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The New Adventures of Invader Zim is an Invader Zim Series Fic by Zim'sMostLoyalServant.

Beginning sometime after the end of the canonical series, New Adventures continues the story of Zim's attempts to conquer Earth, opposed by his Arch-Enemy Dib Membrane. However, the battle between the two becomes more complicated when they encounter the vampire Norlock, who soon allies with Zim. This begins a whole new series of conflicts, as allies and enemies old and new join the fray, with the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance.

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The series is ongoing. Season 1 is now complete and can be found here and here. Season 2 is in progress and can be found here and here.

Also has a non-canon spinoff, New Adventures: Mature Edition, which features older versions of the characters involved in more mature situations. It can be found here and here.

Now has a recap page, and a character page.

Be cautious of Late Arrival Spoilers in later seasons.

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The New Adventures of Invader Zim contains the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 
     Tropes in Season 1 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Just like when they showed up in canon, Zim finds the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer disgusting, and doesn't want them around, even though they worship him.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers under Doomsville are large enough for people to comfortably walk around in, and even for the homeless population to build an entire makeshift city in. The former is justified as it being an old system, while the latter is lampshaded as ridiculous and nonsensical.
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: The fight over the Meekrob crystal in Episode 13 just ends up shattering it.
  • The Ace: Norlock, Tenn, and Tak are all great at what they do. Though Tak becomes more of a Broken Ace later on as her obsession with Zim consumes her.
  • Action Girl: Gaz, Viera, Tak, Tenn.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Gaz was always snarky, cruel, and mean-spirited in canon, but both the show and comics (more the latter) did occasionally show a lighter side and an ability to care for Dib. Here, she openly identifies as a misanthrope who doesn't care what happens to Dib or the world.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode 4 focuses on the sidekick group of GIR, Phil, Minimoose, and MIMI.
    • Episode 8 focuses on a rivalry between Viera and Gaz, with Dib and Norlock each appearing for one scene.
    • Episode 10 focuses almost exclusively on Tenn and her mission on Meekrob.
    • Episode 14 also focuses on Tenn as she adjusts to life on Earth, with Tak alone being the only other main character to show up more than once or twice.
    • Episode 18 is entirely about Gaz, with the only other major character who shows up being Dib, and he's only in it for one scene.
  • Adults Are Useless: Just like on the show, most of the adults here are too dumb or apathetic to help the heroes. Subverted with Agent Darkbootie, who does try to help at times.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Skoodge, as Dib points out, is such a nice guy that it's sometimes easy to forget that he's an alien soldier dedicated to conquering planets.
    • Unless he's angered, Norlock is always unfailingly polite, even when he's about to kill someone.
  • Agree to Disagree: Dib ultimately gets Steve and Viera to settle on this regarding their Magic Versus Science debate.
  • Aliens and Monsters: As per canon, you have aliens, and an assortment of other paranormal creatures running around.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: So far, we haven't met any nice aliens.
  • Alien Blood:
    • Irken blood is dark green. And not edible to vampires, apparently.
    • Norlock has a black ichor in place of his own blood.
  • Alien Geometries: The inside of the crashed Meekrob ship is noted as being very confusing, with the passages twisting and turning in logic-defying ways. It's later established that this is a standard of Meekrob architecture, as they try to maximize the use of interior space.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Just like in canon, every species speaks the same language. Lampshaded by the surprise of the agents holding Tenn in Episode 13, when they try to figure out how to communicate with her, only to find out she already understands them.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Subverted. In Episode 5, Dib's efforts to retrieve Van Helsing's diary result in it turning out to be useless, but the events of that chapter do lead to the twins being assigned to team up with him, finally giving him help.
    • The Tallest ultimately feel this way about the entirety of Season 1's Story Arc, as Project Domination is destroyed without them, or anyone else, getting ahold of it.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Like in canon, Dib is a pariah among the skoolchildren, a status which rubs off on the twins when they team up with him. Bitterly lampshaded in Episode 7, when Dib comments on the upside of being able to go wherever he wants because no one cares if he's not present at skool.
  • Almighty Janitor: Nny is a dark example. He's of strong enough will to not be intimidated by the likes of Norlock, Gaz, or even Miss Bitters, but settles for just cleaning up messes around the skool. Admittedly, these messes tend to be the result of him killing people who piss him off...
  • Aloof Big Brother: Inverted in Dib and Gaz's relationship.
  • Alternate Continuity: The fic does not consider the Invader Zim continuation comics as canon.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Viera's Eye of Fire amulet. While not the source of all her magic, it is her primary offensive mechanism.
  • Ancient Evil: Exactly how old Norlock is has never been stated. Though at one point, he claims he built pyramids for a living when he was human.
  • And Then What?: In Episode 20, Tenn asks this of Tak regarding what she'll do once they've gotten Project Domination and taken over Earth. Tak admits she hasn't thought that far (as opposed to Tenn, who's already planning what comfy promotion she's going to use it as leverage for, with Tak considering doing the same before MIMI distracts her).
  • Anti-Advice: Skoodge gives Tenn some friendly advice in Episode 14 to deal with being stuck working for Tak. She writes it off as "sad and stupid", but still finds the drive to keep going.
  • Anti-Hero: Dib is a mild example, as he sometimes shows willingness to break rules or indulge in morally grey actions if it aids his goal of saving the Earth.
  • Anti-Villain: Skoodge, as Dib points out, is a genuinely nice guy. But he's still just as dedicated to conquering Earth as Zim or Tak.
  • Apathetic Citizens: As per canon, most people either don't notice the strange happenings around them, or don't care.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Zim and Dib, as per canon, with Tak completing the trifecta.
    • Viera quickly becomes one to Gaz, as neither can stand the other.
    • Gaz also has one in Iggins.
  • Ascended Extra: In canon, Tenn had a silent cameo in the pilot and a couple of scenes in one other episode. Here, her presence helps give a massive boost to the Story Arc, and the Tallest end up ordering her to be Tak's partner in conquering Earth.
  • Astral Projection: How the Dream Walker spell works.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: In Episode 20, Norlock announces Zim's team's arrival on the aerial fight by broadcasting Ride of the Valkyries.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant:
    • Norlock was perfectly content to stay in his castle minding his own business. Then Dib accidentally blew his castle up, causing him to ally with Zim, upping the latter's threat level considerably.
    • Viera's attempt to pull a Break the Haughty on Gaz just pisses her off enough that she actively starts tormenting Viera in return. This ultimately leads to her siding with Zim during the season's climax, in the hopes it'll get Viera killed.
    • Zim and Skoodge learning their mission is fake arguably makes them even more dangerous.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Steve and Viera argue a lot, but they do care about each other.
  • Awful Truth: Zim learning that his mission was fake nearly breaks him before Norlock snaps him out of it.
  • Ax-Crazy: Zim and Nny, obviously. But Tak and Gaz also have shades of this as well.
  • Bad Boss:
    • The Tallest, as per canon.
    • Zim isn't a very good master to his minions, either.
  • Badass Cape: Norlock wears one over his suit.
  • Bad Date: Norlock and Miss Bitters in Episode 12. It starts off fairly well, to be fair, until his Berserk Button is hit, causing him to flip the table and spill all the food over her.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Episode 16 ends with Zim getting his hands on the Meekrob crystals, giving him the means to find Project Domination.
  • BFG: In Episode 11, Dib carts around one of his father's anti-Santa guns to fight Zim's plant monsters with. He later sets it to blow up and lets the Central Root eat it, destroying it.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In Episode 6, Dib plays on Zim and Tak's egos and tempers in order to get their pet monsters to attack each other, giving his team an opening to destroy them.
    • In Episode 15, Dib uses reverse psychology to get Zim to help his plan of fighting the sea hydra, by condescendingly suggesting that Zim couldn't help anyway. Naturally, Zim is insulted enough that he goes all in on the plan.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Norlock can transform into a giant demonic bat.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In Episode 17, Purple moans about wanting something exciting to happen to alleviate his boredom. By the end of the chapter he's gotten plenty of excitement, in the form of Zim revealing he has the whole crystal, later followed by him going rogue. Preemptively lampshaded by Senior warning him that he shouldn't be Tempting Fate.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 15 sees the skool send everyone to the beach on a mandatory field trip. It results in Dib, Zim, and Tak's groups having to team up to fight a demon sea hydra.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Tak's obsession with conquering Earth before Zim can has led her to being Not So Different from him.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Senior is this to the Tallest.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mention Twilight, or any similar vampire movies, around Norlock. And don't call him useless.
    • Don't interfere with Gaz's video games, don't call her out on being selfish, and don't dare suggest Dib is saner than her.
    • Nny Hates Being Touched. Also, don't hurt the skool children.
    • Don't ever compare Tak to Zim. And don't try to hurt MIMI in front of her.
    • Don't call Mortos a mooch or hack. And don't mess with his ice cream.
    • Tak also shares with Tenn a button regarding anyone insulting the Tallest.
  • Best Served Cold: In Episode 20, Tenn states her intention to use Projection Domination to finish the job she started in conquering Meekrob.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Skoodge in Episode 17. Despite being the nicest of the Irkens, he shows a more dangerous side when he sides with Zim against the Empire.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Zim and Tak, in competition to conquer Earth.
  • Big Brother Bully: Inverted with Dib and Gaz.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Dib for Gaz, who doesn't want or need it.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Phil is this most of the time, unless he switches into aggressive mode.
  • Big Red Button:
    • Dib's Spittle Runner (formerly Tak's) has one on its dashboard. It's an emergency brake.
    • There's one on the City Cesspool control panel which triggers an emergency purge of the tank.
  • Black Cloak:
    • The members of SMOG wear these, complete with hoods, with the Grandmaster's being styled with gold trimming.
    • Norlock suggests Zim wear one of these, along with a red ceramic mask, as a disguise when he starts building his rebellion against the Empire, in order to create a mystique.
  • Black Speech: Norlock is occasionally, when using magic, described as speaking in a language no one can understand. A bit of it is finally portrayed during the Halloween Episode when he summons the monster army. Word of God is that it's gibberish he randomly typed out.
  • Blade Brake: Iggins does this during one of the games he and Gaz play in Episode 18.
  • Blind Obedience: All Irkens, to the Tallest and the Empire. Subverted with Zim and Skoodge when that trust is broken in Episode 17 by them being betrayed by the Tallest.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Nny has some weird morality — he hates most people and will kill them for the slightest offense (such as touching him), but at the same time has presented a protective nature over the skoolchildren.
  • Blunt "Yes": Zim, when Desmond Flapp asks if he thinks the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer are stupid.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Tallest feel that Zim's a dangerous lunatic, while Norlock sees him as being a genius capable of great things. Both are shown to be right though Norlock ultimately concedes to the Tallests' point, admitting that while Zim has potential, his flaws will keep him from living up to it.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Viera attempts to do this to Gaz in Episode 8. It doesn't take.
    • Zim is crushed when he learns the truth about his mission, until Norlock snaps him out of it.
  • Brick Joke: In Episode 8, Norlock gloats how people in Doomsville are so oblivious that he can kill someone and waltz their corpse down the street. He does exactly this in Episode 16.
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    • In Episode 2, Zim mocks Dib's fear at Norlock showing up by asking if he'd like a change of pants.
    • Upon seeing the monster army in Episode 16, Skoodge states that he needs to change his pants.
  • Broken Ace:
    • Tak is a highly skilled Invader, but her original defeat by Zim has led to her becoming obsessed with beating him and proving her superiority.
    • Tenn is one of the best Invaders in the Irken Empire, but her failure on Meekrob has left her with a large chip on her shoulder (and a bit of PTSD to boot).
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • The Tallest become this to Zim and Skoodge after revealing just how little they care about them.
    • Downplayed with Tak and Tenn, both of whom are aware of and annoyed by the Tallests' flaws, but are still loyal to them.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bill is insane and incompetent, but somehow leads his own organization.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Dib's reaction to Tenn joining the skool in Episode 14 is to casually mention that a new alien arriving to Take Over the World is just another Tuesday to him by now.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Skoodge goes through a lot of crap.
    • Also Dib at first, but things start to look up for him as time goes by.
    • As per canon, being the Villain Protagonist doesn't stop plenty of bad stuff from happening to Zim.
  • Call-Back: Full of them. There's at least one reference to canonical episode, or earlier chapters, per chapter.
  • Caligula's Horse: The Trope Namer was apparently Norlock's idea. Though he does state that it was said in jest when they were both drunk, and didn't think that Caligula would actually do it.
  • Canis Major: Norlock's pet wolf Phil is described as being the size of a small horse and "built like a silverback gorilla".
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Purple, who gets totally wasted after two and a half drinks in Episode 17. This leads to him telling Zim the truth about his mission.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Tak doesn't take criticism well from anyone.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    • Norlock openly refers to himself as evil, more than once.
    • Most Irkens, with the possible exception of Skoodge, are displayed as having an openly villainous mindset.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Norlock considers himself a ladies' man, but if his disastrous date with Miss Bitters in Episode 12 is any indication, his skills are lacking. Of course, he also says he hasn't been on a date since the Peace of Westphalia, which definitely puts his abilities in question.
  • The Cassandra: Par for the course with Dib, with Steve and Viera joining in on it later — not even the rest of the Swollen Eyeball Network believes most of what they encounter.
  • Challenging the Chief: When Iggins and Gaz are facing off in Episode 18, he wagers his position of Grandmaster of Gaming on the outcome of the competition. He ends up losing, and she takes control of SMOG.
  • Character Development:
    • Dib and the twins all get this.
    • Similarly, Zim and Skoodge both hit a significant turning point when they learn their mission is fake and rebel.
