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Invader Zim is an American animated television series created by Jhonen Vasquez and originally aired on Nickelodeon. The recurring cast includes long-term Nickelodeon voice actors Richard Horvitz and Rodger Bumpass, with live-action television actors Kevin McDonald (The Kids in the Hall) and John de Lancie (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Vasquez voices parts in the show. The show was cancelled early in its run and some episodes were unfinished. The show ran for two seasons before its cancellation.
Zim (voiced by Richard Horvitz and Billy West in the pilot) is an incompetent Irken invader who is an overzealous, impulsive, megalomaniac, convinced of his own greatness. He dreams of regaining his leaders' trust by taking part in Operation Impending Doom II, so Zim is assigned to Earth, a planet which the Almighty Tallest believe has little to no chance of existing. However, against all odds, Zim makes it to Earth and establishes a base on a fake conquest mission. Because of his very small stature, Zim disguises himself as a human child using a hairpiece to cover his antennae and contact lenses to make his eyes look normal.
Zim has a tendency to vociferously malign humans as a species, constantly accusing everyone that they "lie" whenever things do not go his way. Despite his green skin, a severe allergy to bologna and water, his refusal to eat human food, and an occasionally blatant disregard for his own cover, no one realizes that Zim is an alien, except Dib and Gaz. Zim has no friends, and physically harms other kids if they attempt to befriend him. However, they will always defend him when Dib calls him an alien. He is equipped with a PAK, a backpack with, (among other gadgets,) long, retractable robotic spider legs that enable him to move about quickly and climb almost any obstacle.
Zim constantly schemes to enslave or destroy mankind, and despite his access to potent Irken technology, his plans are never successful. Zim also has a high opinion of himself, and will sometimes refer to himself in the third person.
GIR (voiced by Rosearik Rikki Simons) is a malfunctioning and dimwitted robot SIR (Standard-issue Information Retrieval) Unit who was assigned to Zim. He was built by The Almighty Tallest out of SIR unit remains and whatever they could find in the trash and their pockets. GIR was passed off to Zim as a "top-secret" and "advanced model". His name is an unexplained, self-applied moniker. He himself has no idea as to where the name came from. He disguises himself in public by wearing a green dog suit which fools most humans, despite looking and acting nothing like an Earth dog. GIR, in one episode, is seen at a dance club, and is dropped off by the girls who took him there; he also loves pigs and pizza.
GIR has no sense of who is a friend and who is an enemy. He also rarely understands the severity of the predicaments he finds himself in, unless it involves pain.
GIR's upbeat, clueless, thoughtful and friendly personality is a contrast to Zim's self-centered, imperious behavior. GIR enjoys taking part in Earth's culture, while Zim distances himself from it in order to complete his mission. GIR does not usually obey Zim, which leads to Zim furiously shouting at GIR. However, GIR and Zim occasionally seem to care for one another. Zim often calls GIR a "horrible little robot" and has referred to GIR as insane, though Zim will occasionally show some affection.
Dib Membrane (voiced by Andy Berman) is a young eccentric paranormal investigator and the main villain of the series. Dib is considered Zim's archenemy who spends his time studying the supernatural and paranormal. He tends to thwart Zim in his schemes to take over the world. Dib is generally hated by his classmates because they see him as annoying and crazy. His classmates also tend to bully him a lot, but Dib is reluctantly determined to save them anyway. Zim and Dib often fight because one is trying to destroy the planet and the other is trying to save it. While they are often portrayed as enemies, they have at least once been forced to work as reluctant teammates. They normally both hate each other with a passion and would like nothing better than to destroy each other. Despite the both of them hating each other, an unfinished episode of the series revealed that when Dib lost interest in the Zim and the paranormal, Zim gave up on destroying the earth and only got back up when Dib decided to hunt Zim. Dib is sensitive over the size of his head and usually overreacts when people point out its largeness. It is revealed in some episodes that his head serves multiple purposes, in the episode "Gaz, Taster Of Pork", it served as a portal into other worlds.
When dealing with people like the police, the F.B.I., NASA Place or the secret society that he belongs to called The Swollen Eyeballs, they all find Dib annoying and get mad whenever he calls or swings-bye. A precious few of these people realize just how sane Dib is and are kind enough to help him. The Swollen Eyeballs are a secret society dedicated to discovering the paranormal and separating the fake superstitions from the real ones. They all have secret code names and some of them are Dib's heroes. Dib's secret codename is Agent Mothman. Late in the series, Dib is actually seen arguing with some of these people and gets irritated when many of them decide not to help him or remind him of a situation of where he got no help when he really needed it. In the episode "Zim Eats Waffles", where Dib is seen spying on Zim by using a hidden video camera in his kitchen he talks to another member of The Swollen Eyeballs and the F.B.I. When he is asked if he ever got that ghost ninja out of his toilet he replies angrily "Yes! No thanks to you!". Because he's cried wolf so many times, Dib finds it very hard for people to believe him and is thrilled on the rare occasion when he finds someone who does. Nonetheless he's willing and prepared to strongly defend the paranormal field of study whenever someone makes fun of it or says it's not a real field of study.
