Invader Zim (2004)

You might not remember it but before the ultra-freaky modern kids shows like Adventure Time there was the first generation, programs which showed the world that child’s entertainment didn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows. Enter Invader Zim! A show about an alien attempting to conquer Earth.

Meet Zim, he is a Irken Invader unceramonesiously exiled to a planet sized food-court after accidentally destroying most of the Irken military. However Zim is too stupid to understand his exile and so when he hears of the next universal operation he escapes from his exile and is lured to Earth: a planet with no strategic value or worth whatsoever. His mission, he believes, is to conquer the planet in preparation for the Irken fleet yet in reality he is simply there because his leaders want nothing to do with him. Regardless he goes about his time dedicated fully to his pseudo-mission.

Upon landing on Earth he takes on a disguise, enters school (so as to gather information on the humans), and devises plans which fail horribly. Aside from his own incompetence stopping him from completing his task there is Dib: an occult and alien coinsurer who is among the few people on Earth who knows that Zim is an alien.

From this premise follows a “spy vs spy” series of encounters with both Zim and Dib clawing at each-others’ throats. The humor is dark but upbeat. With abstract humor taking center stage the absurd silliness of the scenarios and dialogue combine to make a cult-classic.

While the show unfortunately didn’t last beyond a single season, perhaps overshadowed by more popular programs like the Fairlyodd Parents, it proved that an idea with some creative juices can resonate with an audience past the original demographic. Wacky to the degree unseen for its premiere Invader Zim is that show which both gave new imputes to children’s animation and birthed new relevance to moose and doom jokes.

While somewhat rare nowadays curious onlookers may try to purchase the title at AnimeWorks. While it might be a little pricy, to experience such a Nickoldeian show cut down in its prime I say it is worth it. Invader Zim reminds me of that late night television show one will see on Adult Swim or some of the more weird Cartoon Network shows; it is ballsy, rough, and yet appropriate for all ages.

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