Invader Zim is without a doubt one of the strangest and chillingly creepy television programs to debut on Nickelodeon. Following in the trippy cartoon styles of The Ren & Stimpy Show before it, Invader Zim doubled down on its oddball off-brand humor and its silly and often-times haunting characters.
Invader Zim now appears to be a product that just happened to arrive far too soon. Rick and Morty has proven that audiences will flock in droves to be unnerved and made uncomfortable by a show that propels forward thanks to its “off the rails” narrative. The lack of a real coherent structure is something that’s often lauded in television today, but was virtually unheard of in cartoons back when Invader Zim premiered.
Having lasted only 27 episodes in its entire run, Invader Zim wasn’t met with much commercial success, but it found its audience, and even managed to be nominated for six Annie Awards and a Golden Reel Award. It also snagged a single Annie Award, an Emmy, and a World Animation Celebration Award. Needless to say, the entire run of Invader Zim was filled with strange and horrific moments, but here are the 15 Most WTF Things That Happened In Invader Zim.
15 The Voting of the Doomed
Usually in an animated series there are single moments in a particular episode that stand out as particularly oddball or cringe-worthy. For Invader Zim, most of the strangest moments occur due to the overall message of a particular episode, and "The Voting of the Doomed" is no exception.
This episode sees the Skool President suffer a mental breakdown, forcing an entirely new election to determine the next Skool president who will take his place. In classic fashion, Zim himself jumps at the opportunity to seize power, and of course Dib objects to Zim’s nomination, labeling him as “criminally insane.” The Skool population ignores Dib’s claims, mainly due to the fact that most of the students there would identify Dib himself as “criminally insane.” Another student, Willy, ends up running against Zim, and the episode makes it very clear that Willy is no Einstein.
The single most “WTF” moment in the entire episode, though, is when Zim ends up winning the first round of debates by promising the Skool children that he would fill Dib’s head with salted nuts if he won. Out of nowhere spring GIR, as he screams “Salted Nuts!” and sprays peanuts into the Skool children’s mouths. Invader Zim at its finest.
Chickenfoot is the costumed identity of Chewy Rodriguez, a former Chicky Licky restaurant employee who was involved in a particularly tragic wet microwave accident. The zipper on the costume was permanently stuck after this accident, and Chewy became convinced that he had become a half-man, half-chicken, monster. He stayed hidden to avoid wandering eyes, and became a bit of an urban legend. Some of the population believes he exists, but an equal portion believe that he is just a hoax.
Dib is actually the one to wake Chewy up to his own reality when he explains to him that the zipper on his suit is stuck due to the microwave accident in “The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot.” He later ends up fixing the zipper with a “dirty chicken” toy, and Chewy believes himself to be reverted back into a normal boy. The last we see of Chewy is when he is swarmed by reporters after falling out of his suit. When a character like Chewy is seen as “off his rocker” in a show like Invader Zim, he deserves to make a list such as this one.
The “Rise of the Zitboy” episode of Invader Zim is easily one of the shows best, as it’s equal parts hilarious and disgusting, which is the perfect way to describe the series in general. The episode starts when Zim discovers a ceramic squirrel that doesn’t quite belong on his lawn in front of his house. It doesn’t take long for Zim to discover it’s actually Dib in disguise, and Dib divulges to Zim that his security really isn’t up to par.
Zim, of course disagrees, but at this same moment, a pizza delivery man walks by unscathed to deliver a pizza to GIR. After this Zim is infuriated, and GIR, covered in grease, gives him a big hug. Zim attempts to clean the grease off of his face with a bacon-covered bar of soap, which causes a giant pimple to appear on Zim’s face. Because GIR is such a "genius", he ends up drawing a face on Zim’s zit, and then the zit develops hypnotic abilities, allowing Zim to control all who peer into it.
