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Another Portland Blog

Monday, May 24, 2004

 

Invader ZIM




At what age is it no longer socially acceptable to watch cartoons? Much like video games, the cut-off seems to be ever expanding. Regardless of where that line is I'm not likely to stop anytime soon.

My attention span may be short but it's still not short enough for most of what's out there. Everything on Cartoon Network makes the cut but more popular fare like Spongebob Squarepants, The Fairly Oddparents and Yu-Gi-Ohh are like freshly sharpened cat claws on a 19th-century chalkboard. While I know Spongebob has fans that can legally buy cigarettes, I'd be surprised to hear that anyone over the age of 9 has gotten through an entire episode of Yu-Gi-Oh.

I'm a late comer to the Invader ZIM cult. The show was kicked-off Nickelodeon in 2002 for obvious reasons. Compared to its good-natured cartoon colleagues, ZIM was depraved and unholy. The show combined the sugar-high urgency of something like the Powerpuff Girls with the depraved humor of Ren and Stimpy. It was a children's show no child should be allowed to watch. In short, Invader ZIM was flippin' brilliant.

Centered around an warrior alien (ZIM) disguised as a school kid, the show made no qualms about violence or surreal imagery. In one episode, ZIM sends a toy piggy back in time to kill his arch-nemesis, Dib, a classmate eager to expose his secret identity. The toy manages only to injure him. Dib, now burdened with a breathing machine since early childhood, attempts revenge. As ZIM fights back with more time-traveling piggies, Dib becomes increasingly and more gruesomely meek. Unfortunately for ZIM, he accidentally replaces his own brain with the last toy.

OK, my synopsis isn't doing the show much justice. Since its cancellation, ZIM episodes have only been available online. It's a shame that the show was never rescued by Cartoon Network for its late night Adult Swim block. ZIM deserved a wider audience and it may yet get it. Through the miracle of DVD technology, a first batch of episodes will be released on disc May 26th. Who? Ray!

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