20px-Cquote1.png Son, there'd better not be any walking dead up there!
Professor Membrane

Invader Zim Episode
Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars
Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars (Title Card)
Previous: Tak: The Hideous New Girl
Next: Mortos der Soulstealer
Episode No: Episode 21
Production No: 21
Airdate: Australia:
December 20, 2003[1]
United States:
June 10, 2006
Writer(s): Jhonen Vasquez

"Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" is the 1st episode of the second season of Invader Zim. It first premiered on December 20, 2003 in Australia. It aired in the United States on June 10, 2006. It is also the 21st episode overall.


SPOILER WARNING OF DOOM: This section or article may contain spoilers!

Brain leech

The Brain Parasite.

Zim's newest plan for Earth conquest is almost ready, and he wants the Almighty Tallest to come see it since The Massive is nearby.

However the Tallest don't care and hang up on Zim with the pathetic excuse of being attacked by an "enemy vessel." "The latest plan" just so happens to be a monstrous Brain-Eating Parasite that sucks out and eats the brains of humans, and GIR must keep its levels under control to prevent it from escaping since Zim is determined that Red and Purple get "front row seats to the end of all mankind."
In Case You're Wondering... (Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars)

Dib tells Zim he's also piloting The Massive.

Meanwhile, Gaz hears Dib explaining that he has been working on Tak's Ship in his garage, and is now able to use the onboard computer to decipher Irken text. Also, since Dib placed a spy bug in Zim's Base during "Tak: The Hideous New Girl," he can steal information from Zim's computer.

Gaz leaves, restraining herself from harming her brother, while using both of these resources, Dib listens in on a call Zim makes to Prisoner 777 on Vort, and watches in horror as Zim asks the Vortian scientist for schematics to The Massive, allowing him to remotely control the ship and bring the Tallest to Earth.

However, the Tallest have problems of their own to take care of: a resistance group that has vowed to destroy the Irken Empire - imaginatively named The Resisty. Normally, their ship would be no match for the Massive, but right before the Tallest's command ship blows up the Resisty, Zim takes control of the Massive. The maniacal alien maintains control for only a few minutes, however, before then Dib butts his big head in, and starts flying the Massive in the opposite direction. Zim and Dib fight for control of the ship on Earth, while in space the Tallest are thrown wildly about inside the Massive, while the Resisty shoot at them.

About to Crash in a Star (Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars)

The Tallest nearly getting killed.

At some point during all of this, Zim's Computer warns his master that the brain parasite's levels are dangerously out of control. Zim abandons the fight for the Massive momentarily to see why GIR wasn't doing his job. On the way to the leech room, the computer informs Zim that someone is at the door. Zim brushes it off as a minor annoyance and orders the Roboparents to take care of it, and continues to where GIR is. Zim finds GIR lying in a pile of mashed potatoes, and quickly puts the little robot back to work.

But before Zim can go back to fighting Dib, the computer tells Zim that the Roboparents are malfunctioning horribly, and are now playing catch with the little boy at the door. Zim then changes GIR's orders and has him fight Dib in his place, while Zim goes upstairs and takes care of the Roboparents.

To his horror, Zim sees that the entire neighborhood is staring at his fake parents, who have now begun trying to eat the little boy. Panicking, Zim throws the boy into the crowd and pushes his Roboparents back inside. Robodad, however, gets mad at Zim and yells at him for being rude. Both parents start chasing after Zim, who runs back to the control room where GIR and Dib are trying to control the Massive. After laying down a force field in the doorway to keep the Roboparents out, Zim takes the controls back from GIR, and commands him to take care of the leech once more.
True Location of Invader Zim (Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars)

Tallest Red discovered Zim's behind The Massive's horrible hacking.

After a few more minutes of fighting between Dib and Zim, Zim finally realizes that Dib is using Tak's ship to control the Massive, and, once his Computer locates Dib's spybug, Zim remotely reactivates the security programming in the Irken ship. Tak's downloaded personality interface locks Dib out of the ship and starts attacking him, leaving Zim free to gain full control of the Massive.