Zim eventually uses this to his advantage as he brainwashes his fellow classmates, but his plan falls through when the zit swells up to the size of a classroom and explodes, leaving Dib to clean up as Zim retreats to repair his security measures.
12 Gameslave II
We’ve all been guilty of obsessing and falling captive to the seductive control of the latest video game crazes, whether it be Zelda, Halo, The Last of Us, or Gameslave. Okay, so the later entry is a fictional game present in the world of Invader Zim, and its sequel was the singular obsession of Gaz.
This episode highlights the utter pit of human darkness that is Gaz, as she stalks and manipulates an annoying kid named Iggins when he ends up with the last copy of Gameslave 2. The overall world around the two becomes darker and darker as Gaz harasses Iggins, stealing all the batteries in his house, and later plunging him hundreds of stories in an elevator that she's corrupted.
Being a Gaz centered episode, the entire runtime of "Gameslave II" is spent in a night-drenched version of the already drab city we’re accustomed to. The jump-scare horror theme that surrounds this episode is simply astounding in a children’s cartoon.
11 Zim’s X-Mas
“The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever” is the 27th episode of Invader Zim, and unfortunately the last. It starts off two million years in the future, as a snowman recounts the tale of the very worst Christmas ever. Zim learns of the power and influence of Santa Claus when interrogating one of the impersonators on the street, and of course he wants to try to use this influence to his advantage.
Zim creates his own version of Santa’s suit and, using Santa’s influence, he gathers the entire population of Earth at the North Pole. This is where the episode starts to take a serious turn towards the odd. The suit Zim creates starts believing that it is Santa Claus, and is fueled by “anything Christmassy.” The suit becomes entirely sentient and takes over Zim, and then attacks Dib. Fortunately Dib defeats the Santa suit, freeing Zim, who then disguises himself as the “Easter Platypus” – as one does. Zim then convinces the human race that Dib killed Santa, and they all turn on him.
We flash forward again as the Snowman explains that Santa is recovering in space, and attacks every year at Christmas, which is why they all live in a protective dome.
10 GIR Turns Evil
It’s hard to find a fan of Invader Zim who doesn’t label GIR as their favorite character. He is the comedic relief to Zim’s somewhat “straight man”, and he is adorable, hilarious, and basically a little mechanical ball of wonder. Many fans were somewhat turned off to the fact that GIR could turn evil, but the episode explains his transformation very well, and it lends to some truly comedic and dark moments.
In the episode “GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff”, GIR ends up once again foiling Zim’s plans by being his usual goofy self, and Zim becomes more agitated than ever at the little robot. Zim decides to increase GIR’s behavioral modifier to a “dangerously high level” which of course spells doom for the remainder of the episode.
GIR ends up attacking a cop car instead of investigating its siren, and throws the car through Zim’s house, causing the officer to see Zim and GIR out of their secret identities. In an attempt to subvert the man's memory, Zim transplants a squid into his brain, which causes the man to think he’s “Squidman” and that he must return to the sea. Eventually Zim is able to control GIR, and they release Squidman to the sea, only for him to be, according to GIR, “eaten by a shark.” Invader Zim never ceases to amaze.
9 Keef Stalking Zim
Keef finally gets a prominent speaking role in the episode “Bestest Friend”, and like most humans who encounter Zim, his entire world gets ruined by the alien. The episode begins with Zim overhearing fellow classmate Jessica discussing the fact that Zim not having friends makes him “inhuman.”
When Zim hears this, he freaks out and starts trying to find a friend to control. He ends up going over to the “rejects” table at lunch and finding Keef. After hanging out for a while, Zim concludes that Keef’s services will no longer be needed, and dismisses him. Keef doesn’t really get the hint though, and he begins stalking Zim.
Zim hears of a surprise party Keef has planned for him and in an attempt to finally rid Keef of his life, he builds robotic eyes for Keef that make him believe a squirrel is a best friend, until it attacks him. The episode concludes with Keef falling off a rooftop into an explosion, but it’s implied that he survives.