  • Characterization Marches On: In her first appearance in-story, Tak keeps her canon attitude. But as time goes on, she becomes more obsessed with beating Zim, becoming Not So Different from him in the process.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Several in Episode 10. When Tenn first shows up, she barely escapes a monster called a Scuttling Flesh-Render, and later notes that she's got her rampaging SIR Units locked up. Later, she uses both of them on the Meekrob chasing her.
    • The card Norlock gives Gaz in Episode 8 finally comes into play in Episode 19, when she uses it to call him and give Zim the coordinates of Project Domination.
    • The Dream Walker spell from Episode 9 comes back in Episode 21, when Dib uses it to help Steve and Viera escape the Lotus-Eater Machine Norlock stuck them in.
  • The Chew Toy: Skoodge. Something bad happens to him at least once per chapter.
  • Child Hater: Miss Bitters, as per canon. Though she specifies that she Hates Everyone Equally, children just specifically hit her worse.
  • Code Name: The Swollen Eyeball members, as per canon. In addition to the ones we've met, Steve is "Agent Silverfish", and Viera is "Agent Silver Sparrow".
  • Combat by Champion: When the Meekrob crystal is found in the possession of the sewer-dwelling homeless people, Team Save Earth and the two Irken teams are told they have to send champions to fight each other for the right to it. This results in Zim, Tak, and Dib facing each other and the hobo champion Hobo Joe and Dib winning.
  • Competition Freak: Zim, Tak, and Tenn are all this to various degrees.
  • Con Man: Dib calls Norlock out on being this, using his students to live vicariously through, and then abandoning them when the tide turns against them.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Bill, Dib's guide from the "Career Day" episode, appears in Episode 13 leading a whole group of these.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Episode 2, Zim mentions he keeps cows in his basement to experiment on, and fed Phil one of them. In the following chapter, when he's spraying Phil with a hose to stop him from eating Skoodge, Zim tells the wolf to stick to the cows.
    • MacMeaties gets blown up in Episode 4. Episode 6 mentions it's still being rebuilt, a process which is completed by Episode 17.
    • While otherwise self-contained, the events of Episode 6 are a direct result of Episode 5.
    • In Episode 9, Dib notes that the powerpoint count on his spell drives is low, while Viera looks embarrassed. Clearly, the count is low from her use of spells against Gaz in the previous chapter, which neither girl has mentioned to anyone.
    • In Episode 11, part of a building falls on Skoodge. The following chapter shows that he's still in a full body cast from the damage he suffered.
    • In Episode 13, MIMI clearly recognizes and is still fearful of Phil after their encounter in Episode 4.
    • The freak storm created at the climax of Episode 14 creates an upswing of good weather, creating the opening for the beach trip in Episode 15.
    • In Episode 17, Senior notes that he got the job of chief communications officer on the Massive to replace the guy who got Thrown Out the Airlock in Episode 10.
    • In Episode 18, it's mentioned that the Vasquez Convention Center was closed for renovation when the Sunset convention from Episode 12 happened, hence why it took place at the Mall instead.
  • Control Freak: When Tak something, she has to be totally in charge of it. This makes working with Tenn rather difficult.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Dib alludes to feeling like this a few times. However, things get better for him later on.
  • Crapsack World: Just like in canon, this is an awful world to live in.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The hobos living in the sewers all seem fairly deranged and delusional.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Dib and Steve take a lot of equipment with them on what's supposed to be a simple beach trip, but it all comes in handy.
  • Crossover: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is the skool janitor.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In Episode 6, Team Save Earth's first outing sees them effortlessly defeated by Tak, due to their infighting.
    • In Episode 12, Slab Rankle fights Norlock, and gets his ass kicked. In the end, he actually wins, but only by tricking Norlock onto a rocket and launching him out of the Mall.
  • Cult: The Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer are an alien worshipping cult, as was subtly played as in canon.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon:
    • An angry Norlock at one point threatens to make Skoodge eat his own face.
    • During a rant, Gaz says she's going to pound Viera's head in so hard it'll come out of her ass.
    • While angrily speaking with a superior over the phone, Miss Bitters threatens to rip their spleen out through their nose.
    • Zim threatens to make Mortos eat his own legs. Norlock says he's actually done that to people.
    • Zim also threatens to sew a live ferret into Norlock's stomach when he feels the vampire's being insolent.
  • Cutting the Knot: A literal example — when Bill tries to distract Norlock with a tied and knotted rope (as per some vampire lore), the latter simply cuts it with scissors. Then he claims he taught that trick to Alexander the Great, the Trope Namer.
  • Death Glare: Gaz has a powerful one. Miss Bitters' is worse.
  • Death Trap: The Swollen Eyeball Network's private library is booby-trapped with plenty of these, to ward off intruders.
  • Death World: Planet Meekrob is this to anyone who isn't an evolved Energy Being.
  • Dénouement Episode: The first season's epilogue, which wraps up left over plot threads and sets the stage for the next season.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: As usual, Zim has a tendency to fall into this when ranting.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Tak forces Sara to do this to herself in Episode 15.
    • In Episode 19, when Zim is smashing up his house in a rage over Tak retrieving the crystal before him, it's mentioned that he threw the Robo-Parents out a window. They don't seem to mind it much.
  • Destroy the Evidence: When Tenn evacuates her base on Meekrob, she makes sure to scuttle her computers before she does so.
  • Deuteragonist: The story is as much about Dib as Zim, with Tak as the Tritagonist.
  • Devil in Plain Sight:
    • Just like Zim, Norlock is clearly an inhuman, evil monster, and most people don't notice or care.
    • As per his own canon, Nny is openly a Serial Killer, and gets away with it.
  • Didn't Think This Through: This is one of Zim's major flaws, as his inability to fully think out his plans tends to bite him on the ass.
  • Dirty Coward: Norlock ultimately turns out to be this, as it's pointed out that he always abandons his students when things turn against them too much and he dies begging for help from the last person he betrayed.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Norlock several times shows this towards Zim's plans. As well as towards the way the Tallest treat Zim.
  • Disappointed in You: The Tallest to Tenn after she fails to retrieve Project Domination for them.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: In Episode 13, the Meekrob crystal leading to Project Domination is shattered, leaving all three teams in possession of a piece. At the end of Episode 16, Zim reunites the pieces.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In Episode 8, Gaz's response to Viera humiliating her with a prank is to send her security dolls to maul her. Lampshaded by Viera.
    • In Episode 11, Nny kills a man for touching him.
    • In Episode 12, Norlock tries to kill an entire convention of vampire movie fans, just because he doesn't like their portrayal of vampires.
  • Divided We Fall: Team Save Earth's first outing falls apart pretty quickly, due to Steve and Viera's ongoing magic vs science feud. Fortunately, the next time around, Dib gets them to agree to focus on the mission, not their feelings about it.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Zim and Skoodge rebel against the Tallest after learning their mission is a lie.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: As per canon, the word "doom" is used a lot in dialogue, it pops up in a few chapter titles, and at its logical extreme, the unnamed-in-canon city the series takes place in is named "Doomsville".
  • Door Stopper: This season clocks out at 232,923 words.
  • The Dragon: Norlock takes on this role to Zim after beginning their partnership. And given his raw physical power, he's clearly the worse threat.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Lightning cracks when Zim first sees Norlock's castle, despite there not being a cloud in the sky.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Gaz is this to her classmates, and most everyone else.
    • Likewise Ms. Bitters, who is even more feared than Gaz.
  • Dream Walker: Dib spends most of Episode 9 doing this. Deconstructed quite a bit, as the moral implications of entering other people's subconsciousness are discussed.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Dib dresses up as Zim for Halloween, in order to troll him.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In Episode 14, Tenn does this with soda and doughnuts to deal with the stress of being forced to work with Tak.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: GIR pulls this trick on Dib in Episode 4, during an argument over whether the latter has a big head.
  • Eagleland: Slab Rankle is presented as a Type 2 — he's boisterous, aggressive, has flags planted everywhere just so they can flutter behind him dramatically when he wants to make a point, and his answer for why he built a rocket beneath the Mall is simply "Because America!"
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In Episode 3, Dib and Tak team up to fight off Norlock when he shows up to kill her.
    • In Episode 11, when Zim's plant monsters turn on him, he's forced to team up with Team Save Earth to destroy them. And then Tak shows up to reluctantly help as well.
    • In Episode 13, Zim and Skoodge team up with Tak to rescue Tenn from CREAM. Lampshaded by Tak quoting the Trope Namer, when Norlock points out that they don't have to like each other to get it done.
    • In Episode 15, Team Save Earth and both Irken factions reluctantly work together to fight the sea hydra.
    • In Episode 21, all three teams ally in order to defeat Norlock.
  • Enfant Terrible: Gaz is agreed upon by everyone to be this.
  • Entitled Bastard:
    • The Tallest still expect Zim and Skoodge to blindly obey them even after effectively exiling them, simply because they're in charge.
    • Zim, Tak, and Tenn, all to various degrees, are shown to feel that they're owed success.
  • Epic Fail: Team Save Earth's first fight, against Tak. Norlock unfavorably compares it to the Charge of the Light Brigade.
  • Establishing Character Moment: All the OCs get them.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Tak clearly cares about MIMI.
    • Her father is the only person Gaz cares about.
    • Norlock obviously cares about his pet Phil.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Zim finds the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer disgusting enough to counter any benefits that come from them being dedicated to him.
    • Norlock directly references this trope when he displays his disgust at the thought of entering people's dreams.
    • Also a little bit downplayed with Norlock earlier, as he was unnerved when he came across Nny flaying someone.
    • Tenn feels that Tak is far too petty in her rivalry with Zim.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Viera may fight with her brother on occasion, but she's disgusted when Gaz admits that she doesn't care about Dib.
    • Dib may believe in just about anything, but even he thinks that Bill's outlandish theories are insane.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Played straight by Zim and Tak, and to a slightly lesser extent, Gaz. Then she reaches their level in Episode 19, when she gives Zim the location of Project Domination, to spite Dib and try to get Viera killed.
    • Defied by Tenn, who feels that an Invader should be above pettiness.
  • Evil Mentor: Norlock has a hobby of doing this to pass the ages, having mentored some of history's vilest people. Now he's trying to mentor Zim (though he's hampered somewhat by Zim's ego).
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • Zim and Tak are in competition for conquest of Earth.
    • Episode 12 sees Norlock face off with Slab Rankle.
    • Episode 18 has Gaz and Iggins facing off.
  • Eviler Than Thou:
    • Miss Bitters and Nny are both completely unaffected by Gaz's demeanor. And in the case of the former, most people actually consider her scarier.
    • Dib feels that Norlock is much more of a threat than Zim's cartoony evil.
  • Face–Heel Turn: While never a good person, Gaz decides she's Neutral No Longer in the worst way in Episode 19 when she gives Zim the location of Project Domination to spite Dib and in the hope that Viera will get killed in the process.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Dib does this twice in the first chapter — first, when he overlooks the Big Red Button on the Spittle Runner's console, and later when he's trying to escape Norlock's castle and doesn't see a nearby window right away.
    • In Episode 2, Dib is keeping an eye out for Zim at the Parent Teacher conference, and yet Zim's whole group sneaks up behind him.
    • At the start of Episode 4, Zim and Skoodge somehow fail to notice Phil is in the same room as them, despite his size.
    • In Episode 7, when Dib and Steve are hiking through the woods to reach the unburied Meekrob ship, they completely miss a dirt road leading right there. Though Dib comments it wasn't on the map, so it's not their fault.
    • Also in Episode 7, Zim fails to notice Dib and Steve's presence in the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer camp, until they speak up.
    • In Episode 16, Team Save Earth fail to notice the monster army attacking the city until Mortos points it out to them.
  • Fan Convention:
    • There's one for Sunset in Episode 12, which Norlock attacks.
    • Gaz attends GameCon in Episode 18.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Aliens, vampires, monsters, magic...
  • Fatal Flaw: Zim and Tak both have pride as theirs, though in Zim's case he's also got his shortsightedness when it comes to plans.
  • Finger-Lickin' Evil: Norlock does this twice in the first chapter, as a way of taste testing samples of Dib and Zim's blood.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • Defied in Episode 3, as Tak makes it clear to Dib that just because they fought Norlock together out of necessity, that does not make them friends.
    • Played straight with Dib, Steve, and Viera. They don't really work as a team at first, but after fighting Zim and Tak at the climax of Episode 6, they come together and become great friends.
  • Flat Scare: Norlock pulls this on Dib when they meet for the first time after Norlock follows him and Zim back to Doomsville. He sneaks up on Dib at Parent Teacher Night and when Dib turns around and sees him, merely says "Boo". Dib ends up shrieking like a monkey and scuttling away.
  • Flaying Alive: Nny is doing this to some poor bastard (whom Nny implies is a pedophile) when he first appears in Episode 2.
  • Foil:
    • Gaz and Viera — both are Goths, but while one is every anti-social, misanthropic cliche in the book, the other is a genuinely nice and caring person.
    • Zim and Tak both fled demeaning assignments to prove themselves as Invaders, and are obsessed with proving themselves. The difference is that Zim is an outcast and fails as an Invader because he destroys everything around him, making him a danger to the Empire that was sent on a fake mission to get ride of him; meanwhile, Tak is an excellent Invader and it's implied she would have been a great asset to the Empire, and her mission is real as a chance to become a real Invader.
