Invader Zim

Common Sense Media says

This little green guy has one big 'tude.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Zim doesn't value others' lives at all and is bent on world domination by any means necessary. But Dib does his best to foil all of Zim's evil plans.

Violence & scariness

Sci-fi laser gun action and plenty of smashing.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

No swearing, but lots of put-downs, like "dumb" and "idiot."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi cartoon is dark, sarcastic, and satirical. It follows a little alien space invader named Zim who wants to take over (and destroy) Earth. That goal leads to a fair amount of cartoon violence, mostly in the form of bashing about and laser gun use. There are no real lessons here, but younger tweens will probably find it entertaining.

Parents say

What's the story?

Created by comic book writer Jhonen Vasquez, INVADER ZIM is the zany, satirical story of one little extraterrestrial out to conquer Earth. Sent away from his home planet, the Irken Empire, after a botched military exercise, Zim (voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz) -- a narcissistic green space invader with a Napoleon complex -- seeks to submit Earth to his rule in order to prove his abilities to his elders. Accompanied by a silly robot named GIR (Rosearik Rikki Simons), Zim finds his conquering efforts foiled by his nemesis/schoolmate (Zim is mistaken for a child thanks to his undercover tactics) Dib (Andy Berman), who's the only human to realize Zim's true identity and mission.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Invader Zim is a perfect example of a cartoon that straddles the line between children's and adult entertainment. It's full of dark humor, humans are depicted as less-than-intelligent life forms, and Zim has a complete lack of concern for life -- all of which might raise some parents' eyebrows. What's more, Zim's vocabulary is full of put-down words like "idiot" and "stupid."

As a result, families should be cautious about letting younger children watch Invader Zim. But tweens, older kids, and adults will probably enjoy the show's comedy of errors -- certainly many of us can relate to Zim's desire to rule the world and will enjoy his laugh-out-loud attempts to get some "space cred."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Zim's motives -- and how he goes about trying to achieve them. Why do you think he wants to take over the Earth? What is he trying to prove? And to whom? Is there a better way he could make his point? Families can also discuss the fine line between kid-oriented cartoons and those meant more for adults. What should kids do if they're ever uncomfortable with something they see on TV?

TV details

Cast:Andy Berman, Melissa Charles, Richard Steven Horvitz
Network:Nicktoons
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Adventures, Robots, Space and aliens
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Invader Zim was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bySlipperyQ June 8, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

An Eye-Opening Show

There is only one reason the age for this show is higher- it's not as funny if you don't have the experience to relate. Here is an innovative cartoon that is sure to raise some eyebrows- and having heard quite a bit about the man behind it, this is not surprising. But kids today are exposed to so many sick things every day, that it doesn't throw us. Did you know that I can no longer walk down a school hallway without hearing something that would get me grounded? And I don't care. Because it's normal.
I don't call my generation mean, or disturbed, or anything else, though. I call us UNAFRAID.

That's what Invader Zim is- UNAFRAID. Zim is, like many real people, angry and hurt. His people do not want him, and he wants somebody to believe in him. And, like many real people, he goes about it the wrong way. Growing up watching him (and many people I know in real life) make the wrong choices reminds me now that it is not okay. There's a right way to gain respect- this is not it. His determination is astounding, however, and admirable.

Dib, the antagonist character, is quite blatently a neglected child feeling very much the same as Zim. Dib's struggle for the attention of his father - a man, I might add, who is not really worth all the effort - happens in the real world. It shows me that when a person isn't good for you, chasing them will only make things worse. If they can't accept you the way you are, they're not worth impressing.

Also, the fact that Zim and Dib are so similar personality- and situation-wise makes it clear how ridiculous it is that they are enemies, simply because they are on opposite ends of the universe. If they stopped for a moment and acknowledged each other as friends, neither would need to go through with petty goals and dangerous missions, because the entire point of it is to gain acceptance and love. Some things they could just as easily give each other, and be far happier. There's something to be learned from that, surely; I know I will never make the same mistakes.

At first glance, Invader Zim seems to be sending off the wrong signals, but it's exactly the opposite. Kids watch this show with clarity; they can see that what is going on is not right. They know that things like this (though perhaps not on as large a scale) happen all the time. Many of them, such as myself, have watched it happen. I've spoken to kids at my school who are neglected, abused, and bullied. Just like on TV. And because of this show, I know that becoming bitter and violent is not the way to make things better; only to lose yourself.

God bless Invader Zim.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byMikeM April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

A great mixture of random stupidity

This show is probably one of THE best shows ever. It's filled with episode after episode of random stupidity and subtle jokes that poke fun at today's society.

The only thing that parents may be concerned about is that it doesn't really promote good morals.
For instance, a teacher welcomes a new student by saying "Class, I would like to introduce the newest, hopeless appendage to the student body."
Not to mention the teacher’s name is “Miss Bitters”.

Other than that the show is great for kids of all ages - but kids 8 and up may understand the few jokes that actually take thought and intellect. (Not every joke is as nonsensical as those in SpongeBob).

Parent of a 12 year old Written byAstrid12 November 21, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Very smart, underrated, "feared" show

For some reason, Invader Zim scares Americans. One little green dude wants to take over the world in a cartoon and parents are already concerned of them taking in the "bad stuff". Are people so untrustworthy of their kids that they can't tell the difference. Invader Zim is a satirical view of the everyday lifestyle. People are always overreacting so they are the exact thing Invader Zim makes fun of. This show is perfect becuase it teaches and develops into smart, critical thinkers that are capable of handling big chores. I want my child to know these things and for him to tell them apart. I don't want him to grow into the adults that Invader Zim shows but a smart, independent thinker. For that, Invader Zim is the smartest, perfect children's show that was taken away too soon.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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