His Poor Insane Son
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Despite Invader Zim being a show where there is little to no romance (there are four crushes that are canon, but they’re all one-sided), there is TONS of shipping in the fandom.

Most fandoms use portmanteau couple names, but Invader Zim has its own system. Presumably because three-letter names get hard to mash together. Instead, Invader Zim shippings use the formula _a_R. Each blank is the first initial of a character, A is And, R is Romance, you get the idea.

The following is a list of some of the most common fan pairings (and a few obscurer ones, too). If I’ve missed anything important, let me know. | ;
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ZaDR:
ZaDR stands for Zim and Dib Romance, and is probably the most popular of all the shippings. Also one of the most controversial for obvious reasons:
Zim and Dib are enemies.
They are of two different species.
Dib is about eleven and Zim...Isn't?
But to be completely fair, a decent bit of the bad press ZaDR recieves can be attributed to homophobia. Obviously not to say that everyone who dislikes it is homophobic.
Irkens supposedly can't sexually reproduce, so then they probably don't romantic or sexual attraction, either. I don't know. This whole shipping doesn't make sense to me, but what do I know?
However, it is still the most popular and well-liked shipping for a few reasons:
1. Fangirls. Eyep. Mnhm.
2. Admittedly, there is a pretty complex relationship between Zim and Dib if you're going to be technical. Most normal people chalk this up to be a sort of "frenemy" relationship, but it isn't hard to see how the less stable portion of the fandom could misinterpret this.

MOST ZaDR FICS MAKE NO SENSE AT ALL, BY THE WAY. o /
They involve lots of antennae-play, because somewhere along the line people decided that Irken antennae are erogenous zones. Mura, Tori, Lennon, you've gotten hear my whole separate rant on this already.
ZaDR fics are also generally set a couple years in the future to avoid the creepiness of shipping. Not that this gets around the height issue at all, Dib is getting progressively taller and Zim isn't.


ZaGR:
ZaGR stands for Zim and Gaz Romance, and fans of it tend to get into fights with those who prefer ZaTR (Zim and Tak). It’s less controversial than ZaDR but also even less plausible.
For starters, there's the age thing again- Gaz is even younger than Dib is. Then the species thing, then the Irken-romance-is-a-no-go thing, then the fact that Gaz is [******** scary. Even Zim is afraid of her, she is srs bsns. I have a scary younger sister, I know for a fact that isn't something to ******** with. LOL. Not to mention Gaz is not exactly affectionate at all. In a lot of ways, she's the most heartless and cold-blooded character on the show, and she clearly just wants to be left alone to eat her pizza and play her videogames in peace. There's also the fact that Zim and Gaz hardly ever even interact, but I mean.
Nevertheless, ZaGR has its devotees:
1. Zim fangirls and Gaz fanboys - Zim fanboys and Gaz fangirls.
2. Homophobes who are morally opposed to to ZaDR or other slash pairings, and thus latch onto this as an alternative.
3. The mentally impaired.

Again, most ZaGR fics are set a couple years in the future to try and get around the age thing, and Gaz is typically extremely OOC. Zim is too, but not as much so.


ZaTR:
As mentioned before, ZaTR is Zim and Tak romance. This one's a little murkier than the others for multiple reasons.

Tak is the ensemble darkhorse; we know very little about her. She appeared in only one episode (“Tak: The Hideous New Girl”), in which she showed up intending to steal Zim’s mission as revenge for accidentally robbing her of the chance to be an Invader, as revealed in a brief flashback. Zim spent the first half of the episode thinking that she was in love with him (he thought she was human, as she was very well disguised, so he definitely didn’t have any feelings for her), and tried to act the part of the boyfriend (rather hilariously). Eventually, Tak revealed the deception to Zim, crippled his base, and commenced her plan to destroy Earth, leaving Dib (who had a crush on Tak, not realizing she was Irken) and Zim to team up and try and stop her. They eventually succeeded and Tak left Earth, vowing to come back and get her revenge… Unfortunately, the show was cancelled and poor Tak never got the chance. :c

Despite general vague-osity surrounding Tak, this pairing is quite popular, for several reasons:
1. Tak fanboys and Zim fangirls - Tak fangirls and Zim fanboys.
2. People who didn't realize Zim never actually had a crush on Tak.
3. Zim and Tak do seem to have a lot in common to be honest. Aside from being the same species, they are roughly the same age, both trained as Irken Elite (though only Zim went on to become an Invader), both want the respect of the Tallest and would do anything to earn that respect, both were lowered to Service Drone status, and both are champion evil laughers. Doesn’t mean they’d make a perfect couple, but explains some of why this idea is so relentlessly shipped.

Most ZaTR fanfics have Tak arriving back at Earth, usually with the intent of kicking Zim's a**. o / Though in the worse ones she's just coming back because she wuvs Zim. She then deceives him into thinking she’s on his side, leaving her free to plot her revenge/openly declares war, but is eventually forced to ally herself with him against a greater threat. In the end, a grudging (or not so grudging) friendship and romance follows. There’s also a good portion of ZaTR fics which take place before the events of the show, back when Tak and Zim were training to be Irken Elite (ignoring the fact that they never actually met back then). Easier than the previous two to write in character, but that doesn’t mean that gets done often. So. Eyep.


DaTR:
DaTR stands for Dib and Tak, (though you're probably already used to the way these shippings are labeled.) As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of ZaTR vs. DaTR fanwars.