    • Skoodge and Tenn are both Hypercompetent Sidekicks to more maniacal partners. The difference is that despite being a successful Invader that conquered the first planet for the Empire, Skoodge is an outcast because of his height, his contributions are ignored, and he's often abused by the Tallest. Tenn is a respected Invader because of both her height and skills. They both were betrayed by the Tallest, with Skoodge being used as artillery against said planet after he pacified it, and then had his achievement given to someone else, while Tenn was forgotten by the Tallest on a mission. Another major difference is that Skoodge joins Zim's rebellion, in response to the Tallest treating him like crap, while Tenn stays loyal to the Tallest because they at least bothered to acknowledge her.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Norlock notes that he and the Irkens can do this, and they do.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Episode 5 is set up by a throwaway line of dialogue in Episode 4.
    • Early in Episode 18, Gaz proves her gaming skills with the motto "play smarter, not harder". She ultimately beats Iggins in their tournament by focusing on winning on points, rather than trying to rush through each game, the way he does.
  • Free-Range Children: Dib and the twins run around all over the place with no adult supervision.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Steve and Viera's intense arguments over science and magic stem from the life philosophies they developed in response to being raised by former hippies.
    • Tak becomes so obsessed with beating Zim because he defeated her last time, and this is her last chance to prove herself as an Invader.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Zim and Norlock bond over a shared love of other people's suffering when they first meet.
    • Dib and the twins have several.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Episode 13 gives us the Conspiracy Reaction Engagement Analysis Monitors. Steve is quick to lampshade it, and one of the group's agents admits they didn't look at how it was written until after they had copyrighted the name.
    • Episode 18 is built around the secret society of gamers known as the Secret Masters Of Gaming. Gaz is the one to point out the stupid name this time.
  • Game Changer: In Episode 17, Red and Purple tell Zim the truth about his mission. With prodding from Norlock, he proceeds to go rogue, with plans to build his own empire and rebel against the Tallest.
  • Garden of Evil: Episode 11 (which is actually titled "Zim and the Garden of Evil") features Zim unleashing genetically-engineered plant monsters on Doomsville.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: In Episode 17, when Zim goes into a Villainous BSoD over learning the truth of his mission, Norlock snaps him out of it by hitting and insulting him until he's angry and starts fighting back.
  • Gilded Cage: Zim promises Gaz one when he takes over the Earth as payment for giving him Project Domination's location.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • At the start of Episode 2, Dib makes a comment about planning for whatever evil plot Zim is up to, and it cuts to Zim and Skoodge simply having breakfast.
    • In Episode 11, Zim is bragging to himself about his newest plan, only for it to then cut to the Computer disagreeing:
    Zim: I'm a genius!
    (cut to the lab)
    Computer: You're an idiot.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: Episode 8 is either this or a subversion. It focuses on Viera and Gaz, with the only other characters present being Dib and Norlock for one scene each, but rather than how this trope usually applies, it veers into them getting involved in a rapidly escalating fight.
  • Glad I Thought of It:
    • Zim has a habit of taking credit for his minions' good ideas.
    • Tak also occasionally takes credit for Tenn's ideas.
  • Gladiator Games: The Trial by Combat carried out in Episode 19 is treated as this by the hobos of Hobo Town.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: How Dib breaks out of his Lotus-Eater Machine — he notices significant gaps in his memory, that Viera and Gaz are actually getting along, and acknowledges that his life could never be this good.
  • Glory Hound: Tak and Zim both fight more for recognition than anything else.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: In Episode 12, Zim and Team Save Earth both sit back together to enjoy the show as Norlock verbally bashes fans of a cheesy vampire movie franchise, and then fight Slab Rankle.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: Nny's first onscreen victim is an implied pedophile. Later victims, however, are chosen at random, usually for petty reasons.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted in Nny's first appearance (which has him flaying a man), but played straight in later chapters, where things tend to cut away before he can kill anyone.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Viera, and it's implied Gaz as well.
  • Grew a Spine: Skoodge is usually pushed over by absolutely everyone, but he finally stands up for himself in Episode 17, when he rebels against the Tallest with Zim.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Episode 12, Norlock at one point uses the MC of a vampire movie fan convention as a bludgeon against the assembled fans. Later, he throws the movie's stars at Slab Rankle.
  • Groin Attack: Norlock pulls one on Mortos during their fight.
  • Grudging "Thank You": Zim to Norlock after the latter retrieves the Meekrob crystals.
  • Halloween Episode: Episode 16
  • Hates Being Touched: Nny, to the point he'll kill someone for it.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Miss Bitters clarifies this is the case with her. She just hates children a bit more than everyone else.
  • Hate Sink: Gaz, due to her more negative attributes being played up, with no redeeming qualities.
  • Hidden Depths: Skoodge is harboring some serious resentment over how the Tallest have treated him. It leads to him going rogue with Zim.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Dib feels this is why the Swollen Eyeball Network's secret library is in such an overt location.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Norlock has acted as Evil Mentor to most of history's most famous warlords, conquerors, and criminals.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Skoodge genuinely believes that Zim is his best friend, when it's clear Zim doesn't care about him.
    • Playing With in regards to Norlock. He is aware of Zim's flaws, but believes he can be a great conqueror if he can overcome his flaws.
  • Humans Are Morons: Just like in canon. Though Norlock notes that he remembers them being smarter back in the old days.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Nny believes that most people are either idiots, assholes, or both.
    • Gaz thinks that the world is full of disgusting and stupid people who deserve to be conquered.
  • Human Resources:
    • In Episode 4, Nny kills several food delivery men in order to replace some lost meat supplies in the cafeteria.
    • Episode 12 would imply that the skool got into the habit of this after the above, as Nny says the meat he's serving Norlock and Miss Bitters came from a box labeled "long pig".
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Minimoose in Episode 4, as he gets dragged across the city by GIR and Phil, repeatedly getting slammed into things, and finally getting tossed into a meat processor.
    • Viera puts Gaz through this in Episode 8 in an attempt at teaching her humility, first through a bad luck curse, and then magically dressing her up as a clown in front of the whole skool.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Norlock and Skoodge to Zim. Also Tenn to Tak, though there the competency gap is smaller.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Viera gives Dib a speech about responsible use of magic, one chapter after using it to pull a Humiliation Conga on Gaz. Word of God points this out, and offers a partial justification by stating that she's young, so it's to be expected.
    • As Dib points out, Bill's attempts to expose government conspiracies just leads to him carrying out his own.
    • Gaz wants nothing to do with her brother's mission to save Earth and is annoyed when he bothers her by asking for help. But when he finally leaves her alone, she's still petty enough to consider sabotaging Dib's ship and ends up selling his team out to Zim even though she finally got what she wanted.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: Despite Viera's hypocrisy for criticizing Dib's use of magic irresponsibly one chapter after pursuing a personal vendetta against Gaz, she's still right.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Tak and Tenn both grouse about how they've been cheated out of success.
  • I Hate Past Me: In Episode 19, Zim shows disgust towards his previous habit of blindly trying to please the Tallest.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Zim does this all the time, as Dib points out in Episode 12. He's finally forced to face facts in Episode 17 when the Tallest shove it in his face.
  • Imagine Spot: Zim has one in Episode 11 about his newest plan.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Norlock, countless centuries old, spends his last moments pleading for his life.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The Tallest in Episode 17, after Zim reveals he has the crystal.
  • Innocuously Important Episode:
    • Episode 5 seems like just another case of "Dib tries to find an edge on Zim and suffers Epic Fail" like so many in canon. However, his actions cause the senior Swollen Eyeball agents to decide in the following episode to assign Steve and Viera to help him, thus significantly changing the status quo.
    • Episode 8 is just filler about Viera and Gaz coming to blows (ultimately literally) due to clashing personalities. But Gaz maintains a serious grudge over this, to the point that come Episode 19 she uses a phone number Norlock left her (also in Episode 8) to tell him and Zim where to find Project Domination just for a shot at payback.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Zim, all the time, as per canon.
    • Slab Rankle and Bill both run on this as well.
  • Internal Reveal: Episode 17 has both Team Save Earth and Zim's team learn about the truth of his mission.
  • Invisible Parents: The twins' parents have yet to show up, or even be named.
  • Irony:
    • When Tak first came to Earth, she really was just focused on conquering it, despite Zim's belief she was out for revenge on him. Now, despite her denials, she really is obsessed with making him miserable and showing him up.
    • Dib alludes to feeling like a Cosmic Plaything few times, but things have been getting better to the point it's almost like the universe is apologizing to him.
    • Now that Zim knows the truth, he calls out Tak for being loyal to leaders who don't care for her, when not so long ago she said the same to him.
    • Thoughtout the story, Norlock was the only person to see Zim's potential, even scolding the Tallest for underestimating him, only for him to turn around and underestimate Zim during the seasonal climax which costs him his life.
    • Dib gets out of the Lotus-Eater Machine by acknowledging that his life could never be that good, in spite of the fact that his life has improved greatly over the course of the story.
  • Ironic Echo: "Here ends the lesson." Said by Norlock to Zim after betraying him, then by Zim as he's leaving Norlock behind to die.
  • It's All About Me: Zim, Tak, and Gaz all have this attitude.
  • I Warned You: Norlock warned the Tallest not to underestimate Zim's capabilities, something he reminds them of when they toss Zim aside and he rebels against them.
  • Jerkass: Gaz. Zim and Tak too, to lesser extents.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Dib's superiors in the Swollen Eyeball Network are mostly dicks to him, but they're right that he has a very poor track record with them.
    • The Tallest not wanting someone as unstable as Zim to have Project Domination.
    • Gaz pointing out rather bluntly that Dib is wasting his time trying to talk about the paranormal to most people, who have no interest in it.
    • Zim telling Tak that she's wasting her time trying to please leaders who don't care about her.
    • The Tallest repeatedly chew out Tak and Tenn for their failures over the course of the Story Arc, but given the circumstances their anger is understandable.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: Dib can be a little aggressive sometimes, but he's a decent person deep down.
  • Kaiju:
    • In Episode 6, Tak's latest plan is an enhanced, giant cyborg rat. And then Zim shows up with a similarly enhanced snake.
    • Episode 11 has Zim unleash an army of genetically-engineered plant monsters, which turn out to be a single network controlled by the monstrous Central Root.
    • Episode 15 has the demon sea hydra.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Everything Viera does to Gaz in Episode 8 should be considered cruel, but it is Gaz, after all.
    • Though it's not a major focus, there's the awful things Tak does to the cruel skoolchildren on occasion.
    • The way the Tallest treat Zim and Skoodge — while both are utterly loyal to them, Zim is a cruel Invader who brings destruction to all around him, while Skoodge is, despite his genial personality, just as dedicated to conquering the Earth as Zim is.
  • Kid Detective: Dib, Steve, and Viera all play this part.
  • King of the Homeless: The Hobo King of Hobo Town.
  • Lack of Empathy: Zim and Gaz are both fully incapable of caring about other people.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The Humiliation Conga Viera puts Gaz through in Episode 8 is a direct result of the latter being exceptional cruel to her for no reason.
    • The Tallest' treatment of Zim ultimately results in him going rogue and costing them Project Domination.
    • In the first season's epilogue, Gaz tries to sabotage the Spittle Runner in order to spite Dib, and ends up electrocuting herself and triggering a security system which launches her through the air to crash into the Skool, where Miss Bitters and Nny force her to clean up the resulting mess.
  • Lazy Alias: Near the end of Season 1, Zim crafts a new secretive identity for himself as part of his plan to start a revolution against the Tallest, and for the name of this new identity settles on "Miz". When called out on how obvious it is, he says that that's the point, as no one would expect him to use something that obvious — and as Season 2 shows, he's right, due to a combination of that fact and no one thinking he's capable of pulling off "Miz's" acts.
  • The Leader:
    • Dib for Team Save Earth.
    • Zim for his group.
    • Tak tries to be this in her partnership with Tenn, but Tenn forces her to accept a more equal arrangement.
    • Iggins is this to SMOG. Until Gaz beats him in their tournament.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The closing line of Episode 18 is Gaz reflecting on how her encounter with Iggins and SMOG was an interesting diversion, but now she wants to get back to the fun (of her convention). This reflects the author's views on the chapter as a whole, which was a last bit of filler before getting to the seasonal climax.
  • Leave Me Alone!: Gaz just wants to play her video games, and does not care at all for the battle for Earth. Which doesn't stop her from betraying Dib to Zim out of spite in Episode 19.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: A couple of times, Dib rushes into things without fully thinking them through.
  • Les Collaborateurs:
    • Monster or not, Norlock is still a native of Earth who is actively aiding in attempts at conquering it. Later inverted, when Norlock convinces Zim to go rogue and conquer the Empire.
    • Gaz gives Zim the location of Project Domination just to spite Dib, not seeming to care that she'd end up enslaved if he actually conquers Earth (even though he does promise her a Gilded Cage).
  • Lesser of Two Evils:
    • In Episode 3, Dib states this as the reason he helps Tak fight Norlock.
    • In Episode 8, Mr. Elliot is ordered (threatened) by Miss Bitters to punish Gaz for an accident. Caught between a student who might make his life hell for the rest of the school year and a co-worker who will torture him forever, he follows the order.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In Episode 5, this is Dib's reaction to the circular logic that the other Swollen Eyeball agents hit him with in regards to his request that he be granted access to Van Helsing's journal in their private library.
    Dib: Let me get this straight. You won't grant me access to the journal until I present proof of Norlock's existence. But the only way I can get that proof and live to tell about it is if I beat him, which I can't do unless I have the journal. Which I can't have unless I beat him?!
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • Zim and Dib apparently have this understanding regarding the canon episode "Bolongius Maximus".
    • In Episode 21, Viera quickly agrees to this with Dib about her dream illusion having her as an anime magical girl in exchange for her not questioning his use of the Dream Walker spell.
  • Literal-Minded: In Episode 11, Norlock comments on Zim developing a green thumb (in regards to his Garden of Evil plot). A confused Zim points out that both of his thumbs have always been green.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Zim uses one to spy on Dib in the first chapter.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Done to Dib in the first chapter, when Norlock drags his unconscious body inside his castle home.
