Dismiss ‘The Simpsons’ simply as a cartoon for kids at your peril. In the 25+ years it’s been running, Matt Groening’s hit animated sitcom has delivered countless storylines over 29 seasons and one movie, and nestled among the anarchic tales of America’s premiere nuclear family have been some weirdly prescient predictions about the near future.
Here are the 13 of the most chillingly accurate predictions made by ‘The Simpsons’.
The Disney-Fox merger – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1998
Episode: S10 E5 ‘When You Dish Upon a Star’
This 1998 episode sees Homer making friends with Hollywood power couple Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger when he crash lands in their Lake Springfield summer home. It predicted the rumoured acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, which hit the news this week, 19 years earlier. A billboard outside Fox’s studio proclaims the company (which also makes ‘The Simpsons’) as “a division of Walt Disney Co.). Of course, the merger is far from a done deal, but this gag proved to be spookily close to the mark.
Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl show – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2012
Episode: S23 E22 ‘Lisa Goes Gaga’
Lady Gaga’s half-time show at the 2017 Super Bowl earlier this year featured the singer being lowered into the stadium on wires. Many Twitter users were quick to point out that the stunt bore a startling resemblance to Gaga’s performance in the 2012 episode ‘Lisa Goes Gaga’. The episode, featuring the vocal talents of Gaga herself, saw the ‘Poker Face’ singer performing in Springfield after making friends with Lisa.
President Trump – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2000
Episode: S11 E17 ‘Bart To The Future’
Donald Trump has just been elected as the next President of the United States, but his ambition was foreseen by this classic ‘Simpsons’ episode where Bart was shown his future by a Native American.
Lisa has become President and, in a scene where she addresses her inner circle, she says: “We’ve inherited quite the budget crunch from President Trump.” Spooky.
The Higgs Boson Particle – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1998
Episode: S10 E2 ‘The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace’
Simon Singh, the author of a book titled ‘The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets’, claims Homer Simpson predicted the mass of the Higgs Boson particle 14 years before it was actually figured out for real by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider.
Singh says this equation, written by Homer on a blackboard, is eerily accurate. “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.”
Greece’s economic collapse – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2012
Episode: S23 E10 ‘Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson’
Three years before this year’s government debt meltdown in Greece that saw it become the first country to default on an IMF loan repayment, a throwaway gag on this 2012 episode predicted how outlandish the situation would become.
A ticker on a rolling news station that Homer appears on reads “Europe puts Greece on eBay”. We wonder if the Greeks have considered this option during their darkest hours.
Ebola outbreak – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1997
Episode: S9 E3 ‘Lisa’s Sax’
A crackpot viral video that did the rounds in 2014 claims ‘The Simpsons’ predicted the recent American Ebola outbreak. The episode saw Marge offering to read Bart a book titled “Curious George and The Ebola Virus”, which the YouTube creator Thecontroversy7 says proves that the makers of the show knew about the future outbreak and are, of course, members of the illuminati.
It was almost convincing before the illuminati stuff wasn’t it?
Siegfried and Roy tiger attack – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1993
Episode: S5 E10 ‘$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)’
The stage career of flamboyant German magic duo Siegfried & Roy was brought to a shocking end in 2003 when Roy Horn was mauled by one of their trademark white tigers while performing live on stage in Las Vegas.
Ten years earlier, in a ‘Simpsons’ episode that sees Springfield briefly legalise gambling, a flamboyant Germanic magic duo with a penchant for albino big cats called Gunter and Ernst make an appearance at Mr Burns’ casino. Their performance is cut short when their mauled by their trademark white tigers. Makes you paws for thought doesn’t it?
The NSA scandal – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2007
Episode: ‘The Simpsons Movie’
Six years before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the true extent of the NSA’s spying on American citizens, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ featured an extended gag about the extensive surveillance network of the National Security Agency.
A chance remark from Marge chastising Lisa for worrying about spies while on the run sparks an alarm in a NSA building. The building contains thousands of workers listening to private conversations across the country and Marge’s loose lips lead to the family’s arrest.
Horse meat scandal – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1994
Episode: S5 E19 ‘Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song’
A full 19 years before it was revealed that some beef sold in Europe had been contaminated with horse meat, ‘The Simpsons’ made a joke about Lunchlady Doris cooking with “assorted horse parks – now with more testicles”.
On a side note, Lunchlady Doris is now Lunchlady Dora, a name change facilitated when the character’s original voice actor Doris Grau died in 1995.
Faulty voting machines – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2008
Episode: S20 E4 ‘Treehouse of Horror XIX’
In the 2008 Halloween special, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama at an electronic voting both, but the machine malfunctions casting a vote for his rival John McCain instead.
Just 4 years later, a Pennsylvania voting machine was taken out of service when it was filmed casting votes intended for Obama in favour of his real-life rival Mitt Romney.
FIFA Scandal – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2014
Episode: S25 E16 ‘You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee’
A year before the football world was turned upside when a series of high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested by the FBI on charges of corruption, a similar thing played out in this 2014 episode of ‘The Simpsons’.
Homer is visited by the executive vice president of the “world football federation” who wants him to be a referee in the upcoming World Cup. He’s promptly arrested by American authorities for corruption and carted off. The episode even predicted Germany as the winners of that year’s tournament.
9/11 – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 1997
Episode: S9 E1 ‘The City of New York vs Homer Simpsons’
You’re deep into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole if you think this one is even vaguely feasible, but here we go anyway.
A YouTube video from user “truthwillfindyoubru” points to a moment in the 1997 series 9 opener that sees Lisa holding up a bus coupon ad that promises New York tickets for $9. The placement of the price, next to the Big Apple’s skyline including the World Trade Center, makes the ad read “New York 9 11” which they suggest means the show’s makers had “foreknowledge” of the attacks.
2016 Nobel prize winner – Predicted by ‘The Simpsons’ in 2011
Episode: S22 E1 ‘Elementary School Musical’
In the 2010 season opener Lisa, Millhouse, and a bunch of her nerdy friends have stayed up late to hear the winners of the Nobel prize, in which Krusty wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
So far, so Simpsons, but then we get a look at Martin’s betting pool card and we see Millhouse had predicted an Economics prize for Bengt R. Holmstrom, who actually went on to win in earlier this year. MIT’s Holmstrom was joint winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics with Oliver Hart for their work on “contact theory”. No, us neither.
Image credits: 20th Century Fox