Back on the Massive, Red figures out that Zim is controlling the ship by establishing a link with the ship's power core. To fix the problem, Red has the Massive's pilots switch power cores with the Resisty's ship. Now the Resisty are the ones being pulled toward Earth, but Zim doesn't realize it. Lard Nar, the leader of the Resisty, orders the ship's shrinky-self-destruct to be activated, and the Resisty evacuate, promising to return again.

Back on Earth, Zim decides to land the Massive on Dib's head. At first, Dib panics at the sight of the giant ship about to crush him, but is left speechless when it shrinks down to the size of an ant before exploding. Zim panics at what he thinks is the death of his leaders, only to be interrupted by Dib's taunting laughter, but really loses it when he discovers that the brain-eating parasite has woken up.


Once the Massive's controls come back online as well as reparations being made, the Tallest call Zim in order to reprimand him for commandeering their ship, possibly with the intention of "blowing him up." But when Zim shows up on screen, he is running around in great pain with the giant brain parasite attached to his head. GIR is eating mashed potatoes, and Robomom is taking pictures of Robodad eating a little boy. Horrified by the carnage, Purple leaves the room to vomit all over the donuts, much to Red's dismay.

End of Spoilers: There are no further spoilers for this section or article. You can breathe now.

Facts of Doom

Cultural References

  • In the very beginning when Zim is calling to the Almighty Tallest for a while, it may be a reference to the popular "Hey! Listen!" meme from the The Legend of Zelda video game series by Nintendo.
  • When Dib appears next to Zim, a blue button appears and says "New Player". This is a reference to multiplayer video games.
  • There is a scene in this episode that is similar to the arcade game Centipede, when The Massive appeared on screen as a long line that snakes around.
  • Prisoner 777 may be a reference to Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, as 777 is Johnny C's address.


  • There are two closed captioning errors in this episode. One is when Dib first appears as a hologram, Zim says: "Damn that!" but he really is just saying "Dib!" The second one is when GIR and Dib are fighting over the controls. Dib supposedly says: "This sucks, y'know?" but really says: "Get off! No!"
  • This episode is featured on the Invader ZIM Volume 3: Horrible Holiday Cheer DVD.
  • In this episode, we discover that Invader Larb has succeeded in his mission to conquer the planet Vort, it was previously implied in "Megadoomer".
  • This episode never aired in the US until 2006, but it aired in other countries years earlier, such as Australia having it in late 2003.
  • Zim's rant towards the beginning of the episode lasted for three hours, though we only hear fifty one seconds of it.
  • Tak is involved in this episode, though only through the AI programmed in her old ship.
  • This is Jhonen Vasquez's favorite episode of Invader Zim. This is also Rosearik Rikki Simons' favorite episode too.[2]
  • When Zim and Dib are piloting the Massive in the asteroid field, it looks brand new, when it's supposed to be beaten up.
  • For some reason, the Irken Fleet leaves the Massive behind once it loses control, instead of trailing it as it usually does. The Fleet reappears only once when the Massive is being repaired.
  • This is one of the rare episodes we get to see Zim actually take off his human contact lenses. When the Roboparents force him back down into the piloting room, his wig falls off. We see him with no wig but his lenses on, which he then throws off before hopping back into the cockpit.
  • In the part in which the Almighty Tallest are eating donuts while the giant laser is being fired, the donut crumbs seem to be in zero gravity.
  • Prisoner 777 and the Resisty Computer are voiced by Wally Wingert, who is the voice of Tallest Red.
  • Rodger Bumpass, who is the voice of the anti-paranormal Professor Membrane, ironically voices the alien Spleenk.
  • The fourth wall is broken in this episode when Zim tells Dib "Watch as I bring a royal audience to the downfall of the human race". It looks like the audience is sitting inside Tak's ship, and looks at Zim when he's talking, and then when Dib talks the camera looks up at him, and then it goes back to Zim, then starts going back to Dib but stops and goes back to Zim.
  • When the Resisty's ship appeared to Dib, he should have realized it was the wrong ship because while he was fighting for control of the Massive, he actually saw a picture of it.
  • In the Latin American version of this episode, Shloonktapooxis and Lard Nar were voiced by Carlos Iñigo and Ernesto Lezama, the voices for Rocko and Filburt from Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Lard Nar uses the phrase "sitting ducks", which is an Earth expression and shouldn't even know what it means since Vortians have not come in contact with humans.
  • Before the Shrinking self-destruct" takes effect, Lard Nar tells the Tallest that they would meet again, this would've happened in the "Untitled season two finale."
  • It's unknown why Dib would run outside when Zim said he would land the Massive on Dib's giant head (it would be much harder to land it on Dib if he were inside, but he was panicking and probably not thinking).
  • Beginning with this episode, the Irkens' antennae are drawn thicker.
  • Zim nearly killed the Tallest in this episode.