8 Dib’s Wonderful Life Of Doom
“Dib’s Wonderful Life Of Doom” is one of the most extreme episodes of the series, and it all starts with Zim getting hit in the head with a muffin. It’s revealed early on that Dib is the one to throw the muffin at Zim. While Dib is sleeping he is visited by a pair of Meekrob, who grant him mysterious superpowers. Dib is finally able to suppress Zim, and after he destroys him, he travels the world to life out his most wonderful life. He finally proves that lake monsters and ghosts are real, and he finally saves the world from an Irken invasion.
In an interview with Alan, it is revealed that the entire episode occurred within Dib’s mind, as he is held within Zim’s Virtual Reality Chamber. Dib is devastated when he realizes what Zim had done to discover who threw the muffin at his head, and he wanders off defeated, until he comes face-to-face with a cannon. In a final act of malice, the cannon fires a single muffin at Dib’s head, ensuring Zim’s revenge.
7 Zim Consumes Organs
This is definitely the most disgusting single moment in Invader Zim’s 27 episode run, which is saying quite a bit. In the episode “Dark Harvest”, Dib decides to scan Zim’s body with an X-Scope. He finds out that none of Zim’s organs resemble those of humans. Zim is later sent to the nurses office when he acquires “head pigeons”, and he begins to freak out because he realizes she will notice that his organs are otherworldly.
In an attempt to save his own skin, Zim begins consuming the organs of his classmates and replacing their insides with random objects around the Skool. Zim later becomes obese from all of the organs he consumes, and Zim is shown graphically eating kids' organs.
Dib attempts to both capture and reveal Zim’s treachery, but unfortunately he's instead captured by Zim, who eats his organs and replaces them with a mooing sound can. Zim’s plan proves to be successful when the nurse checks him out and discovers that he has numerous human organs. The end, of course, makes no sense, but it’s perfect.
6 GIR Becomes Zim’s House
The episode “Invasion Of The Idiot Dog Brain” is yet another truly ridiculous entry into the Invader Zim series, and lucky for the world, it’s entirely GIR focused.
When Zim discovers that his security system has been tampered with, he attempts to upgrade it, and in doing so, he places GIR in charge of making sure nothing goes wrong while tampering with the system’s AI. GIR messes everything up when he goes chasing after his rubber moose, shutting down both the house and himself. Zim then finds out that GIR’s brain was uploaded to the central hub of the house.
In one of the greatest sequences in animated entertainment, GIR ends up taking complete control of the house and causes the house to grow several appendages while he sprints towards the local taco restaurant, Krazy Taco. GIR is only calmed when Zim ends up buying several tacos and gives them to GIR in exchange for his house back. The town is completely destroyed due to GIR’s rampage, but it’s worth it for tacos.
5 Hobo 13 Boot Camp
This entry is rare for the simple fact that the world Zim visits is truly strange and hilarious. In the episode “Hobo 13”, Zim is sent to the mysterious planet of Hobo 13 by the Tallest, who are sick of him constantly asking them for resources.
Hobo 13 is a planetary boot camp that tests its inhabitants' survival abilities. Zim is joined on the planet by many other trainees, who are, of course, taken advantage of by Zim, as he uses them for distraction and, in one instance, a battering ram. Zim manages to complete all of the trials pretty easily due to his cunning, but in the end he is confronted by the Sergeant of the trials, who challenges Zim to a duel. Zim appears to be losing at first, but eventually gains the upper hand, as he earns the respect of the tallest.
It’s also revealed that the Tallest forced a servant droid to bet 500,000 monies on Zim succeeding, which is, of course paid out directly to the Tallest. They end up giving Zim a spaceship and allow the service droid to accompany him. However, the Tallest send Zim on a crash-course with the sun. No matter what, Zim can never catch a break.