  • Look, a Distraction!: Dib pulls this on Phil when they first meet, telling him to "look at that thing over there" and running when he turns around. It takes Phil about five minutes to realize he's looking at nothing.
  • Lost Superweapon: Invoked with the Meekrob device known as Project Domination. The other Meekrob were so offended by its existence that they imprisoned its creator and sent it to drift in space so no one would find it.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: During the climatic fight, Norlock traps everyone in one of these so he can take Project Domination without their interference. Dib breaks free when he realizes his life could never be this good, which shatters the illusion.
  • Made of Iron: Phil seems to be able to shrug off just about anything.
  • Magical Library: The Swollen Eyeball Network's secret library, full of books about the paranormal.
  • Magic Versus Science: When first introduced, Viera and Steve have a rivalry based on their differing views of which of these are more important. Dib finally gets them to Agree to Disagree, and thus work together better.
  • Mala Proper: Zim just can't seem to get a handle on human metaphors or figures of speech.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Norlock has been this to his pupils through the ages, and intends to do so with Zim as well. Until he decides to just take power for himself.
  • Man-Eating Plant: In Episode 11, Zim unleashes an army of these on Doomsville. Unsurprisingly, they eventually turn on him.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The story quickly becomes this when Tak returns, as she competes with Zim for conquest of Earth, with Dib opposing them both.
  • Metaphorgotten: Norlock drifts into this when first taking note of how oblivious the general human population is.
    [He felt] like a wolf among the sheep. Admittedly, a very large wolf among a bunch of sheep who all appeared to be blind and deaf, and probably collectively lacking a sense of smell too… where was he going with this again?
  • Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Parody: GIR does this during the Halloween Episode, dressing up as Jackson from the "Thriller" video, singing a few of the lyrics, and leading some zombies in a dance.
  • Misanthrope Supreme:
    • Gaz outright refers to herself as misanthropic, and makes it clear she doesn't care if Zim or Tak Take Over the World.
    • Playing With in regards to Nny. He hates most people, but shows protective tendencies towards the the skool children.
    • Miss Bitters clarifies in Episode 12 that she hates everyone, it's just that children are particularly annoying to her.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The Tallest revealing how they've made a joke of Zim, and kicking around Skoodge while they're at it, make both rebel against them.
  • Monster Mash: The horde of monsters summoned by Norlock in Episode 16 is composed of every different kind of monster that the author could think up.
  • Morality Pet:
    • The only compassion Tak shows is towards MIMI.
    • Similarly, Gaz towards her father.
  • Motive Rant: A heroic example in Episode 6, as Dib gives one to the Swollen Eyeball leaders for criticizing his methods for fighting Zim.
  • Mugging the Monster: In Episode 18, the members of SMOG abduct Gaz by tasering her and then tying her up when she's still in shock. When she recovers, she breaks free of her binds and beats them all up.
  • Multipart Episode: The three-part "Showdown of Doom" (Episodes 19-21) which ties up the season's Story Arc.
  • Must Be Invited: Norlock needs an invitation to enter someone's home. Interestingly, though, it doesn't need to be given at the house to work. Also, anything adjacent to the house (say, a garage) doesn't count.
  • Mutagenic Goo: Zim uses some in Episode 11 to create his plant monsters.
  • My Card: Norlock gives Gaz one for in case she ever wants some mentoring.
  • My God, You Are Serious:
    • During their first conversation in Episode 3, Norlock states that the Tallest must have seen something in Zim to send him on his mission to Earth. The Tallest burst into laughter, and it's only when they note Norlock's confusion that they realize he hasn't figured out yet that Zim's mission is fake.
    • Steve and Viera are shocked when Dib suggests teaming up with Zim in Episode 11.
  • My Greatest Second Chance:
    • Tak views her mission as this.
    • Technically this is the case for Zim, too, though he doesn't see it that way. And ultimately subverted when the Tallest tell him the truth and he turns against them.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Skoodge apparently has this problem with other languages. For example, he apparently once somehow turned a simple greeting in Vortian into "I would like to fill your pants with shrimp".
    Zim: …Huh, I always wondered why that waitress slapped you.
  • Mythology Gag: Despite being in a different continuity from the comics and most of the unproduced episodes, the fic occasionally references them:
    • Truth Shrieker, the paranormal magazine/website introduced in the comic, is referenced a few times.
    • This exchange from Episode 2 is lifted almost verbatim from the first issue of the comic:
    Zim: [You're] A constant squak in my shmoopsquizz.
    Dib: A what in your huh?
    • In Episode 7, Steve and Dib try to placate the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer by saying they love aliens like Zim, only for Dib to give up on it because he hates Zim too much. This is similar to Issue 3, where Dib tries to get out of the "Art Hater's Closet" by claiming to actually love Zim's artwork, only to likewise admit he hates Zim too much to lie about it.
    • In Episode 8, Nny mentions having been to Hell, and how an Eldritch Abomination used to live in his basement wall. Both are a reference to his own comic series.
    • Episode 9 has Dib mention a dream he had where Zim conquered the city with organic pants. This references both the cancelled episode "When Pants Ruled", and issue 8 of the comic, which adapted it.
    • Zim's dream in Episode 9 has him dressed up like Emperor Zim, his future self from issue 12 of the comic.
    • In Episode 10, the Tallest try to torment Zim by sending him after a Snarl Beast on Sylvestria (which he does of his own volition in issue 10), but are thwarted by the fact he's already left the planet to go to a "space mall" (which he does prior to the events of of issue 7).
    • Episode 11 has Dib referencing Gretchen's conspiracy theories about Miss Bitters' origins from issue 15. He also mentions the rumor that she never leaves the skool and it was built around her, which has been floating around the fandom for years.
    • Episode 12 features a cameo by Jeff Sheffy, a TV reporter introduced in Issue 3.
    • Episode 13 has an unnamed cameo by Agent Batflaps, Dib's online nemesis from the comics.
    • In Episode 14, it's revealed that Invader Larb was officially declared the best Invader, something that happened in Issue 18.
    • Episode 14 also briefly shows Zim in his "scheming nook", which featured in Issue 13.
    • Also in Episode 14, Tenn at one point wonders if there's something in the food making humans stupid. In Issue 21 of the comics, Gaz (who is in Zim's body) takes over the world partially thanks to solving world hunger via food laced with chemicals that make people stupid.
    • In Episode 17, a drunken Purple calls Zim "Shmim", part of his artist alias in Issue 3.
    • Episode 18's plot, involving Gaz being forced into a series of immersive VR games, is based on (and meant as a counter to) what she puts Dib through in Issue 5.
    • In Episode 19, GIR finds a rat which is wearing a tiny sombrero, which has appeared as a brief gag in several issues of the comic.
    • Jhonen Vasquez is referenced at least twice — the diner where Tenn and Skoodge meet in Episode 14 is called Jhonen's, and Episode 18 features the Vasquez Convention Center.
    • In the epilogue, Zim mentions buying a device called a signal blaster, which is a reference to the Gargantis Array from Issue 2 of the comics.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Inverted in the case of Ch'rell. Most Meekrob are Space Elves who want nothing to do with the rest of the universe, but he believed they were a Master Race and wanted them to conquer all other species.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • The host of Mysterious Mysteries was never given a name in canon. Here, he's christened as John Mysterioso.
    • The hobo from the episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork" is dubbed Hobo Joe.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: The story does this for the most part.
  • Negative Continuity: Averted. Word of God is that, unlike the source material, this trope won't be at play in this story.
  • Neutral No Longer: In Episode 19, Gaz ditches her apathy towards Dib's fight with the Irkens by giving Zim Project Domination's location in order to spite Dib and hopefully kill Viera.
  • Never My Fault: Zim and Tak both have a tendency to blame other people for their mistakes.
  • New Era Speech: Zim closes the first season by giving his first broadcast as "Miz", a speech which is meant to rally Irkens to rise up against the Tallest.
  • Nice Guy: Skoodge is a genuinely friendly and decent person.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Dib accidentally blowing up Norlock's castle leads to the vampire allying with Zim.
    • Viera's attempt to pull a Break the Haughty on Gaz just makes the other girl actively and personally despise her (rather than just a general dislike). And it ultimately leads to Gaz siding with Zim out of the hopes of getting Viera killed.
    • Dib's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Norlock causes him to try and take Project Domination for himself. Subverted, however, as this just leads to Norlock and the weapon being destroyed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Episode 11 has Zim failing to put proper control precautions in his plants monsters, forcing him to team up with Team Save Earth to stop them.
    • In Episode 13, Tak's desire to one up Zim leads to her breaking their truce, which ultimately results in the Meekrob crystal everyone's fighting over being broken, delaying either her or Zim from finding Project Domination.
    • Tak again in Episode 14, when her ignoring Tenn to carry out her latest plan leads to it backfiring and almost destroying her base and killing them both.
    • In Episode 17, the Tallest' treatment of Zim and Skoodge results in them going rogue, costing them the chance of gaining the Meekrob crystal.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Norlock is pissed when Dib accuses him of being a coward who hides behind his pupils.
  • No Body Left Behind: Norlock is vaporized when Project Domination explodes with him attached to it.
  • Noodle Implements:
    • When GIR first appears, he's coated in chocolate pudding. And the only explanation we get for this is from Minimoose, so we don't really learn why.
    • Dib and Steve are "initiated" into the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer after being carried into a tent filled with torture tools, gym equipment, old fashioned medical tools... and livestock. We then cut to them being welcomed into the group.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In Episode 4, it's mentioned that Dib once broke into a zoo. He clarifies that he was trying to catch a chupacabra that was feeding on animals in the petting zoo.
    • Dib references a "Radioactive Macaroni" incident in Episode 6. We get no details on this.
    • According to Viera in Episode 9, when they were eight, Steve strapped himself to a rocket for some reason.
    • In Episode 12, Dib offers a critique of Slab Rankle's zombies, with the implication that he's got experience with them, but doesn't offer clarification on how. According to the author, this is a reference a canon Noodle Incident where Membrane implied that Dib raised the dead once.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Episode 12, Norlock attacks a fan convention for a Twilight knockoff called Sunset, complete with actors who are parodies of the Twilight cast.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Dib ultimately destroys the control node to Project Domination, rendering it impossible for anyone to use the weapon.
  • No-Sell:
    • Laser blasts bounce right off of Phil. As do cars.
    • Nny and Miss Bitters are completely unaffected by Gaz's Death Glares.
    • The Central Root is impervious to exterior attack. It has to be blown up from within.
    • The sea hydra isn't affected by any wounds short of decapitation, which just gives it more heads, anyway.
  • Not So Different: Episode 14 makes it clear that Tak is more like Zim than she'd probably like to admit, in her egotism and desire to win no matter what.
  • No Sympathy: Gaz, for her brother or anyone else.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: By the end of the first season, Zim and Skoodge are rebelling against the Tallest, Tak and Tenn are permanently allied in trying to take over Earth, and Dib is the leader of an effective team.
  • No True Scotsman: Gaz views Viera as a fake Goth due to being so nice, and Iggins as not a real gamer since he doesn't hold to the same standards she does.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Swollen Eyeball leaders act as this towards Dib in Episode 5, blocking his mission with red tape.
  • Obviously Evil: Norlock, even more than Zim himself. But of course, no one but Dib and the twins realize it.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Like in canon, Zim is utterly blind to how much he's despised by the Tallest. Until they bluntly tell him so in Episode 17.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In Episode 11, Tak is seen being attacked by a swarm of Zim's plant monsters. Later, she appears almost entirely unharmed and manages to track down the Central Root. The author merely says that it's because "she's just that good".
  • Oh, Crap!: The Tallest' reaction in Episode 17 when they learn that Zim has the Meekrob crystal.
  • Old, Dark House: Norlock's castle rather fits the bill.
  • On the Next: Each chapter/episode ends with an author's note which gives a brief summary of what's going to happen in the next one.
  • One-Winged Angel: During the climax, Norlock transforms into a demonic bat monster.
  • Only Friend:
    • Skoodge to Zim.
    • Steve and Viera are this jointly to Dib.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Norlock for Zim's group.
    • Downplayed with Dib at first with Steve and Viera, though it evens out later.
    • Tenn to Tak.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After retrieving the Meekrob crystals, Zim is so excited that he actually thanks Norlock for his work (in his own condescending way).
  • Operation: [Blank]: The Meekrob Mad Scientist Ch'rell created a Weapon of Mass Destruction he rather bluntly titled "Project Domination".
  • Original Character: Norlock, Phil, Steve, and Viera are the most prominent. There are also a few minor oneshot ones as well.
  • Original Flavour: Strives very hard to be this. The consensus so far is that it's succeeding.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Norlock actually looks like a corpse, is burned by direct sunlight, sleeps in a coffin, has a Healing Factor fueled by the blood he drinks, can hypnotize victims, can see astral projections, knows magic, Must Be Invited into a home, and can transform into a demonic bat monster. Later, he also establishes that he can cross running water, doesn't have Super OCD, and holy symbols only burn him if the wielder has faith in them.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Just like in canon, Zim gets by with these. And he makes Skoodge and Norlock go with them too.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Norlock messes with Dib a bit by spending night after night by sitting outside his house watching him, dropping threats of attacking the house, knowing it'll keep him from sleeping and slowly drive him crazy.
  • Pardon My Klingon: The alien characters often drop phrases from their native language into dialogue (usually swears).
  • Pass the Popcorn:
    • In Episode 3, MIMI goes into blue-eyed mode during Norlock's fight with Tak and Dib, and starts eating popcorn while watching. The fact that she's got no mouth to eat with doesn't slow her down.
