18 times ‘The Simpsons’ accurately predicted the future
January 7, 2020
19 years ago, an episode of “The Simpsons” predicted that Donald Trump would one day become US president.
And this wasn’t the only time the writers have managed to predict the future.
The most recent prediction to come to light is from an episode two years ago, which preempted Daenerys Targaryen’s big plot twist on Sunday night’s penultimate episode of “Game of Thrones.”
“The Simpsons” has been running for over 27 years, so it’s inevitable that some themes that crop up in the show might occur in real life. But some of the plotlines are eerily close to events that have happened throughout the world.
We’ve listed some of the strangest predictions the cartoon’s writers have made since the show’s launch in 1989, from Homer discovering the Higgs boson to animators drawing The Shard in London almost 20 years before it was built.
1. Three-eyed fish — Season 2, Episode 4
In this episode from 1990, Bart catches a three-eyed fish named Blinky in the river by the power plant, which makes local headlines.
More than a decade later, a three-eyed fish was discovered in a reservoir in Argentina. Strangely enough, the reservoir itself was fed by water from a nuclear power plant.
2. The censorship of Michelangelo’s David — Season 2, Episode 9
An episode from 1990 titled “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge” showed Springfieldians protesting against Michelangelo’s statue of David being exhibited in the local museum, calling the artwork obscene for its nudity.
The satire of censorship came true in July 2016, when Russian campaigners voted on whether to clothe a copy of the Renaissance statue that had been set up in central St Petersburg.
3. Letter from The Beatles — Season 2, Episode 18
In 1991, an episode of “The Simpsons” saw The Beatles’ Ringo Star diligently answering fan mail that had been written decades ago.
In September 2013, two Beatles fans from Essex received a reply from Paul McCartney to a letter and recording they sent to the band 50 years ago. The recording was sent to a London theatre the band was due to play at but was found years later in a car boot sale by a historian.
In 2013, the BBC’s “The One Show” reunited the pair with their letter, plus a reply from McCartney.
4. Siegfried and Roy tiger attack — Season 5, Episode 10The Simpsons parodied entertainers Siegfried & Roy in a 1993 episode called “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalised Gambling).” During the episode, the magicians are viciously mauled by a trained white tiger while performing in a casino.
In 2003, Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was attacked during a live performance by Montecore, one of their white tigers. He lived but sustained severe injuries in the attack.
5. Horsemeat scandal — Season 5, Episode 19
In 1994, Lunchlady Doris used “assorted horse parts” to make lunch for students at Springfield Elementary.
Nine years later, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in over one-third of beefburger samples from supermarkets and ready meals, and pig in 85% of them.
6. Autocorrect — Season 6, Episode 8
School bullies Kearny and Dolph take a memo to “beat up Martin” on a Newton device in an episode of “The Simpsons” that aired in 1994. The memo gets quickly translated to “eat up Martha” — an early foreshadowing of autocorrect frustrations.
“The Simpsons” was lampooning Apple’s underwhelming Newton — the iPhone’s ancient ancestor — that had just been released, and included shoddy handwriting recognition, according to Fast Company.
Nitin Ganatra, former director of engineering iOS applications at Apple, told Fast Company that this particular moment on “The Simpsons” served as inspiration to get the iPhone keyboard right.
7. Smartwatches — Season 6, Episode 19
“The Simpsons” introduced the idea of a watch you could use as a phone in an episode aired in 1995, nearly 20 years before the Apple Watch was released.
8. The invention of The Shard — Season 6, Episode 19
The “Lisa’s Wedding” episode from 1995 came with a lot of unexpected predictions. During Lisa’s trip to London, we see a skyscraper behind Tower Bridge that looks eerily similar to The Shard, and it’s is even in the right location.
Construction on the building started in 2009, 14 years later.
9. Robotic librarians — Season 6, Episode 19
In “Lisa’s Wedding,” we discover that librarians have been replaced with robots in the “Simpsons” universe.
