| I will turn my back on him, and devote a portion of my life to destroying Santa! AAAUUGGHH!|
— a young Professor Membrane
|Invader Zim Episode|
|The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever|
|Previous:||The Frycook What Came from All That Space|
|Episode No:||Episode 27|
|Airdate:||December 10, 2002|
|Writer(s):|| Jhonen Vasquez|
The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever is the twenty-seventh episode of Invader Zim, and was the last episode to be completed before the series' cancellation. Unlike most Christmas specials, which are sweet and sometimes even Christlike, this one takes a very dark style that is seen in all of Jhonen's work.
SPOILER WARNING OF DOOM: This section or article may contain spoilers!
This episode begins two million years in the future, in which a robotic snowman named Mr. Sludgey is telling children the story of the "most horrible Christmas ever". It all started when Zim, GIR and Minimoose were on the streets trying to make monies... with no luck. All they receive is a beating heart and a tuna sandwich. Eventually, however, the alien notices that fat men in red coats and white beards are "stealing all his money".
He captures one and, upon interrogating his victim, learns the story of Santa Claus. Amazed by the incredible amount of power Santa has over the humans, Zim orders his computer to drain the Mall Santa's brain. As the Christmas-y knowledge in the human's brain flashes on a screen before Zim's eyes, he begins to cackle maniacally as he formulates his next, foolproof plan to destroy the humans. After learning the amount of influence Santa has over humanity, Zim decides to create a Santa suit that he can use in order to masquerade as Santa. Dib figures out Zim's scheme and heads out to stop him in order to not only save Christmas, but to save the entire human race as well.
Unfortunately, "Santa" has the blind worship of every human on Earth (save Professor Membrane, who has a grudge against Santa). Gathering the human race at the North Pole, Zim uses his Kringle-y influence to introduce a new Christmas tradition: the Yuletide "Helping Santa build a giant teleporter capable of sending all humans to their doom." However, Dib appears and confronts Zim in front of everybody, trying to expose him as a fraud. Of course, the humans treat Dib with their usual contempt, Zim has him dragged away to the "Jingle Jail". Dib escapes from his prison on Zim's ship and disguises himself as one of Zim's robot elves. Zim, not realizing that the elf is actually Dib, starts venting with him in the room. Zim explains that he is using the Santa suit to trick humanity into building a teleporter that will take them to the Tallest for enslavement.
However, the suit Zim is wearing is starting to take over his body, because it actually thinks it is Santa. This malfunctioning, Zim says, is brought on by prolonged exposure to "anything Christmasy", as is demonstrated seconds later when GIR sings Christmas carols. As Zim struggles to regain control, Dib attempts to take advantage of his enemy's distraction, and strikes Zim from behind with a candy cane. Unfortunately, this results in Dib finally being exposed; Zim decides to put him in the "extra-strong" Jingle Jail, before dropping him out of the ship and onto a sinking chunk of ice after Dib question why he didn't just put him in there beforehand.
Almost immediately, Dib calls Gaz for help. She initially refuses, but quickly comes to "rescue" her brother in Tak's Ship after he confesses that he decapitated her beloved Bitey the Vampire doll. On the flight back to the North Pole, Dib (now beaten and bruised by Gaz) contacts his dad; Membrane initially is unwilling to cooperate, but Dib quickly gets his attention when he mentions Santa. Now willing to help his son for a change, Membrane gives his son permission to use all of his anti-Santa arsenal.
Armed with a giant robot suit, Dib confronts Zim again at the North Pole, where the teleporter is complete. Unfortunately for both Zim and Dib, the Santa suit has taken full control over the alien, and when Dib attacks it, the suit mutates into a monstrous, nightmarish version of Santa and attacks Dib. After a huge battle, Dib defeats the giant Santa, Zim is freed from the suit, and the mutated Santa monster is launched into space. However, it's not a truly happy ending; Zim, now dressed as the "Easter Platypus", convinces the human race that Dib killed Santa and they all tackle him.
With the story ended, we go back to Mr. Sludgy talking to the kids, and he explains to them that Santa is in fact not dead, but is in space gathering strength to attack the Earth every Christmas, and that is why they live in a protective dome.
