With over 600 episodes and 30 years of success, Fox’s show The Simpsons is a huge hit and serves as a foundation for contemporary comedy. After being on air for decades, fans of the show have noted that many moments from the cartoon manifested themselves in the real world. We live on a planet where the truth is often stranger than fiction; this becomes evident when a comedic show writer’s jokes make its way to our dimension.
After three decades of episodes on air, life will imitate art at times. But when it comes to The Simpsons, the imitation is so accurate that it’s kind of eerie. Many people think this is proof of time travel, and others believe its predictive programming, but most of us believe that these are all just coincidences. From Super Bowl scores to Technological inventions, these are the craziest events that The Simpsons ever predicted.
Correctly predicting Super Bowls (Season 3, Episode 14: “Lisa the Greek”)
The original release of the football-centric episode of The Simpsons happens to have been just a few days before Super Bowl XXVI. What shocked viewers was that Lisa predicted that the Washington Redskins would win, and she was correct. A year later, the staff decided to mention the teams that would be competing that year.
They were correct once again with their call of the Dallas Cowboys winning. They continued making predictions for the next few years and finished with another accurate call of the San Francisco 49ers over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. How did they know? Do you think it was just a lucky guess?
Disney buys 20th Century Fox (Season 10, Episode 5: “When You Dish Upon a Star”)
The episode titled “When You Dish Upon a Star,” mentions many celebrities. The end of the Upon features the 20th Century Fox logo above “A Division of Walt Disney Co.” The show was obviously just poking fun at their parent company and probably didn’t really think much of it.
However, to everyone’s surprise, in July 2018, Fox ended up selling to The Walt Disney Co. Do you think the show writers knew that Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse would be in the same house? Or do you think this is just another random coincidence of when life imitates art? Considering the episode aired back in the ’90s, I doubt the staff knew.
Smartwatches (Season 6, Episode 19: “Lisa’s Wedding”)
In 1995, the popular cartoon made its first trip into the future in an episode titled “Lisa’s wedding.” As you can imagine, several jokes about technological advancements ended up becoming a reality. A perfect example is when Lisa’s boyfriend Hugh botched his wedding proposal, he calls an audible by speaking to his watch.
At the time, this type of technology didn’t seem very realistic. I mean, cell phones were barely even a thing. However, in 2013 the world was introduced to smartwatches that feature voice recognition, saving relationships everywhere. To be fair, with how quickly technology has been advancing in the past decade or two, it was only a matter a time before smartwatches came out.
Autocorrect (Season 6, Episode 8: “Lisa on Ice”)
This episode is one of the rare cases when the show not only made an accurate prediction but was also actively involved in events. In a 1994 episode entitled “Lisa on Ice,” bully, Dolph, wrote a note to “Beat up Martin” on his Apple Newton. The text translates to “Eat up Martha.” At the time, it was a joke making fun of the PDA’s handwriting recognition.
Nowadays, we laugh at this for other reasons. When Apple was creating the keyboard for the iPhone, they knew there was one thing they needed to get right. They even quoted, “Eat up, Martha” to each other to showcase the importance of the autocorrect feature. As we now know, hilarious autocorrect mistakes are pretty common.
Stealing cooking grease for cash (Season 10, Episode 1: “Lard of the Dance”)
The Simpsons episode “Lard of the Dance,” first aired on August 23rd, 1998. The episode features many of Homer’s get-rich-quick schemes. One of these tricks involved siphoning grease from different establishments and selling it for a profit. This seems pretty far-fetched, right? Obviously, this was meant to be a joke.
However, the scheme was so prolific that delinquents actually use it in real life. There are reports that people from New York City are stealing grease from restaurants to sell. I didn’t know this was a thing, but strange how the show predicted such an odd and specific way people make money. Do you think people thought of this on their own? Or that they got the idea from The Simpsons?
FIFA’s corruption scandal and World Cup results (Season 25, Episode 16: “You don’t have to live like a Referee”)
In The Simpsons version of the World Cup, Homer ends up being a referee because the FIFA organization had a shortage of employees from massive corruption. Even though he was tempted not to, Homer decided to be fair when it came to the big game, and Germany ultimately won the World Cup.
In this episode, the show enjoyed some more precognition. First of all, Germany was the World Cup winner that same year, but what happened in 2015 wasn’t as enjoyable. As it turned out, many FIFA employees were under arrest for bribery accusations, fraud, and money laundering. Now, there is no way the showrunners saw that coming.
The Beatles sending belated fan mail (Season 2, Episode 18: “Brush with Greatness”)
All the way back in a season 2 episode of The Simpsons, Marge admits that when she was in high school, she sent a painting to Ringo Starr, her celebrity crush. In the episode, decades pass by, and Ringo sends back a response because he made a promise to answer all his fan emails. It seems like an ordinary storyline, right?
