The Simpsons is one of the most popular and longest-running animated sitcoms of all time. For over 30 years, the show has provided viewers with hilarious satire, memorable characters, and countless pop culture references. But one of the more fascinating aspects is the Simpsons prediction power for major societal and technological changes, years before they happen in real life.
The Simpsons Predictions
From politics to innovations to scandals, the writers seem to have their finger on the pulse of what’s to come. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable times The Simpsons correctly predicted future events.
Predicting President Trump
One of the most famous Simpsons prediction came in the year 2000 episode “Bart to the Future.” In it, Lisa has become president of the United States and refers to “inheriting quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” The episode aired 16 years before Donald Trump was elected president in real life. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has claimed this was a complete coincidence, but it’s still creepy how accurately it foreshadowed Trump’s political aspirations.
Predicting the Higgs Boson Particle
In the 1998 episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer writes an equation on a chalkboard that closely approximated the mass of the Higgs boson particle, as noted by physicist Simon Singh 14 years before the particle’s discovery. This demonstrated the writers’ scientific aptitude in foreseeing this important discovery in physics.
Smartwatches Become a Thing
In a 1995 episode called “Lisa’s Wedding,” we get a peek at Lisa’s future where she is engaged to an English man named Hugh Parkfield. Hugh is shown speaking into a watch-like device on his wrist, asking it to remind him to call his mother. This depiction of a smartwatch was 11 years before the first touchscreen smartwatches started rolling out and becoming mainstream. The Simpsons was well ahead of its time in predicting this wearable tech trend.
Siegfried and Roy Tiger Attack
In 1993, an episode titled “$pringfield” shows Springfield building a flashy new casino. A flamboyant German magic duo called Gunter and Ernst perform a routine with white tigers at the casino that goes awry when one of the tigers attacks them. This alarming scene foreshadowed what would happen in real life to the legendary Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy. One of their white tigers attacked Roy during a live performance in 2003, inflicting life-threatening injuries.
Faulty Voting Machines
In a 2008 episode called “Treehouse of Horror XIX,” Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama but a voting machine glitch causes his vote to be counted for John McCain multiple times instead. This predicted all the issues we’ve seen in recent years with inaccurate electronic voting machines failing to register votes properly. The Simpsons demonstrated its knack for tapping into voters’ worries about the election process.
Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show
The 2012 episode “Lisa Goes Gaga” features Lady Gaga performing in Springfield to cheer up Lisa. Her performance includes being lowered into a stadium on wires while suspended over the crowd. Three years later at the Super Bowl halftime show, Gaga did this exact same stunt during her opening number. The Simpsons predicted she would incorporate this aerial spectacle into her live performances years in advance.
Nobel Prize Winner
In a 2010 episode, Milhouse correctly predicts that Bengt R. Holmstrom would win the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2016. Sure enough, Holmstrom and Oliver Hart won it six years later for their work on contract theory. While MIT professor Holmstrom was already a leading economist in the field, it was still impeccable foresight for The Simpsons to predict he would win a Nobel Prize.
Greece’s Economic Collapse
A 2012 episode titled “Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson” makes an offhand joke about Greece having to refund taxes because of their economic troubles. This ended up basically summing up what transpired in Greece in 2015 when the government had to issue tax refunds due to imposed austerity measures after the debt-ridden country’s financial collapse. The Simpsons somehow knew Greece’s economy would lead to this crisis.
NSA Spying Scandal
A 2007 episode titled “The Simpsons Movie” depicts the NSA spying on people through their computers and other devices, nearly six years before Edward Snowden exposed the controversial domestic surveillance being carried out by the NSA. The Simpsons displayed an aptitude for knowing the NSA’s activities would kick off privacy concerns and public scandals down the road.
How The Simpsons Prediction Power Works
So how does The Simpsons seem capable of predicting so many major events and innovations before they occur?
The logical explanation is that talented writers are simply masters of observational humour and satire.
They closely study politics, technology, pop culture, and social trends in order to poke fun at society’s foibles. This requires paying attention to early warning signs that point towards where things are heading. They pick up on these hints and follow the implications to exaggerated comedic conclusions, which later manifest in real life.
For example, with the Trump presidency prediction, the writers were attuned to Trump’s growing celebrity status and hinted that he might run for office in the early 2000s. They extrapolated this into an absurd fictional scenario, not realizing how close to the mark they would turn out to be. The writers stay well-informed about advancements and new inventions in tech that have the potential to go mainstream. With smartwatches, they foresaw the coming convergence of computers and wearable accessories.
Mathematically speaking, the odds of predicting any single event are extremely low. But the writers have beaten the odds through sheer volume of comedic predictions and an intelligent assessment of society’s trajectory. The more possibilities for the future they envision and parody, the more likely some will be prophetic.
Additionally, the show spans an impressive 30+ years. Jokes that seemed absurd at the time have had ample opportunity to become reality or close to it. The writers play the long game, planting seeds early that grow into accurate projections as the world evolves. Time has proven the accuracy of patterns they noticed developing decades ago.
The Future Simpsons Predictions – What’s Next?
While Simpsons prediction power has already proved correct many times, there are likely more yet to come that the show saw coming before the rest of us. It wouldn’t be surprising if in the next few years we see autonomous vehicles become mainstream after being mocked on the show years prior.
We may also see jokes about climate change effects like rising sea levels or wildfires predate actual catastrophic events related to climate change accelerating. The Simpsons also has potential to predict more technology mishaps, like if a Metaverse platform they parody ends up facing data breaches or safety issues down the line. And it’s always possible they will foresee more political surprises, like joking about a specific candidate winning an election years before it happens.
Given the show’s track record, we can expect more of their satirical projections to manifest in the real world as time goes on.