4 The Girl Who Cried Gnome
This particular episode entitled, “The Girl Who Cried Gnome” is an interesting one because it takes place entirely in Zim’s front yard and surrounding neighborhood. The episode begins when a Girly Ranger by the name of Moofy begins selling Girly Rangers cookies to the inhabitants of Zim’s neighborhood. She finally reaches Zim’s house when she is attacked by a robot gopher. The gopher was deployed by Zim in an attempt to attack the Girl, however the gopher malfunctions and instead dances for the Girl before trapping her in a hole. The Girl begins to scream which captures the attention of some passersby.
Eventually the whole situation is blown out of proportion when the media and eventually the president are called to the scene. It is revealed that no one is able to successfully rescue Moofy from the hole, on account of her shrill screams that she emits when anyone gets close to her. Zim eventually just grabs her out of the hole and deals with her shrieks when the president proposes they dig underneath Zim’s house to free her. The episode is all kinds of “WTF”, primarily due to the sheer escalation of the situation occurring right on Zim’s front lawn.
3 Attack Of The Saucer Morons
“Attack of the Saucer Morons” is one of the most confusing episodes of Invader Zim, which once again is saying a lot. The episode begins with Zim attempting to test Earth’s security systems when a bumblebee suddenly collides with the viewscreen on his Voot. When he is unable to contact GIR, he makes his way to his recovery vehicle, which is disguised as a giant floating pig. When he gets back to his ship he realizes that a large group of citizens known as the “saucer morons” are gathered around it.
The “saucer morons” eventually see both GIR and Zim and begin to worship them as gods. In order to fool the “saucer morons”, Zim and GIR disguise themselves as a government agent who tells the morons that that Zim and his recovery vehicle are “experimental government aircrafts.” They end up believing Zim and GIR, until the point when they both fall out of their lab coat and their true identities are revealed.
The episode ends with Zim and GIR flying off and running into yet another bumblebee, causing them to crash into an alien convention nearby. The show never explains how they escape, or why they’re never turned in.
This episode is truly disgusting because of its real life relatability. Unfortunately many people have come into contact with lice over their lifetimes, and it turns out the only way to truly defeat the little parasites was to attack their queen.
In the episode, “Lice”, a child named Melvin comes to the school with lice that eventually spreads and infests the rest of the Skool. Dib ends up being handcuffed to Melvin and the two of them come face-to-face with the louse queen. Dib and Melvin end up convincing the delouser at the school to help them, and she finds out that the lice die when they come into direct contact with Zim’s skin.
The delouser places Zim inside of a device that turns Zim’s skin into ammunition, and she shoots all of the queens minions and the queen herself with the fragments of Zim’s skin, freeing the Skool from her tyranny. This episode just doubled down on the gross elements that are almost always present in the series, and it made for some truly disgusting television.
1 Dib And Zim Fuse With Bologna
This is easily the most “WTF” moment in the entire series. In the episode “Bolognius Maximus”, Dib throws a slice of bologna at Zim, and it ends up burning his skin, making Dib to laugh hysterically. In an act of revenge, Zim places a tack underneath Dib, and Dib sits on it, causing him immense pain. Dib thinks that the turmoil is over, but is proven wrong when neighborhood dogs start tracking him down and the entire school believes that he smells awful.
Dib runs some tests and finds out that the thumbtack Zim stuck under his seat had introduced a foreign DNA sequence into his body that is slowly turning him into bologna. In a classic “eye for an eye” type scenario, Dib ends up formally apologizing to Zim while offering an outstretched hand for a handshake. When Zim ends up shaking his hand, however, he gets struck by the same tack that he left under Dib’s seat. They frantically search for a cure that they later do, in fact, invent. However, when Dib takes a sip of the cure, it has the opposite effect, and it turns him more into bologna. The episode ends with both Zim and Dib hunched over inside an abandoned house that is surrounded by dogs.
Did we miss any of the weirdest moments from Invader Zim? Let us know in the comments!