The episode called “Brush with Greatness” also gave a little insight into the future. In a way, the remaining Beatles members seem to have fulfilled this prophecy. In 2013, a woman got a response from Sir Paul McCartney 50 years after sending him a mixtape. What are the chances? That’s like, half a century later.
Siegfried and Roy tiger attack (Season 5, Episode 10: “$pringfield”)
A season 5 episode called “$pringfield” originally aired in December 1993. It featured Mr. Burns, who decided to build a casino in Springfield with some references to Vegas. One was from Gunter and Ernst. They perform a Siegfried and Roy analog, and when their white tiger Anastasia attacks them, their act ends in tragedy.
A decade after the episode came out, Roy Horn was actually attacked. To be fair, this one is more understandable and makes a lot of sense because of the risk and dangers that come when working with wild animals. It’s just ironic that they made an episode like that. In real life, Roy sustained injuries, but thankfully, he lived.
Video chats (Season 6, Episode 19: “Lisa’s Wedding”)
Back to the season 6 episode “Lisa’s wedding,” the smartwatch wasn’t the only accurate prediction that was featured. Another significant component of the 2010s is video chat. It’s strange to think that there was a time before video chat considering it has become a normal communication tool in our day to day lives. But back in the 90s, that wasn’t the case.
Throughout the entire episode, the communication style is through a screen and not necessarily a phone. In an era that runs of Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangout, this is one prediction the writers had to see to believe. But with technology, video chat would eventually become a thing, whether or not The Simpsons thought of it first.
The U.S. wins gold in curling (Season 21, Episode 12: “Boy Meets Curl”)
If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you know that the series has many international trips. In one particular episode, Homer and Marge were drafted into the U.S. curling team for the Winter Olympics in 2010. Even though the odds were completely against them, they managed to sweep Sweden and won the gold medal.
The episode is from season 21 and is called “Boy Meet’s Curl,” and this prediction also came true… only it was eight years late. During the recent 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the same match-up was featured as well as the same result. Although they were off by several years, they kind of predicted it. But I think this one is just a weird coincidence.
An “Average Joe” goes into space (Season 5, Episode 15: “Deep Space Homer”)
In a popular storyline of the show, NASA decides to send a random person into space so that they can increase ratings for the shuttle launches. It didn’t really seem realistic. I mean, NASA employees usually need to work there for years with a ton of training before becoming an astronaut. But eventually, it came true.
In 2013, the United Kingdom ran a contest to make an average person into an astronaut. The process involved rigorous testing and various interviews in Cape Canaveral. The winner ended up being 25-year-old Oliver Knight, who beat 250 other candidates to go to space with 23 other winners. It looks like NASA learned from the Simpsons mistake and didn’t pack potato chips or ants on the shuttle.
Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance (Season 23, Episode 22: “Lisa Goes Gaga”)
Season 23, episode 22 episode of the Simpsons, “Lisa Goes Gaga,” has been regarded as the worst episode of the show. It featured the pop star going to Springfield and helping Lisa with her self-esteem issues. As we now know, in 2017, Lady Gaga performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, but that wasn’t what the show predicted.
During her performance, fans of the show noticed that Gaga’s wire-based, spark-laden stunt outfit had an uncanny resemblance to one of her outfits in the episode. Do you think Lady Gaga watched the episode before her performance? Or that the illustrators managed to nail the singer’s unique clothing style?
Covering up Michelangelo’s “David” (Season 2, Episode 9: “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”)
During one of the earlier episodes of The Simpson, “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” Marge tried getting the violent cartoon duo Itchy and Scratchy to be more passive and quiet. She quickly realized that censorship could cut both ways when everyone tried to protest Michelangelo’s “David” nudity when he stopped by on tour.
But in 2016, the state of “David” became a hot topic issue. The Russians ultimately voted on whether or not the statue should be covered in clothes. It’s just so coincidental that this random storyline happened in real life. Thankfully, it didn’t lead the Russians to question their favorite cartoon pair, Worker and Parasite.
Faulty voter machines (Season 20, Episode 4: “Treehouse of Horror XIX”)
In the 19th installment of “Treehouse of Horror’ (which was linked to the presidential election in 2008), Homer went into a booth and tried to vote for Barack Obama. However, the glitch in the computerized system counted it as if he voted for John McCain. It took a full election cycle for this prediction to become a reality.
As you have probably seen, in 2012, there was a viral video going around, which showed a voting booth in Pennsylvania doing the same thing when it came to Obama and Mitt Romney. This situation seems pretty predictable to me. I mean, cheating isn’t rare when it comes to the government; getting caught, however, is less common.
