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Headscratchers / Invader Zim

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     Irken Clothing 
Is there a reason that some Irkens have purple shirts but most of them have red shirts?

     Irken Gender 
  • For Irkens, are "male" and "female" more modes of aesthetics than biology? They're shown to at least have superficial characteristics that are usually related to being male or being female (though there seem to be very few "female" Irkens), but they don't reproduce sexually (or even appear to have genitals), so are these apparently gender based differences in appearance just matters of personal style?
    • That question's a real tougher. This troper has different theories; 1) Irkens are cloned and have identical biology so they don't have any divergent organs to match, thus they cannot mate. The fact that females have eyelashes can indicate that they are different than males in some aspects; like, that they're less capable in male-oriented areas, but are better at other things to even out the gender equality. 2) They have organs that stick out, but they are not used for mating because either it's prohibited or they frankly have a psychological barrier that prevents them from acting on their primal instincts. Or 3) It has no relevance to the plot of the show and was only put there to emphasize that Irkens do have different genders (or justify the concept that Tak is basically Zim's female counterpart, who is also more competent. It's sounds pretty feministic now when I think about it...)
    • Well, the way Irkens are born in their current age is clearly dependent on advanced cloning technology, one the species couldn't possibly have always had. My guess would be that there once was a time - one that probably lasted quite a while - where Irkens made babies the old fashioned way, with baby-makin' body parts, and genders stuck around once they switched to cloning because, well, it would just seem weird for them not to exist anymore.
    • The Irkens may have started genetically engineering their young at some point in history in order to remove their reproductive organs, as sexuality may have acted as a hindrance or distraction from their imperialistic goals. However, if they used this method, Irken DNA might still code for sexes- simply without the development of reproductive organs, thus upholding the phenomenon of gender, which for whatever reason (possibly for the sake of social customs), might still be acknowledged. In fact, the genetic modification of Irken young may have been started in the first place due to a deficiency of females, and thus inefficient rates of reproduction; this would explain why so few females are shown.

     Irken Subtitles 
  • There was Irken subtitles in the DVD box set. Maybe there is a hidden language inside there! Kinda like Simlish in The Sims .

    The Foodening Makes No Sense 
  • In the episode "The Frycook What Came From All That Space", there a periodic massive increase in business called "the Foodening" that makes it impossible to escape the planet for the next twenty years (because of the gravitational pull). If this is so, how do the customers escape? Ever?
    • The gravitational increase is caused by the massive weight gain experienced by the customers when they eat all that food. Presumably, over the next 20 years they slim down again. That still doesn't explain why the mass of the food itself doesn't increase the gravity of Foodcourtia before it is eaten.
      • Maybe they eat so much that a massive amount of food has to be delivered to the planet continually to satisfy their appetites, and they keep on eating and eating. But, eventually, they stop eating, and the mass of the planet goes down again because all the, erm... waste is sent out of the planet using some sufficiently fast, high-energy vehicle to escape the gravity that, unfortunately, living beings cannot survive in due to the inertia (Light, obviously, should be able to escape the gravity since the planet isn't a black hole. So, in theory, something that goes close to the speed of light ought to be able to escape as well. But it goes so fast that the contents of it get mashed up, which is okay for dookie, but not lifeforms).
      • It can't be, though—the extra gravity pull starts as soon as the inrush of customers starts, so the extra mass is definitely from the customers arriving.
      • Uh... there's a time-warp thing involved... I dunno.
      • I think that was just to explain why there was significantly less than twenty years between Zim's first escape and the fry cook coming after him.
      • It's funny.
      • Yes, we know that. Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool don't actually explain anything except in a Doylist context.
      • This could be explained with the time warp. Maybe the gravity of the planet continues to increase during the Foodening until the gravity of the planet warps time itself, and everyone is shot back to just before the Foodening began, restoring normal gravity. Granted, that leaves a lot of time travel problems to be worked out, and doesn't make all that much sense.
      • Fuck physics, I have money!
      • Maybe the planet just has really short years.
      • Maybe customers who don't want to leave can just leave by teleporter or something? Though that doesn't explain why it's so important for Zim to escape before the Foodening, since he could just teleport out afterwards.
      • My guess is that the Irkens have some kind of technology to outright destroy waste products (or shunt it to another dimension, or something). The customers are stranded for twenty years, during which time they run out of food, starve and lose weight, while all their body waste is gotten rid of via whatever the Irkens use. Eventually, since they're eating the food and then disposing of it via mass-destroying toilets, the planet's mass finally shrinks back down to escapable levels. And god help me, the MST3K Mantra may never recover from that explanation...
      • The other dimension waste disposal theory makes even more sense in the context of Zim's threat to send Dib and the bus to a "dimension of pure DOOKY!" in "A Room with a Moose".
    • Well, doesn't the taxi ship service thing shut down for the Foodening? So maybe when it's over and people stop eating (the gravitational pull is from the snacking remember) it opens again and they all leave.
      • O.0 You still have all the people, and all the matter from the snacks, since nothing can escape Foodcourtia's gravitational pull during the Foodening. It's just in their digestive tracts and septic systems now.
      • The gravitational pull is from the act of snacking on such a huge scale, not from the presence of the snacks themselves. So once everyone's full and there's no active snacking going on, the pull weakens and people can leave.
      • ...You make my brain hurt so much that that actually makes sense! ...Possibly. ...No, it doesn't.
      • Yes, yes it does! Ignoring the fact that the idea that active snacking causes gravitational pull makes no sense, it is seriously what the show suggests happening, which means all theories about how leaving is possible have to work around it. Therefore, if active snacking causes the gravitational pull, then everyone finishing eating releases them. Easy.
    • They just don't leave. They arrive for the Foodening and remain until the Foodening ends. That's why it was such an urgent thing for Zim to get off the planet before the Foodening; because once it starts, he can't leave for twenty years.

    Sizz-Lorr's height and status 
  • In the same episode, why is Sizz-Lorr a fry cook at all? For Irkens, size=status, right? And Sizz-Lorr is huge, nearly as tall as the Tallest. And being a fast food worker is considered such a low-status job that Zim was demoted to it for nearly destroying his own civilization. So shouldn't Sizz-Lorr be in the military or something?
    • Holy crap, he must have done something even worse than ZIM! Maybe he blew up a couple of planets, or something.
      • Maybe. Although if he had the job as punishment, you wouldn't expect him to be as passionate about it as he seems to be, or to be able to take a vacation, which he's planning to do during the foodening.
    • Notably, the Irken soldiers who bring Zim to Foodcourtia report directly to Sizz-lor, as if he were their superior officer. He dismisses them likewise. That heavily suggests Sizz-lorr is somewhere in the Irken chain-of-command.
      • Hmmm. Maybe being a fry cook is a higher status thing than whatever ZIM was? Or maybe he's in charge of that planet, or something.
      • Maybe he's just one of those people who takes a job that's beneath him because he loves it, possibly after retiring from a long and storied career.
      • Maybe he accidentally ate the snacks of the Almighty Tallest and was forced to be a cook to atone for his grievous sins. He then realized he was passionate about cooking and became a huge success!
    • Perhaps it's not just height, but also width that determines status. Sizz-Lorr's wider than he is tall, so that might have something to do with it. No fatties in charge, no sir!
    • Foodcourtia is essentially a prison planet; since Sizz-lorr is the head fry cook, that would make him a sort of warden. Plus, it means he controls an entire planet, which is hardly a lowly position.
    • They address this in the DVD commentaries, and state that it is because he's more wide than tall.
      • Yeah, but why do I get the feeling that was a joke...?
    • The Irkens worship junk food. To be the head of a planet that administers such snacks is an honor indeed.
    • Well, Irken are programmed from birth to belong to a certain class, for instance ZIM was originally programmed to be an invader, but after his actions in Operation Impending Doom I, he was reprogrammed to be classified as a food court drone as a punishment. So probably all Irkens are programmed from birth according to their genetic stock, to belong to some class, and only those belonging to the Invader class and who are tall can become The Tallest, while Irken belonging to other classes, even if tall, cannot become The Tallest.
    • Sizz-lorr was an Irken?
    • I always thought that only Irkens who served in the military were eligible for becoming the Almighty Tallest. If Sizz-Lorr has only been a fry-cook all his life, then he could never become superior to the Tallest.
      • I posit that among the Irkins he's a complete freak, far outside the parameters they ever expected. He's really not tall so much as big, is oversized in every aspect, and otherwise a complete deviation from the Irkin form (this goes double if you believe that the Tallest are really just regular sized Irkins in special suits), and was therefore deported off to Foodcourtia to do menial labor like a hunchbacked son.
      • It's extremely unlikely that Sizz-lorr is being forced to work on Foodcourtia. For starters, he's a Frylord, which is apparently the equivalent of a manager, at least. When Zim asks why Gashloog gets to take a break, Sizz-lorr says, "Because I hired him! You're here as punishment for almost annihilating our civilization!" Sizz-lorr also plans to go on vacation, which again conflicts with the idea that he's there as punishment. It's most likely that he's ineligible to be the Tallest for some reason (the IZ wiki claims only military Irkens can become Tallest), so the next highest position is that of Frylord.
      • For all those mentioning "only military Irkens can become Tallest", keep in mind that Irk is a military society and therefore everyone's involved with the military. We've seen absolutely no evidence of military civilians. My theory is that a job in junk food is highly regarded in Irken society.

