The Simpsons Predict: all the times the Simpsons cartoon predicted the future

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Abbie Davis

Slider image from Pixy

The Simpsons cartoon first aired in 1989 when the world first met the lovely Simpson family. Since then, 637 episodes have been released, and the world has grown to become even more entranced with the complex dynamics and comical plots.  From superbowls to presidents, the show has correctly predicted many shocking events. In fact, Disney Plus even has a whole section dedicated to episodes that include the predictions the Simpsons made over the years. 

This show “has correctly predicted many shocking events” Image from Wikimedia

Starting off in November of 1990 with season two, in the fourth episode titled “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish,” Bart catches a three eyed fish named Blinky, who is then used in a variety of publications to show harmful mutations caused by toxins from power plants. This all became real twenty years later in 2011, when a fisherman caught a three eyed wolf fish that fed near a nuclear plant in Argentina. 

Next up, in April of 1991, an episode of the Simpsons aired called “Brush With Greatness,” and in this episode, Marge reveals that she had sent her celebrity crush a painting back when she was in high school. The episode then shows this celebrity, Ringo Starr, responding to fanmail 20 years late, when he finally picks up Marge’s artwork. In 2013, this theory rang true when Beatles band member Sir Paul McCartney responded to two women who had sent him a mixtape 50 years earlier. 

In episode 19 of season six, called “Lisa’s Wedding,” three different predictions were made, two being technological. The episode was a jump to the future, and several of the technology jokes came to be true in recent times. First off, Lisa’s boyfriend is shown to be answering the phone on his watch. The first smartwatch did not come out until 1998, a few years after the episode aired, and even that watch did not have the ability to pick-up phone calls. In the same episode, video chat is featured, not on a phone, but on a screen. In a world that now runs on apps like Facetime, Skype, and Zoom especially, this prediction definitely has become all too real.

The first smartwatch came out years after the Simpson’s predicted it one episode. Image from Dries Buytaert

The episode also joked about Big Ben having a digital face, and if you look to the left side of Big Ben, viewers would see a tall, pointed spire that did not seem to fit in with the London skyline. The Shard was completed in 2013, and not only does it closely resemble the one shown in the Simpsons, it is also in the exact same place.

The digital face and pointed spires that can now be seen on Big Bend were correctly predicted by The Simpsons. Image from Wikimedia

Jump forward to season ten, in an episode called “When you Dish Upon a Star” that aired in 1998, the 20th Century Fox logo is shown, with words under it that say “A Division of Walt Disney co.” Walt Disney did not buy 20th Century Fox until July of 2018, so this prediction was way ahead of its time. 

Perhaps the most shocking and relevant prediction was shown in a season 11 episode called “Bart to the Future,” which came out in March of 2000. This is another episode that takes place in the future, and Bart goes forward in time to see his sister Lisa is the new president. She is succeeding President Trump, and she mentions him in a meeting. Trump did not become president until 16 years after the episode aired, which makes it insane that this prediction was so correct. Also, at her inauguration, Lisa also wears an outfit that is shockingly similar to the one Vice President Kamala Harris wore to the inauguration this year. 

In one Simpson’s episode, Lisa succeeds Donald Trump as president. Image from Wikimedia Commons

The Simpsons have a reputation for predicting the outcomes of a variety of sporting events including the Super Bowls and the World Cup. In the episode “Lisa the Greek” in season three, Lisa correctly predicts that the Washington Redskins (now known as the Washington football team)  would win Super Bowl XXVI. The next year they correctly predicted the Dallas Cowboys would take the win, and in Super Bowl XXIX the Simpsons were accurate when they predicted the San Francisco 49ers would beat the San Diego Chargers.

Keeping with the Super Bowl theme, the cartoon also predicted Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 game. In the episode “Lisa goes Gaga,” the pop star visited Springfield and performed there. There were many parallels between Gaga’s set in the show and her performance at the Super Bowl, including her hanging from wires and costume choice.

“The cartoon also predicted Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 game…including her hanging from wires and costume choice” Image from The Denver Post

In season 25, episode 16, not only did the Simpsons predict Germany winning for the World Cup, but they also displayed a corruption scandal in the episode. In 2015, a year after the episode aired, FIFA employees got into some trouble when a slew of allegations came about, accusing the employees of bribery, fraud, and money laundering. 

2020 was a long year, where tons of events occurred that will go down in history. Each day seemed unpredictable, and no one knew what was going to happen next. Believe it or not, the Simpsons actually predicted multiple of the major events of 2020 all in episode 21 of season four titled “Marge in Chains” where much of the episode parallels many of last year’s events. In the show, a sickness, called the Osaka Flu was spread by a Japanese factory worker who coughed into a package. In real life, Covid-19 originated in China. In the episode, Springfield goes into panic, and on the search for a cure a group of people knock over a semi truck, and release a hoard of killer bees. In 2020, news came out that murder hornets came to the US. If these events were not in the same episode, it may have been less unbelievable, but the accuracy of the chain of events is unexplainable.

Like in the Simpson episode where killer bees are released from a truck, in 2020, murder hornets came to the United States. Image from freeIMG

Another major event in 2020 were the Black Lives Matter protests and riots which caused a lot of controversy across the internet. There are also protests in this episode, but they are not for the same reason. In the episode, Marge is caught accidentally stealing a bottle of bourbon. She spends a month in prison. Her arrest, and the reveal of a new statue lead to mass riots across Springfield. Although the riots are for vastly different reasons, and the ones in the episode were purely satirical, there are many similarities to the ones that happened over the summer. Again, if this would have been in an episode of its own, it may have been less shocking, but the entire episode was such a close representation of this past year. 

Since the year 2021 began, perhaps one of the largest events of the year happened in just the first few days. Rumor has it that the Simpsons predicted the Capitol riots, which at this point is not surprising. In a parody of the schoolhouse rock song “I’m Just a Bill,” the Simpsons writers included a bit where a bunch of amendments storm the Capitol with guns and bombs in hand. Although this is not exactly what happened at the Capitol this year, the resemblance is uncanny.

The cartoon show has predicted so many events, that one could probably turn to the show to see what kind of a year we are in for. How they made these predictions is unknown, but the accuracy of many of them is unbelievable.