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Professor Membrane

Invader Zim Episode
Parent Teacher Night
Title 03a.png
Previous: NanoZIM
Next: Walk of Doom
Episode No: Episode 03a
Production No: 03a
Airdate: April 6, 2001
Writer(s): Jhonen Vasquez
Rob Hummel

"Parent Teacher Night" is the 1st segment in the 3rd episode of Season 1 of Invader Zim. It first premiered on April 6, 2001.

Plot Summary

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


After another day at the Earth Skool, Ms. Bitters reminds the children that it's Parent-Teacher Night, and that all the parents must come to the Skool at the end of the day. Zim is confronted with a dilemma: he doesn't have any true parents or family (Irkens are created from some kind of gene bank and have all their information given to them in PAKs).

Zim becomes worried because his robotic parents aren't programmed for such a task yet, and he cannot permit them to blow his cover. He attempts to help them become more like the parents they should be by strapping them into chairs and forcing them to watch a Proper Earth Parenting program that demonstrates how normal human parents should behave. However, GIR's carefree nature puts his plans in jeopardy when he changes the channel on the TV to violent, senseless programming.

Zim and his Roboparents.

At the meeting in the cafeteria, Dib, who brings his dad's communication device due to being busy in his own lab, tries to prove that Zim is an alien, but Professor Membrane misinterprets what his son means by "alien", and asks the Irken what country he's from instead. Meanwhile, the Roboparents seem to behave well at first, but abruptly begin behaving erratically, malfunctioning and wreaking havoc during the meeting.

However, nobody besides Dib notices they aren't human, or that Zim is an alien. So, Zim's plan to fool everybody (except Dib) actually works even despite GIR's interference. In the end, Zim and the Roboparents fly off without everyone noticing, while Dib gets in trouble for throwing punch on the floor in frustration.

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

Facts of Doom

Cultural References

  • In this episode, Zim says "You lie! YOU LIE!". This is a reference to Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. When Nny first meets Squee, he says exactly the same thing.
  • During the reprogramming of the Roboparents, their eyelids are held open with a claw-like device so that they cannot blink. This is a direct reference to the scene in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange where Malcolm McDowell's character, Alex, has his eyelids held open during his "reprogramming" .


  • This is the first and so far only time Zim's roboparents are outside of the house, and play a major role. They were going to have a major role in the cancelled episode "Roboparents Gone Wild".
  • This is the first and only time Zim refers to the Roboparents as the "Parent Decoys".
  • The title is the first to use the squiggly Invader Zim font instead of the original font.
  • Like "The Nightmare Begins", this episode was originally rated TV-Y but was later changed to TV-Y7-FV.
  • Zim's birth scene would have been re-used for the unfinished episode; "The Trial."
  • Zim's famous quote, "You lie! YOU LIE!" has become a popular Internet meme.

Things You Might Have Missed

  • Ms. Bitters has a security camera in her classroom, which is not seen in later episodes.
  • Mr. Elliot is seen walking with Spoo in the cafeteria, hinting they are father and son.
  • When Zim turns on the video to teach his Roboparents normal behavior, a child in one of the videos looks very similar to Timmy from The FairlyOddParents!
  • Before Zim inserts the Earth Parenting cartridge, the screens are showing scenes from some early animated shorts, including:
    • Together in the Weather - a stop-motion short produced in 1946 by none other than George Pal of When Worlds Collide fame
    • Hunter's dog
    • Heckle and Jeckle's first cartoon
    • Dancing scarecrow
    • Beaver eating corn
    • Cat licking some striped candy poles
    • A Tom & Jerry Christmas special from the 1940s.
  • The man in the parenting video looks similar to Old Kid.
  • At the end of the episode when Miss Bitters is mad at Dib and the whole room turns red, there is a clock in the background that says "12:16".

Changes and Cuts

  • A scene where Zim tries to reprogram his Roboparents was supposed to have GIR change the channel to 1940s movies with smoking and guns. This was scrapped for obvious reasons.
  • When the word "diarrhea" splatters onto one of the television sets that GIR watches, the words were supposed to be in brown, but was later changed to dark red.

Inconsistencies and Animation Errors

  • Ms. Bitters' dress changes from purple to black sporadically throughout the episode and other early episodes.
  • When Dib spills his fruit punch on Zim, it doesn't burn him. This is an example of inconsistency, as Zim gets burned by water in "The Wettening".
  • The events of the parent teacher night conference happened in the afternoon, despite the name, as a clock reads 12:16 and the scenery outside wasn't dark.
  • When Ms. Bitters shows the videotape at the beginning of the episode, the clock is frozen although you can still hear the ticking noise.
  • As GIR is running after the Makeup Lady, he doesn't run all the way out of frame. He disappears a few milliseconds before he goes out of the frame.
  • When GIR falls from the base's ceiling with make-up on, his tongue is orange in one of the scene's frames.


Main article: The Kevin Manthei Invader Zim-phony Special
  • Skool's Out
  • Makeup Lady
  • TV Lair
  • Spine Break SRC
  • Family Programming
  • Parents Arrive
  • Parents Crack

See also