    No Irkens on Foodcourtia 
  • And another one from "Frycook", Foodcourtia is clearly part of the Irken empire, but no Irken customers has been seen. I mean,seriously, we've seen only THREE Irkens (and they were workers) between a lot of other different aliens (including enslaved ones, like the Vortians). Where are all the Irkens?
    • Perhaps the Irkens have more pressing matters than eating at fast food restaurants.
      • ...surprisingly.
    • It is not clearly stated if the Irken actually need to eat, or if they eat "regular" food or some nutritious serum their back packs supply to them. ZIM seems to only eat out of curiosity, not necessity, and the Tallest out of gluttony. So perhaps Foodcourtia is a place the Irken built to get economic input from the other species on the Empire, and to keep them happy and controlled with comfort food. Vazquez seems to have this approach specially towards fast food.

    What Zim eats on Earth 
  • What the hell does Zim eat while he's at earth? I remember him eating a sandwich in Battle of the Planets and a poop soda in another, but what does he eat? Does he just live of of poop soda and sandwiches or something? What!
    • In the DVD commentary the show's creator says that the Almighty Tallest's constant snacking is done as a status symbol, that they get everything they need from their packs and so solid food is purely a luxury item. I assumed the same is true of all Irkens.
    • Zim's sammiches are clearly shown to have the Irken logo on them, so they are most likely Irken sammoches rather than filthy human lunchmeats. As for the cola, maybe it's just one of the few things from earth that he happens to be able to eat (like waffles)? It's not like cola and sandwiches share many ingredients.
      • Since the Tallest are shown enjoying snack-type junk food, and the planet of Foodcourtia is devoted to junk food, I always assumed Zim lived on junk food.
    • It's possible that the PAK itself provides all the nutrients an Irken body needs. This would result in the consumption of food being a biological aspect that the creature the PAK is attached to developed, but no longer a need. The Irken not actually needing to eat anything both explains Invaders (including the illegitimate Zim) not having anything to eat on their missions, being able to eat foods from alien worlds, and the prevalence of snacking; food has become a recreational luxury instead of a biological necessity, and a great wealth of snackfoods is a symbol of prominent status, as we see with the Tallest.

    "Rubber Piggy" and languages 
  • Why is it that at the end of "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy" the writing on the pig is English, even though the Irkens clearly have their own language (or at least their own alphabet)? Wouldn't Zim write with that, not English?
    • Well, ZIM's been on Earth for a while at that point. Maybe habitually writing in English is one of the few ways he's assimilated.
    • Translation Convention, most likely. Of course, that doesn't actually explain it...
    • Well, it's shown that English is used all over the universe. Maybe the Irken language used for more official business?

    No G in Irken? 
  • Related problem: If the Irkens use their own alphabet, why are their S.I.R. units named with English lettering and words? "What does the G stand for?" Well, Zim, have you ever encountered a letter G before?
    • Maybe they use the Latin alphabet for acronyms, sort of like the Japanese do.
    • Maybe, by an incredible coincidence, the Irken alphabet just happens to include a S,I,R, and G. But all the other letters are different.
    • By that same token of logic why is Zim, The Tallest, and everyone else even speaking in English at all? Mostly likely, it is an imagined, extreme translation from the audible Irken language that we never get to hear because we puny humans could never, ever, be able to comprehend it. In a million billion years. Siiiigh.
      • Can't be; Dib understands it in the transmission picked up at the start of episode 1. I'm pretty sure he communicates with the Tallest later, too.
      • Actually, yeah, it could be. Membrane is a super-genius with an insane amount of resources, which Dib quite obviously has access to. Maybe the transmission-receiver Dib was using automatically translates for him?
      • Though it wouldn't explain the SIR acronym (which I'd just chalk up to the same sort of Translation Convention that makes R2-D2 and X-wing fighters work in Star Wars), that would make sense for Dib. He was specifically looking for alien transmissions, so he probably did have a translator plugged into the antenna ahead of time.
      • Irken and English are the exact same spoken language, but the Irkens made a different alphabet.
      • Maybe one of the many, many feature of their PAKs are that it instantly translates their speech for anyone that happens to hear them, allowing them to communicate with other races.
    • I second the PAK translation theory. I'm guessing since the Irkens are so technologically advanced, they could create something of that sort.
      • It makes a lot of sense, actually. Invaders have to blend in flawlessly with the locals to gather data. Why wouldn't it be fixed for them to instantly learn the local language?
    • Because, though this show is really not for kids, subtitles for an imaginary language would just push it over the edge.
      • But subtitles in an imaginary language isn't?
      • The show didn't air with those subtitles...
    • The Irken alphabet is actually a simple cypher with a one-to-one correlation to English letters, excepting—if I remember correctly—U through Z. So it's entirely possible that yeah, spoken Irken is just spoken English, and SIR works out. "Zim" doesn't, however, so...

    The G in GIR 
  • Just what DOES the G stand for?
    • I don't know. [proceeds to pound on his own head mindlessly]
    • It's a glitch. With all the other glitches that surmounted with having random junk for a brain, it seems logical that mispronouncing his own name could and does occur.
    • The DVDs have Irken subtitles. If you're that curious, you can switch 'em on and see if they contain English letters.
    • 'Glitch', 'Girl', 'Giraffe', 'Gaffe', 'Gomez'...
    • Given what he's made out of, I always assumed it stood for 'Garbage'
      • I'd say that since SIR unit means Standard Information Retrieval unit, the G probably stands for either Glitched or Grade F.
      • Or Garbage, since that's where GIR came from.
      • Commentary says it doesn't stand for anything. If you want suggestions, the whole thing could be "Goofy, Idiotic, Robot" or "Garbled Information Retrieval".
      • "Garbage Idiot Robot"
      • It stands for "GIR".
    • GLaDOS
    • OK, so perhaps we don't know what the G stands for, but what about the I and the R? Is it still information retrieval or something different since it's a G and not an S?
      • Possibly, though GIR is no good at information retrieval. I'm partial to it being Idiot Robot, myself.
      • Maybe it doesn't stand for anything? Maybe Gir is just a name, like Zim or Dib? You guys are making things too complicated.
    • GIR is the sound a rabid dog makes when it's lost its mind.
    • I second "Garbage", since that's what the Tallest made him out of. If SIRs are "Standard-issue Information Retrieval" units, then GIR's a "Garbage-issue Information Retrieval" unit.
    • G.I.R. already explained what it means in the first episode. It stands for "I don't know."
    • I third the 'Garbage'. I always thought that it was the most sensible theory. (Actually, when I started watching it, I thought it stood for 'garbage Irken robot').
    • Gir was the one that invented the name, so if he doesn't know, then it literally doesn't stand for anything. Do all you "garbage" enthusiasts really think that he quickly assessed that he was made of garbage and adjusted the usual designation to match? One minute before proclaiming himself as "GIR", he didn't even exist.
      • Considering that GIR was in hyper-competent duty mode when he called himself GIR and he only said "I don't know" after switching to his normal mode, that's actually pretty likely.
    • I always guessed it was Garbage Intelligence Robot.
    • I just assumed it stood for 'Glitched Information Retrieval', since he was so screwed up.
    • I just thought it meant "Greatest Imbecile Robot"
    • According to my friend who spoke with Jhonen about it at Comic-Con, he is a GIR Unit, and the "G" is for "Garbage", which he was built out of, making him the "Garbage Intelligence Retrieval Unit".

    Planet Jackers can't tow their own world 
  • Why don't the Planet Jackers just use their planet-towing rig to tow their own planet to orbit a not-dying sun?
    • From what we saw, moving a planet causes earthquakes and the like.
    • You have severely overestimated the intelligence of anyone who exists in the Invader Zim universe. Only Gaz, Dib, and maybe Tak are immune to the idiocy.
      • Dib is in no ways immune, he more just has flashes of lucidity amidst his idiocy.
    • This might actually be more than a case of stupidity. Remember, their world's sun is dying, so their atmosphere is probably in pretty bad shape as well. Removing the planet from it's main heat source,even temporarily, would only make that condition worse. Also, there's that treaty they have with the Irkens: they're free to take any planet for harvesting, as long as the rest is free for the Irkens to colonize. Moving to another sun and ending their Planet jacking business could violate that treaty and leave them vulnerable for conquest.

