In its heyday, Nickelodeon produced some of the strangest, most bizarre, yet entertaining cartoons of all time. Among them were such classics as Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold, The Angry Beavers, and many more. But none were quite so strange as Invader ZIM. During its brief run, it entertained children (as well as adults) with its incredibly peculiar, dark, and brilliant sense of humor.
Not Your Typical Alien Invader
Following the titular alien, Zim, we watched him attempt again to again to take over the Earth, all while being foiled by his human arch-nemesis Dib. The series was truly unique and is fondly remembered many years later as something of a cult classic.
So fans rejoiced when Netflix announced they were reviving Invader ZIM for a new original film (along with Rocko one week earlier!). But after over a decade of being off the air, could this new special compare to the absurd humor of the series, as well as meet fans’ nostalgic expectations? Let’s take a closer look at Invader ZIM: Into the Florpus.
On Par with the Original Series
The story picks up with Dib monitoring Zim’s house in an attempt to obtain evidence, proving that he is an alien. Meanwhile, Zim communicates with the Tallest, and the rest of the Irken Empire, who are not too happy to hear from him. After an entire series of believing that he was doing their bidding, he finally realizes that they sent him to Earth just to get rid of him.
He sinks into a deep depression, something we’ve never really seen from Zim, given his usually level of energy and determination. Dib attempts to use this as an opportunity to expose Zim during his father’s live telecast to the entire world. Zim has something else up his sleeve, which goes terribly wrong, as always.
Once again, we see Zim and Dib clash and further realize that they’re far more similar then either would care to admit. Both are extremely devoted to their mission (taking over Earth vs. exposing Zim), and both are met with skepticism and a great deal of ridicule. Zim craves the acceptance of the Tallest, while Dib just wants his famous scientist father to acknowledge and believe him about aliens. If they ever worked together, they would be unstoppable!
All the Nostalgia
This special perfectly recaptured the unique animation style, as well as the sense of humor. When the series first debuted Nickelodeon wanted it to be specifically aimed at children, but series creator Jhonen Vasquez has a vastly different goal. Rather than aiming for any specific age demographic, he merely set out to make a series that was shocking and hilarious. And in that respect, it was a great success.
After many years of hiatus, it was quite enjoyable to step back into the strange little world of Zim. There’s a reason the series has become such a cult classic and Enter the Florpus reminds us just why. Hopefully it leads to a greater resurgence, and maybe even a new season on Netflix. In the meantime, we have this to hold us over!