Although it didn’t last very long, Nickelodeon’s cult classic animated hit Invader Zim carved out a nice following for itself. Try to hunt down someone born in the ’90s who can’t quote GIR in some capacity or recount Invader Zim gags and you will find it simply can’t be done.
What made Invader Zim such a favorite throughout its short run was its “out there” style of humor and a total willingness to embrace the weird. Although the humor wasn’t for everyone, the show still knew how to make people laugh. If you were a fan of strange animation from 2001 to 2002 and an embracer of the weird yourself, this show was for you. Check out this list highlighting some of the weird Invader Zim jokes that made the show such a joy to watch.
The Cleverly Disguised Turkey
So many questions, so little time. How did GIR cook himself inside the turkey? Why did he bother to do it at all? What pushes this clip into even weirder territory is GIR repeatedly emphasizing that he was the turkey all along, like it was some huge M. Night Shyamalan-level twist we never saw coming. Good job GIR, you fooled us.
The Dreaded Room with a Moose
What’s the scariest thing you could imagine? A world made up of pure itching? A dimension where everything is made up of nothing but poop? How about… wait for it… a room…. with a moose! In one episode, Zim tries to get rid of Dib and his fellow classmates by sending them to a dimension made up entirely of a room with a moose in it. At first Dib doesn’t seem frightened—until he sees the moose eat walnuts and that’s enough to strike the fear of God into him.
Over-the-Top Aspirin Commercial
Can you figure out which part of this joke belongs in an animated cartoon that aired on a kid’s network? GIR is watching a commercial where a man is walking along when suddenly his spine snaps. He shrieks and gurgles in pain for a few seconds before the commercial ends with a big sign that says “ASPIRIN.” It’s absolutely hilarious, but it’s tremendously odd and weird for a children’s cartoon.
It Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime
Find another show where an alien brings a set of robot parents to parent-teacher night, only to have them malfunction and start reenacting a diarrhea commercial. What makes it even weirder is the dad robot’s continuing moan even after he says diarrhea, which causes everyone to turn and look.
Ms. Bitters Explains Life to Dib
Has there ever been a show that describes this crazy thing called life any better than Invader Zim? When Dib busts into class complaining about horrible, nightmare visions, Ms. Bitters calmly tells him it’s just life and he needs to sit down. It doesn’t even seem like a joke, but rather more of a casual statement. Thanks, Invader Zim, for explaining to us the meaning behind our existence.
You Gonna Make Biscuits?
It feels like the writer of this joke thought that GIR saying, “You gonna make biscuits?” was funny, but not quite weird enough for people. So instead of saying it once, GIR repeats his question four times in a row (all with that freaky kid in the background) before Zim tells him, with menace, that he never wants GIR to mention biscuits ever again.
Everyone Loves Salted Nuts
Imagine you’re at a political rally, and after the person speaking talks about how he is going to decapitate another person because their head is so big, they suddenly declare they’re going to fill the decapitated head with salted nuts instead. Then, of course, a robot in a dog costume jumps out and starts spraying salted nuts into the crowd, making them all go wild. That person would easily become the next president of the United States.
Always Be Polite to Pigs
As GIR casually enjoys a tea party with his friend Pig, he’s suddenly called away. He politely excuses himself and that should have been the end of it. Instead, GIR climbs over the table, gets in Pig’s face and screams about how he has to go and he’ll see him later, before shooting off with his feet jets. The kicker is how it cuts back to Pig, all charred, and dramatic music plays for no discernible reason. “No Discernible Reason” is the perfect way to explain the humor for this show.
Give the Guy His Dang Slaw!
If you wanted to sum up Invader Zim‘s humor in a nutshell, just watch this clip. It contains a man with a twig in his hair at a fast food restaurant arguing about how he wants his Slaw, even though the Slaw is right in front of him. The cashier argues with him about how he already has his Slaw, but the customer just keeps demanding over and over again.
The Corn-Loving, Child-Stealing Hobo
Those who argue that Invader Zim still operated with some semblance of normality only need to look at this clip to see how wrong they are. If you try to explain this clip to any random person, you’re most likely going to end up in an insane asylum for talking crazy. In the clip, Dib talks to a hobo who keeps corn in a paper bag and has no problem rolling around on the table. He blows weird spit bubbles at other guests, fails to get the corn in his mouth, and ends the scene by grabbing one of the zoned-out kids lazily licking a lollipop and vanishing into the night.
The Random Attack of the Giant Flesh-Eating Demon Squid
“The giant flesh-eating demon squid has escaped!” Poor Zim. He just wanted to sit down and have a nice relaxing breakfast, but his plans were interrupted by the sudden appearance of the horrific creature which pummels Zim, decapitates his robot defenses, and casually eats an ice cream cone supplied by GIR. Dib watches it all from a video monitor and he’s just as shocked as the rest of us. Invader Zim always knew how to throw in weird, random moments, and this is one of its best.
Don’t Mess with the Mechanical Snowman
Sometimes it’s just best to tuck your problems away. That’s how the mechanical snowman detailing a story about Zim’s wacky Christmas shenanigans handles things when a bratty, slightly British child starts complaining about the story. She says nothing makes any sense in his story, to which the mechanical snowman picks her up and tucks her underneath the bed without a word.
How Many Pizza is Too Many Pizza?
Invader Zim was not only weird, it was oftentimes disgusting. In the show, everyone loved Bloaty’s Pizza Hog, a disgusting cesspool of filth and grease disguised as a pizza parlor. So it was basically a replica of Chuck E. Cheese’s, but for this place the mascot was a fat pig named Bloaty. The weird joke comes when Bloaty takes off his mascot suit only to reveal he’s about three times fatter than the costume. He’s so fat that a spaceship could crash into him and he wouldn’t even notice.
The Wacky Ham Demon Adventure
Invader Zim didn’t have a lot of two-part episodes, so when they actually did, the writers made sure to have fun with it. After ending with a cliffhanger involving Tak—the hideous new girl—turning out to be another alien, the next episode opens with Zim fighting a big ham demon. After he vanquishes it and it explodes, Zim mentions how wacky of an adventure that was, but it didn’t get him any closer to finding out something about Tak!