    Zim's disguise 
  • Yeah I know it's for comedy but it still annoys me that Zim's Paper-Thin Disguise can fool so many people. I mean seriously, only Dib and Gaz seem to be smart enough to tell, but even Professor Membrane and Ms. Bitters can't tell. And really, what kind of skin condition can make a person have no ears or nose and green skin? Planet Earth really just is begging for the annihilation by Zim if they're that stupid.
    • The same one that Killer Croc has. Duh.
    • This is a Jhonen Vasquez cartoon. Everyone everywhere is an idiot except for usually one or two exceptions.
    • But then again, neither Ms. Bitters nor the Professor are particularly known for caring much about anything.
    • The existence of aliens is not known by the people on Earth. In real life, if you saw a deformed person with an abnormal skin color, you wouldn't accuse him of being an alien. At least, I would hope you wouldn't...
    • There is actually a skin condition that results in blue skin. But people not seeing through the disguise is presumably a mix of apathy and finding the idea of Zim being an alien slightly less ridiculous than him having green skin. That, and no one wants to agree with Dib if they can avoid it.
    • Professor Membrane spells out his problem with alien invaders: any theoretically inhabited planet would be ridiculously far away, requiring FTL travel to traverse the distance. FTL travel is scientifically impossible. Ergo, it's way more probably to believe Zim is a foreign kid with a skin condition than an alien, especially in a world where people like Shunk exist.

    "Natural squid-ink glands" 
  • In "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff", when Zim called for the policeman (who has a squid brain) for help, he said that his ink is not working, and all that comes out don't want to know. Later, however, he managed to blind GIR with a liquid of some sort and declared that his ink is working. It really bugs me, what EXACTLY did he use? It can't, can it?
    • "It came from his natural squid ink-glands!", according to DVD Commentary.
    • Zim's grasp on human biology is tedious at best, one can only imagine what he knows of squids. I wouldn't put it past him to have mistaken the ink glands for the brain. I mean, keep in mind how quickly the squid's brain adapts to human speech and movements. What seems more likely—that the policeman was driven insane by the procedure and came to believe he was a squid, or that Zim got something right?

    Malfunctioning robot parents 
  • The robot parents. We know why GIR is the way he is; his head is literally full of garbage. But as far as most of Zim's other equipment goes, it's clear that the only defective element is Zim himself — except for the robot parents. They make an appearance in the very first episode, having been included with the house apparently, and they suck from the get-go. What gives?
    • It probably has something to do with Zim's knowledge, or lack thereof, of everything Earth-related. Same reason he has a toilet in his kitchen.
      • But there's nothing wrong with the toilet, per se, it's just out of place (and actually if you think about it, one of Zim's less stupid mistakes — knowing that humans need to eliminate is a simple matter of biology, where knowing that they have a cultural taboo revolving around a need for privacy when performing said biological act is a lot more complicated). The robot parents aren't just weird, they're crappy and malfunctioning.
      • They don't malfunction too badly, considering. They talk, move around, even river-dance and fly with jet-packs. And when they do give off sparks/explosions, maybe Zim just never intended for them to leave the house until Parent-Teacher night, and decided they were good enough.
      • "Considering" what, exactly? Yes, they have some obviously sophisticated functions. That don't work properly, in a fashion that is never suggested to have been the result of Zim's idiocy or misuse. None of Zim's other equipment malfunctions to the degree they do, saving GIR whose crappiness is specifically accounted for. It's not really a big deal, but it seems like a weird oversight.
      • Plenty of Zim's other technology also malfunctions - for example, the house computer: it decides to disguise the Voot Carrier as a giant pig. The stranger thing about the robo-parents is that they look human at all. Zim had never seen any humans until they came out in response to his house building itself.
      • Except, that example WAS implied to have Zim's input ("why am I so amazing?" was his response to the pig-disguise). Plus, "none of Zim's other equipment malfunctions" had the qualifier "to the degree [the robot parents do]". They are consistently, horrendously terrible, not now and again ridiculous.
      • Of course, the robot parents do seem to fool the real earthling parents to a decent degree, so by Zim universe standards they are functional. Or maybe it's trying to point out that they are as functional as real parents — they're often more helpful to Zim than Membrane is to Dib.
    • I always thought Zim had built the robots. I'd have to watch the series again to be sure, but I have a memory of him working on them with a screwdriver or some-such.
      • Like I said, they make an appearance in the first episode — after Zim "builds" his house, the robot parents are there to greet him when he opens the door. He's elsewhere shown tinkering with them, but never is it implied he built them.
      • The robot parents, the base and the computer all came from the voot cruiser in the first episode, and the cruiser came from Zim himself. The glitches are probably either because Zim's customized the ship or because the ship's just old.
      • Remember that G.I.R. is supposed to absorb the surrounding/cultural information to build the hideout (listen to Zim when they are overflying a city). G.I.R. is severely glitched and bugged which acts as a corrupting filter for every bit of information he takes in. Zim gave an overall front from the houses he just saw, G.I.R. filled the rest with botched/altered details.

    Utilizing Zim 
  • Why don't the Tallest use Zim's destructive power to help conquer planets? They could send him down with some huge merch, and when Zim starts destroying, negotiate with the inhabitants to call him back. They could demand full command of the planet in return for taking Zim off their hands.
    • Well, Zim only seems capable of destroying things when he's not TRYING to destroy them, as is evidenced by his multiple failed attempts to destroy the earth. It seems to me that a planet is never safer than when Zim is actively trying to bring about it's destruction.
    • That's a lot like the logic that went into Zim's inclusion in Operation: Impending Doom I in the first place. In the script for "The Trial," the flashback shows that he was put into weapons R & D for a time, under the same principle and with similar results. You can count on Zim to be destructive, but not to aim at (much less actually hit) your desired target.
    • Zim is just too unpredictable and dangerous to keep around, there's a reason they sent him as far away as possible. Everything else they try ends up backfiring.
    • There's conquer, and then there's incinerate. The important thing about the Irken conquest is that they want to be able to use the planet afterwards, even if it's a parking lot. Using Zim for that kind of tactic would give one of two results: either he has the kind of luck he does on Earth and nobody notices, or they don't have a chance to make their demands because Zim reduces the planet to shrapnel by the time their call has been patched through.
      • One Irken Invaders was shown chillaxing surrounded by a firestorm that used to be a city, so keeping the cities intact is obviously up to the Invader.
    • A better question would be: Why were the Tallest so horrified by Zim's actions on Hobo 13? Besides the very real threat of having to pay Serving Drone 38 a total of over a million "monies", they also react in horror when Zim sells out his "teammates" over and over again. Think about this: The Tallest's plan is to usually send a single Invader with a little bit of tech to "soften" the target up before the Armada arrives. If an Invader showed this kind of ruthlessness to achieve the goal, wouldn't this be something they would applaud? "Draining the other exosuits? Bravo!" Especially grating when you realize that all of the aliens (except Skooge) are non-Irken, which are inferior species in their minds.
    • The Tallest were horrified because Zim survived what was intended to be a Suicide Mission. The Tallest were so sure that Zim would die that they opened a betting pool on it, which is why they owed money in the first place.

    Water continuity 
  • Why doesn't Zim have a problem with water in any episode besides 'The Wettening'?
    • 'Cause most of the time it's water out of a faucet or something. There's a one-off note in the commentary that it was supposed to be polluted water that he was having a negative reaction to. (Which would suggest the children were dancing around in acid friggin' rain in that ep.) I guess the message got garbled somewhere down the line and they didn't do it consistently.
    • He uses a coat of glue to shield himself from the water. It lets him resist water to some extent.
    • Dib throwing water on Zim and him running off screaming and burning is a recurring gag.
    • Furthermore, in one episode Zim coats himself in flesh to stave off bacteria, but in another it's shown meat fuses with his body. What's with that?