    • In Episode 7, GIR does this while Zim's fighting Tak in the Meekrob ship's control room.
    • In Episode 12, Zim eats popcorn out of GIR's head while watching Norlock attack the fan convention. Viera and Steve help themselves to some later on.
    • In Episode 14, Zim's reaction to Tak accidentally creating and losing control of a storm that threatens her and the city is to sit back and watch it play out, ordering GIR to bring him some popcorn to enjoy it with.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The code for opening the entrance to the crashed Meekrob ship? "Open the door." The one for the ship's Self-Destruct Mechanism is simply "Blow up."
  • Perky Goth: Viera is a Goth, and a very nice person, in sharp contrast to Gaz.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Zim, like in canon. One of the reasons Norlock is willing to mentor him is because he believes his capability for destruction can be channeled.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Zim actually thanking Norlock for retrieving the Meekrob crystals.
    • Tak showing affection to MIMI, and giving Tenn the honor of activating the Project Domination transponder codes.
    • Gaz asking Zim to spare Dib, if only so their father won't be upset.
    • A literal example with Norlock, who cares greatly for his wolf Phil and gets very upset when others hurt him.
  • Pillar of Light: One bursts out of Tak's base in Episode 14 when she supercharges the Meekrob crystal. All this energy has the side effect of creating a massive storm.
  • Place Worse Than Death: In Episode 19, Norlock banishes an attacking group of hobos by sending them through a portal that he says is supposed to send them to a hellish nightmare world, but instead sends them to Newark. He then shrugs and states that this is the same end result.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Norlock's favorite magical attack is to launch blasts of black fire.
    • In Episode 11, Viera gains an amulet called the Eye of Fire, which shoot fire on command.
  • The Pollyanna: Skoodge never lets anything get him down.
  • Power Crystal: Viera's Eye of Fire amulet is built around a crystal.
  • Power Fist: The plasma gauntlets that Dib builds for himself.
  • Power Trio: Dib, Steve, and Viera.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Norlock and Tenn, in contrast to Zim and Tak, are willing to take more reasonable approaches to things.
  • Previously On…: Every chapter (except ones where the author forgot) opens with a recap of what happened in the previous one.
  • Prompting Nudge:
    • Zim kicks Skoodge to get him to go along with the cover story of the latter being the former's cousin.
    • Red does this to Purple to keep him from accidentally revealing to Tenn that they forgot all about her.
  • Protectorate: A dark example with Nny, a vicious Serial Killer, who has a protective nature around the skoolchildren.
  • Puppet King: Norlock is supporting Zim partly to set himself up as the power behind the throne. Until he decides to just take power for himself.
  • A Rare Sentence: Norlock in Episode 13, after he accidentally shatters the Meekrob crystal:
    "Don't blame me! This wouldn't have happened if your moose hadn't electrocuted me! (beat) Wow, that's a sentence even I've never had a reason to say before."
  • Ray Gun: In addition to the energy weapons that the Irkens all have at their disposal, Steve creates some makeshift ones for his team. They work pretty well, except they seem to short out after too much use. He later corrects this.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Dib tries to stake Norlock in the heart with a piece of wooden debris, but it can't penetrate the vampire's rib cage.
    • Viera's attempt to teach Gaz a lesson in Episode 8 only succeeding in making Gaz hate her and want her dead. After all, Gaz is a spoiled brat who's used to everyone being too afraid of her to defy her; when she meets someone willing to stand up to her, of course she's going to be too petty to let it go.
    • Zim and Tak's competition for control of Earth was always doomed to fall apart because of the Tallest's hate for Zim. After everything he's done, the competition was ultimately just a means to get rid of him one way or another and when it seems that he's about to get a dangerous Super Weapon, they obviously don't trust him with it and finally turn on him completely.
    • After all the time and effort put into mentoring Zim, of course Norlock wasn't going to just let him give up once the Tallest banish him.
    • Norlock's betrayal arguably also counts. Have the villainous Hypercompetent Sidekick get in a confrontation with Dib where the latter points out that for all said sidekick's insistence he's both manipulating Zim so that he'll be his Puppet King and helping him achieve his potential as a villain, he's ultimately just a coward who hides behind others instead of doing the work himself. THEN have that same sidekick have an epiphany and see that on some level Dib is right, especially since that no matter how hard he tries to teach Zim to better himself as a conqueror he won't learn. So once Norlock sees a way to seize power for himself he's quick to run for it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Agent Darkbootie, in contrast to the other senior Swollen Eyeball agents, is willing to give Dib a chance more often than not.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • The Tallest (mostly Red) give one to Zim and Skoodge when telling them the truth.
    • Zim gives one to Tak about being a washout desperately trying to please the Tallest, who don't care about her.
    • Dib gives one to Norlock over how he hides behind the people he mentors which partially triggers his betrayal of Zim later.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over:
    • While his pale, corpselike skin is an aversion of this trope, Norlock otherwise fits. His clothes are red and black, as are his eyes.
    • Subverted with Viera. She wears a black and red theme, but is one of the good guys.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The sclera of Norlock's eyes are blood red, highlighting his black pupils and irises.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Zim's justification for his "Miz" alias? That no one would expect him to use such an obvious name.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Defied in Episode 2, when Dib decides to protect everyone at the Parent-Teacher Night despite them being a bunch of "oblivious jerks".
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Dib and Zim will often bring up past exploits, often to the confusion of the new characters.
  • Revenge: Tak both averts this and plays it straight. She makes it clear that her mission to conquer Earth instead of Zim is more about getting the recognition she feels she deserves, rather than petty revenge on him. But at the same time, she says she'll settle for simple revenge as far as things with Dib (and Gaz, by extension) go. Later, it becomes clear that despite her protests, she really is obsessed with one-upping Zim and making him suffer.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Tak has developed shades of wanting to beat Zim no matter the cost.
  • Rogue Agent: Zim ultimately goes rogue after the Tallest reveal his mission is a lie, and convinces Skoodge to join him.
  • Rousing Speech: After snapping Zim out of his Villainous BSoD, Norlock gives him a speech inspiring him on how to move forward.
  • Running Gag:
    • Zim insists on referring to Norlock as his minion, rather than partner, to Norlock's annoyance.
    • Zim is also completely unable to remember who Steve and Viera are.
    • Miss Bitters getting a phone call from her bosses that so angers her that she destroys her phone.
    • Tak's denials of being out for revenge even when people point out she clearly is.
    • Also with Tak, there's her doing something horrible to a classmate for being rude to her.
    • Dib complaining about how he's the only one on his team without a unique Weapon of Choice.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Norlock does this after the Epic Fail of Team Save Earth's first outing.
  • Say My Name: Tak screams Zim's name at the end of Episode 16, when she realizes that he, or rather, Norlock, has stolen her Meekrob crystal.
  • Scary Librarian: The aptly named Miss Bookman, who runs the Swollen Eyeballs' secret library.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Zim's alias when inspiring rebellion against the Tallest? "Miz".
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Iggins threatens to use SMOG's to blacklist Gaz from the gaming community if she doesn't go along with his challenge. She's convinced her father's own connections could be used to counter it, but ultimately doesn't want to risk it.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: How Dib justifies breaking into the Swollen Eyeballs' library.
  • Season Finale: The three-part "Showdown of Doom" which brings Season 1's Story Arc to a climax, which the following epilogue serving as a Dénouement Episode.
  • Seen It All: Norlock's reaction to seeing the massive energy storm over the city in Episode 14? Casually commenting on it and calmly going back inside the base.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • Tak believes that this is part of the reason why humans don't notice the obvious paranormal around them (like Zim) — they can't accept the existence of things outside their worldview, so they just ignore it.
    • Norlock noted this back in Episode 2, but notes that it seems to have gone up a notch compared to how things were centuries ago.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The crashed Meekrob ship in Episode 7 has one, which ends up accidentally triggered during the fighting. Fortunately, it's also equipped with an emergency teleport system that get everyone clear in time.
  • Serial Killer: Nny, as per canon.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Dib spends all of Episode 5 trying to retrieve the journal of Abraham Van Helsing, hoping that it'll contain information he can use against Norlock. After fighting his way through various death traps, he ultimately finds out that the journal is useless, just containing random ramblings.
  • Share the Male Pain: When Norlock pulls a Groin Attack on Mortos, every other male present (human, Irken, and otherwise) wince in pain.
  • Ship Tease: Between Norlock and Ms. Bitters, of all people.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Steve and Viera, though it goes from intense to more friendly later.
  • Sibling Team: Dib's new partners are the twins Steve and Viera.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Steve and Viera, Dib and Gaz.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Zim seems to regularly deploy spy drones on Dib personally, and the city in general.
  • Sixth Ranger: Norlock and Phil for Zim's team, Steve and Viera for Dib's, Tenn for Tak.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Zim, of course. Slab Rankle and Bill as well.
  • Spanner in the Works: Norlock is this throughout the story, constantly shaking up the status quo — in Episode 3, he convinces the Tallest to set up Zim and Tak's competition. In Episode 10, he causes the Tallest to check in on Tenn, which leads to her bringing the Meekrob crystal to Earth. In Episode 17, he convinces Zim to rebel against the Tallest, which he later does even after Norlock himself is gone. In Episode 8, he gives Gaz his card, which she uses to call him in Episode 19 in order to give Zim the location of Project Domination. And in Episode 21, his betrayal of Zim causes a series of events which means that ultimately no one gets the weapon.
  • Spit Take:
    • In Episode 10, when Norlock tells the Tallest about the crashed Meekrob ship, Purple chokes on a mouthful of fries and Red spits out his soda.
    • In Episode 17, when Zim reveals that he has the whole crystal, Red chokes on a doughnut.
  • Split Personality:
    • MIMI has one like GIR's, alternating between a cold, dedicated robotic servant, and a crazy Cloudcuckoolander. Though in an inversion of GIR, the former personality is dominant.
    • Phil has something similar, usually being a big lovable puppy, but turning into a fierce beast when angry.
  • Spooky Silent Library: The Swollen Eyeball Network's library.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Norlock gets a somewhat disproportionate amount of focus in the first few chapters. The author later realized this, and started trimming back on his appearances.
  • Spy Speak: Lampshaded in Episode 18, when two SMOG members are communicating over walkie-talkie, and one uses code ("The fly is in the web") to state that he's located Gaz. The person he's talking to doesn't understand what he's talking about, having not read the code-sheet.
  • Squick: In-Universe, Zim and Skoodge have this reaction to Norlock flirting with Miss Bitters.
  • The Starscream: During the season's climax, Norlock betrays Zim to take Project Domination for himself.
  • Start My Own: Norlock ultimately convinces Zim to go rogue and create his own empire, before using it to conquer the other Irkens.
  • Status Quo Is God: Directly averted. The author has made it clear that major changes will stay in effect when they happen, and will not be subjected to Negative Continuity.
  • Static Stun Gun: How SMOG gets the drop on Gaz. She's all too happy to return the favor on them when she gets loose.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Zim pulls this on Dib in Episode 2.
    • Norlock, as a vampire, is capable of doing this. And does so, more than once.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Dib muses on this near the end of Episode 17.
  • Storming the Castle: Tak and Tenn assault Zim's base in Episode 17 in order to retrieve the Meekrob crystal, with Team Save Earth sneaking in behind them to do the same.
  • Story Arc: The hunt for Project Domination. Though more of a Half-Arc Season, as most chapters have nothing to do with it.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Anyone who isn't a main character (and even a couple who are) are total morons.
  • The Svengali: Norlock has been this to warlords and tyrants repeatedly throughout history, with Zim being his latest student.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Meekrob security measures mostly qualify as this, due to how complacent they are in their defenses. At least some of this is actually invoked.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Downplayed with Norlock; when he sees how dumb everyone is, he almost feels sorry for Dib for having to deal with them.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Inverted, Implied, and Downplayed when Tenn tells Tak not to mock Zim when he learns his mission is fake, as she sees it as petty and unprofessional.
  • Synchronous Episodes: Episodes 7 and 8 take place over the same three day period, but focusing on different characters.
  • Take Over the World: As per canon, this is Zim's goal, with Tak now in competition with him.
  • Takes One to Kill One: Dib throws the control node for Project Domination into a blast Norlock fired to destroy it, and impaling Norlock to the core with the focus crystal causes the core to crack and destabilize. Skoodge even lampshades that it makes sense that the Meekrob didn't think of using that method to destroy it, since as Energy Beings they are above physical force and all.
  • Take That!: Norlock, an actual vampire, does not like Twilight. Episode 12 even sees him attack a fan convention for a Serial Numbers Filed Off version of the franchise, taking the time to air a lot of the same complaints people have about Twilight in real life (though the story also takes the time to lampshade how petty some haters of the series can be).
  • Team Title: Dib and his friends ultimately choose the name "Team Save Earth" for their group.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Gaz and Iggins. Iggins focuses on finishing first, while Gaz squeezes out every last point in the games she plays. This is how she beats him in their tournament.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Steve and Viera, when first introduced. Dib helps them get over this.
    • Tak and Tenn do not work well together at all to start with. They only reluctantly agree put aside their differences and move forward, but time will tell how this works out.
  • Tempting Fate: Characters often do this. Usually lampshaded.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Iggins' named underlings in Episode 18 go by the code names "8-Bit", "Expansion Pack", "DLC"... and Tim.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: A throwaway joke in Episode 7 has Tak reflecting on how she's installed a filter on her computer's scans of the internet, in order to avoid the Brain Bleach-worthy content (alluding to the infamous "2 Girls 1 Cup" video).
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Zim makes it clear that Norlock that he won't let anyone else kill Dib but him. He later extends this to Tak as well.