Gaz Membrane (voiced by Melissa Fahn) is Dib's psychotic, antisocial, and apathetic younger sister, often described as "Dib's scary sister", who has a penchant for video games, a fixation with pizza, particularly from her favorite restaurant Bloaty's Pizza Hog (satirical of Chuck E. Cheese's) and loves soda. If and when someone or something stands in the way of her getting those things, she will thrust them into "a nightmare world from which there is no awakening." She knows that Zim is an alien, but does not care because she believes he's too stupid to take over the Earth. Because Gaz is very rarely ever seen to be happy, most viewers believe that she is humorless. But in the episode "Parent Teacher Night" she chuckles twice at Zim and Dib's misfortunes.
In the series, Gaz has either a lukewarm or a cold relationship with most of the other characters. As mentioned before, her brother Dib is one of these people. The only exception to all of these people might be her famous father, Professor Membrane. He seems to have a warm relationship with Gaz, even though it's not shown all that often. Professor Membrane is very rarely ever home due to the world always needing his help. However, he does make it a point to once a year have a family night with his kids and spends Christmas with them. Whenever he's home, Gaz seems to strongly prefer to spend time with him over listening to her brother's annoying, enthusiastically long, crazed rants. Because she has a closer relationship with her father, the professor tends to call Gaz "honey" or on occasion by her name which he never does to Dib. She often spends time with him by going down to his lab to talk with him whenever he's home. She has made it known to her father that Dib greatly irritates her and that just the sound of his voice alone sends her into a very deep rage.
Gaz's relationship with Zim can be described as distant, cold and unfriendly as the two very rarely interact with one another, and whenever they do interact they mostly say one-liners, with the exception of the episodes "Bloaty's Pizza Hog" and "Future Dib". Zim considers Gaz as a very minor threat (he often overlooks, or is ignorant of, her ability to easily defeat him). This could be due to the fact that he interacts chiefly with Dib and has a better knowledge of Dib's reactions than Gaz's. However, it should also be made known that Zim thinks that Gaz is scary and, that even he as obsessive and power-crazed as he is, he does not wish to provoke her wrath. Whenever Gaz is questioned about her opinion of Zim, she acknowledges that he's an alien, but also says that he's too dumb and incompetent to take over the Earth. In the episode "Lice" it shown that Gaz can endure pain (in that case, the lice eating her scalp) and even calls the students who complain about the pain "whiners". Another example of Gaz's toughness is shown in "Dark Harvest" when Zim replaces one of her organs with her Game Slave, but she continues to play her game, even though it's inside of her. Furthermore, in the episode "Mysterious Mysteries", when talking about Zim, she calls him "stupid Zim", when talking to the show's host. In turn, Zim often refers to her as either "Little Gaz" or "Dib's Little Sister".
Gaz has an okay relationship with GIR and seems to tolerate him better than Dib (although their relationship is only seen in two episodes- "Tak, the Hideous New Girl" and "Bloaty's Pizza Hog"). In an episode called "The Voting Of the Doomed", Gaz was seen with GIR again, but again there was no verbal contact and she just ate peanuts out of his head. Gaz is the only character in the TV show that's ever gotten an onscreen kiss on the lips, albeit an unwanted one (from GIR).
Unlike most characters in the rest of the series, Gaz has special powers, but they are rarely ever demonstrated and the only other people who know about them are Dib and Iggins (although Iggins is only seen in one episode with Gaz which is "Game Slave 2"). According to what's seen in the series, Gaz can levitate herself very high while in a fit of having a really deep rage and a very strong sense of hate as seen in "Gaz, Taster Of Pork", control the weather as seen in "Game Slave 2" and control electricity as seen in "Dibship Rising". Please note that these powers are only seen in the three episodes as mentioned above and that when she levitates, the background becomes purple and her eyes (which are rarely ever open) turn from a pretty and light shade of hazel into a deep and sinister shade of red. She also has a very strange and creepy way of stalking people who have significantly pestered, or upset her—like Dib or the video game crazed boy named Iggins. This strange ability has appeared in only two episodes which were "Battle Dib" and "Game Slave 2".
In "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom," when Dib throws a muffin at Zim's head and Zim reacts in an outraged and wild type of manner, Gaz does admit that it was kind of funny to see Zim's reaction after he left the cafeteria in a very angry manner. In the episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork", at the end of the episode when she's out eating with her dad, he asks her where Dib is and Gaz says that he's in a pig-filled netherworld. Her father laughs at this and calls her his funny child. This statement causes Gaz to look at him and smile at the fact that she made her father laugh. In "Battle Dib", at the end of the episode as Dib was being shown out the door Gaz smiled and waved at him. In "Game Slave 2" after getting the latest version of the game device from Iggins, Gaz smiled as the sun came out—after she made everything in her world right again.