    Tak's snacks 
  • About Tak's plan: if she already had enough snacks to fill a hollowed-out planet, why didn't she just use them to curry favor with the Tallest? The planet-hollowing part seems redundant.
    • Most likely to ruin Zim's life like he did hers.
    • I assume it was more that Earth was going to become a snack-based planet, sort of like a second Foodcourtia. Tak mentions that Earth has no strategic value by itself, and this makes sense, since we know from the first episode that Earth is far away from Irken space and all the other Invaders fly into the opposite direction from Zim. The Tallest don't particularly need more snacks themselves (they have as much as they could ever want), but theoretically putting the snacks inside Earth would not only give the Irkens a new planet, it would open a supplying station that could help them expand into this part of the galaxy/universe/whatever.
    • Tak said herself: it wasn't about revenge, it was about being an Invader. She should have passed her test, not Zim. It's about taking what was rightfully hers. Even though she knows Zim's assignment is a joke, she still wants it because, in her mind, she'd be taking back what Zim stole from her.

    Show's cancellation 
  • Why do they continue airing this show if it was only canceled due to appealing outside the intended demographic and it being frightening to children, rather than ratings? (Which it was dominating in.)
    • "Canceled due to ratings" does not have to mean it got poor ratings (which I don't think anyone's claimed), just that it didn't get what Nick deemed high enough ratings to justify what was evidently an enormous expense. No reason, then, to not air episodes they'd already paid for, just not enough reason to pay for more.

      I really think the "too scary" bit is just a very persistent piece of fiction. Its appeal to fans is obvious — it casts the cancellation in a wholly misguided light, turning Nickelodeon's execs into Designated Villains in the process. They couldn't possibly have had reasonable or consistent motives for getting rid of what was obviously the best show ever imagined, right? They must be stupid or evil or both. In reality, I think they could have done better by the show, but Zim wasn't quite as Screwed by the Network as we like to make-believe, at least not relative to their other shows. Still sucks, though.
    • Basically the above. The show got good ratings but it was expensive to produce, so even a small slip in ratings was enough to justify considering cancellation. What's more, while the show was getting an audience, it wasn't the audience that Viacom wanted. Most of the viewers of Zim were older, rather than the young audience Nick was hoping for.
      • Why would that be a problem for them? I mean, viewers are viewers, and guess what? Older viewers are gonna have more money, which allows you to crank out the merch. Which they have done, which kinda proves my point. Sure, they crank out tons of it, but if the show was still going, there'd be more lines to put on stuff, more scenes to make more money than the GDP of every first world nation combined off of, and just more things to milk for cash. Basically, money is money, viewers are viewers, and it's odd for it to be like this.'
      • Did you miss the part where it was expensive to produce? More expensive than T-shirts and backpacks, which make their own money as opposed to leaning on advertisers like the show had to? Hell, Nick isn't even covering all the costs of the merch, Hot Topic takes care of most of that, and it makes just enough of a return to justify its existence but not enough for Nick to want to cut out the middleman. Producing new episodes is an unwanted expense that would only serve to advertise an absurdly niche clothing line.
      • It's a problem because Nickelodeon's advertisers aren't interested in older audiences, because teenagers and young adults usually don't go screaming to their parents that they'll die if they don't get the toy that was just advertised. The same reason you won't find Barbie commercials during the Super Bowl—it's more about advertising than anything, and advertisers didn't want to waste money if the people they were coming weren't being reached.
    • This also ignores what most networks have come to prize far more than ratings... demographics. Ratings basically mean jack squat nowadays, as has been shown by networks canceling shows that had the highest ratings in their timeslot again and again. If a show is 1) not drawing in a demographic that entices the absolute highest-paying sponsors and 2) expensive to produce, it gets canned, ratings be damned.
    • With the announcement of the 2019 Zim movie Enter the Florpus, it's clear that Nickelodeon was always testing the waters for New!Zim stuff by indirectly asking the audience if they cared for Zim enough to watch decade old repeats. They definitely did and this led to the comic series, which led to a new animated movie.

    Tak's clothes 
  • What's up with Tak's outfit? I mean, all the other Irkens seen on the show wore the same uniforms, so why is her outfit different?
    • She DID technically go AWOL ("Escape"), so her outfit would unsurprisingly be nonstandard or outdated.
      • but Zim was shown in her flashback (most likely in the same rank as Tak) wearing his normal uniform
      • A lot of people think it's a custom uniform made because she wants to be an individual. It's assumed in the fandom that she's a defective as well.
      • Her ship was custom-built (or at least, she claims she built it herself, which would make that likely different from the norm to be worth mentioning in the first place), so that may be. But I didn't get the idea she and Zim were necessarily the same rank at the time.
    • Maybe it's because she's a girl.
      • Nope, Invader Tenn, from 'Megadoomer', was female and wore the same uniform as Zim. I think some of the theories above may be possible, though.

    Ooo, ooo-ooo-ooo 
  • In the episode "Abducted", does anyone else hear the Doctor Who theme when ZIM and GIR are trying to escape?
    • ...Holy shit, yes I do.

    Irkens being Card Carrying Villains 
  • Why. Just...why. Why is the Irken Empire even doing the whole "take over the galaxy" thing? It was working WITH other races, like the Vortians, when Zim was just a scientist under Miyuki's reign. Presumably, Impending Doom 1 was initiated by Spork. Yes, he clearly had a huge ego, in fact, that seems common among Irkens, but there's no real reason given for why they do what they do. Not so much as a single throwaway line. They don't NEED other races to do things like make them curly fries, they've perfected the freaking test tube method! They could just breed an entire host of Irkens for the sole purpose of, say, picking the Tallest's bloody TOES. And they have the technology to cloak things, mass-produce items and people...they clearly have the skills and knowledge to make sure every single member of their race is comfortable, yet they're only interested in invading/slaughtering sentient species. You can't just go filling this gaping plothole with the bullshit reason of "They're evil, accept this", cuz I CAN'T. I'm not a four-year-old. This isn't a fairy tale, this is a mildly mature cartoon that's more for adults/teens than little kids. A little EXPLANATION please, Jhonen? >.<
    • You realize the show is meant to be a Scfi-comedy, right? So in many ways it's actually meant to be taken a lot less seriously than a fairy tale. I mean, there is a certain amount of world building going on, but the primary purpose of the show is pretty much just to be funny....Bologneous Maximus and A Room With A Moose probably should have tipped you off to the fact that the show is MEANT to be absurd.
    • This makes me wonder how long the control brains have had control of the Irkens. It could be that the control brains are some sort of parasitic alien species that accomplishes it's own ends by taking control of other species and having the other species do all the work. This would then explain why Irken civilization didn't revolve around galactic conquest during Miyuki's reign, because Miyuki was the last Tallest to actually lead the empire, then at some point between Miyuki and Spork the control brains took over (keeping Spork on as a figure head to ensure the compliance of his subjects) and decided to have the Irkens take over the galaxy for them... or it could just be that Spork was an Alexander the Great style ego maniac who wanted galactic conquest to be his legacy. Historically, civilizations have conquered other civilizations for many reasons, among those is nationalism.What better way to prove that the Irkens are the greatest species in the galaxy then for the Irken empire the conquer the galaxy? The Tallest also don't seem to be particularly competent rulers and incompetent rulers often keep their subjects from noticing their incompetence by uniting them against a common enemy.Hitler is a pretty good example of this.
    • You appear to be presupposing evil is an unnatural state of being that REQUIRES some kind of outside explanation, ala Rousseau Was Right. That sounds somewhat overly optimistic, given the kind of universe we're operating in. Plus, the stuff you're talking about — introducing elements that actually suggested things weren't always just For the Evulz — came about at the end (after the end, really) of the series, so you're criticizing them for not taking an in-depth look at stuff they didn't get a chance to explore. I suspect Zim's look at morality might well have become more sophisticated as it matured.
      • There might actually be a very simple explanation for why the Tallest do what they do. It's all For the Evulz...which of course is seems to imply that the entire Irken race is always going to be represented as the Villain by Default.
      • Maybe. I know that confusing the morality issue by using a Villain Protagonist and a Hero Antagonist was one of the things Jhonen enjoyed doing, so maybe he'd have also enjoyed mixing it up a little more with the Irkens down the line. I personally suspect the Irkens aren't necessarily evil for the hell of it but because their wiring's crossed — we know they're utterly dependent on their technology, and looking at how Zim came to be Zim in "the Trial", it seems he didn't become a megalomaniac obsessed with destruction until AFTER all that information was "downloaded" into him, that could be a clue. (It would be an nice little irony, then, that Zim is not so much a defective as a living emblem of the larger defective nature of his entire race.) It would also leave open the door for possible redemption. OR... I could be reaching. But hey.
      • I always thought it was because there are so many Irkens. You see them pile into convention halls and academies en masse; there's got to be billions of the little buggers wandering around. Perhaps their chief interest is in finding habitable planets to sustain their massive population, and the other sentient critters just happen to be in the way.
    • It could be that the Irken, or better, the Brains that rule them, have built this massive militaristic society and only got to the technological point they are now because of that militaristic past. In order to have this militaristic empire working, the Brains needed to shape the Irken species into the warmongers they are, and if now that they have all this power and technology, they try to turn back from the militaristic life style, their empire would crumble, probably hundreds of different paramilitary factions would emerge and try to take over each other, not to mention all the enemies they've made by now. So now the Irken society has to keep making war in order not to destroy themselves or be destroyed by angry former slaves or scared neighbors. They have gone out of their way for so long to become ideal warriors that now they can't be anything else. Besides, war itself seems to be something the leaders use to keep citizens distracted and entertained.
      • Panem et circenses.
    • Their ranks are determined by physical height. The Irkens are not exactly the height of responsible leadership. It's entirely possible that the Irkens are a militaristic, warmongering species because somewhere, some Tallest decided it would be really bitchin' to go conquer some worlds.
    • I don't know if this helps clear anything up, but as for "It could be that the control brains are some sort of parasitic alien species...", I think there was something in the commentary about the Irkens having created the Control Brains (answered by laughter over how ridiculous it was that they would create their own rulers).