End of Spoilers: There are no further spoilers for this section or article. You can breathe now.
The Uncut Version
- At the beginning, "EARTH: TWO MILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE" appears in the lower-right corner of the screen instead of in the bottom center.
- The snowman originally called Zim and Dib, "Zam & Doob," to make it seem like some details were forgotten over time.
- The line "Watch my dog eat snow!" was originally "Watch it eat snow!"
- The line "The amazing snow-eating trick isn't working!" was originally "The amazing snow-eat trick isn't working!"
- During the scene where the mall Santa tells Zim about Santa, his eyes originally made a bubbling noise as they drifted in separate directions.
- During the interview with Zim in the Santa suit, there was originally going to be rock music, and Zim was going to sound like Hulk Hogan.
- The uncut version depicts "Santa" 's interview as a reference to WCW's n.W.o.
- At the end of the interview, after Dib says "Oh no," instead of Zim saying "Oh yeah!", the news anchor was going to say "That sounds like a lot of fun!"
- Zim's line, "We don't have much time! I only hope the suit can absorb all the Santa data! This is not going to be easy, GIR!" was originally just "This is not going to be easy, GIR!"
- Curiously, although many of the lines were only added in the final version, the characters' lips can still be seem mouthing them in the uncut version.
- Mr. Sludgy's line "Zim was already preparing for his trip to the North Pole when..." originally ended with "-when something happened..."
- Zim's line "The hardest part was making the Santa suit! I used a Vortian liquid substance," was originally "The hardest part was getting my hands on the suit! A Vortian liquid gear."
Facts of Doom
- GIR's child costume, in the scene where he is talking to the Mall Santa, is similar to a character from Jhonen Vasquez's earlier comic, Squee!.
- The "Bitey the Vampire" scene was a reference to the horror movie "The Fly."
- Mr. Sludgey is a reference and tribute to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a classic Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special in which a talking snowman narrates the entire movie.
- Mr. Sludgey's comment of "Zim hated humans more than anything" is very similar to a line from How the Grinch Stole Chistmas! ("The Grinch hated Christmas more than anything").
- Coincidentally, the Grinch and Zim play similar roles in their respective specials: Both are green-skinned curmudgeons who despise a certain group of people and hatch a plan to ruin Christmas for them that involves masquerading as Santa Claus (needless to say, Zim's plan is slightly more violent). However, the Grinch has a change of heart and fixes his mistake, while Zim forces a crowd of people to attack Dib, putting the blame on him. The commentary for the episode had Jhonen explain that by the time that the special is occurring, Zim does gain a soft spot for Earth, making him and the Grinch completely similar.
- The scene where the mutant Santa Claus tries to reach Dib through the mech's shield with his tongue is an obvious reference to the movie Aliens, which also featured a similar climactic showdown.
- Zim's Irken Christmas banner bears a resemblance to the Nazi swastika flag.
- In this episode we find out that Zim NEVER conquered the Earth due to Mr. Sludgey being able to tell the story two million years in the future. This could be a referenced to the planned yet unfinished finale Invader Dib.
- In the uncut version, there was a different version of the "Jingly Bells" scene in the animatics.
- In the commentary for this episode, Melissa Fahn reveals that Gaz (in spite of her cruel nature and her ego) actually can show love.
- Nickelodeon received 103 complaints from parents, saying that their children were disturbed by the mutated Santa. This is one of the many complaints parents had with the series, other than when it was launched (during which time Christian Parenting Today blasted it by calling it immoral, lacking in Christian values and Biblical teachings, and too dark for children).
- The children seemed to have evolved from the time of Zim and Dib to the time the snowman told them the story.
- When Zim asked Minimoose how much money they earned from donations, there actually was some money in the box.
- There is a reason why Zim says that Minimoose has been with him all this time. The unaired episode, Nubs of Doom was supposed to air before this. In it, Zim created Minimoose. However, when Invader Zim was cancelled, Nubs of Doom and The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever were still being made. Nickelodeon let the staff finish The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever, but that was the only new episode that was allowed to air after Zim's cancellation.
