Stupid human propaganda. The very concept of a superior alien

species being felled by something as pathetic as "germs" is sheer fantasy. Do they really believe that could happen?
— Zim

Invader Zim Episode
Previous: Walk of Doom
Next: Dark Harvest
Episode No: Episode 04a
Production No: 04a
Airdate: April 20, 2001
Writer(s): Jhonen Vasquez

Rob Hummel

Plot Summary

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

Zim and GIR watch the end of Intestines of War where the humans have discovered the Aliens' weakness; germs, and is using this new found knowledge to restore peace on Earth. As the film ends, Zim mockingly laughs along with GIR, both convinced that any race with a proneness to germs are inferior and then goes down to his base, proceeding to try a demo pair of germ vision goggles. Though confident at first, Zim becomes a germaphobe seconds later. Now shaking in fear, he orders the full version from Callnowia.

Soon, Zim's package arrives at his doorstep. Clearly able to see the germs around him, he snivels over the amount of bacteria and gets his cleaning equipment while GIR returns to the base holding a muddy pig. The malfunctioning SIR goes elsewhere, and Zim begins to sanitize his home along with his computer. A while later, Zim inhales the scent of his germ free base, admiring his work. However, he spots a small germ crawling in the cracks of his kitchen, which he exterminates moments later.

Before Zim can proclaim his so-called victory over the small pests, GIR arrives at the base and lets loose another army or germs upon his arrival. To make matters worse, GIR begins to roll around the living room, making Zim tell his henchman to stop. Believing Zim was simply in a grouchy mood, GIR walks forward to him and tries to hug him. Zim's first resort was to run outside, but has been proved useless and ran back inside to escape the massive amount of germs outside, only to have GIR successively fully hug him. To get GIR out of the way, Zim puts him back into his dog suit and ties him to a tree in his front yard. Suddenly, Zim remembers about his mission as an "Invader" Zim tries to clear his mind of his fear by calling the Tallest so he can report his current progress.

Inside the Massive, Red and Purple groan after hearing Zim's call and discuss they should have sent him somewhere much more dangerous before answering the transmission. Zim tries to tell his leaders that all is going well, but is distracted by the ever growing number of germs getting into his base until he begins to yell out that he will destroy all of the germs in his sight, laughing evilly before the connection goes dead. As the screen buzzes, Purple asks Red if he was scared by that as well, to which he nods.

Low on disinfectant, Zim goes outside and unties GIR from the tree so they can go and get more cleaning products. He sprays his robot to clean him and then both leave. By the time they reach the store, it is night time. GIR is the first to spot the store and tries to run over to its, but is repeatedly stopped by Zim, who is spraying the area in front of him. Annoyed, GIR grabs the can of disinfectant to get more out. Suddenly, he spots a MacMeaties restaurant and runs over to the building—along with the can. Zim follows his henchman into the fast food restaurant, and looks in horror at that filth-covered customers inside. Upon finding GIR, the Irken makes a surprising discovery; the burgers are completely free of germs. Zim is told why they serve germ-free meat by an employee, as well as what they are made of: Used napkins. Realizing he could use this as a way around his fear, Zim demands to have the restaurant's meat.

The next day, Zim arrives at school covered in meat and greets his fellow students enthusiastically as they stare.

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

Facts of Doom

Cultural references

  • When Zim watches the video in the beginning, the issue with

germs being able to kill off and stop an alien invasion is a reference to the H.G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, where the Martians are killed by simple bacteria. The alien ships in it also slightly resemble the Martian War Machines from the 1953 film version of

the novel, and use the 1953 Heat-Ray sound effect for their lasers.
  • MacMeaties is a fairly obvious parody of McDonald's.
  • In the movie, when one of the scientists is discussing about

evacuating people to a homebase and live on the stars, he could be referencing the novel When Worlds Collide, where humanity evacuates Earth and live somewhere else in space.

Trivia of Doom

  • This episode marks the first time that Zim has mentioned his Squeedly-Spooch, the super-organ that members of the Irken race have. However, it isn't explained what it is until Dark Harvest.
  • A game on Nickelodeon's official website, titled 'In-Sanitation', was based on this episode. It has since been removed.
  • NanoZIM and Germs were originally supposed to air as a pair. However, Dark Harvest and Bestest Friend were deemed too twisted to be aired together, so the partners were switched.
  • The scientist seen in the movie is seen throughout the series, most notably in Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom, in which he sentences Dib to a lifetime in the Crazy House For Boys.
  • This is also the second time Dib nor Gaz appear, the first time being Walk of Doom.
  • This episode marks the second appearance of The Tallest, and the first appearance of their redesigns.
  • In this episode, Zim is shown with four fingers. But in most other episodes he is shown with only three fingers.
  • Zim's Computer said that he would have a free five-second demo, though the demo actually lasted almost twenty seconds, meaning that Irk's time works differently than Earth's timeline. This can be considered to make sense as Irkens live longer than humans.
    • Though not completely relevant, Sizz-Lorr did explain that time warps occur when travelling through galaxies between planets in the alternative series finale, The Frycook What Came from All That Space.
  • This episode is the fifth episode to use the squiggly Invader ZIM font in the title instead of the official font.

Things You Might Have Missed

  • After the pig leaves Zim's house, a motorcycle sound can be heard.
  • The Wilhelm Scream is heard in the opening movie, when one of the alien spaceships destroys a car.
  • Jhonen Vasquez and Steve Ressel are sitting in MacMeaties. They also have the script for The Nightmare Begins on the table, meaning they are possibly discussing about it as they are seen talking.
  • There was a poster in the MacMeaties restaurant that read "JUST SAY YES".

Inconsistencies and Animation Errors

  • After the scene when Zim closes the door to get away from GIR, his PAK's colours were reversed.


Main Article: The Kevin Manthei Invader Zim-phony Special

  • Cleaning Montage
  • GIR's Germs
  • Zim Loses It

See also

  • Germs (Transcript)
  • Episode 04 Credits
  • Germs Screenshots
Episodes of Invader Zim
Season One
The Nightmare Begins • Bestest Friend • NanoZIM • Parent Teacher Night • Walk of Doom • Germs • Dark Harvest • Attack of the Saucer Morons • The Wettening • Career Day • Battle-Dib • Planet Jackers • Rise of the Zitboy • Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain • Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy • A Room with a Moose • Hamstergeddon • Plague of Babies • Bloaty's Pizza Hog • Door to Door • FBI Warning of Doom • Bolognius Maximus • Game Slave 2 • Battle of the Planets • Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom • Mysterious Mysteries • Future Dib • Hobo 13 • Walk for Your Lives • Megadoomer • Lice • Abducted • The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot • GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff • Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom • Tak: The Hideous New Girl
Season Two
Backseat Drivers From Beyond the Stars • The Girl Who Cried Gnome • Dibship Rising • Vindicated! • The Voting of the Doomed • Mortos der Soulstealer • Zim Eats Waffles • Gaz, Taster of Pork • The Frycook What Came from All that Space • The Most Horrible X-mas Ever
Simon Says "Doom" • Invader Poonchy• Return of Keef• GIR's Big Day• When Pants Ruled! • Mopiness of Doom • Nubs of Doom• The Trial• Top of the Line • Ten Minutes to Doom • Roboparents Gone Wild • Squishy: Hugger of Worlds • It Feeds on Noodles • Day of da Spookies • Those! • Invader Dib