    Zim's age relative to Dib 
  • Not really a Headscratcher, but something that makes Zim seem much more sympathetic than he should be for the premise of the show that doesn't quite belong on Fridge Horror: Many people see Zim as a sort of kid, and his rivalry with Dib and presence in the school system as perfectly normal for someone of his maturity. However, he's strongly implied to be a complete adult, with the only thing at all kid-like about him being his lack of tallness. Imagine a thirty-year-old human astronaut being forced to sit in among a learning group for five-or-ten-year-olds in a community of extremely gullible, giant bush people on Betelgeuse, with roughly human-like intelligence but slightly more slobbish and with less technology and war. Especially after two months of listening to the Doom Song non-stop. It's no wonder Zim is such a comedy protagonist! Did anyone else realize this, or is it pretty much down to the MST3K Mantra that Zim is the equivalent of an eight-year-old human technogenius?
    • SIX months, not two.
    • No offense, but people who want Zim to seem either more sympathetic or less evil than he really is are never short of reasons — ironically, one of the favorites is to presume he is in fact a child in "Irken years" and so shouldn't be held accountable as an adult. Usually, it's the less sympathetic crowd disputing that. I don't have too much sympathy for Zim being "forced" to attend an elementary when that was his own idea and I've never heard it as much as implied that he can't simply stop whenever he wants. Of course, to do that would be to admit to a mistake... At any rate the fact that that he did choose that on his own was probably MEANT to be significant in terms of hinting at his level of FUNCTIONAL maturity, his chronological level notwithstanding. But many people look at that and do not realize there is meant to be a discrepancy in between the two.
      • Okay, I just thought that some of the things in the show seemed Dude, Not Funny! when looked at from the point of view of Zim being an adult in a world of giants instead of an adolescent or young adult, and (as you said) the people trying to make him seem sympathetic rarely go the other way from "Zim's just [physically and often emotionally similar to] a child". Zim was in school (Skool) because he needed a disguise that would allow him to gather the humans' knowledge, but he could hypothetically have sent in tiny camera drones (since I'm pretty sure he has those, or at least tiny cameras and tiny drones if the shrinking device wouldn't work for that purpose), so you have a point there.
      • Actually my point wasn't "he doesn't have to physically attend Skool because he could send robot spy cameras," but "he doesn't have to attend an elementary school because that is a completely useless place from which to build a primarily military-oriented intelligence-gathering mission," which was highlighted in that first episode when he tries to ask his ridiculously obvious question and is met with a raised eyebrow and a silent return to the discussion of the e'er approaching doom. He should be trying, say, the Pentagon. Or at least the library. I might not have said anything if you hadn't asked whether anyone else had noticed the discrepancy — I mean, yeah. I've definitely seen people very pointedly reference Zim's age relative to the kids he surrounds himself with, so if you haven't I suspect you're just looking in the wrong places, which might come down to a contrast between the camps of "Zim-as-Woobie" versus "Zim-as-Villain".
      • Oh, that... actually makes less sense, since Zim's intelligence (or lack thereof) tells him that Skool (and later, the library) is where those in want of information go (presumably, a top-secret military base would be one of the last places to go in order to get information). I was agreeing with you (or the above troper, if that was not you). But yes, I probably have just been looking in the wrong places (though more the places that people insist Zim is a kid [because he's the height of a human kid than the people who realize that Zim is an adult, though a low-ranking one by Irken Invader standards).
      • It was me (Tyoria) both times. Sorry if it makes less sense now, it just seemed to me that it would be obvious to the average "Earthanoid" that an elementary school would be a poor place to begin that kind of research, and while Zim might be forgiven his ignorance due to being an alien (and being "told" that was a place to go for information), the bit in the first episode that I was talking about seems like it should have been a clue bat to the face that he wasn't going to progress very far at all along that route. So thus it didn't seem like "forced" was the word — more like he's sticking to it out of habit. You could spin it as a Dude, Not Funny!, I just think most of the show's like that already (plus I'm not PERSONALLY too inclined to feel sorry for him, although he has his moments).
    • To be fair, there are moments when sympathy is justified. In "Room With a Moose" Zim wanted revenge for all of the bullying and abuse he has when through so far attending school Skool, and a lot of the examples of said bullying are pretty harsh, especially if you've been bullied yourself. Examples include Groin Attacks, being punched, hit, and smacked with dodge-balls, using a tether ball as a means of torture, being offered tainted ice cream, getting water poured on him while tinkering with a device, causing burning and smoke, and being socially excluded in general.
      • That's not the same thing as saying "sympathy is justified". I never said I don't sympathize with him because he never suffers. I'm saying I don't sympathize with him because the reasons for him being in that situation in the first place are not sympathetic. The original Draco in Leather Pants suffered a number of moments that almost certainly were traumatizing and could be viewed as Dude, Not Funny! (bouncing ferret comes to mind), but when he was put into those situations as a direct result of his own jackassery, I didn't feel too much for him. The best you can do is conjure up a Freudian Excuse such as "well he was raised that way, so really it's his parents' fault". Kinda like what happens with Zim. Only when he started suffering for reasons that really weren't his fault did I come to feel sorry for him. I can see how Zim being bullied generates antipathy towards his tormentors, but think about the greater context here. He's being beaten up by people he plans to enslave or murder in the first place. That situation looks sympathetic mostly because it's viewed through the lens of Protagonist-Centered Morality — but Zim is a Villain Protagonist.
    • All you need to do to find Zim sympathetic is to look at the Earth he's living on. It makes the standard Crapsack World look like a vacation destination. Everyone is either stupid, mean, or stupid and mean. Even the planet's greatest genius is kind of a moron and definitely a sociopath. They're not just fictional, they're pathetic and annoying. There is absolutely no reason to care if all of these people are wiped out or enslaved, and they arguably deserve it. When the "good guys" are so crappy, may as well root for the bad guy.

    Irken reproduction 
  • In "Parent-Teacher Night", it's shown that baby Irkens are created through some kind of cloning process. Most likely, this was not always the case, and they once reproduced in a more "natural" way. However, in the aforementioned scene, and occasionally elsewhere, Zim does not appear to have genitalia. How exactly did Irken reproduction work?
    • Genitalia was probably edited out of their genes when cloning was introduced since it was no longer needed.
      • but, in A Room with a Moose, Dib was shown kicking Zim in the crotch, and it was shown to be painful, judging by his reaction and the fact this and other bullying made him want to make them face the moose. So.......
      • Hey, just because there's nothing vital there doesn't necessarily mean there's no pain when you're kicked. We don't have genitalia in our backs, for instance, but I can imagine that getting kicked there is still pretty frigging painful.
      • Maybe Dib kicked Zim in the crotch hard enough that the impact hit his squeedly-spooch.
      • If you pause that scene at the exact moment Dib kicks him, you'll see that he IS literally kicking Zim in the squeedly-spooch (not in the crotch). Which makes sense, as Dib is aware at this point in the series that the squeedly-spooch is a very sensitive and vital organ (having learned this in Dark Harvest, episode 4B). Naturally, he'd want to "hit em' where it hurts most", or in this case where he knows it'll hurt Zim most.
    • That's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to asking questions about how Irken biology came to be. In the unproduced script "Ten Minutes to Doom", we find out they're so dependent on their paks they die if separated from them for more than ten minutes — more than that, the paks are really the source of an Irken's "brains" and even their personality. It's all external hardware. It can't be organic evolution in action, so I wonder if the Irkens were a natural race that became increasingly dependent on their technology or whether they were never natural at all and some OTHER force had a hand in it.
    • It's a kid's show, ya can't show alien wing wong.
    • Irkins reproduce in a manner completely dissimilar to mammals? There's no real reason he would have visible external genitalia, mammals only have it because spermatozoa need to be kept cool and the delivery system proved more effective. For all we know ancient Irkins spawned in water, making all that unnecessary.
      • For all we know the reproductive organ is part of the squeedlyspootch when the Irkins were redesigned to have all organs super-condensed into one.

