Do you remember this show?
Invader Zim, the cult classic of Nickelodeon. Created by comic book writer Jhonen Vasquez and premiering in 2001, this show isn’t like other Nicktoons. It was extremely dark for a kids cartoon. Too dark, it seems, for some kids to watch, and it worried a lot of parents.
Me, I didn’t care one bit. I loved Invader Zim because it was dark and different from other Nicktoons. I did think some of the episodes were a little too scary (I don’t even remember the “Dark Harvest” one that well). But it holds a special place in my heart for the amazing use of CGI. It was one of the first times I had ever seen CGI in a kids show, so I was mesmerized by it!
All the love can’t help with bad ratings, though, and the show got pulled in the middle of its second season, with a bunch of episodes remaining unreleased or unfinished. The last episode I ever saw was its Christmas Special, which aired sixteen years ago tonight. In honor of that, I decided to rewatch it for my 25 days of Christmas. So without further ado, I give you The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever.
The entire story takes place in flashback, being told by a robotic snow who is a clear parody of Frosty the Snowman. He explains that two million years ago, Zim discovered the concept of Christmas, and more importantly Santa.
After seeing how much humanity loved and adored Santa, Zim got an idea. An awful idea. Zim got a wonderful, awful idea. *cue the evil Grinch smile*
Using alien nanotechnology, Zim creates a robotic Santa suit for him to control, then with a flourish, presents himself to the world as the real Santa Claus.
Humanity successfully fooled, he summons them to the North Pole for a huge rally. In hindsight, the decorations, chanting, and the sinister overtones of the song, reminds me of a cult rally. It does give us the most oppressive and tyrannical Christmas Song ever, though. And I loved it!
Zim’s master plan is to build a teleporter and beam humanity to the Irken Empire to use as slaves. The only one with enough sense to oppose him is Dib. But since humans in Zim are stupid, they don’t believe Dib and Zim throws him Jingle-Jail
Fortunately, Dib doesn’t have to do anything this time around. Zim made the Santa Suit too good, and it’s started to think it’s the real Santa. Anything Christmas-related makes it take over.
Despite his best efforts, the suit manages to overpower Zim, trapping him inside.
So Zim’s trapped forever and Santa is real. Happy ending for all! Until Dib shows up with a giant robot suit and causes the suit to go berserk.
After a giant monster fight, Dib weakens the suit enough for Zim to escape, shrink it down, and have Dib throw it into space. There might have been a moral behind all that, but for the life of me, I still don’t know.
But despite thinking him destroyed, the Santa Suit, in fact, survived to gather power in deep space. Now it comes back every year on Christmas and terrorizes the Earth, so everyone has to live inside domes and placate him with milk and cookies. Dark
Yeah, Invader Zim was a dark and scary cartoon more often than not, but that’s what it was supposed to be. That’s why I liked it so much: it was different, and not seeing it canceled leaves a hole in my heart. I know it’s sounds sappy, but I wanted to see where the series would go. This Christmas Special was the last episode that ever aired; the rest were released years later by Nickelodeon.
In hindsight, maybe it would have been a good idea to just leave Zim trapped inside the suit. It would have been a good way to end the series: Earth saved, Santa is real, and Dib got what he wanted with Zim stopped. At least we still have the comics and the upcoming movie. And even after all these years, I still love this Christmas Special! Ho-ho-ho, Happy Holidays one and all!