Mutant tomatoes (Season 11, Episode 5: “E-I-E-I-D’oh!”)
In a season 11 episode entitled “E-I-E-I- D’oh!,” Homer attempted farming, which led him to create the “tomacco.” The tomacco is a tomato/tobacco hybrid, and Homer produced it by using some nuclear materials from his job at the plant (even though that job tends to change depending on the episode of the show).
This was meant to be a joke when the episode originally aired, and nobody would have guessed this strange hybrid would be mutated into reality. But in 2013, this satire turned into reality when fruits and vegetables near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant turned into hybrid terrors. It would have been nice to see this one coming.
The Higgs-Boson Particle (Season 10, Episode 2: “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”)
In a season 10 episode of the show entitled, “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” there was another instance of life imitating art…well, kind of. Homer becomes an aspirational inventor after being inspired by the work of Thomas Edison. A memorable gag is Homer drawing profusely on a chalkboard, with a math equation seen on the bottom.
The formula turned out to be the mass of the Higgs-boson particle (otherwise known as the “God particle”). Fourteen years after the episode aired, CERN discovered that the particle started to form. Before that, there was no proof that it even existed. Now this one is really weird. How did The Simpsons know?!
The Albuquerque Isotopes (Season 12, Episode 15: “Hungry, Hungry Homer”)
Season 12, Episode 15, Hungry, Hungry Homer, isn’t a prediction exactly, but more of an inspiration to a real-life occurrence. This hilarious episode featured Homer going on a hunger strike to protest that the Springfield Isotopes’ (his baseball team) move to Albuquerque.
Well, just about a year later, the Calgary Cannons minor team moved to New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Tribune ran a poll to pick the new team name. It didn’t take long for fans to come to a decision, and as Homer wished, the team was called the Albuquerque Isotopes. This one is pretty interesting because The Simpsons definitely inspired it. I wonder what the team name would have been if this episode didn’t exist.
Ebola outbreak (Season 9, Episode 3: “Lisa’s Sax”)
Considering we are in the midst of the Corona pandemic, you may have forgotten about the Ebola outbreak. In a season 9 episode of The Simpsons, primarily set in 1990, Marge hoped to cheer up a lonely Bart by reading him a book titled Curious George and the Ebola Virus. This one, however, wasn’t really a prediction.
Many people assume that the book was yet another prediction made by the Simpsons, but the disease existed way before the episode aired, 20 years earlier, to be exact. It was in 2014 and 2015 (after the episode came out) when the largest Ebola Virus outbreak took place. This situation caused many people, particularly, conspiracy theorists, to believe this was a form of predictive programming.
The Shard (Season 6, Episode 19: “Lisa’s Wedding”)
We already mentioned a couple of examples from the episode, “Lisa’s Wedding,” but there is another one. This prediction is way too creepy, just to be a coincidence. The episode showed a picture of Big Ben with a joke about how it now has a digital face. But if you look on the left-hand side, you’ll see a pointed spike that didn’t seem to appear in the actual London skyline.
In 2012, the construction of the Shard was finally completed. That’s where things got weird. Not only did the skyscraper have a shape that looked like the mysterious building, but it was in the exact same spot in comparison to Big Ben.
Bengt R. Holmstrom wins Nobel Prize in Economics (Season 22, Episode 1: “Elementary School Musical”)
One of the many things The Simpsons is famous for is creating what is known as “freeze-frame gags.” These are visual references that you would never notice unless you press the pause button. In the premiere episode season 22 “Elementary School Musical,” Lisa and a bunch of her friends filled out a predictions sheet for the Nobel Prize announcements.
If you freeze the episode and look at the sheet, you can see that Millhouse was wrong when he predicted that the winner for economics would be Bengt R. Holmstrom. But in reality, his prediction ended up coming true. Holmstrom did receive that honor in 2016. What are the chances of that?
Selling ferrets as toy poodles (Season 13, Episode 22: “Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge”)
If you’re a Simpsons fan, you will certainly remember Fat Tony’s schemes. He was the authority on crime in Springfield, and one of his plots involved gluing cotton balls on ferrets and telling people they were toy poodles. This became another case of criminals stealing their plans from TV shows.
An Argentinean guy received the shock of his life when he purchased what he believed was a toy Poodle. It didn’t take him long to figure out that it was a groomed ferret. Do you think the criminal behind the ferret scheme learns from The Simpsons? Or that his criminal mind came up with it all by itself?
Suing an all-you-can-eat restaurant (Season 4, Episode 8: “New Kid on the Block”)
One of the many things Homer Simpson is known for is his eating habits; his cartoonish greed is evident. In the season 4 episode “New Kid of the Block,” Homer gets kicked out of a seafood restaurant after taking advantage of an “all you can eat” deal, and then tried to sue them for false advertising.