  • The Tunguska Event: Given its location, Team Save Earth think the event was caused by the Meekrob cargo container holding Project Domination crashing into the Earth and burying itself.
  • This Cannot Be!: Norlock is flabbergasted that Dib and the others managed to escape his Lotus-Eater Machine, and right before he's vaporized says that it can't end like this, and that he cant die.
  • This Means War!: Gaz declares this in Episode 8, after Viera magically dresses her up as a clown.
  • Through His Stomach: Norlock believes in this. Nny thinks it's stupid.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: In Episode 10, the Tallest do this to a technician who points out that they've been ignoring an emergency beacon from Tenn for a year.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • The SEN assigning the twins to work with Dib, giving him both backup and friends.
    • Episode 18 is a meta example. The author is well known for his dislike of Gaz, yet in this chapter he ultimately has her come out on top.
  • Token Good Teammate: Downplayed with Skoodge, who is this for Zim's faction, but is still very much a bad guy.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's commonly held by the main characters that this is a problem for most of humanity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both Dib and Zim increase in strength, resources, allies, and abilities throughout the story.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Tak somewhat, as her desire for revenge on Zim is overriding her usual cunning.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Gaz and Tak. While neither were nice to begin with, they become even worse here. Gaz's bad temper and violent tendencies are more prominent here then they are in the series, culminating in Episode 19 when she betrays Dib to Zim in order to spite him and hopefully kill Viera. Meanwhile Tak, who could at least be professional and coldly civil within the show, has become nasty, petty and spiteful, often times picking pointless fights with Zim and stopping to gloat to him about how superior she is.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer whip these out from Hammerspace when they realize that Dib and Steve are anti-alien, and proceed to chase them.
    Dib: Question logic later, run now!
  • Torture Cellar: Nny apparently uses his spacious janitor's closet as this.
  • Trial by Combat: In Episode 19, the Hobo King makes Team Save Earth and the two Irken teams face off this way for the crystal.
  • Twitchy Eye: A common occurrence among the characters.
  • Überwald: What little we see of Bransloatia, the country Norlock lives in when Zim and Dib first encounter him, seems to paint it as one of these.
  • Ultimate Job Security: As Senior points out, this is how he can get away with talking back to the Tallest — he's the best communications officer they have, so they can't just get rid of him. Downplayed, though, as even then he knows not to push things too much, or the Tallest would still punish him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: In the first season's epilogue, both the Tallest and Tenn decide that Zim's threat level is severely diminished by the loss of Norlock and Project Domination. Defied by Tak and Dib, though, as they realize that he's just as dangerous, if not even more so, due to desperation.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Zim is shocked to see Squidman alive when he saw him apparently die in canon, and doesn't get a proper explanation for his survival.
    • Iggins' canonical example is lampshaded when he admits that it makes no sense that he survived that elevator crash.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • For the most part, played straight with Zim, who condescends or overlooks all help given to him by others. Notably subverted, however, when Norlock retrieves the Meekrob crystals; Zim's so pleased he actually thanks Norlock, albeit in a backhanded manner.
    • The Tallest towards Zim and Skoodge. Justified with Zim because of the destruction he causes the Empire. But played straight with Skoodge, who is in fact a skilled Invader that the Tallest mock and abuse for their amusement because of his height.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • Minimoose, as per canon, can only speaks in squeaks, but everyone can understand him just fine.
    • The Blotch, which is kept as a prophet by the Children of the Bright and Shining Saucer and can only speak in squeals and moans. Subverted, in that even its spokesperson, Yoa, admits she can't really understand it and is just guessing.
  • Unknown Rival: Zim seems completely incapable of remembering Steve and Viera's names, referring to them both as "Not Dib". And that's when he can even remember who they are.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Norlock's swears, such as "Mother of Hell" and "Satan's hemorrhoids".
  • Up to Eleven: In Episode 15, Team Save Earth fight a sea serpent. Which then turns out to be a sea hydra. And then it turns out to be a demon sea hydra.
  • Villain Ball: Norlock stealing the control node for Project Domination from Zim, which sets in motion the events that lead to his death. He would have been better off continuing to manipulate Zim while he conquered Earth with the weapon.
  • Villain Cred: The Tallest are both impressed and disturbed by Norlock.
  • Villain Has a Point: Even though Norlock betrayed him, Zim decides to take his advice and start to rally Irkens to rise up against the Tallest under an alias.
  • Villainous Breakdown: During the climax, Norlock snaps after the key to Project Domination is destroyed, rendering it useless. He goes One-Winged Angel and mindlessly tries to kill everyone.
  • Villainous BSoD: Zim undergoes one in Episode 17 after the Tallest tell him the truth of his mission, until Norlock forcibly snaps him out of it.
  • Villainous Friendship: The Tallest and Norlock quickly gain a rapport with each other. This seems to end when Norlock convinces Zim to go rogue.
  • Villainous Legacy: Norlock my be dead by the end of the season, but his training of Zim and him inspiring Zim to turn again the Tallest and make his own empire will have an effect in future seasons.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • In Episode 6, Norlock swoops in and saves Dib's new team from Tak, knowing Zim wants Dib for himself.
    • In Episode 11, Tak shows up in time to save Zim and Team Save Earth from the Central Root.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Zim and Norlock at the end of the first chapter.
    • Zim and Tak do this in Episode 13, where their teams team up to rescue Tenn. But it is a short-lived Enemy Mine which breaks down before the chapter is over.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Norlock and Zim's last interaction is the former begging the latter to save him. Given his betrayal, it's no surprise that Zim leaves him to die.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: In Episode 3, Red nudges Purple awake, and he blurts out "Potato dumplings!"
  • Wave Motion Gun: Project Domination ultimately turns out to be a giant plasma cannon. When Steve expresses surprise that instead of something with more "eldritch space magic" it's just a really big gun, Dib and Viera point out that if your gun is big enough, you don't really need something more complicated to crush your enemies.
  • Weak-Willed: Norlock's victim in Episode 2, Mrs. Slunchy, is this so much that he doesn't even get to finish hypnotizing her before she falls unconscious.
  • Weapon of Choice: Viera's Eye of Fire, and Steve's blasters. Dib complains about being the only one on his team who doesn't have his own weapon, but ultimately rectifies this in Episode 19, building himself a pair of gauntlets that generate plasma.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Project Domination is this, being described as a massively powerful Wave Motion Gun. When it's finally put to use in Episode 21, it's shown that at minimum power it fires a blast the size of an airplane. Norlock does the math and determines that at maximum power it could blast holes into Earth's surface the size of Lithuania.
  • Weirdness Censor: Just like in canon, normal people tend to overlook or outright ignore evidence of the paranormal. Norlock, Steve, and Viera are all shocked at the level it gets to (while Dib is himself shocked that this doesn't apply to the twins).
  • We Can Rule Together: Near the end of Episode 12, Slab Rankle repeats his offer to Zim to rule the Mall with him. Since Zim still wants to conquer the entire Earth, he once again turns it down.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The Meekrob, due to their highly evolved nature and advanced technology, along with the natural defenses provided by their Death World, don't put much effort into security measures. Which means Tenn is very easily able to infiltrate them once she finds the weak spots.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Slab Rankle will do anything to protect the order of the Mall.
    • Bill is fighting for a greater good. At least, according to his delusions.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 1: The series starts off with a bang, as it introduces Norlock and sees him ally with Zim.
    • Episode 3: Tak returns to Earth, and Norlock convinces the Tallest to officially make the conquest of Earth a competition between her and Zim.
    • Episode 6: The Swollen Eyeball senior agents assign the twins to team up with Dib, changing his status quo in a positive way by giving him allies and real friends.
    • Episode 7: A more subtle example, as while nothing seemingly major happens, it lays the groundwork for the season's main Story Arc.
    • Episode 10: Tenn uncovers the truth of the Meekrob ship discovered in Episode 7 and what it was carrying, and is dispatched to Earth by the Tallest to help find it.
    • Episode 13: Tenn arrives on Earth and allies with Tak after the data crystal shatters, leaving all three teams with a piece of it.
    • Episode 16: A seemingly standard Halloween Episode fight with Norlock and Zim takes a sudden swerve in its last scenes, which reveal that the whole monster invasion was a decoy from stealing Team Save Earth and Tak and Tenn's pieces of the Meekrob crystal.
    • Episode 17: When the Tallest task Tak and Tenn to retrieve the Meekrob crystal, Zim manages to force them (and Team Save Earth) to retreat, only for a drunken Purple to reveal to Zim that his mission was a fake and they don't care about him at all. Zim briefly undergoes a Villainous BSoD but gets snapped out of it by Norlock; he then goes rogue from the Irken Empire (and convinces Skoodge to join him, pointing out how the Tallest abused him too). After a confrontation with Tak and Dib in the City Cesspool, the Meekrob crystal ends up lost in the sewers.
    • Episode 19: The three groups all relocate the Meekrob crystal and fight over it. Ultimately, Tak and Tenn retrieve it and locate Project Domination's location, but thanks to a bug planted on MIMI, Team Save Earth hack the information and go after it as well. And then Gaz sends the information to Zim out of spite.
    • Episode 20: The teams race and fight each other to Project Domination's location, which culminates with Norlock betraying Zim to take control of the weapon for himself.
    • Episode 21: All three teams ally to defeat Norlock, ultimate killing him and destroying Project Domination in the process.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Episode 6 opens with Dib being reprimanded by the SEN leadership for his actions in the previous chapter.
    • Later in the same chapter, Dib chews out Steve and Viera for letting their petty personal grudge interfere in fighting Tak.
    • Episode 9 sees Dib being given the riot act by Norlock, of all people, for his continued use of the immoral Dream Walker spell.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tenn has developed a fear of crazy robots.
  • Wicked Cultured: Norlock puts on airs of this, with the fine suit he always wears, and his insistence on always acting as melodramatically polite as possible.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Skoodge honestly believe that everything little thing he does helps Zim.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger:
    • Being siblings, Steve and Viera obviously already have a history prior to teaming up with Dib.
    • Zim and Skoodge are the closest thing each has to a friend, and now they're working with Norlock.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • Skoodge genuinely thinks of Zim as a friend, but it's clear Zim doesn't care about him, and treats him horribly.
    • Actually the title of Episode 6, where the twins are introduced, and where their arguments leave them too busy to help Dib in their first battle. However, they feel guilty about it and apologize to him, after which they work out their issues and the three become a great team.
  • World of Snark: Just about every character gets their Deadpan Snarker on at one point or another. Dib, Steve, Viera, Gaz, Tak, Red and Norlock are the most frequent suppliers.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Bill has a special vampire room to protect him from vampires. By his standards, it's actually a pretty smart move...but unfortunately, all of the vampiric legends that he relied on (running water, Super OCD counting, etc.) turn out to be wrong.
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • At Norlock's prodding, the Tallest set up Zim and Tak's competition for control of Earth as this — if Tak wins, Zim finally dies. If Zim wins, they appoint him ruler of a completely out of the way planet, keeping him out of their hair. And either way, they add another planet to the Empire. This falls apart in Episode 17 when they tell Zim the truth in an attempt to keep Project Domination from him, causing him to turn on them.
    • At the end of Episode 16, Norlock lectures Zim on this trope, how having multilayered plans are the best way to achieve victory while explaining that the episode's events were one — if the invading monsters successfully destroy the city, that's great, but even if they don't, they keep everyone distracted from the theft of the Meekrob crystals.
  • You Are What You Hate: Tak is becoming more like Zim as time goes on.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: A common reaction to the insanity that happens in the series.
  • You Keep Using That Word: In Episode 12, Norlock calls out Slab Rankle for his continued use of the word "punk."
  • You're Insane!: Dib states that Zim is this for teaming up with Norlock.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Norlock is not a fan of Twilight. He also dismisses Dracula as "a hack with a good publicist."

     Tropes in Season 2 
  • Accidental Misnaming: The actress that Viera interns for in Episode 4 repeatedly gets her name wrong, cycling through every other name that starts with a "V". And then Rebecca, which an annoyed Viera notes doesn't even fit that pattern.
  • Actor Allusion: Episode 5 has Zim attack Team Save Earth with a robotic Monster Clown. Richard Steven Horvitz, in addition to voicing Zim, also played Billy, whose fear of clowns led to the birth of the "DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL!" meme.
  • Adorkable: Nyx comes across as this, with her unabashed, almost child-like fangirling of Zim.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 6 focuses entirely on the crew of the Massive, both the Empire loyalists and the local New Order cell.
  • Affably Evil: Nyx is pretty genial and happy-go-lucky for a Mad Bomber utterly devoted to someone like Zim. Similarly, Ying is unfailingly polite, but dutifully serves as Nyx's enforcer.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Ying always refers to Nyx as "Madame".
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: A small clique among the Irkens are shown to enjoy cultural material from other species; Senior in particular leads a club dedicated to sharing their love of human things like comic books and movies. It's noted that this is frowned upon, but isn't strictly illegal.
  • The Alternet: The Irkens are stated to have an internet equivalent called the Irk-Net. There's also the Dark Irk-Net, which unlike the main version isn't monitored by the Control Brains, and is used for criminal activity.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Cyborg Death Clown in Episode 5 wields one after stumbling across it in the supposed haunted house.
  • Arch-Enemy: Due to their very differing views on the Empire, Nyx rapidly becomes this to Tenn.
  • Arc Welding: In canon, the Ham Demon was just a random gag monster that Zim fought in Tak's initial appearance. Here, it's made clear that Tak had created the Ham Demon as a means of keeping Zim busy.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Darth shoots down Wiyn's claims of perfection by sharing a saying he'd heard regarding how belief in perfection leads to stagnation, she sneeringly calls it nonsense and demands to know where he heard it from. He responds that it was from the late Tallest Miyuki, who all Irkens revere, which immediately shuts Wiyn up.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Nyx is a massive fan of Zim's, and now she's managed to start working for him.
