10 Ways The Simpsons Predicted the Future
As both the longest-running American sitcom and the longest running animated show ever, The Simpsons was a huge part of my after school television lineup. During it’s hay day (let’s say seasons 3-8ish?) it was a monster of satire, entertainment, and social commentary.
But looking a little deeper, it’s possible to discern moments during the show’s momentous run where they managed to predict the future with eerie accuracy. So this week we’re looking back at some of the moments when these yellow Nostradamus’ were spot on about future events.
The Land of Chocolate in “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk” Season 3, Episode 11
Homer’s daydream in this episode is basically something out of a fairytale, right? Well, make sure you’re sitting down because there’s a real chocolate land in China that you can visit right now.
When I heard about this, the team had to hold me back from booking flights to Shanghai immediately. That’s right, there’s a chocolate land in China for real, forget Willy Wonka, this is a celebration of chocolate that you can actually visit.
The Higgs boson in “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” Season 10, Episode 2
We all want to leave a legacy, right? Well, Homer has a bit of a midlife crisis in this episode and embarks on an inventing spree inspired by Thomas Edison.
In The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, which sounds like the nerdiest and most awesome book ever written, Dr Simon Singh writes about Homer’s equation on a chalkboard in this episode: “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is. It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”
This is pretty bonkers but Singh remarks that due to the mathematical backgrounds of many of the show’s writers, The Simpsons is actually the “most mathematical TV show on prime-time television in history.” So all that time watching the show was just maths revision? Cool.
Smartwatches in “Lisa’s Wedding” Season 6, Episode 19
In this absolute classic of an episode, Lisa stumbles into a fortune teller’s booth at a Renaissance fair where her future engagement is foretold.
Thus commences a time jump of 15 years, taking place in the distant year… 2010. As it happens, Lisa’s fiancee Hugh was ahead of the curve even then, since smart watches like his didn’t come out in reality until 2013.
The Shard in “Lisa’s Wedding” Season 6, Episode 19
Another one from Lisa’s Wedding? Jeez, they were all over it for this one. Check out this image of the futuristic London skyline.
Notice anything tall and distinctive? That’s The Shard, predicted by The Simpsons in 1995. This is getting to George Orwell levels of prediction, now.
The Horse Meat Scandal in “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song” Season 5, Episode 19
All the Brits reading should be very aware of the “Horsemeat Scandal” from a few years ago. Poor Findus crispy pancakes, so good, yet so bad…
Well turns out that 9 years previously, Lunchlady Doris was serving up some decidedly ‘equine’ hot lunches at Springfield Elementary without any of the student’s knowledge. Thankfully we didn’t have to contend with ‘more testicles,’ right?
Siegfried and Roy’s Tiger Attack in “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” Season 5, Episode 10
The Simpsons version of Siegfried and Roy, Gunter and Ernst, perform a spoof of their real life counterparts’ tiger taming routine in Mr. Burns’ casino.
Unfortunately, the bit during the show where the duo are attacked by their white Bengal tiger turned out to befall Roy in 2003. Maybe this was sort of inevitable when performing such a dangerous stunt for years but still a bit spooky.
The Ebola Outbreak in “Lisa’s Sax” Season 9, Episode 3
In an attempt to cheer up a depressed Bart, Marge reads him a Curious George book of questionable content, years before the ebola outbreak where it was still a pretty niche illness.
Oof, maybe just read him Harry Potter or something Marge. This is a bit too heavy for the lad, surely?
Hamburger Earmuffs in “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” Season 10, Episode 2
Professor Frink, the oddball inventor of the show, is always showcasing his bonkers new tech. Who’d have thought that this would be the only one of his to become a reality?
I mean, yeah: these haven’t hit the mainstream YET. But believe me, we’re all gonna relish the comfort of our toasty hamburger ‘muffs in the studio when winter rolls around, watch us.
Tomacco in “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)” Season 11, Episode 5
The dangerously addictive tomato/tobacco hybrid spawned from a radiation-based mutation that almost nets the family their fortune could never really exist right?
Well upon watching this episode 4 years later, fan of the show Rob Baur blended together a tobacco root and tomato stem to create a real life version of the tomacco.
Why? Who the hell knows. In any case, Baur’s bizarre shenanigans caught the attention of Simpsons writers and they invited him to their offices where they dined on the freaky fruit.
President Trump in “Bart to the Future” Season 11 Episode 17
16 years after this episode, who’d have guessed it eh? Dan Greaney, a writer for the show, said that when he was writing this episode, the thought of a Trump presidency “just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.” Yikes, sometimes you don’t want to flex your prophetic muscles so hard.
This is something that the current writers for the show were well aware of too. Just four days after Trump won the election, in the opening credits of the episode “Havana Wild Weekend”, the chalkboard gag reads: “Being right sucks” as the chalkboard gag in reference to Trump’s victory.
Honestly, we could talk about The Simpsons all day, but unfortunately, we have to stop somewhere. Aware of a better prediction from the show? Wanna share your favourite Mr Burns moment? Shoot us a message on facebook.com/fudgeanimation or @fudgeanimation on Twitter.