Changes and Cuts

Things You Might Have Missed

  • Bloody GIR is seen in this episode. When Almighty Tallest are looking at Resisty's ship, look closely at Tallest Purple head, you can see an eye and a little blood on it.
  • When Almighty Tallest Red is pretending to punch The Resisty's ship with a puppet of himself, the puppet's antennae are similar to Zim's in the pilot episode.
  • Look closely at Lard Nar throughout this episode and you'll notice that his outfit keeps changing.
  • When Dib is establishing the link from his computer to Tak's ship, the picture on the corner of his computer screen is of Zim's ship instead of Tak's.
  • The button that activates the Shrinky Self Destruct on the Resisty's ship looks like Wobbly-Headed Bob, one of Jhonen Vasquez's other characters.
    Iz inmate777
  • You will find Bloody GIR in this episode. When Tallest Purple says "Hey, that's a Vort ship!", look very closely next to his head and you will see him there, although it is extremely small.
  • If you pay attention, you will notice "Resisty Rocks!" is written on the Massive BEFORE it shows the Resisty writing it.
  • When Dib is reading aloud about planet Vort, his eyes are going right to left, but when the camera zooms in, his eyes change direction to left to right.
  • Throughout the episode, the background of The Resisty's Ship has computer screens with images of the control panel from the very beginning of "The Nightmare Begins".
  • When the camera is about to show Zim maniacally laughing after he hijacks the Massive, Look closely in the moment before: The pipes on the sides of Zim's house are missing.
  • Even though Professor Membrane often brushes off Dib's paranormal studies as nonsense, he apparently acknowledges that Dib has successfully raised the dead on at least one occasion.

Animation Errors

Zim Scared (Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars)
  • Throughout many parts of this episode, Zim, GIR, and Dib's colors pale down, and then get back to normal.
  • Although this episode takes place all on the same night, when the boy goes up to Zim's door, it's daytime, even though its supposed to be at night. Another time is when Zim gets out of the garbage can to stop the Roboparents. You can see a window above Zim that shows it's daytime. Then, just one second later when Zim runs outside, it's night again.
  • When Zim first gains control of the Massive and Tallest Purple is screaming, "What's happening? Why have we lost control?", Tallest Red's mouth is syncing this, which is a common error in animation that is expensive to fix, so they left it in, although in the Latin American version, Red does end up saying the line.
  • Right after the Resisty leave and the Tallest are eating doughnuts, you can see that Red's tongue is a human tongue instead of an Irken one.
  • When Zim is running away from the Roboparents, before he runs in the trash can, Zim's lenses are gone, however, they are on him before and after that scene.
  • After the Tallest yell "Hey someone's making donuts!" and the camera goes to Zim, he doesn't have a head shadow on the floor. However, this could have been intentional as it possibly foreshadowed the Brain-Eating Parasite escaping and getting on Zim's head.
  • During Zim's rant at the beginning of the episode, just after one of the Massive's escort ships rushes by close to the camera, look at the ship in the background that's moving faster than the others toward the right of the screen. It passes through another ship as the camera begins to pan towards the Massive's interior.
  • When Zim enters the control room after escaping from the Roboparents, he takes off his lenses. In the next shot, they disappear from his hands.
  • When Robodad yells "C'mon son, let's go play in the toilet!", look closely: Robodad's hand is the same color as the door. In the next shot, the hand is back to silver.
  • When The Resisty's scary setup falls apart, Tallest Purple was on the right and Tallest Red was on the left when it was suppose to be Purple on the left and Red on the right.
  • When the camera zooms in on Dib while he pilots The Massive into the sun, he seems to have an Irken soldier's neck collar.
  • Whenever Lard Nar turns his head away from the out of control ship to look at the camera in confusion, one of the frames of his head facing away from the camera remains in place in the background.

See Also