  • Assassination Attempt: When the Consulars come aboard the Massive in search of Miz devotees among its ranks, said devotees attempt to kill them by means of first Continuous Decompression, and then smashing them with docking equipment when that fails.
  • Badass Adorable: Nyx is pretty cute, with her Adorkable nature. She is also able to match Tenn in a fight and keep Team Save Earth on their toes.
  • Bad Boss: Mrs. Albertson, the Game Slave executive that Gaz shadows for Career Day, has her employees beaten by security guards at the drop of a hat if they even slightly break her rules.
  • Battle Butler: Ying acts like (and has the personality of) a typical British butler, serving as such to Nyx. He also has a Battle Mode which turns him into an unstoppable seven-foot behemoth.
  • Batman Gambit: In Episode 2, Team Save Earth carry one out to beat Zim's group. Steve and Viera keep Ying distracted, getting him so angry he focuses on them, while Dib eventually goads Nyx into shooting at him with her plasma minigun, the energy from which he absorbs into his gauntlets. The twins then lead Ying back towards the others, with Dib then blasting all that energy into Ying, turning him into a projectile that destroys Zim's mech.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The Tallest refuse to believe that Zim is Miz because they don't think he'd choose such an obvious alias, and because they don't think he's cool enough to pull off Miz's mystique. Also, they completely overlook several lower-ranked Irkens clearly being inspired by Miz's speeches.
    • It's later shown that there's an entire cell of Miz supporters aboard the Massive, able to operate beneath the Tallest's radar due to their low ranks and the fact that the Tallest refuse to believe anyone would rebel against their authority.
  • Berserk Button:
    • For Nyx, it's insulting Zim or hurting Ying.
    • For Claudia von Wunderbar, it's correcting her or falling short of her petty desires.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: It might be easy to write Nyx off due to her fangirl personality, but she proves fairly quickly that she's extremely dangerous.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Team Save Earth are on a stakeout looking for Bigfoot early in Episode 3. They end up missing him due to the interference from the bounty hunter stalking Dib.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Zim's reaction when Nyx reveals that she's aware that he's Miz.
  • Birds of a Feather: Gaz and Nyx turn out to have a shared love of video games, which serves as the basis for a friendship.
  • Blackmail Backfire: In Episode 2, Zim tries to coerce Gaz into serving him by threatening to expose how she betrayed Dib last season. She responds by pointing out that 1) she doesn't care what Dib thinks of her, 2) even if she did, she's sure Dib wouldn't believe Zim anyway, and 3) she takes threats personally. She then proceeds to beat Zim up, with a promise of worse if he pulls this stunt again.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: When Gaz asks him if he's really daring to try and blackmail her, Zim replies that it's a "nasty" word, but confirms that he is doing so.
  • Black Market: There's one in the Irken Empire that specializes in smuggling cultural artifacts from non-Irken species.
  • Blood Knight: The cyborg Havok is obsessed with finding a Worthy Opponent who can match him in a fight, and is ecstatic that Dib lives up to that.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Nyx hates the established Irken system and wants to bring it down. Which she seeks to accomplish by means of blowing stuff up.
  • Bounty Hunter: Multiple ones show up in Episode 3, including Havok and Dwicky.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In Episode 4, Steve notes that his and Viera's lives have gotten pretty weird if he can consider it pretty normal that she's being chased by a movie crew led by a banshee witch.
  • Bystander Syndrome: In Episode 4, Dib ultimately chooses to not step in when Tak is fighting the Ham Demon, figuring she can handle it by herself.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Claudia von Wunderbar treats anyone correcting her as an insult.
  • Carnival of Killers: In Episode 3, Nyx puts out a hit on Dib, with several alien bounty hunters coming to Earth to hunt him down for it.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tak easily sees through Zim's Miz disguise, but Tenn and the Tallest write it off as just her revenge obsession talking.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally in Episode 6, where Senior shows off a pair of revolvers he got from Earth to his club, and later uses them to disarm a Miz supporter that's trying to escape capture.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Bill shows up again, and if anything seems less rational than he was last time.
  • Dark Action Girl: In addition to those from Season 1, there's now also Nyx as well.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Nyx thought putting out a bounty on Dib without Zim's knowledge or consent would make him happy.
    • The Tallest allow their service drones full access to their chambers, which is a potential security breach even when there isn't a rebellion going on.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Claudia von Wunderbar tries to kill Viera for correcting her on saying Viera's name (after already being mad over Viera failing to bring her coffee when the machine broke).
  • The Don: Grissom, the leader of one of the largest crime syndicates in Irken space, is introduced in Episode 3.
  • Door Stopper: At only six chapters, this season is already over 72,000 words long. Which combined with Season 1 makes the series as a whole over 300,000 words.
  • The Dreaded: The Consulars are this among the Irkens, thanks to their psychic powers making it nearly impossible to hide anything from them.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Dib does not automatically forgive Dwicky for what happened between them in canon, though by the end of their reunion lets his grudge mostly go.
  • Enemy Civil War: The New Irken Order movement inspired by Zim's "Miz" speeches has begun organizing as a terrorist organization and actively fighting against the Empire's establishment.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Played with in regards to Nyx, has no problem with enslaving "lesser races" if it's for a purpose, but doing it just to save labor costs enrages her.
    • Also subverted by Tenn. She's initially wary when she finds out that Slab Rankle is enslaving the rat people in the Mall's garage, but not out of morals; she's just worried about if being involved with this will drag her into legal trouble. Upon being told that it's not technically illegal, she has no problem with it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Swollen Eyeball agents all dislike Dib, but are disgusted at Quis' attempt to frame him and get him kicked out of the organization, noting that for all of Dib's flaws, he wouldn't sink that low.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Followers of Zim's Miz messages enacting violence against the Irken Empire's establishment counts as this, as aside from the fact it's just a front for his own power-grabbing, Zim is still preaching the Irkens as a Master Race destined to rule the universe.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Inverted, as Havok says he expected Zim to be shorter based on what he's heard. Given Irkens' view of the link between height and competence, there's a couple of insults there.
  • Eye Scream:
    • One of Ying's eyes gets blasted out by Steve during their second fight. Nyx replaces it afterwards.
    • Skoodge gets zapped in the eye by the malfunctioning Job Evaluator drone in Episode 4.
  • Fangirl: Nyx is this for Zim. She's noted as literally squeeing upon first meeting him.
  • Flat "What": Zim's reaction, along with Tranquil Fury, to learning that Nyx put a hit out on Dib without his permission.
  • Foil: Darth and Skoodge were both born different and could not meet the standards of Irken society, with Darth born blind and Skoodge born short. But the difference is how their Tallest treated them and how it affected them. Tallest Miyuki had taken sympathy on Darth and had him spared, allowing him to rise to lead the Consulars. Tallest Red and Purple hate and abuse Skoodge; because of that, despite being a skilled Invader, his contributions are ignored and given credit to someone else. Due to this, Darth stays loyal to the Empire and respects his Tallest's memory, while Skoodge turned again the Empire to get revenge on his Tallest.
  • Former Child Star: Claudia von Wunderbar, the actress that Viera interns for on Career Day, is noted as having been a fairly successful child star who is now long past her prime.
  • For the Evulz: In Episode 2, Zim decides, at some prodding from Nyx, to go on a rampage and destroy stuff in the city as a means of letting off some steam.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Bob started as just a Table-Headed Service Drone, the very bottom of the Irken Empire's hierarchy. Now he's leader of a New Irken Order cell operating aboard the Massive itself underneath the Tallest's noses.
  • Gatling Good: Nyx's Weapon of Choice is a plasma-spewing minigun.
  • Genre Savvy: Steve repeatedly cites his knowledge of horror movies in Episode 5, as Team Save Earth explore a supposedly haunted house.
  • Haunted House: Quis sets up a fake one in Episode 5 as part of a plan to set up Dib and his friends to look like frauds.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In Episode 4, Tak ends up having to fight the same Ham Demon she once unleashed to attack Zim.
    • In Episode 5, Quis' plan to set up Dib to look like he was running a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax and get him kicked out of the SEN for fraud. Instead, events play out so that Quis is exposed, with him being the one kicked out.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Tak uses her hypnotic implant to hack the Job Evaluator so that she gets a job at her own company.
  • Humongous Mecha: Zim rampages in one in Episode 2 as a means of having some fun.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Agent Spider Monkey mocks Dib and the twins for their lack of evidence for their paranormal encounters, but as Darkbootie points out, he hasn't had much success in that department either.
    • Tak calls out Tenn for becoming as obsessed with Nyx as she accuses Tak of being with Zim.
    • In Episode 4, Zim tells Nyx to quit whining about her Career Day assignment, while Skoodge points out that he was just doing the same thing.
  • I Call It "Vera": Nyx calls her gun "My Little Friend".
  • The Illuminati: Bill believes that they, along with the Freemasons and Templars, is part of a secret conspiracy to control the world.
  • Irony: The Tallest have come to love Earth snacks and video games, but haven't conquered the planet for them because of Zim's presence. Which means Zim being on Earth has actually prevented it being taken over by his people.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: The Tallest apparently have a long-standing argument over the pronunciation of "caramel". Red thinks it's pronounced "car-a-mel", while Purple thinks it's "car-mel".
  • I Know You Know I Know: Nyx employed this to determine Miz is Zim in disguise. It takes him a minute to decipher her explanation.
  • The Jeeves: Ying has the personality of one, complete with an upper-class British accent.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • The Swollen Eyeball members are rather condescending about it, but they're still correct that Team Save Earth have zero credible evidence of the Irkens being aliens, despite months of fighting them.
    • Played With. Bill has a right to be suspicious of Dib after their last meeting. However, Dib points out that most of what happened was either a coincidence or his own fault.
    • As abrasive as Mrs. Albertson is to her workers, she is right they are acting lazy, and she even points out that while her punishments are extreme, they were in her contracts so they knew what they were getting into.
  • Kindness Button: Gaz's love of video games allows her to bond with Nyx, who feels likewise about them.
  • Konami Code: Nyx provides Gaz with a variant in Episode 2, noting that it's pretty much universal among games on every planet.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In Episode 4, Gaz spends most of her time interning at Game Slave Incorporated headquarters goading the boss into having employees beaten by security guards for "discipline". Later, one of them takes the opportunity to frame her for something that isn't her fault, leading to her being "disciplined".
    • Also in Episode 4, Tak uses her mind control implant to hack the Job Evaluator, in order to cheat the system and spend her Career Day assignment at her own front company. However, due to circumstances outside her control, this results in her having to fight the Ham Demon and apparently getting blamed for the damage it causes.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Previously On… which opens the season spells out the entirety of the first season's plot, including Zim learning his mission is a fake, rebelling against the Tallest, and Norlock betraying him in the end.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In Episode 4, in a spur of the moment panicked decision, Steve tricks the coffee-obsessed employees of the office he's interning at that the movie crew chasing Viera is coming to steal their coffee, causing them to fight each other.
  • Mad Bomber: Nyx likes to blow stuff up.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Control Brains make it clear that while the Tallest lead the Irken Empire, they rule it.
  • Man Bites Man: During their first fight in Episode 1, Tenn gets Nyx in a chokehold, which Nyx breaks by biting her arm. Tenn is incredulous at this act, with Nyx smugly responding that anything goes in a fight.
  • Mean Boss: Wiyn is a Drill Sergeant Nasty who rides hard on her soldiers. That said, she values their lives and is just trying to get them to do their best.
  • Monster Clown: Episode 5 features a Cyborg Death Clown unleashed by Zim that chases Team Save Earth through Quis' fake haunted house.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The corporation Steve interns at in Episode 4 is dedicating its resources towards developing a high-tech paper clip that they think will make them billions.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Mention is made of Floopsy Bloops Shmoopsy, a Show Within a Show from Issue 20 of the Invader Zim comics.
    • Nyx mentions the video game planet Arcadikon, from Issue 16 of the comics.
    • Bill's grand conspiracy theory includes secret societies of wizards whose magic is powered by Poop soda. This was the plot of Issues 29 and 30 of the comics.
  • Never My Fault: Quis' reaction to getting kicked out of the SEN is to blame Dib, despite it being a result of his own scheming.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Averted. The information Nyx brings to Zim as proof of her loyalty is apparently related to an old plan of his which he thinks he can upgrade and make succeed this time. What it actually is in unknown at the moment.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Averted. At best, the Tallest are indifferent to their workers, but usually treat them with contempt. This causes many of them to defect to the New Order rebellion.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Dib mentions several plots Tak and Tenn carried out in between seasons which we get no detailed information on — there was a hypnotic weenie incident, a flock of rabid seagulls, and a sentient mutant zucchini monster.
    • How, exactly, Dwicky managed to become a badass bounty hunter since going into space.
  • Nothing Personal: When Ying attacks Team Save Earth, he makes it clear it's only because they're fighting Nyx.
  • Not Quite Dead: Havok is nearly killed during his fight with Dib, but Zim recovers his body and places it in stasis on life support indefinitely.
  • Odd Friendship: To everyone's surprise, Gaz and Nyx strike up a friendship.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Most of Team Save Earth and Dwicky's fight with the bounty hunter team TRL and Gabbrot in Episode 3 isn't depicted.
  • Original Character: In addition to those introduced in the prior season, there's now also Nyx, Ying, Grissom, Havok, Darth, Wiyn, and a smattering of minor characters.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: Claudia von Wunderbar normally looks like a normal woman, but when angry she turns into a hag and starts floating.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Played for laughs in Episode 2, where the other students' reactions to Gaz actually acting friendly towards someone is to treat it like a sign of the apocalypse.
