than Irkens, but are also on average incredibly stupid. Since this goes directly against the ideals of Irken society, the Tallest have trouble wrapping their minds around it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Other than hysterical laughter or blank shock, their usual reaction to Zim's antics.
Zim's base explodes during a videoconference
Purple: Well, you look real busy exploding, Zim...
Red: What a shame, moving on now...
- Divergent Character Evolution: In the first episode they each got alternating moments of stupidity and intelligence. By "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" Red seems to be the smarter one, though he still spends plenty of time acting lazy and stupid along with Purple.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: They're referred only as the Tallest in the series.
- Evil Empire: They are the figureheads of the Irkan Empire.
- Faux Affably Evil: They're lazy and generally genial, but that won't stop them from committing genocide or jettisoning their own soldiers for not being tall enough.
- Fingore: They only have two fingers on each hand as opposed to a normal Irken's three. According to the Zim wiki, when a Tallest is chosen, their thumbs are chopped off in a ceremony to prove that they can rule without them.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Fans debate if they're this, twin brothers (from the same cloning tank, maybe?) or gay lovers.
- Hidden Depths: Red in "Backseat Drivers" — namely, he's Brilliant but Lazy.
- Irony: The two of them only managed to become the rulers or Irk because Zim accidentally killed the previous two Tallest. Now they're saddled with having to constantly deal with the destructive individual who made their ascension possible.
- Jerkasses: Big time.
- Karma Houdini: Except in "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars".
- Large and In Charge
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Red is smarter, more competent, and more dominant than Purple.
- Lean and Mean: In addition to being the tallest Irkans, they're also rail-thin despite their love of junk food.
- Manchild: Not to the extent of Zim, but its there. They love sweets and junk food, bicker over simple things, and make their servants present their planet-conquest strategies with puppet shows.
- Meaningful Name: Red is the first color in the rainbow and purple is the color associated with royalty.
- Moral Myopia: Averted. While the Irkens treat all other races as nonentities, the Tallests still have no qualms about shooting their own people out of cannons or airlocks.
- Orcuses On Their Thrones: They don't do much except lounge around their mothership.
- Palette Swap: Of each other.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red, of course.
- Smug Snake: They're extremely arrogant.
- Sweet Tooth: It goes in hand with their big eater status — although it's possible that sweets are part of a healthy diet for Irkens.
- Those Two Bad Guys
- Thrown Out the Airlock: They like to do this to people they don't like.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Of a sorts.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Purple's reaction to the parasite eating Zim's brain at the end of "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars."
- While Rome Burns
- You Don't Look Like You: Red's Series 2 Palisades toy gives him a darker shade of green skin than Purple.
- Younger Than They Look: They look older than Zim, but the script for the unproduced episode "The Trial" reveals that the three are about the same age.
Friend to the world, enemy of Santa Claus.
The father (at least allegedly
) of Dib and Gaz, Membrane is a scientist who also hosts the Show Within a Show Probing the Membrane of Science
. He keeps a very busy schedule, to the point he can only manage to eat dinner with his children once a year.
- The Ace: With as often as he's used for comic relief, it can be easy to forget that in the universe of the show he's the most well respected scientist on earth and for good reason.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: He refuses to believe any of Dib's paranormal claims, but he does believe in Santa Claus. (Then again, so does everyone else.)
- Anime Hair: Where Dib gets it from.
- Brainy Brunet
- Evil Laugh: "There are no curses, son. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
- For Science!!
- Genius Ditz: Despite his incredible scientific intellect, he seems as dense as everyone else when it comes to the obvious extraterrestrial activity that's constantly happening around him.
- Goggles Do Nothing: That we know of.
- The Grinch: A mild case as he doesn't appear to hate the holiday itself, just Santa.
- Hot Scientist: He has fangirls who will defend this trope.
- Large Ham: Possibly the biggest one in the series. Considering the kind of world he inhabits, it's quite an accomplishment.
- Mad Scientist: He built a space-time object replacement device, a perpetual energy generator, and his own kids.
- Mundane Utility: Using a Hand Blast to open a door.
- No Mouth: It's covered up by the collar of his lab coat.
- Parental Favoritism: He does appear to favor Gaz. Not that he hates Dib, he just thinks he's crazy. ("My poor, insane son.")
- Just how bad it is depends on the episode. In Halloweenies, he listens to Dib explain he's slipping between dimensions because he messed with the Professor's inter-dimensional viewing device and then lets the apathetic psychiatrists sentence Dib to being sent to an insane asylum without a qualm. In Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy, though, after Dib gets killed by Zim's time travelling attacks, he scientifically revives his son and implants him into a protective suit of exo-armor — and when Zim starts hurling more pigs into the past to try and re-kill Dib, Professor Membrane responds by constantly upgrading Dib's exo-armor with bigger and badder weaponry.
- Parental Neglect: He loves his kids but is hardly ever there for them.
- Show Within a Show: The aforementioned Probing the Membrane of Science.
- So Proud of You: In the unfinished episode "Mopiness of Doom", he has this reaction when Dib decides to stop chasing Zim and study "real science."
- Truly Single Parent: Allegedly, had the series continued, it would have eventually been revealed that Dib was an experiment created by Membrane (Fanon generally says Membrane's clone, given their resemblance). Where Gaz comes from in this scenario is open to speculation.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Not a perfect example, but his kids are at least more snarky and less hammy.
"The universe is just doomed. Doomed! DOOOOOOOMED!"
Teaches Zim and Dib's class.