- This episode airs after all the other aired Season 2 episodes in terms of production order in Australia, unlike the US where it aired before all the other Season 2 episodes. In terms of plotline, it fits better at the end of Season 2; a season-long arc involves Dib trying to get Tak's ship to work, and in this episode Gaz does so successfully.
- When Zim throws Minimoose down after using him as binoculars, the heart falls out of Minimoose's donations box.
- Zim breaks the fourth wall for the final time (he says "Merry Platypus!" to the audience with GIR waving to them).
- This is also the first and only time in the series we see the sky blue.
- When the crowd is booing at Dib, he is forced to duck and you can hear a gunshot ring out. Afterward he is forced to leap back as a car gets flung at him.
- This episode may be the first real evidence that the human race eventually did find out about Zim.
- On the Horrible Holiday Cheer DVD, the title says The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever Part 1 twice.
- Melissa Fahn, the voice of Gaz, did the higher notes of the "Jolly Boots of Doom" song, being a singer herself; she even wrote the lyrics.
- This was the only Season 2 episode to premiere (let alone, air) on Nickelodeon. All other completed Season 2 episodes would soon premiere on Nicktoons Network 4 years later.
- During Professor Membrane's kid flashback, he sounded just like he does now as a kid.
Cuts & Changes
- This special have two versions: an uncut version and an cut version. The cut version of this special episode was aired by Nickelodeon, but the uncut version of the special episode was released in the Invader Zim DVD set release:
- Originally, the music throughout almost the entire episode (except for "Jolly Boots of Doom" and the score that accompanied the climactic battle) was far less cheerful and Christmas-y. Additionally, "Jolly Boots of Doom" was not reprised in the scene where the Labor Sleighs take off.
- Zim's line "An ingenious brain interface allows me to command the suit!" was originally "-to command it!"
- Originally, after everyone runs away from the falling debris except for 45, he was going to open his arms to accept the large hunk of debris that crushes him. This was cut.
- Dib's speech toward the end of the episode was originally accompanied by discordant chorus of cats (much like the music that played as Zim rallied Sergeant Slab Rankle's prisoners in FBI Warning of Doom), but this was replaced in the final version by a subtler, more fitting, instrumental version of "Silent Night."
- During the scene where GIR instructs where to put on of the parts for the teleporter device from the tower, there was originally moving cart noises and later a white flash, signifying that the cart exploded or crashed.
- The show's crew had originally planned for there to be a montage of scenes from earlier episodes with Minimoose crudely inserted. It was a joke to show he had truly been there the whole time (see above), but they didn't have enough time to do it.
Things You Might Have Missed
- When the Elves take Dib away to the Jingle Jail, GIR can be seen being taken away too.
- In the uncut version, 45, an Ian Graham cameo, is crushed by part of the teleporter; this was evidently cut because of Nickelodeon's aversion to killing off characters. Nevertheless, even in the final version of the episode, 45's brother Chris can still be seen crying and clutching his brother's hat.
- While Zim is screaming after he sees the Santas, the camera pans out. The people around him are blurry, but one looks like Jhonen's character Johnny from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
- When Dib's mech pins the mutant Santa to the wall, a Bloody GIR has been said to appear under "Santa's" tongue when he roars. This remains unconfirmed.
- When Professor Membrane leaps into the air after restoring power to the city, his legs are colored flesh-tone. This lead to the misconception that Membrane was not wearing pants.
- When GIR is seen in the background eating candy in Zim's lab, his closest photoreceptor is gray.
- When Zim extends his spider legs from his PAK in his lab, the monitors behind him are missing. However, when he starts draining the Santa knowledge from the Mall Santa's brain, they reappear. This may be an animation mistake.
- At the North Pole, just before GIR directs the humans on where to place a piece of the teleporter ("Mmmhmm, a little that way, no, a little back, good, good!") you can see on the tower that the "10 Minutes to X-mas" says "10 Minuts to X-mass".
- Right before Zim tells Minimoose to stop being jolly, he takes away the candy cane in GIR's mouth. A second after that, however, the candy cane was still in his mouth.
- When GIR is directing the crew of off-screen slaves moving equipment, his tail is green instead of black.