More than 20 years later, robotics students from the University of Aberystwyth built a prototype for a walking library robot, while scientists in Singapore have begun testing their own robot librarians.
10. The discovery of the Higgs boson equation — Season 8, Episode 1
In a 1998 episode called “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer Simpson becomes an inventor and is shown in front of a complicated equation on a blackboard.
According to Simon Singh, the author of “The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets,” the equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson particle. It was first predicted in 1964 by Professor Peter Higgs and five other physicists, but it wasn’t until 2013 that scientists discovered proof of the Higgs boson in a £10.4 billion ($13 billion) experiment.
11. Ebola outbreak — Season 9, Episode 3
Some people maintain that “The Simpsons” predicted the 2014 outbreak of Ebola 17 years before it happened. In a scene from the episode “Lisa’s Sax,” Marge suggests a sick Bart read a book titled “Curious George and the Ebola Virus.” The virus wasn’t particularly widespread in the 1990s, but years later it was the top of the news agenda.
Ebola was first discovered in 1976, and though this latest outbreak has been the worst yet, it killed 254 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 and 224 in Uganda in 2000.
12. Disney buys 20th Century Fox — Season 10, Episode 5
In the episode “When You Dish Upon a Star” that originally aired in 1998, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer produce a script Homer pitches. The script is being produced at 20th Century Fox, and a sign in front of the studio’s headquarters reveals that it is “a division of Walt Disney Co.”
On December 14, 2017, Disney purchased 21st Century Fox for an estimated $52.4 billion, acquiring Fox’s film studio (20th Century Fox), in addition to a bulk of its television production assets. The media conglomerate also has access to popular entertainment properties like “X-Men,” “Avatar,” and “The Simpsons.”
13. The invention of the tomacco plant — Season 11, Episode 5
In 1999, Homer uses nuclear energy to create a hybrid of tomato and tobacco plants: the “tomacco.”
This inspired US “Simpsons” fan Rob Baur to create his own plant. In 2003, Baur grafted together a tobacco root and a tomato stem to make “tomacco.” Writers for “The Simpsons” were so impressed that they invited Baur and his family to their offices and ate the tomacco fruit themselves.
14. Faulty voting machines — Season 20, Episode 4
In 2008, “The Simpsons” showed Homer trying to vote for Barack Obama in the US general election, but a faulty machine changed his vote.
Four years later, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed after it kept changing people’s votes for Barack Obama to ones for his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
15. The U.S. beats Sweden in curling at the Olympic games — Season 21, Episode 12
In one of the biggest upsets at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the U.S. curling team won gold over the favorite, Sweden.
This historical win was predicted in a 2010 episode of “The Simpsons,” called “Boy Meets Curl.” In the episode, Marge and Homer Simpson compete in curling at the Vancouver Olympics and beat Sweden.
In real life the U.S. Men’s Olympic Curling Team won a gold medal after defeating Sweden even though they were behind, which is exactly how it played out on “The Simpsons.” The victory is the second curling medal ever for the United States (not including Marge and Homer’s, of course).
16. Nobel Prize Winner — Season 22, Episode 1
MIT professor Bengt Holmström won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2016, six years after he was bet on to win the Nobel Prize on “The Simpsons.”
Holmström’s name appears on a betting scorecard when Martin, Lisa, Database, and Milhouse bet on Nobel Prize winners.
17. Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show — Season 23, Episode 22
In 2012, Lady Gaga performed for the town of Springfield hanging in midair. Five years later, she flew off the Houston NRG Stadium roof in real life to perform her Super Bowl halftime show.
18. Daenerys Targaryen’s big plot twist in ‘Game of Thrones’ — Season 29, Episode 1
On the latest episode of “Game of Thrones,” Daenerys Targaryen shocked fans when she and her dragon laid waste to an already surrendered King’s Landing, obliterating thousands of innocent people.
In 2017, on a season 29 episode of “The Simpsons” titled “The Serfsons,” which spoofed various aspects of “Game of Thrones” — including the Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King — Homer revives a dragon that proceeds to incinerate a village.