Again, since Tak is the Ensemble Darkhorse, her side is more than a little hard to make out, but it’s probably safe to assume (based on her behavior and Zim’s), that she finds humans to be just as disgusting as Zim does. There’s the age problem again. Dib, for his part, would almost certainly have lost interest in Tak upon learning she was Irken; maybe not right away, but certainly over the course of the 12 episodes following Tak’s first and only appearance.. Funny how logic works. LOL.

However, this continues to be one of the most common pairings, because:
1. Tak fanboys and Dib fangirls - Tak fangirls and Dib fanboys.
2. Dib liked Tak at one point, and of course that means he'll love her forever and ever, right?
3. Sometimes it's just shipped by someone because they prefer it over ZaTR.

Most DaTR fics are similar as before. Tak comes back to Earth with intentions of kicking some a**, and decides to go about this by teaming up with Dib, either in a genuine alliance or a fake one where she plans to get revenge on Dib, too, but along the way they become friends and lovers, yadda yadda yadda. Possible to write somewhat in character, but again, doesn't mean people do it.


GaGR:
GaGR, as I'm sure you could imagine, is Gir and Gaz romance.

Reasons it's popular:
1. People are just weird, okay? : |


GaZR:
GaZR stands for Gir and Zim romance; It's pretty weird.

As we’ve seen in the show, Zim does seem to have a soft spot for Gir. Of course, none of this ever strays beyond platonic affection, and Zim doesn’t really have anyone else to be nice to, does he?

Well-liked because:
1. Has just enough basis in the show for fangirls (or fanboys? or fanpeople?) to go “Aww, that’s cute”, and then want to take it to the next level (where it usually ceases to be cute).

Most GaZR fics often have the two bonding during their six-month-long journey to Earth, ignoring the fact that Gir was actually singing the Doom Song the whole time. o / Because logic.


RaPr:
RaPR stands for Red and Purple Romance. Yes, Tallest Red and Tallest Purple. You heard correctly.

The Tallest seem to be a particular source of fan fascination. Aside from their height (tall), intelligence (low), love of snacks (Snacks? Where?), and age (around the same as Zim, probably no more than three years older), we really don’t know much about them. Tallest can’t be brothers, as Irkens don’t have family… thus, many fans come to the conclusion that the Tallest are in love. Despite the probable lack of Irken romance. Makes perf sense. = u = ;

Popular for the following reasons:
1. The Tallest have oodles of fangirls, I don't even know why.
2. Well, what is their relationship, anyway? Thinking about it makes my brain hurt! Therefore, they must be in love! [/dramatic voice]

I can't talk a whole lot about this, because I've thankfully never been made to read one of these. o /


DaDR:
Dib and Dwicky romance. I...Yeah. Please no more. Please.
In case you don't remember, Dwicky = Mr. Dwicky, the skool counselor who had his only role in "Vindicated!". Let's repeat that, just to be clear: This is a romantic fanfic starring an eleven or so-year-old-boy and his full grown skool counselor. Please excuse me while I run and grab the brain-bleach.

Despite, oh, I don’t know, ROMANTICIZING *****], this is still quite popular, possibly due to:
1. The internet is run by *****.
2. People are nuts. Absolutely ******** nuts.
3. I'm going to go a bit against my nature, here and say that come to think of it, this is a perfect example of why Zim needs to get his act together and start taking s**t over. Like. Holy ********.

I don't read this, no one's ever read this to me, I'm pretty sure there's a level of cruel and unusual that none of my friends would get at, and I would never do it voluntarily. o / So if nothing else, I can say my brain is completely free of DaDR. I at least have that much left.


DaGR:
This..Is one of the particularly weird ones..Because..Uhm. It stands for Dib and Gaz romance.

Yes. Dib and Gaz. Who are brother and sister. Who are ages eleven and nine, respectively. This is one of the pairings that makes me feel like all IZ shippers are horrible people.;;

Why it's shipped:
1. Some people like incest?
2. Some people are strange, and..not..in a good way.
3. All of the above.

Most DaGR fics: Should not be read ever.
The stereotypical ZaGR fan: I don't know, but I never want to meet one ever.


DaZR:
Though it sounds like an alternate name for ZaDR, DaZR actually stands for Dib and Zita Romance. This one is a bit… well, interesting, for a couple reasons.

Zita isn’t a very big character. In fact, she only has a handful of lines in the show, and you probably don't even remember her. She’s the girl with lavender-colored hair who sits behind Zim in skool. Her and Dib have two significant interactions in the show; once when Zita suggested to Ms. Bitters that Dib should be sent to the Crazy House for Boys, and once in “Gaz, Taster of Pork” when Gaz spit out some cafeteria food and it hit Zita (who had previously had an eye injured by bad cafeteria food), and Dib went to see if she was alright. Now, that last doesn’t mean much- In fact, if it was me, I would've done that for anyone who wasn't openly antagonistic towards me. Nonetheless, it gets used as fuel for shipping.

People like this pairing because:
1. Zita is a small enough character that she can be used as an OC stand-in, allowing the Dib fangirls who prefer heterosexual romance (and same-species romance) to use her as something of an author avatar for themselves.
2. Actually, that's all I can think of.

I've only had to listen to fics where this was a minor part of the plot, none where it was the focus. I'm actually not sure it's the focus in any fanfics. (Prove me wrong, internet!)


And there you go.
A long rant from someone you probably tuned out 2,100 words ago. Alternatively, a long rant from a fanfiction veteran and nonsupporter of shippings, IZ especially.
Eyep.
Mnhm.

PS, don't murder me if I made a typo or something.
Typing in hospital beds gets so uncomfortable. o /