2001, 2002, 2006, TV

Invader ZIM (2001)

This is one of those innumerable aughts animated sitcoms that I added to my list when I first heard about it but then didn’t get around to watching for fifteen to twenty years. The more of these I watch the more I realize I really missed the boat here. I would have enjoyed many of these at the time. Now, in my 40s and in the 20202s, most of them don’t work for me.

So the premise of this is reasonably fun (though I feel like it can’t be original): ZIM is sent to earth because the leaders of his species think he’s a danger and want him to die. He doesn’t fully understand this and tries to complete his mission anyway. Kevin McDonald is one of the leaders, which is fun. So ZIM goes to earth and tries and fails to blend in but, predictably, only one person actually realizes he’s an alien, with everyone else just thinking he’s another weird teen. Hijinks ensue.

So I definitely laughed a number of times during the first few episodes. I liked some of the jokes quite a lot and I imagine had I encountered this show in the aughts, I would have enjoyed it as much as some of the other animated shows of its vintage that I actually managed to watch at the time.

But once it gets into the swing of things as a series, and ZIM starts having his individual adventures, the show really loses me. I found the first 3-4 episodes way more amusing than the next 3-4, so much so that I was barely paying attention. I’m sure I could have tried to pay more attention but the problem, as it always is with this form, is that these plots remind me of so many other shows like this. Sure, this conceit stands out but it is really the same old sitcom conceit of an evil creature lurking in plain site, and nobody will believe the one boy who knows, only this time it’s from the perspective of the evil creature. But the plots of the individual episodes line right up with so many other sitcoms.

I’m sure I would have liked it at the time. I’m sure it’s better than I’m giving it credit for. But there are too many other things for me to watch to spend even the two seasons (27 episodes only because the second season was cancelled nearly immediately) watching it.

Shoulder shrug emoji.


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