|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|
|Next:||Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus|
|Episode No:||Episode 27|
|Airdate:||December 10, 2002|
"The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever" is the 7th episode of the second season of Invader Zim. It first premiered on December 10, 2002. It is the 27th episode overall. It was the last episode of the series to air on Nickelodeon before its cancellation.
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 and Gaz who is angrily staring at a dog who she believed bit the head off her Bitey the Vampire doll). 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.
- Mr. Sludgey 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, while also saying "Oh yeah!", which is the catchphrase of Macho Man Randy Savage
- 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
- Mr. Sludgey is a reference and tribute to the classic Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which a talking snowman narrates the entire movie.
- Some of the kids who listened Mr. Sludgey's story during the episode are dressed similarly to Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman, the four protagonists of the adult animated sitcom South Park.
- 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 is a reference to the horror movie The Fly.
- Bitey the Vampire's name also seemed to be a parody of Bitey the Veggie Vampire: a peculiar poetry picture book by Chris White, which is about a luckless veggie vampire and first published in 2000.
- Bitey the Vampire could possibly be a reference to Ragamuffin from the comic Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl. Both dolls are vampires and dolls, except Bitey is just a doll and Ragamuffin is cursed to be a doll forever, even when he was revived by Lenore’s embalmed blood.
- Mr. Sludgey's comment of "Zim hated humans more than anything" is very similar to a line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! ("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 striking resemblance to the Nazi swastika flag. Due to the red, black, and white color scheme.
- 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.
- 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.
- It's odd that the Mall Santa was not afraid of the fact that he was kidnapped by Zim (who was out of disguise) but did react to Minimoose.
- When Professor Membrane leaps into the air, he somehow shoots a beam of energy. It was later revealed in Enter the Florpus that he has robotic arms, explaining how he is able to do this.
- Keef is seen when the Santa Suit mutates, though he has blond hair (most likely an animation error).
- When Zim throws Minimoose down after using him as binoculars, a heart falls out of Minimoose's donations box.
- Zim breaks the fourth wall for the final time in this episode, when he says "Merry Platypus!" to the audience with GIR waving to them.
- When Dib causes a city wide blackout, the scene was actually recycled from the episode "Megadoomer".
- This is the first time in the series we see the sky blue, the second and last time was in "Enter the Florpus".
- For some reason, the Massive was purple rather than red like all previous episodes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Presumably Gaz stayed behind at her father's anti-Santa arsenal or flew Tak's Ship home, as she was not seen with Dib when he took the giant mech to fight the Santa Suit.
- 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.
- 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 successfully.
- Nickelodeon received 103 complaints from angry parents saying their children were disturbed and frightened by the grotesque mutated Santa.
- This is the last episode to premiere on Nickelodeon.
- 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. It also implies that Zim was at some unspecified point discovered by the human race, since Mr. Sludgey knows about him.
- This episode re-aired on Nicktoons during 25 Days of Nickmas 2020.
- The Quarterly 3 story of "Fistmas" reveals that "in universe" Zim was the one responsible for his attempt to conquer Earth during Christmas time to be known as "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever."
- Despite Mr. Sludgey saying that Santa Claus returns to Earth every Christmas, the Quarterly 3 Issue reveals that wasn't entirely the case as it took one thousand years for the Santa Suit to regain some power thanks to an Alien Hive and return to "spread Christmas Cheer."
Changes and Cuts
- 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 in 2011.
- 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 reprized 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 as it implied he was accepting his demise.
- 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 one 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
- Just before the "Jolly Boots of Doom" song began, when the crowd has their arms raised, there appears to be someone flipping the bird with both hands.
- 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.
- Dib's mech has smiling faces on the large canisters.
- 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. Or, he just doesn't wear pants at all.
- When GIR is seen in the background eating candy in Zim's lab, his closest photo-receptor 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.