Usually I wouldn’t include a TV special on my blog, but the Holiday Season brings many tropes, one of which being the Christmas episodes of practically every television show on the air. It almost feels blasphemous to review Christmas movies without reviewing at least one holiday special. I will admit that I chose to review this because watching it has become just as much of a tradition in my house as watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas has. Instead of doing a typical review, I’ve decided to simply explain what it is about this episode of Invader Zim that made it new-tradition worthy.
So the main thing that makes this special memorable is how it is able to balance staying true to the themes of the show itself while also making fun of various Christmas tropes. I have watched many a holiday special that have no place within the rest of the show, and often those are the episodes I skip when watching the season later on. Instead of making Zim realize the beauty and magic of Christmas or have him and Dib forgive one another, the show stays true to its roots and gives Zim a way to use Christmas as one of his schemes to take over the world. Once again, Dib is one of the few characters to realize what is going on and must be the one to stop him. This very easily could be a regular episode of the show, but it also works well as a Christmas special on its own.
I absolutely love how the special reminds us that the point of Christmas is to spend time with our families and not get overly obsessed with tradition or commercialism, much like the message of A Charlie Brown Christmas, but is able to pull off portraying this message in such a tongue-in-cheek way. We learn this not through being fed up with fake Christmas trees, but through how willing people are to be teleported to their doom simply from the promise of spending Christmas with Santa.
Of course, some of the jokes in this are there purely for the sake of randomness, such as the ending with Zim dressed as the Easter Platypus. However, I love these scenes because they offer a break from all of the Christmas madness, something that we could all use in our lives during this season. The Holiday Season has become such a marketing scheme for retail that many stores start offering Christmas items in October, if not sooner. By making sure this episode had scenes that didn’t directly relate to Christmas, it helps remind us that maybe Christmas isn’t the main thing we should all be paying attention to.
Overall, this special isn’t the greatest out there or even known by most people. I honestly have not heard of anyone outside of my family that knows this special by name, let alone watched it more than once (if ever). However, the healthy sarcasm and light mocking of the typical Christmas special makes it interesting and fun to watch every year.