    New Zim? 
  • What's all this nonsense about new Invader Zim episodes? I've heard a few people talking about this, but that's it. I know rumors like this have been around since it was canceled, but now they're back in the spotlight. Does anyone know where this rumor spawned from?
    • That is because nick-toons has been re-airing it due to its Massive fan base. They even made a new game for it too so this makes people wondering "what is zim" and will he come back. There was also a poll on whether we want more Zim: 98% yes 2% no
    • I saw that, but that doesn't really explain where people are getting dates from. (I keep hearing November.) And they've very recently taken if off their schedule.
    • I did find this from back in late April. (Thanks a lot, "Kris".) It got picked up by some site called "Nickutopia" a few days later, so very conceivably could have gone viral from there. Although I don't see anything specific about November.
      • According to Jhonen Vasquez's official site/blog ( ) Invader Zim was getting the second highest ratings on Nicktoons, second only to Avatar (which IS getting another series). This led to some rumblings of a possible Invader Zim revival. Jhonen met and talked with some people at Nick (apparently, he does have people there he keeps in contact with, and Nick DOES remember Invader Zim), but the issues of production cost and the loss of the initial inertia apparently means it's not going through. However, Jhonen said that he'll be game for it as long as Nick is.

    Gaz didn't kill Iggins 
  • Why do people keep saying Gaz (sort of) killed Iggins? The elevator cord snapped when he was having a fit, and she does flinch and grimace. It's not like she was ever shown to have invisible magic limb-helper-demon-telepathy-things.
    • Has she ever been shown NOT to?
    • ...Even so, she wouldn't have winced at the sight if it was a deliberate act on her part.
      • Maybe she felt remorse? There's a pretty big difference between fantasizing about an act and then actually committing it. Maybe she thought that she would enjoy hurting Iggins because she was angry, and then only after the fact realized that she took no pleasure in ending a life. I have done things like that before. It sucks. You feel so awesome about it right up until you witness the pain that it causes, then you're just like "Dammit".
      • Gaz? Feeling remorse? Doesn't sound very much like her. Maybe she winced because she was just annoyed at the overall situation. The most likely explanation is that while Gaz didn't actually, actively kill him, she probably would have or could have, and didn't particularly care that he was dead, arguably as a result of her actions.
    • Also, Iggins is clearly alive at the end of it. He even screams his name.
      • Interestingly enough, that was actually a weird case of Executive Meddling as Nickelodeon wouldn't allow the episode to end by implying Iggins had died. It's not really relevant.
      • He's also shown alive and being arrested for "standing around doing nothing" in "Walk For Your Life."
      • Supposedly it was added just to make it clear that the show had not just shown a small child dying horribly. Apparently you can torture 'em all you want, but not kill 'em.
  • Gaz smashed the controls when she and Iggins were in there and made the elevator move rapidly. That probably put a lot of strain on the cable, and finally, it snapped.

    Dib pointing out Zim's flaws 
  • The fact that Dib never seems to learn. Most of his encounters with Zim and his subsequent pseudo-defeats are his own fault. For example, in Dark Harvest, he points out to Zim that he doesn't have human organs, which is what starts his organ hunt. Then, when he actually seems to goad Zim into searching for an organ he doesn't have yet by asking what he has so far. In Nano Zim, he actually tells Zim about his backup copies of the photos he took of Zim out of disguise, causing him to erase his memories of where he hid them. Why, why, why, why, why, dear God why hasn't he learned by not to give away his information to his enemy?
    • To be fair he's not the only character prone to picking up that particular Idiot Ball. The biggest What an Idiot! moment for me was in "Backseat Drivers" when one of the Irken techs screams aloud that their shields and weapons have all gone offline — while the Resisty is still on the main screen. "Hi hostile aliens, please feel free to destroy us in our helpless state!" *facepalm* In "Room with a Moose" Zim does the Just Between You and Me speech that helps Dib work out a way to escape the wormhole, and so on.
      • Then, just for that extra little bit of delicious idiocy, the Resisty still focuses on stealing the Tallest's snacks rather than, you know, killing them.
    • True, but you'd think Dib, being one of the few characters with more than two brain cells, should know better.
      • Yes, Dib has two brain cells to rub together... he has three. He's still an idiot and a jerk, just like every other Earthling is. Recall that he treats the paranormal investigation agent the same way everyone else treats him... yes, the guy is wrong about pretty much everything, but Dib's wrong about almost everything too and acts the exact same way that guy does. The only difference between Dib and everyone else is that Dib happened, completely by accident, to stumble onto the real thing. Had Zim landed in some other city, Dib would probably be harassing weird-looking kids in his class claiming they were aliens, and in those cases he wouldn't be right, he'd just be an asshole.
    • Dib is a little boy. Even normal little boys aren't the best at figuring out social cues on when it's best to keep your mouth shut, and Dib isn't even normal. He's a notorious social outcast and Motor Mouth. Frankly, I'm surprised he doesn't give away crucial information more often.

    Gaz is wrong about Zim's threat level 
  • In Gaz: Taster of Pork (and possibly other episodes, I can't remember for sure at this moment), Gaz more-or-less says that it's pointless for Dib to fight or stop Zim because Zim is too incompetent to be an actual threat. However, in Battle of the Planets, Dib was the only thing that prevented Zim from destroying the Earth and killing everybody, Gaz included.
    • True, but that's juts because Zim just happened to stumble upon Mars' steering wheel. He could never have planned or executed anything like that by himself.
    • Gaz isn't necessarily implying that her own behavior would change if she did perceive Zim as a real threat. She could just be disparaging Dib's proclaimed "heroism". If you look at Gaz's behavior, her apathy masks a fairly misanthropic outlook — heck she herself tried to destroy all life on Earth in the beginning of "Dibship Rising". She doesn't really care, and thinks Dib is a boob because he does and is making a mountain out of a molehill by giving Zim top priority when logic dictates he'll fail 99% of the time anyway.
    • If it's the episode I'm thinking of, Dib confronts her with knowing that Zim wants to destroy the world and she responds with a chuckling "yeah, but he's just so bad at it." I don't think she was really disparaging Dib or even taking a side on the issue, just that she finds Zim's antics as funny as we do.

    Skooge PA Kless 

    Membrane and zombies 
  • How can Membrane still not acknowledge the supernatural despite his son having summoned zombies in a Noodle Incident? The undead usually count as supernatural...
    • Think about a few things here: Membrane is an inventor, and a damned good one at that. Dib is his offspring, in some theories his clone. Zombies were an 'invention' of Dib's, so Membrane can definitely accept this willingly. Sasquatch, aliens, Chickenfoot, etc. are there without Dib's/Membrane's hand in creating them. To Membrane this is impossible.
    • Also, there are plenty of kinds of science zombies. Dib may have created "berserkers".
    • Speaking of Membrane's skepticism, why the hell does he dismiss Dib as insane in the Halloween Episode? Dib clearly explained how he was seeing monsters with a device Membrane himself invented. There's not believing something that sounds impossible, and then there's being a neglectful asshole for the sake of it.
      • Rule of Drama, probably, but likely in Membrane's mind it was as simple a matter as his son abused one of his inventions and it drove him crazy. Dib claims that he modified Membrane's dimensional scope to view into alternate realities for investigating the paranormal, so whatever it did to Dib might not be something Membrane programmed it for, thus he doesn't believe that the visions are of anything real.

    Councilor in the air duct 
  • In Vindicated!, what DID happen to the old counselor? We hear a voice (presumably the old counselor) saying "" from inside the air duct, followed by a Jitter Cam shot (accompanied by heavy breathing) from inside the air duct. Did they fire him and stuff him in there, did something in there capture him, or what?
    • Maybe Zim stuffed him in there after stealing his larynx in "Dark Harvest". Sure, that implies they took quite a while to replace him... but that seems business as usual for this school.
    • He probably did something to piss off the school. Stuffing him in an air vent is probably considered merciful to those people.

    Zootch clones? 
  • Does anyone notice that Zootch (the kid with the blonde spike of hair and blue eyes?) is in Zim and Dib's class - but he's also seen in GAZ'S class? Also, there was an alien in Hobo 13 who looked remarkably like him...