  • The Paragon: It's stated that the late Tallest Miyuki is considered the greatest leader that the Empire has ever had.
  • Parental Substitute: It's noted that Tallest Miyuki was as close to being Darth's mother as was possible for a race that doesn't organically reproduce.
  • Pass the Popcorn: In Episode 1, when Zim goes to confront Tak and Tenn, and also Team Save Earth when they show up, everyone is surprised when they realize Nyx tagged along and is watching from the sidelines, eating popcorn offered to her by Ying. She only stops when Zim orders her to make herself useful and join the fight.
  • The Perfectionist: The reason Wiyn drives her soldiers so hard is because she wants them to do their best, as she believes that the Irken Empire is perfect and therefore everyone in it has to be perfect too.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: Tallest Miyuki was a believer in this, according to Darth, who shares her favorite saying that striving for perfection drives you to do better, but thinking you're perfect leads to stagnation.
  • Perky Female Minion: Nyx serves as this to Zim.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Wiyn is a Drill Sergeant Nasty, but she cares for the lives of her soldiers.
    • After Dite takes out the NIO operative who's trying to blow up the Massive's bridge crew, the Tallest give her the rest of the day off. She's underwhelmed by the reward, but considering the Tallest's usual attitude, it's saying something.
  • The Primadonna: Claudia von Wunderbar is shrill and demanding and quick to blame other people if anything even slightly goes wrong with her performances.
  • Psycho Supporter: Nyx is absolutely nuts, and completely dedicated to Zim.
  • Puppet King: Downplayed. The Tallest do have real power and lead the Empire militarily, but the Control Brains are the ones that actually rule the Empire, handling day-to-day administration.
  • Quit Your Whining:
    • Gaz says as much to Nyx at the start of Episode 3, telling her to stop complaining about her grudge against Dib and doing something about it.
    • In Episode 4, Zim tells Nyx to stop complaining about her Career Day assignment (even though he was just doing the same thing).
  • Read the Fine Print: Mrs. Albertson, the Game Slave executive, points out that their contracts all spell out that she's completely allowed to have her employees beaten if they violate company rules.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When the Swollen Eyeball agents point out that Team Save Earth have constantly failed to collect any credible evidence that Zim or the others are aliens, Viera counters by pointing out that it's hard to gather evidence when you're in the middle of fighting for your life.
    • Zim's attempt at blackmailing Gaz into serving him fails because, as she points out, she doesn't care what Dib thinks of her, and even if she did, Dib is unlikely to believe anything Zim has to say about her anyway.
    • Nyx puts a bounty out on Dib, thinking that Zim will be pleased with her. Instead, he's pissed, since aside from the fact that he wants to kill Dib himself, she didn't even talk to him about it before doing it.
    • Dib is not happy to see Dwicky again, as despite his good intentions he did still lie to and trick Dib the last time they met. It's only after their new adventure together that Dib decides to (mostly) forgive him.
    • Because their prior interactions all went badly for him, the deeply paranoid and insane Bill is now convinced that Dib is conspiring against him.
    • When Gaz is blamed for the damage caused to Game Slave Inc. headquarters by the rampaging rat people, she realizes she can't tell people what really happened because with her as the only witness, no one will ever believe it.
      • Gaz earlier abused her position during her trip to Game Slave Inc. by snitching on workers and/or making sure they get the blame for slights. So when she's accused of the damage committed by the rat slaves, a worker she abused is quick to pin the blame onto her. Even if he had been willing to believe her possible claim that the rat creatures were responsible or if he had also witnessed the incident, he'd be hopping at the chance to pay her back for her horrid behavior.
    • Because everyone (except Tenn) causes or otherwise gets involved in trouble during their Career Day assignments, they all end up sent to detention.
    • When Red questions why they allow the Dark Irk-Net to exist when it's used for crime and sedition, the Control Brains point out that it's run on independently operated servers outside of their control network. As such, it's hard for them to even monitor most sites, let alone shut them down.
    • The Massive is the size of a small planet. As such, there's a lot of redundant space that's rarely ever used by the crew, and therefore has plenty of room for Bob's New Irken Order cell to use as a headquarters.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Bob's New Irken Order cell operates right aboard the Massive itself.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Quis runs one in Episode 5, creating a fake haunted house full of every horror movie cliche, intending to let Dib and his friends investigate it, get convinced it's real, and then report it to the SEN, before swooping in and "exposing" it as a fake, in the hopes that Dib's group would get blamed and then expelled from the organization for fraud. Instead, Quis' activities are exposed, and he's the one kicked out.
  • Secret Police: The Irkens are mentioned to have such a force, called the Consulars; Purple finds them creepy, which Red says is the point. When finally introduced, they're revealed to be psychics, who answer directly to the Control Brains.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Arachnos, the first of the bounty hunters to come after Dib, accidentally blows herself up in the process of setting a trap for him.
  • Serious Business: The company that Steve interns at in Episode 4 takes its coffee very seriously. To the point of the idea of someone taking it from them being treated as a declaration of war.
  • Servile Snarker: Ying is completely loyal to Nyx, but doesn't let that stop him from snarking at her as much as he does everyone else.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Dib says this when Gaz refers to Viera as such in the first chapter. And again when Bill calls her his girlfriend in Episode 4.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Havok is ranting about how much of a Worthy Opponent he sees Dib as, Dib tells him to just shut up and attacks him, stating by comparison that when Zim rants, it's at least mildly entertaining, whereas Havok sounds like a cliche.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Claudia von Wunderbar's name is a bit long, but still not nearly enough to match how incredible she seems to think she is.
  • Spanner in the Works: Zim inadvertently serves as one to Quis' plans in Episode 5, as the intervention of his Cyborg Death Clown ends up exposing his "Scooby-Doo" Hoax to Dib.
  • Spit Take: Immediately preceding the first above-mentioned She Is Not My Girlfriend moment, Dib is sipping some orange juice, and sprays it out when Gaz makes her comment.
  • String Theory: Bill has an extensive one detailing the grand set of conspiracies he believes he's uncovered. But given it's all based on his Insane Troll Logic, Dib notes that it's a bizarre mess that makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Super Mode: Ying has his Battle Mode, in which he transforms into a seven foot all robotic knight.
  • Super OCD: Ying is rather obsessive with cleanliness. Which makes living in the same place as GIR somewhat difficult for him.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Gaz is disgusted with her classmates for not seeing through Nyx's disguise, and even Dib is starting to wonder why he even bothers when his classmates easily fall for Nyx's disguise and cover story.
  • The Syndicate: The Green Claw Syndicate, introduced in Episode 3, is stated to be one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Irken space.
  • Take That!:
    • In Episode 6, when Dite is stating her love for dark, gritty superhero stories, she specifies that she however doesn't like Dawn of Justice, considering it a "bloody, nonsensical mess".
    • Also in Episode 6, Red derides Purple's idea of always flying in a straight line, considering it moronic. This is a nod towards the movie, and how it had the Tallest being Too Dumb to Live by insisting on always flying the Massive in a straight, even into dangerous situations (something the author considers OOC for Red).
  • Tastes Like Purple: According to Nyx, for the first week after her PAK was electrocuted, everything "tasted yellow".
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: As usual, this is Zim's view on Dib. When he learns that Nyx put a hit out on Dib without his permission, he is furious, to the point of physically attacking her.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Dib's reaction to having to listen to Bill's insane conspiracy theories.
  • This Is Reality: When Spider Monkey condescends Team Save Earth for failing to get any photographic evidence of their fights with Zim and Tak, Viera counters by pointing out that the kind of fights they get into aren't like "a bad kung-fu movie" where the bad guys take their turns attacking the heroes; they're free-for-all brawls, which leave no time for taking pictures.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ying to Nyx, and Nyx to Zim.
  • Unknown Rival: Arnold Quis/Agent Spider Monkey to Dib. Dib barely knows he exists, and is clueless to the fact that Quis is envious of him to the point viewing him as an Arch-Enemy. When Quis' actions get him kicked out of the SEN, he pins the blame solely on Dib, who isn't even aware of what happened.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The whole movie crew knows Claudia is a banshee and don't care, treating her wanting to feed on Viera as totally normal.
  • Villainous BSoD: Zim is in a bit of a funk at the start of the season, due to being unable to come up with any new plans to conquer Earth.
  • Villain Cred: Ironically, given who's under the mask, the Tallest admit that Miz is pretty cool and impressive despite all his treasonous talk.
  • Villain Has a Point: As Miz, Zim makes some pretty good points regarding the corruption of the Irkens' current system, even if he's only doing so to stir up anger he can take advantage of.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: When Dib dozes off during Bill's explanation of his grand conspiracy theory and gets slapped back awake, he blurts out "Bigfoot's tonsillitis!"
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Darth's investigations are hindered by the fact that the Tallest and Wiyn don't like him, and view his work as insulting to their own authority.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dib takes the time to call out Dwicky for what happened the last time they met.
  • The Worf Effect: Team Save Earth are all competent and experienced fighters by this point. But when Ying goes after them in his Battle Mode, they can barely even scratch him. In their second fight, things go a lot better, as they've adapted their strategies to handle his advantages.
  • World Building: A big part of this season is dedicated to expanding on the Irken Empire's structure and culture.
  • Worthy Opponent: Havok is searching for one, and comes to view Dib as it.
  • Wretched Hive: The planet Slumia is an Irken planet which — due to being used as a place to dump the civilian population — is overpopulated and underfunded, leaving poor masses living amongst crumbling infrastructure. A later chapter also reveals that it's mostly under the control of the Green Claw Syndicate.

     Tropes in the Mature Edition 
  • A-Cup Angst: More anger than angst, but Gaz is quite sensitive about being flat-chested.
  • Age Lift: In the main series, the characters are stated to be 11-12 years old. Here, they're all made at least 18 in order to make things less awkward for the situations the characters find themselves in.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Upon meeting Viera, Professor Membrane jumps to the conclusion that she's Dib's girlfriend and begins to speculate in front of them the likelihood of them giving him grandchildren, to the extreme embarrassment of both of them.
  • Berserk Button: Don't point out that Gaz is flat-chested and looks like a boy.
  • Bully Hunter: The reason Viera doesn't feel bad after embarrassing Torque as a distraction during her streak is because he's a bully who picks on Dib.
  • Buxom Is Better Viera is fairly well endowed.
  • Cannibal Clan: The Children of Gaia's Love believe that if they eat the flesh of their Chosen One, they'll somehow become one with nature. Unfortunately for Gaz, who just seized that role.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Team Save Earth apparently keeps stockpiles of spare clothes and supplies (including spell drives) around the Hi Skool, just in case.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Professor Membrane deactivates the defenses in Gaz's room so that Viera can use it for her spell preparations. When Gaz learns of this, she assaults Viera to try and get rid of her, accidentally triggering the spell too soon.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: A comedic example — in the first entry, after Viera and Gaz are transported away by a screwed up teleportation spell, their clothes are shown to have been left behind.
  • Fatal Flaw: Gaz's Jerkass nature only gets her in trouble.
  • Flat "What":
    • Gaz's reaction to being told that her father let Viera into her room.
    • Viera's reaction when the drugged popular girls claim to suddenly be attracted to Dib.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: According to Viera, she and Professor Membrane have met at least a dozen times, yet he never remembers her.
  • Hate Plague: What Zim was aiming for in the second entry. Instead, between not fully understanding human chemistry and GIR screwing up the formula, it has the opposite effect and makes the girls exposed to it become attracted to Dib instead of enraged at him.
  • I Want Grandkids: Professor Membrane wants grandchildren to carry on his legacy one day.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Gaz is flat-chested and has no curves whatsoever, leaving her looking fairly masculine.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Gaz refuses to listen to Viera's warnings, leaving her at the mercy of a cannibal cult.
    • Gaz and the popular girls try to humiliate Viera by forcing her to streak around the skool. She gets revenge by magically stripping them in front of most of the student body, humiliating them instead.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: During her streak in the second entry, Viera comes across Nny killing someone. They quickly agree that neither saw anything if the other didn't. Later, Viera convinces Dib to pretend that the whole situation, including him glimpsing her naked, never happened.
  • Loose Canon: The anthology is specifically stated to be non-canon, only vaguely being set in the same universe as the main series.
  • Naked People Are Funny: A running theme in this collection.
    • The first entry is about Gaz and Viera being accidentally teleported into the middle of the woods without their clothes. Hilarity Ensues as they try to get home without being seen.
    • The second entry involves Gaz and the popular girls jumping Viera when she's changing in the skool locker room and forcing out into the hallway naked, leaving her to streak as she tries to avoid being seen. At one point during this, she causes Torque to lose his swim trunks in the skool pool, leaving him to be laughed at as a diversion while she slips away unseen. And after getting her clothes back, she gets revenge on the other girls by casting a spell that makes all of them lose their clothes in front of a full cafeteria, humiliating them all.
  • Naked on Arrival: The screwed up teleportation spell that Viera and Gaz get caught up in during the first entry leaves their clothes behind.
  • Negative Continuity: Unlike the main series, Word of God is that this will be in full play here.
  • Never My Fault: Gaz refuses to accept responsibility for the situation she and Viera find themselves in, even though it only happened because she ruined Viera's spell out of spite.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gaz receives one from an old lady who mistakes her for a male flasher. And from a group of female nudists who mistake her for a peeping tom.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Downplayed. Viera does try to help Gaz after she accidentally hands herself over to a cannibal cult, but when she refuses to listen to her Viera just leave her to her fate.
  • Shipper on Deck: Played for laughs, as Professor Membrane fully supports Dib and Viera as a couple, much to their extreme embarrassment.
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