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20px-Cquote1.png Hi! Sorry I'm late; my head's itchy!

Invader Zim Episode
Lice (Title Screen).png
Previous: Megadoomer
Next: Abducted
Episode No: Episode 17b
Production No: 18b
Airdate: April 26, 2002
Writer(s): Rob Hummel

"Lice" is the 2nd segment in the 17th episode of the first season of Invader Zim. It first premiered on April 26, 2002, on Nickelodeon.

Plot Summary

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

Lice 3.jpg

When at Skool one day, Melvin comes into class late because his head is itchy, Ms. Bitters recognizes it is because of a massive amount of lice infesting his head. Before she can do anything, however, the lice infect the rest of the class, so Ms. Bitters summons the Delouser, Countess von Verminstrasser, who proclaims martial law and confines the children to separate rooms for research. Dib thinks that the Delouser is overreacting and tells her so, but only gets yelled at for being a skeptic.

Zim, meanwhile, is completely separated from the other Skoolchildren along with Ms. Bitters for immunity research, because neither of them have any lice. After being handcuffed to Melvin, Dib escapes from the room they were confined to.

While sneaking through the hallways, Dib and Melvin overhear the Countess talking to herself about a lice queen, the supposed source of all lice on Earth. Dib thinks this rant proves she's crazy, and becomes determined to stop her. Unfortunately, upon hearing about the lice queen, Melvin starts panicking and both he and Dib are discovered by one of Verminstrasser's Assistants. Dib drags Melvin along with him as they flee from the Delouser, only to be cornered by her in a classroom.

The Lice Queen.

The Countess is just about to recapture Dib and Melvin when the floor caves in, landing them inside the Lice Queen's nest. Dib realizes the Delouser was right all along, and begs her to save them. She is able to do this once one of her assistants figures out that lice die on contact with Zim's skin. The Delouser puts Zim in a device that turns his skin into ammunition, and fires it at the lice queen, killing it and all other lice.

The Countess then praises Zim for his "sacrifice" in the fight against lice, saying "Thanks to the bravery of this child, the world will never have to deal with the threat of lice ever again.", completely oblivious to the fact that the "kid" she's holding is clearly an alien. It seems like things are all over, but Ms. Bitters is still sitting in a room alone when she scratches her head for a second, and is then still again.

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

Facts of Doom

Cultural References

  • When the Countess is about to grind Zim's skin, she says "Close your eyes, baby." This is a reference to the movie Aliens. When Ellen Ripley and Rebecca "Newt" Jorden were up against the Xenomorph Queen, Ripley said the same thing to Newt. Of course, in this episode, they're fighting the Lice Queen.


Countess von Verminstrasser.

  • In this episode, it's revealed that lice die upon coming in contact with Irken skin.
  • This is the third time Zim saves the Earth, although this time he did so unwillingly. The first time was in "Planet Jackers", the second was in "Hamstergeddon", the fourth was in "Tak: The Hideous New Girl", the fifth would have been in "Invader Poonchy", and the sixth would have been in "Squishy: Hugger of Worlds".
  • Ironically, Countess von Verminstrasser was called crazy by Dib and he doesn't believe about the Lice Queen until she's proven right near the end of the episode. Also, when Dib claims that Zim's an alien, she returns the favor by not believing him.
  • Penny has dark skin and black hair for this episode and in Season 2, while previously she had white skin.
  • Gaz's only line was "whiner" which she says three times during the episode and twice she called Zim that.
  • Gaz was also the only person who had lice and yet never once scratched her head as she was too determined to play her Game Slave.
  • This is one of the few episodes that doesn't feature GIR or Zim's base.
  • This is also one of the few episodes that takes place entirely within the Skool.
  • This is the first and only episode in which Gretchen talks to Dib and he notices/listens to her.
  • After this episode, it's possible that the lice are extinct due to Verminstrasser's comment about the world no longer having to fear the "threat of lice ever again."
  • The lice-destroying gun can be seen in the background of Dib's garage in Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.

Cuts & Changes

  • This episode was going to be called Lice Nazi (a possible reference to Adolf Hitler's army) but Nickelodeon didn't approve of that title, so it was changed to "Lice of Doom". However, they changed it to just "Lice" because it was after "Megadoomer".

Inconsistencies and Animation Errors

Lice 4.jpg
  • At one point in the episode, the students in Ms. Bitters' class ran out of the classroom, though they suddenly appear back inside the classroom when the Delouser arrives.
  • Melvin was seen sitting while Dib was giving his report on Galileo but comes in anyway claiming to be late because of the lice.
  • As Melvin walks into the classroom, Zita is missing from her seat despite just receiving an A from Ms. Bitters just moments ago.
  • As Dib and Melvin are walking through the hall, we see the guy with the horn-shaped hair in one of the rooms, shaving a kid's head; but in the next scene, he is walking behind them.
  • After being used to kill the lice, Zim's normal body appears behind his shredded legs in a few shots.
  • Gaz was playing the Game Slave, although she broke it and threw it away in "Game Slave 2", which was earlier in the series, although its possible she either bough a new one or fix it to play the game all over again.

See also