Today on Cartoons and Cereal my daughter and I re-watched episode one of Invader Zim, created by Jhonen Vasquez. I watched this as a younger person, and also own the Johnny (the oft-misunderstood) and Squee! graphic novels. I love them and am sure I’ll discuss them here one day (but probably not with my daughter for a few more years). Please not, I don’t feel bad about watching this on youtube because it isn’t broadcast anymore (that I know of) and I do own the DVD box set back home.
The first episode starts off in deep space and gives us a view of the Invaders and their leaders, the tallest. They are assigning planets in Operation: Impending Doom II. Zim, we learn is a screw-up and a nobody, partly because he is so short, and mostly because of his screw-up in the first Impending Doom. The amount of throwaway gags and lines that exist purely to comment on society in all of Vasquez’s creations is astounding and part of the reason I re-watch and re-read his work. Desperate for an assignment, Zim is told to go to a planet that no one is sure exists, and is given Gir, a malfunctioning robot assistant.
We also meet Dib, a child who is obsessed with UFO’s and all things strange and mysterious, and Gaz, his sister, who seldom shares his enthusiasm.
On Zim and Gir’s voyage to Earth, we are treated to the Doom Song, so cute that it could be listened to on repeat repeatedly, at least according to my daughter. Here is a dubstep remix, which, while I may be called a hipster for this, I don’t think is as good as the original.
There’s also a 2-hour version, but no one needs that.
Zim gets his disguise and they build their base of operations. The next day Zim goes to school and meets Dib. This sets up a recurring event, in which Dib tries to prove to the rest of the school, and humanity in general, that Zim is an alien. Of course, no one ever believes him, no matter what bizarre things Zim says or does. We also meet the teacher, who is in Squee! and just as horrid here.
Dib tries to capture Zim but Gir comes to his master’s rescue, in his own special way, and we see Zim sending his first report to the tallest, who seem shocked and dismayed to hear from him.
While this has been a synopsis of the episode, by no means does it spoil anything. Watch it yourself and see. It’s a hilarious show. This first one is heavy with set-up, as a first episode tends to be, and it only gets better from here on out. I will keep watching it again and again, and will probably post another review, about the time that we see the characters turn into sausages.