Believe it or not, this discourse made its way to the courts twice: in 2012 and in 2017. What’s even more ironic is that the 2017 case took place in Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s a little bit strange that such an outrageous episode was replicated. However, with all the ridiculous things people sue for nowadays, it’s not a huge shock.
Baby translator (Season 3, Episode 24: “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?”)
Back in the 1990s, The Simpsons were already onto the app game. When Homer’s half-brother Herb (voiced by Danny DeVito) comes into the show, he seemingly goes from rags to riches. He basically comes up with this really cool invention that translates the gibberish that babies speak, into complete sentences.
Decades later, the “Cry Translator” app was released. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but apparently, the app translates the infant’s cry into his needs. This was a season 3 episode, meaning it came out in 1992. Smart Phones weren’t even a thing yet, let alone apps. Either way, this sounds like a really cool and helpful app.
Whacking Day (Season 4, Episode 14: “Whacking Day”)
So, the eponymous holiday from The Simpsons season 4 episode “Whacking Day” involves killing as many snakes as possible. This weird tradition slithered its way into real life. Basically, there is an annual event called The Python Challenge, where people make their way into the Florida Everglades to lower the Burmese Pythons population.
Apparently, the overpopulation endangers the diverse wildlife in Florida, so I don’t know if they necessarily got the idea from The Simpsons, but nonetheless, it’s an accurate prediction. It’s strange when life imitates art, isn’t it? As someone who is terrified of snakes, I don’t see the fun in this “holiday” at all, but to each their own.
Doughnut-shaped Universe (Season 10, Episode 22: “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”)
When famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking first appeared on the show, it was in a season 10 episode called, “They Saved Lisa’s Brain.” The writers took the opportunity to put the smartest man in the world in the same room as the stupidest man in the world. The two men have a conversation at Moe’s Tavern over beers.
That’s when Hawking says: “Your theory of a doughnut-shaped universe is intriguing. I may have to steal it.” Since the ‘80s, there has been an actual theory about the earth being shaped like a doughnut, or “torus,” but during the new millennium, it regained popularity. If you ask me, this doesn’t really seem like a prediction because the theory was already out there.
NSA Spying Scandal (The Simpsons Movie)
The Simpsons jumped onto the big screen in 2007, and their insight into the future joined. If you remember, we were taken to the headquarters of the National Security Agency when Marge discussed her plan to reveal government secrets. Inside, there is a room filled with monitors and an entire staff of people listening to phone calls hoping to find America’s most wanted.
I think it’s safe to say that the real NSA watched the movie. In 2013, Edward Snowden admitted that the agency was operating multiple secret surveillance programs. This one isn’t so shocking, though. I mean, they already have my fingerprint and face recognition from my phone alone. I don’t think anyone is surprised by the fact that the government is listening.
Three-eyed fish (Season 2, Episode 4: “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”)
In one of the earliest episodes of The Simpsons entitled, “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish,” there is another prediction. Bart catches a fish named Blinky with three eyes near a power plant. On the show, it made local headlines and was used by major news publications associated with discussing nuclear waste and mutation.
In 2011- more than one decade later, a fisherman caught a three-eyed wolf fish in a reservoir in Argentina. Sure, the fact that a three-eyed fish was discovered is enough to mean this Simpson prediction came true. But that wasn’t even the biggest coincidence. Oddly enough, the reservoir feeds near a nuclear power plant.
Putting horse meat in food (Season 5, Episode 19: “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”)
Season 5, Episode 19 of The Simpsons gives us another glimpse into the future. We can see that Lunchlady Doris at Springfield Elementary using “assorted horse parts” to make lunch for the students. Yikes! That doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it was obviously meant to be a complete joke. I mean, who would actually put horse parts in beef products?
What nobody ever expected was for this joke to become a reality, but it did. Nine years later, in 2013, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland discovered horse DNA in about 33% of beef burger samples from supermarkets and ready meals. Pig was only in 85% of them. That is so gross!
Robotic Librarians (Season 6, Episode 19: “Lisa’s Wedding”)
In the season 6 episode “Lisa’s wedding,” we get several predictions into the future, and it’s strange to see how accurate many of them were. We already mentioned a few technological advancements in this episode, but one takes the cake! We find out that in the Simpsons universe, librarians have been replaced by robots.
More than 20 years later, this actually became a thing. Students studying robotics from the University of Aberystwyth created a prototype for a walking library robot. Meanwhile, scientists in Singapore have begun testing their own robot librarians. We’re reaching an era when robots can just do it all.