    Bitters' species 
  • What the Hell is Ms. Bitters, anyways? The snakelike movements are one thing, but she burns in sunlight, and the lice won't touch her? What kind of infernal hell spawn is she, and why is she wasting time as a teacher?
    • And why the Hell was she also in Squee!?
    • To answer the first question: Snake People, and Eldritch Abomination. The second? Transplant from Squee!, that's all. The trope knows. The trope knooowwwwsss.
    • The lice don't avoid her, she just has a really high itch tolerance, probably a result of strong self-control. At the end of the episode, she is shown to scratch her scalp furiously once she's finally alone.
    • She was a fairy princess, until one day it all went horribly wrong! To add to the mystery, a Nickelodean trading card written by Eric Trueheart apparently says that she's not human and that she didn't come to work for the Skool - the Skool itself was built around her.
      • Here's a better question about Ms. Bitters. With Dib trying anything he can to prove to the world that the supernatural exists, why doesn't he just report Ms. Bitters to the Swollen Eyeball Network or Mysterious Mysteries, I mean Ms. Bitters is undeniable proof that the supernatural exists.
      • Given that Word of God is that the school was built around Ms. Bitters (rather than Ms. Bitters being brought to the school), it seems that Ms. Bitters is public knowledge already. Either way, nothing about Ms. Bitters proves that Zim is an alien.
      • Of course she doesn't have anything to do with Zim but what I meant is isn't it Mysterious Mysteries' job to cover the strange and unusual and Ms. Bitters is strange and unusual... and not human! So it's like Dib is focused on one alien and never the strange teacher with the strange appearance and behavior.
      • That's because Dib is focused on one alien. He's suffered in-universe Motive Decay spurred on by the refusal of everyone to acknowledge Zim, and has become completely obsessed with proving that Zim is an alien. We don't know what happened before Zim came, or whether or not Mysterious Mysteries ever covered Miss Bitters, but we shouldn't assume that anything about Miss Bitters is a secret; she's pretty honest about the fact that she's an Eldritch Abomination, with lines like "I can't survive very long in the sun".

    Dib shouldn't be popular due his father's fame? 
  • If Dib is the son of the most important and respected man in the world, why don't the other adults treat him better? Wouldn't they want to kiss up to the Prof by being nice to his son (or at least by not actively being mean to him)?
    • Most of the people in Zim are too dumb to follow through the logic of "be nice to Dib so I can get on Professor Membrane's good side," and Dib would see through it pretty quickly anyway. Being the son of the most powerful man on Earth just pushes him deep into Lonely Rich Kid territory.
    • Also, trying to get on Membrane's good side by being nice to Dib would require Membrane to care about Dib, which he... pretty clearly doesn't, as about the nicest he can be said to be is "affably neglectful". Dib actually had to try and get on a game show just to try and talk to his own father. People probably figured out when Professor Membrane never came to parents' night and the school could never get in touch with him about Dib being sick or whatever that Membrane didn't care about him very much.
    • Or, people were nice to Dib until he annoyed them all with his constant insistence on the paranormal being real.
      • This may be a possibility. In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", it's shown that Dib had friends at least back when he was a toddler, as they attended one of his birthday parties. However, such friends are never seen again in the show's present.
        • This doesn't necessarily mean they are no longer his friends, especially considering that they seemed to like Dib's party theme (a paranormal one). Maybe Dib is still in contact with them, but they either moved out from the city, went to other schools or were held back a year (considering Dib is really intelligent).

    Dib's head is comparatively normal 
  • Why would the size of Dib's head be a recurring joke when Gaz's and Zim's heads aren't much smaller?
    • That's the joke.
    • Challenge in animation leading to Informed Attribute. You need to make everyone's head a certain minimum size for facial expressions, thus in cartoons people tended to have abnormally disproportionate heads already. Making Dib's head even bigger probably made him look too weird.

    GIR Crying 
  • A couple of episodes have GIR crying, like in "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy". HOW???
    • The correct question is not, "How does GIR cry?" The correct question is, "Why was GIR constructed with tear ducts?" The answer to this question is, of course, the same as the answer to what the acronym GIR stands for.
      • Actually that makes perfect sense. The Irkens are Card Carrying Villains who like to posture and playact being much more evil and ruthless than they really are. Normal SIR units probably have a mode for acting like a fearful servant who's being beaten by their evil master, so of course they'd need to be able to cry to make the performance look good.
      • Other episodes showed him eating. He might just be a Ridiculously Human Robot (albeit not on the outside).

    Zim vs. ZIM 
  • Is Zim's name supposed to be spelled with all capital letters?
    • If it was up to him, yes. Because after all, HE IS ZIM! OBEY HIM!

    No Plan Recycling 
  • A couple of episodes show that Zim does in fact, win from time to time. For example, the slow-explosion effectively nuked the entire town. Why doesn't he just do that again a few more times? I'm cheering for him, and the one time he basically wins is never mentioned again.
    • Simple—it decimated his base as well. Plus, the city was successfully evacuated, and (discounting Negative Continuity as a possibility) rebuilt itself rather quickly. It's a net loss for him, really. Plus, the explosion itself happened by accident, how would Zim know how to recreate it?
    • I would cite Never Recycle Your Schemes except that I agree with the above point that there's no reason to think the event was reproducible, and if Zim considered it a loss he wouldn't want to in any case. Besides, how do you define "winning" in such a way that only "Walk for Your Lives" qualifies? I'd say he "wins" against Dib better than half the time, and almost always beats out the one-shots. If your criteria is "caused property damage on Earth" why not count "Hamstergeddon" and "The Wettening"? Finally Zim is 25% Genius Ditz to 75% Chaotic Stupid — there's no need to ask why he wouldn't do a seemingly logical thing when the entire show would be over in one episode if Zim were the type to regularly do the most seemingly logical thing.

    Professor Membrane's Absenteeism 
  • How did Professor Membrane raise his kids if he's too busy to spend time with them more than once a year?
    • He didn't. One of them is a mostly-crazed conspiracy theorist and the other is a sociopathic misanthrope, these are not the results of intensive parenting. Membrane probably had some robots around to meet their basic needs (food, diaper-changing, baths, beds that were the right size), looked in on them via viewscreens, and that's probably about it. He is obviously around a bit too (he's usually there to dispense some affable nonsense around breakfast time), but he doesn't actually spend time with them at any particular stretch except once a year.
    • It's also possible that he was less busy when they were younger or they had a mom of some sort around when they were infants/toddlers and robots wouldn't have realistically cut it.

    No Nightmare!Zim? 
  • In the Halloween episode Zim and Dib gets trapped in a nightmare world inside Dib's head where everyone has a nightmare version of them, beside GIR and Zim, why?
    • The Nightmare World was supposed to be an Darker version of Earth. GIR and Zim are not from Earth, which is why neither them nor their base is seen in the nightmare realm.
      • two things: A. the base DID appeared in the nightmare world. B. The Nightmare World isn't a Darker version of Earth it's a result of Dib imagination.
    • Because they are Dib's waking nightmares. The fact that Zim and Gir don't exist as nightmares in the world of his imagination is because he knows for certain that they are real and he is freaked about them openly in daily life. It's kind of poetic, really. Also, it wouldn't have been funny that way.
      • This also explains why the base is there: unless I'm misremembering, Dib's never been inside. So to him, it's innards are pure speculation.
      • He made it inside Zim's base in "Bloaty's Pizza Hog" before he got captured, having seen a fair amount (which was why he contacted Gaz). He was also in there a few times after that, but since they're in episodes chronologically after Halloween they're not relevant. "Bloaty's", however, pre-dated Halloween.
    • Actually, Zim seems to be in the episode. First when it flashes the monsters (with count chocula), you see a weird mushroom looking creature with hair it seems to stand on (they look exactly like Zim's spider legs). The same creature is later shown capturing Zim, and waving good-bye to the two monsters who go to Hell (or whatever they call it).
    • Perhaps the fact that the real Zim is there cancels out the presence of a "Nightmare!Zim"?
    • I suspect it's because Zim and GIR are relatively new to Dib''s life. Psychological torment doesn't happen overnight, especially the kind that would create the monstrosities you see in the nightmare world. That's the result of years of repressed torment.
      • Also, while Zim does fight him, he doesn't bully him. Dib doesn't see Zim as a nightmare because A) He proves that all the things Dib believes are right (at least to Dib). Whether or not Dib is correct with all his paranormal Noodle Incidents, Zim is the best source of hard evidence he has. And B) While he fights Zim, he doesn't see him as a cruel tormenter the way he sees the other kids, etc. He sees Zim as a foe. An equal. A villain that may be dangerous but one he will eventually conquer.

