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Tear Jerker / Invader Zim

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    General 
  • Gaz. Despite being a cynical and sadistic little girl, she is a growing pre-teen with emotional issues. She rarely smiles, she doesn't seem to have any friends and she is implied to suffer from depression. It is possible that her behavior is due to Membrane neglecting her and her brother or the fact that she lives in a Crapsack World. In fact, No one, not even Dib or her dad, seems to bother asking her what is upsetting her. Eric Trueheart, one of the writers for the show, has even lampshaded this:
    Eric: I always assumed that deep down Gaz's attitude was a coping mechanism for messed-up her home life really was. Absent dad, crazy brother, mysteriously unmentioned mother, etc. I don't know if anyone else thought this way. Gaz's character could walk a line between horrible and sympathetic, so you had to be careful not to fall too hard on the horrible side.
    • According to the IP bible for Invader Zim Gaz is hinted at naturally being how she is in the show, but part of the reason why she acts the way she does to Dib is because he constantly used her as a lab rat for a lot of experiments similar to what happened in "Gaz: Taster of Pork".
  • Dib's situation is not one that anyone would want to be in. As prideful and self-serving he can be, he genuinely wants to save the Earth from Zim's schemes, but is believed by no one (except Gaz, who doesn't care) in regards to Zim's true identity and and is continuously made a pariah by the very people he's trying to protect. And (in the original series) things are no better at home where he is constantly on the receiving end of Gaz's wrath as well as belittled by his father for not studying "real science". The sheer amount of times he gets beaten up and put down would certainly take a toll on anyone's sanity, and in instances such as the Halloween episode it's implied that Dib has indeed been negatively affected by his circumstances yet he still goes on with his crusade against Zim.
  • Membrane is so busy that he, Dib, and Gaz only go out to eat together ONCE A YEAR. Which seems sort of funny... until you think about it.
    • Though Dib seems to care far less than Gaz, interestingly enough. He was more than willing to miss out on that annual family outing without even a hint of regret.
  • The hints to Miss Bitters' past, if you think there's any truth to them. Think about it: the creepy Humanoid Abomination that terrifies her students on a daily basis was at some point a normal person with hopes and dreams who got mutated into her current state by a freak accident. Miss Bitters may be a monster, but if these stories are true, can you really blame her?
    Miss Bitters: I had a valentine once.
  • Bloaty. The poor man is completely miserable, forced to do a menial job and gorge himself on pizza.
  • Pretty much anytime Gir cries. Even in minor cases like "Walk for Your Lives".

    Season 1 

Parent Teacher Night

Walk of Doom
  • Even though Zim is always mad at GIR and calls him a "HORRIBLE robot", he does have a soft spot for him. When Zim gets mad at GIR for replacing the guidance chip for a cupcake, GIR started crying, Zim started feeling sorry for him and that getting mad at him would get them nowhere. But what GIR is sad about was that he ate his only cupcake, but you could think that he’s also sad that Zim was mad at him.
Career Day
  • Dib gets matched up with Bill, a paranormal investigator; sounds like the match made in heaven, right? Except Bill believes in everything but the existence of aliens, dismissing the Galactic Equinox molt as hogwash. Just to rub salt in the wound, Bill believes Count Cocofang, a cereal box mascot, is real, and chases after the poor man dressed as Cocofang while Dib tries desperately to get him to look at the restaurant where Zim is molting through the doors and windows, without any luck. The molt comes and goes, the only hint of evidence being the completely-destroyed restaurant, and Dib loses his chance to not only expose Zim as an alien but to do so to someone who he thought would be interested in the subject.
Bad, Bad, Rubber Piggy
  • This episode doubles as both horror and Tear Jerker worthy because of what Zim does to poor Dib by crippling him horribly by tossing rubber pigs into Dib's past through a time machine, replacing seemingly random objects in ways that cause Dib to have horrible accidents, progressively crippling Dib to the point that he almost dies.
    • GIR's reaction to Zim using his rubber piggies for this is a bit of minor example
    "WHYYYYYYY?!? MY PIGGIE!!! I LOVEDED YOU, PIGGIE!! I LOVEDED YOOOU!!!!"
Room With a Moose
  • This episode really shows how much Dib is disliked by his classmates, with them constantly glaring at and insulting him. Dib actually wonders if they're worth saving, and when he does manage to, it's not because they're listening to him, it's because they all just want to sit away from him.
Bloaty's Pizza Hog
  • Gaz yells at Dib for going off to fight Zim because she "just wants to go out to eat with dad." Considering the situation, this certainly counts.
    Dib: Can't you just go there to eat tomorrow?
    Gaz: ...You just don't get it, do you?
Mysterious Mysteries
  • Much like the above example, we get a brief flashback of Dib and Gaz as babies. The band-aid on Dib’s head makes you think that Gaz bullied him. And just seeing Dib using building blocks to spell "ALIENS" is very cute.. until Gaz just kicks the blocks out of her way only for Dib to just look in sadness.
    • Just seeing Zim and Dib in their baby stages is SO sad and also adorable it makes you want to hug them.
The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot
  • Chickenfoot talks about his past life with Dib where he was a normal man named Chewie Rodriguez until an accident occurred when the microwave was splashed with water while Chewie was wearing the suit and cooking chicken in a microwave, generating an explosion that "created an unholy fusion of man and chicken", causing him go insane and live all alone in an apartment with assorted Chicky Licky toys that he calls his "friends".
GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff
  • Officer Squidman telling Zim I Have a Family is a lot sadder if taken at face value rather than for the absurdity that it is. Thanks to Zim, he'll never see them again because he doesn't remember them.
    • Reinforced that he has children, but not a wife. What became of his kids?
Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom
  • Dib enjoys a life of many achievements in technology and the humanities, and defeats the Irkens in battle forcing them to surrender...until it turns out that it was all a simulation ran by Zim. Why? Because he wanted to know who threw a muffin at him in class. Zim could've just interrogated Dib in a more straightforward manner, but he wanted to twist the knife more by making Dib believe his wildest dreams were coming through before tricking him into admitting it.
Tak: The Hideous New Girl
  • The ending has a moment of genuine reflection and realisation on Zim's behalf of the fact that he consistently fails the Tallest and that they don't like him at all. It's rare to see him with any sort of self-awareness, so seeing his delusions and facade slip a little to reveal some shame implies that he might know that they hate him and still wants them to be proud of him anyway.