- Ambiguously Human: She's almost definitely not, but we're not quite sure what she is.
- Sunlight burns her. Although, in the Halloween special she says she was a Fairy Princess once.
- The Fair Folk maybe?
- Anti-Villain: She doesn't seem to be outright evil, just extremely nihilistic and apathetic, and doing what's necessary to keep the Skool in check.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Despite the obvious hatred she has for her students and all the horrible stuff she's told them before, she refused to divulge just what happened that led people to start giving out meat on Valentine's Day. Her response to Dib's question was "you don't want to know". She even expressed "moral outrage" to the principal allowing the kids to celebrate the holiday.
- Evil Old Folks: While not evil per sae, she's cantankerous and lives up to her name.
- Humanoid Abomination: According to one source, Miss Bitters didn't come to teach, as she's always existed on that land... the school was simply built around her.
- Living Shadow: She sometime sneaks up on people by becoming their shadow. Literally.
- Multiple-Choice Past: She was supposedly a fairy princess once and went into space as a kid, until the rocket imploded. Meanwhile, tie-in materials claim that she's always been where she is now, and the skool was built around her.
- Noodle Incident: See Multiple-Choice Past. There were apparently supposed to be more of them, but they got cut for one reason or another.
- Obviously Evil: Very much so.
- Sadist Teacher
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Snake People: She's tall and thin and swirls through the air and curls around people like a boa constrictor. Rattlesnake sounds show up when she speaks or gets annoyed.
- Straw Nihilist: Played for Laughs.
- Transplant: She was Squee's teacher.
- Weakened by the Light: She has to wear heavy, hooded robes on the one occasion we see her leave the building.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Implied at times by her numerous backstories.
- Was Once a Man: See above.
"So that no Irken boot has to come in contact with any unsavory alien filth! HOO-HA!"
An incredibly short Invader, and something of Zim's only friend. Had the show continued, he would have become a reoccurring character, and lived in Zim's basement.
"I should have been an Invader! I should have been part of The Great Assigning! I shouldn't have to be stealing this planet from you!"
A female Irken out to seek Zim's mission and prove herself as a worthy Invader to the Tallests. Fifty years ago, Zim caused a blackout that caused her to miss her test to become an Irken-Elite. Not to be confused with the main character
of another Nick
franchise, Tak and the Power of Juju.
"You haven't seen the last...of the RESISTY! (That's right, that's still our name!)"
Latecomers to the series, the Resisty are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
from different planets who banded together to... well, resist
the Evil Irken Empire
. Led by Lard Nar, a former engineer from Planet Vort.
- Aliens of London: Like Tak, Lard Nar has a British accent, for some reason.
- All There in the Script: The character's names.
- Character Development: It's only in one episode, but you can still kinda see Lard Nar come into his own over the course of "Backseat Drivers" — from a guy who completely freaks out over the slightest setback, to a leader undaunted at even the loss of his entire ship.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Shloonktapooxis.
- Cool Chair: Lard Nar's.
- Cool Ship: Too bad they had to shrinky self-destruct it.
- La Résistance
- Lovable Cowards: To a man.
- Mood-Swinger: Lard Nar, at least to start with.
- Multiple Head Case: One of them, although he isn't given a name.
- No Name Given: All of them except for Lard Nar, Shloonktapooxis, Spleenk, and Ixane, and even they only get them in the scripts.
- One Shot Characters: They were meant to be more, but the show was cancelled before their plotline could get past its introduction. Lard Nar does show up in a non-speaking role in the unproduced script for "The Trial."
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Again, Lard Nar. Though he quickly clears his throat and tries to look like a badass again.
- Unexplained Accent: Lard Nar.
"We will take your ship! And for the trouble you've caused, we're going to destroy your base, leaving you stranded here. Just like we were."
A race of aliens led by Gorkspace Sergeant Shnooky who were stranded on Earth posing as human babies after an incident in a maternity ward. They attempt to take Zim's ship and use it to fly back to their home planet. It doesn't end well for them.
"Nobody escapes from Sizz-Lorr. I will find you, Zim. I will search all of space's dark corners to hunt you down. AND I WILL FIND YOOOOOUUUUU!!!"
Zim's boss during his exile on Foodcourtia, an Irken frycook who runs Foodcourtia's premier restaurant. After Zim escaped the planet, Sizz-Lorr swore to make him come back if it was the last thing he did.
- Almighty Janitor: He is the biggest, strongest, and probably the most powerful Irken ever seen in the show. And his job is being a fry cook. Though in his defense he is the highest ranking Fry Cook in the entire Irken Army.
- Badass: Proves himself to be one in the climactic scene of The Frycook What Came From All That Space.
- Bad Boss: He was like this to Zim even before the latter ditched him on Foodcourtia and left him stuck there for 20 years. Well, Zim was already there in exile.
- Big "YES!"
- Clark Kenting: Zim was unable to recognize him without his fry cook hat. And Sizz-Lorr was wearing his name tag.
- Improbable Weapon User: His laser-spatula...thing.
- Large and In Charge: And how - he is taller than any other Irken we have ever seen, perhaps even surpassing Tallest Red and Purple.
- Large Ham: It's a given.
- Nice Hat: His frycook hat.
- Purple Eyes
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: After he finds out that Zim is gone in the flashback, his eyes momentarily glow red.
"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?"
The other kids in the Skool which Zim and Dib attend, which includes Miss Bitters' class. They mostly act like normal kids and have absolutely no idea that Zim's an alien.