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The Simpsons, over the years, has predicted a number of real-world events

In the episode titled Treehouse of Horror XIX, which aired in 2008, The Simpsons stepped into the zone of political comedy, forecasting a significant issue with defective voter machines

Mathures Paul Published 25.10.23, 07:08 AM
The iconic opening scene of The Simpsons

The iconic opening scene of The Simpsons Pictures: The Telegraph

The Simpsons, a show known for its animated antics and humour, has unexpectedly gained a reputation as a modern-day Oracle because of its uncanny ability to foreshadow real-world events in technology, politics, sports and entertainment for more than three decades.

Faulty voting machines

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In the episode titled Treehouse of Horror XIX, which aired in 2008, The Simpsons stepped into the zone of political comedy, forecasting a significant issue with defective voter machines. The episode depicts Homer’s attempt to vote for Barack Obama in the US presidential election only to have the computerised voting system constantly change his vote to the Republican candidate John McCain. What was meant to be a lighthearted remark on the dependability of automated voting systems took on unanticipated significance four years later during the 2012 US presidential election. A viral video from Pennsylvania appeared mirroring the hilarious scenario that The Simpsons had imagined. The video shows a polling computer incorrectly moving votes from Barack Obama to his opponent Mitt Romney. This sparked significant worry about the electoral process’s integrity.

Treehouse of Horror XIX

Treehouse of Horror XIX

Underwater emergency

The spirit of adventure takes Homer Simpson into the depths of a thrilling underwater excursion in a memorable episode of The Simpsons season 17, episode 10, titled Homer’s Paternity Coot, which unknowingly mimics real world occurrences. The episode begins with Homer trapped in a web of family intrigue. A thirst for knowledge leads him and Mason Fairbanks into the depths of the ocean, each in their own submersible craft. Their mission is to discover secret wealth under the water, buried within the confines of a sunken vessel named Piso Mojado. The adventure eventually runs into choppy waters and Homer’s ship becomes entangled in a coral maze. In June 2023, the show was recalled by many after Titan, a submersible operated by OceanGate, imploded, leading to the death of five people.

Homer’s Paternity Coot was recalled earlier this year after Titan, a submersible operated by OceanGate, imploded

Homer’s Paternity Coot was recalled earlier this year after Titan, a submersible operated by OceanGate, imploded

Richard Branson in space

In The War of Art, there is an interesting sequence showcasing Richard Branson, the visionary entrepreneur, submerged in the weightless tranquility of a spacecraft while appreciating his art collection. This was in 2014. Branson’s ambition of space flight came true in 2021 when he embarked on a momentous mission onboard one of his Virgin Galactic spacecrafts.

The War of Art showed Richard Branson in space

The War of Art showed Richard Branson in space

Smartwatch watches and video calls

In episodes of The Simpsons images of a futuristic society frequently appear. There have been two major forecasts — arrival of smartwatches and the widespread usage of video calls. Viewers are taken to a universe where Lisa Simpson’s engagement to an Englishman called Hugh unfolds in a 1995 episode titled Lisa’s Wedding, which provides a 15-year jump into the future. A fascinating device is shown — a wristwatch that doubles as a phone, something like a smartwatch.

The show offered a glimpse of the future of smartwatch

The show offered a glimpse of the future of smartwatch

The show has also predicted the rise of video conversations nearly a decade before Apple’s FaceTime introduction in 2010 or the soaring popularity of Skype. In the same episode, real-time talks via large displays seamlessly connect them beyond distance.

Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show

A 2012 episode titled Lisa Goes Gaga previewed Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime concert five years later. The iconic pop superstar Lady Gaga entered the fictional realm of Springfield intending to lift the community’s spirits with a lavish show. The vignette began with Gaga doing dazzling acrobatic feats, soaring above the crowd with the help of wires while showing her signature flamboyance. In 2017, she actually “flew” across the ceiling of Houston’s NRG Stadium, held up by suspension wires.

The show presented how Lady Gaga's Super Bowl outing would unfold

The show presented how Lady Gaga's Super Bowl outing would unfold

Economic collapse of Greece

In 2012, an episode titled Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson went into the domain of financial disasters, especially Greece’s terrible economic collapse. It blended comedy with economic understanding, demonstrating the show’s capacity to deliver both amusement and intellectual stimulation. On the show, Home appears on a TV show and the ticker on the screen shows: “Europe puts Greece on eBay.” A few years later, the financial story of Greece got worse.

Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson

Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson

Donald Trump presidency

The Simpsons stepped into the world of political forecasting in 2000. In the episode Bart to the Future, the show imaginatively presented Donald Trump becoming the US president. Lisa Simpson emerges as an unusual president entrusted with resolving a financial crisis left by her predecessor, ‘president’ Trump. At that point, Trump presented himself (in real life) as only a larger-than-life real estate billionaire and reality TV celebrity. Of course, in 2017, Trump became the US president.

In the episode Bart to the Future, the show imaginatively presented Donald Trump becoming the US president

In the episode Bart to the Future, the show imaginatively presented Donald Trump becoming the US president

Nobel Prize winner

In a 2010 episode, Milhouse bet that Finnish economist Bengt R. Holmstrom would win the Nobel Prize in Economics, which he did in 2016. He won it with Oliver Hart.

Milhouse bet that Finnish economist Bengt R. Holmstrom would win the Nobel Prize in Economics, which he did in 2016

Milhouse bet that Finnish economist Bengt R. Holmstrom would win the Nobel Prize in Economics, which he did in 2016

The Higgs boson

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace was an interesting episode. In 1998, Homer becomes inspired by Thomas Edison and becomes an inventor. He writes an equation on a chalkboard, which predicted the mass of the Higgs boson particle. “That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson,” science writer Simon Singh told The Independent. “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.”

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace predicted the mass of the Higgs boson particle

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace predicted the mass of the Higgs boson particle

The Beatles letter

In Brush with Greatness, Marge receive a response to a fan mail she had sent to Ringo Starr decades earlier. Something similar happened to two Essex women — Barbara Bezant and Lyn Jeffries — in 2013. They received a letter from Beatle Sir Paul McCartney 50 years after they had tried to contact him.

In Brush with Greatness, Marge receive a response to a fan mail she had sent to Ringo Starr

In Brush with Greatness, Marge receive a response to a fan mail she had sent to Ringo Starr

Censoring Michelangelo’s David

Marge learns a hard lesson about censorship when a slippery slope leads Springfield residents calling for the censorship of Michelangelo’s David. The classic work of art is hilariously covered up with a pair of jeans in an effort to make it more acceptable for the outraged community that won’t tolerate nudity.

Censorship of Michelangelo's David

Censorship of Michelangelo's David

Back in 2016, a copy of the statue on display in St. Petersburg sparked controversy, and prompted a vote from citizens who wanted it to be covered up or removed. And just this year, a school in Florida’s decision to deem the statue as too “pornographic” to show to kids has prompted the mayor of Florence, Italy to extend an invitation to the principal to see the statue for herself.

Autocorrect

In the 1994 episode Lisa On Ice, bully Dolph tries to write a memo to “beat up Martin” on the Apple Newton but it comes out as “Eat up Martha”. Years later, when Apple was working on the iPhone keyboard, employees knew what they had to get right.

The problem with autocorrect and Apple

The problem with autocorrect and Apple

Walt Disney-Fox merger

Walt Disney Company closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets in 2019. In the episode When You Wish Upon a Star (1998), Homer met Alec Baldwin (voiced by Baldwin) and Kim Basinger (voiced by Basinger) and starts to work for them. Homer has an idea for a movie during his phone call to 20th Century Fox executives. The next scene of the episode showed that 20th Century Fox was now owned by Walt Disney.

Walt Disney Company ultimately closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets in 2019

Walt Disney Company ultimately closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets in 2019

Tom Hanks and lending his credibility

In The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks is seen in a commercial for an upcoming landmark and announces that the US government is borrowing some of his credibility own. This was in 2007. In 2022, the actor was seen in a commercial for Joe Biden’s administration that focused on the president’s successes and downplayed the effects of the pandemic. In the process, the US government borrowed some of the actor’s credibility to supplement its own.

In The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks is seen in a commercial for an upcoming landmark and announces that the US government is borrowing some of his credibility

In The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks is seen in a commercial for an upcoming landmark and announces that the US government is borrowing some of his credibility



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