    Season 2 
Vindicated!
  • Dib finding out Dwicky's been lying to him. When you see how he joyfully and rather innocently reacts to someone extending a measure of kindness and tolerance towards him, it starts to kind of hit you just how ridiculously YOUNG the poor kid is, and when his "ally" is taken from him it becomes almost impossible not to see just how thankless and lonely a life he lives in trying to save his own people from extinction.
    Dib: You don't believe me! You... (builds towards rage, then regresses to pleading, and winds up just staring at the ground in defeat) I thought you were different.
    Dwicky: Look, I know you think I lied, and I—I did, but I was only trying to help.
    Dib (bitter): Isn't this just great?! While you waste my time, Earth gets one step closer to being taken over! That's my problem right there! My problem is that the human race seems to want to be destroyed!
    • Dib going into a breakdown after Dwicky leaves with the aliens and Zim rubs it in (AND takes the super weapons that Dib unwittingly helped him acquire) is just the icing on this cake.
Voting of the Doomed
  • This episode also shows how unpopular Dib is. When he's feeding Willy lines for his campaign and gets him to request that Dib be treated with respect, it proves so unpopular that he has to quickly change tracks in order to get Willy popular again. Worse, Zim — who also isn't liked by the other students — has no problem winning them over.
Gaz, Taster of Pork
  • The ending. Ok, Dib deserved some punishment for using Gaz as a guinea pig for his spell drive (good intentions or not), but not only tricking Dib into believing she was in danger when she obviously was not but also forcing him to clean up Shadow-Hog dookie with his head while he's crying for forgiveness? Not to mention all the horrific (and very graphic) death threats and beatings that Dib took from her while he was trying to help her? No wonder Gaz has a bit of a Base-Breaking Character status.
    • Well, there was also the horrible experiments that Membrane most likely did to her during her quarantine. It makes it worse knowing that her dad is the only person she has/shows any value for... and since it kind of was Dib's fault and she already has A LOT of disdain for him...
    • Dib taking the punishment of the Shadow-Hog to save his sister. He's genuinely crying at the end and feeling guilty...and yet Gaz ignores this completely and leaves him to his fate.
The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever
  • When the Santa suit sucks up Zim completely, he sounds like that he lost all hope. When he curls into a fetal position, he looked like he hoped that everything was all a dream and that he was still in his smeet tube. Luckily, Dib accidentally rescues him.
    • At the end, after it seems that the crowd will take to Dib's speech of how Christmas should be a time for family and not fake Santas Zim proceeds to persuade the crowd into beating Dib up under the guise of an Easter platypus thing. Let's hope he is okay after the fight and we are sure his dad is proud of him for sending the monstrous Santa into space. Though luckily, this is also the last time Dib is beaten in the series.note 
The Frycook What Came from All That Space
  • The intro marks an especially saddening moment for Dib. After spending possibly minutes to hours attempting to explain to his classmates that Zim is an alien and that they do exist, the kids continuously mock him and cause him to have a momentary mental breakdown in front of the entire class. After cooling down, he tries again only to have a large and imposing alien (alter revealed to be another Irken) kidnap Zim interrupt him while stating it came from outer space. Dib tries to use this as evidence to his statements about aliens only for bird poop to fall on his shoulder from the hole in the roof that the alien created. The kids totally ignore the roof and alien and simply start to laugh at Dib for having been pooped on by a bird. Cue a single tear from a heartbroken and embarrassed Dib.
  • Zim's humiliating duties on Foodcourtia are funny at first, but become genuinely depressing after he has a complete breakdown and begins weeping after being forced to dance in a mascot costume filled with boiling oil.
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    Unproduced Episodes 
  • Zim bawling over GIR's dog suit filled with ground beef, thinking he was turned into ground beef in the unfinished episode "Invader Poonchy".


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