    Dib's origin 
  • I've heard that Dib is not actually Membrane's son. He is, in fact, Membrane's younger clone. The question is: Where does Gaz come from? Is she adopted? Membrane's creation? A clone of Membrane's wife, who died and couldn't have kids?
    • She might be a clone, but whose clone, that's another story. The most probable theory is that she is Membrane's experiment. If you noticed, she really has a lot of strength for a ten years old girl, it's almost supernatural. Then again, this is Invader ZIM we are talking about, so anything is possible.
    • Or a demon... In Gaz, Taster of Pork she levitates off the ground, surrounded by a purple light and her eyes are red. Plus, she's scary like hell for a little girl. It wouldn't surprise me if she was a paranormal being.
    • This idea is pretty interesting. Though it is mentioned in one episode that Dib's and Gaz's mother is kept in a jar by Membrane. It might be just a dark, humorous joke of the show or Membrane really does keep his wife's ashes in a jar, because she has died and he's still attached to her. And due to the fact that he's still attached to her, he has cloned her and named her Gaz, just like he has created a clone of himself and named it Dib. There are many possibilities. Too bad the show wasn't continued.
      • What episode was that?
      • Did it say her ashes in a jar, or her in a jar? 'Cause this IS Zim we're talking about. It could well be her head hooked up to a life support rig.
      • It said her in a jar. It's either simple black humor or a Double Entendre, implying that Membrane still keeps his wife's ashes in a jar (it's a custom in some states in America) because he hasn't let go of her and misses her. Although I doubt that this show, where everyone is void of any good feelings, would take something seriously.
    • I've heard this idea before, but it was always in the context of being "potential" canon rather than something that had been planned from the start.
    • I believe Gaz and possibly Dib are artificial. Due to the fact that Gaz seems to have robotic arms and legs (seriously, look at her arms... they're silver and have those segments that cartoon robo-tentacles have. Her legs are the same except colored purple) and in Nanozim its shown that Dib has an "arm control nerve" in his belly when he himself says that humans don't have those. Also, both Gaz and Dib have square pupils (kind of like what Bender from Futurama has) ... though there are a few other kids who have square pupils so that might not mean much (unless those other kids are robots or have cyborg eyes or something).
      • The purple-stripey legs were pretty obviously meant to be candy-striped stockings, and while Gaz's arms could have been robotic with no(thing resembling) synthflesh up to the wrists, I just always assumed that those were her sleeves.
      • Dib is unlikely to be a robot... for one thing robots don't have nerves (even ones humans don't have), but also the episode with Zim's time portal and the piggies would pretty well put the kibosh on that. Not only is he shown growing and aging, but needing life support after suffering injuries. Gaz is also unlikely to be a robot, as Zim at least once uses one of his gadgets on her with the expectation that she's a human and it works.

    Zim Scratching His Butt 
  • If Zim blew up a planet by scratching his butt in the script for "The Trial", why didn't Earth blow up when he did the same thing in "Attack of the Saucer Morons"?
    • I doubt the Beautiful Field Planet exploded just because he scratched his butt. Odds are we only saw the last five seconds of that incident and they happened to involve Zim scratching his butt. Rule of Funny lets us assume that's why the planet blew up. My personal theory is he was hiding some sort of doomsday device in his pants at the time.

  • in Plague of Babies why did the the The Nhar-Gh'ok mother ship leave and why didn't they come back when the babies they stole started to grow up?
    • The humans were supposedly holding a dozen of their finest warriors captive, so they must've appeared to be far more dangerous than they actually are. The Nhar-Gh'ok may have feared that if they were to try to clear up their mistake, Earth would get angry and declare war.

    Random Thoughts 
  • Are the couches on the "Comfy Couch Planet" the natural lifeforms? How did they evolve? Who built the couches?
    • It would seem Invader Zim is in a shared universe with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which not only also has a planet populated by couches, but a perfectly valid explanation for why they naturally evolved on the planet.
    • The planet Vort only has one couch. That would me that:
A: The aliens designed the couch themselves, orB: The humans sent it to the planet. I like to think of it as a kind of Voyager 1 kind of thing: instead of sending a golden record with human voices recorded onto it, the humans in this universe sent out a couch.
  • Regarding the main dynamic here, where exactly do some people get the idea that Dib is an obnoxious, loathsome asshole who you're supposed to hate? I realize he's not an ideal hero, but the guy is a 12 year old fighting a destructive alien monster. His more "obnoxious" qualities are understandable given his age, and especially the kind of world he inhabits. Hell,the fact that he's still fighting instead of being a mindless sheep is one of his better qualities.

    The Finale 
  • I've been wondering: How exactly was the planned final episode supposed to go? There seemed to be a quite a lot of build up(The Resisty, Tak's Ship), and a proposed plot (Invader Dib), but i'm just curious if it would have brought closure to the series. Yes, I know Invader Zim is deliberately morbid, but I think if you're going to give a series a Grand Finale, it should at least resolve each story arc. I'm not advocating say, a "happy ending" but at the same time I wouldn't want the series to end with a big middle finger to people who actually ''liked'' these characters.
    • Honestly? Pretty much everything we have on the eventual end is hearsay and there's little/no evidence in what we have of the unfinished episodes that the show would've ultimately built to anything. Returning elements, sure, but little hinting at any sort of conclusive big event. That said, Vasquez has a tendency to leave his characters in a sliiiiightly better place than he found them—Squee excepted, of course—so who knows? It's entirely possible something nice might've happened.

     Oh no! Walnuts!...? 
  • Why did Dib Freak Out in "Room with a Moose" when the moose started eating the walnuts?
  • It's a joke...most of the things that happen in the show are meant to be jokes.
    • From what I heard there's no real reason. It just does.

     Tricycle accidents cannot be that severe... 
  • Wait. Dib's first accident in "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy" involved flying into a tree because his tricycle was replaced by the piggy, and that necessitated AMPUTATING his hand and replacing it with a claw? I could easily see it knocking out a couple of teeth (which does happen to him), no problem, but hand amputation?
    • His hand could've been crushed against the tree in the impact. Or, y'know, Membrane likes overkill.

     Zim Should be a Dictator 
  • In the first Episode, they mention that for Operation: Impending Doom I, Zim accidentally conquered his own home planet (I forget the Irken Planet's name). Why isn't he in charge of it then? Why do the Tallest still rule? Zim could have easily made himself Dictator of the planet and given those who helped or joined him willingly positions of power on it. Why isn't he the Grand Dictator of all the Irkens?
    • He didn't conquer it, he damn near destroyed it. Smashed up all the infrastructure and so forth. Hence the whole "banishment" thing.
    • Zim isn't that flavor of villain. He's a loyal cog in the glorious Irken Empire who just so happens to be so mind meltingly incompetent that he accidentally leveled his own home world.

     Why don't the Tallest just kill Zim? 
  • They clearly have no problem killing and torturing any other Irken at the drop of a hat for lesser slights than anything Zim has ever done. Sure that was the point of sending him to Earth and the upcoming trial in the unmade episode, "The Trial," but these are the guys who shot Skoodge out of a space cannon for being too short despite him being a successful invader, pummel invaders with mallets for not putting on puppet shows, and threw a completely innocent guy out into the vacuum of space ("That was the wrong guy, but, okay, I think everyone gets the point, mm?"). How come they can get away with ridding of anyone else they dislike with a snap of their fingers, yet eliminating Zim takes all these elaborate traps and banishments?
    • They really enjoy mocking Zim
    • Zim has shown himself to be pretty damn hard to kill. There's also the fact that he sets off major catastrophes wherever he goes, whether he means to or not. As Dib can attest to by now, he's not someone you want as an enemy. For the Tallest, it's probably best they keep him alive, ignorant and loyal, rather than risk pissing him off by trying to kill him outright.
    • They've tried. "Hobo 13" ends with Zim locked in a spaceship on a collision course with a sun. THAT didn't kill Zim, so what could?

     Where does Zim get Earth money? 
  • He doesn’t have a job or stated source of income, and it doesn’t come from The Tallest, as they didn’t even know Earth was a planet before sending Zim on his “mission.” Yet we see him paying for things with what look like US dollars (like GIR’s tacos in “Attack of the Hideous Dog Brain.”) So, where did he get it?

     Zim's can of tuna 
  • So there is no ultimate prize for selling the most Poop bars. But why doesn't Zim get the real prizes, like the ADHESIVE MEDICAL STRIPS?
    • They live in a Crapsack World and don't care about treating people well, duh.

     Zim in the vents. 
  • It's all but outright stated that Zim snuck through the vents to go after Dib in "Dark Harvest." Question is, how did he fit through those seemingly flawlessly? Wasn't it shown in the episode that he got fat as fuck from all those guts?

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