Disney acquires Fox
Originally airing in 1998, a quick cutaway gag in When You Dish Upon a Star suggests that 20th Century Fox has been purchased by Disney. This, of course, did come true, though the Simpson’s staff writers have always been incredibly clued into popular culture and the entertainment industry, and likely heard early musing of Disney’s 2000s purchase of several Fox properties.
The adorable Blinky made his debut in Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish in 1990, showing a hypothetical example of what nuclear radiation can do to wildlife. This would turn out to be not so hypothetical, as irradiated food has made its way across the world, and a three-eyed fish was caught in Argentinian waters used for nuclear cooling.
The great grease heists of New York
While the hardcore Simpsons fans often consider the show to have declined in quality by season ten, it continued generating some classic episodes despite the direction the writing was headed. Homer’s scheme to steal spent cooking grease to sell as a biofuel was imitated, almost verbatim, across New York, inspired by the fool-proof plan. Though presumably less greasy Scott’s were involved.
This is one of the show’s most infamous predictions and again goes to demonstrate the talent of the show’s writers. Trump had been floating his presidential ambitions since the 1980s and has always been both incredibly funny and incapable of being quiet. It’s no surprise a group of clued-in, politically aware writers knew he could basically be taken at his deranged word.
Ringo takes forever to reply
In the season two classic A Brush with Greatness, Marge reveals she sent her childhood crush Ringo a portrait she created. After many decades, he finally replies and is once again vindicated as the best one. This would later be outdone in reality, when he replied to a mixtape two girls from Essex in the UK had sent him five decades earlier.
USA Olympic Gold
While Americans aren’t naturally suited for skiing, that doesn’t stop those few courageous men and women who dare to be bold and cold. In a 2010 episode, Homer and Marge beat the Swedish to claim the gold medal in curling. The 2018 Pyongyang Winter Olympics then saw the US Men’s team win gold, with a historic curling victory over the Swedish.
The mass of the Higgs boson particle
A recurring explanation to explain many of the show’s predictions is that the creators were all huge nerds. David X Cohen, a computer science major, wrote Homer’s now-famous approximation of the mass of the Higgs boson. When supercolliders proved the existence of the particle in 2012, their actual mass was measured and found to be incredibly close to Cohen’s equation.
It really was coming up Milhouse
No son of the legendary Kirk Van Houten will grow up to be a failure. While he hasn’t grown much, the former heir of the cracker factory millions has correctly predicted two Nobel Prize winners. He called Bengt Holmström receiving the Economic Sciences award in 2016, and W E Moener who won for Chemistry, though he missed the year slightly. Jimminy jilickers, Fallout Boy.
While many have pointed to this cutaway gag as a prediction for the horse meat scares across the UK, the US has its own fascinating history with horse meat. The widespread, fancy new automobile put a lot of horses out of work, and the country’s aversion to regulation meant dirt cheap and contaminated horse meat was an issue even in the 80s, before the episode.
The development of autocorrect
Apple’s developers would apparently reference this joke while developing key usability features in the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard, making this as useful as it is funny. Springfield Elementary School’s infrequently named bully, Dolph Starbeam, uses his Apple Newton device to make a note to beat up Martin, which the device registers as ‘eat up Martha’. Thank Dolph for how pretty much seamless touchscreens have become.
Lisa’s Wedding managed a duo of future predictions, with the most obvious being the presence of wearable smart technology. While sci-fi gadgetry from the likes of Star Trek has always influenced real-world technology, the Simpsons smartwatch presumably doesn’t harvest data from your very cells to sell for optimized advertising.
The London Shard
The second, much smaller divination from the same episode is the presence of an eerie spire in London’s semi-dystopian skyline. This matched nothing from the city’s 1995 landscape, but 2012 saw the opening of The Shard, a modernist piece of architecture near Tower Bridge. It roughly fits the same location that Days Of Simpsons Past London placed its piercing tower.
The Ebola Outbreak
Another image widely circulated as a ‘prediction’, though less in the tongue-in-cheek sense of this article and closer to something you would see from a conspiracy-obsessed aunt. In the 1997 episode, Lisa’s Sax had Marge suggest a book to Bart, called Curious George and the Ebola Virus. Of course, Ebola was discovered in the 1940s and had been infecting things long before Marge’s first grumble.
Unlike Lisa’s genetic experiments with tomatoes to end world hunger, which sadly passed after contact with Seymour’s wide load, Homer’s ideas involve a lot more radiation. His tomato/tobacco hybrid inspired an actual cross-breeding of the two plants in 2003, though the creator Rob Baur said it likely contains lethal amounts of nicotine.
The Game of Thrones finale
While fans had pegged most of Game Of Thrones’ larger plot points long before the TV show was even in production, The Simpsons managed to hit on quite a specific prediction. The 2017 episode featured an Ice and Fire-inspired spoof where Daenerys’ dragons raze King’s Landing, gesturing at how silly and unsatisfying such an ending might be.
Siegfried, Roy, and the tiger’s creative differences
It doesn’t take Mystic Meg to prophesize that an act based around poking a tiger with an increasingly bigger and more elaborate series of sticks isn’t going to end well. Regardless, The Simpsons get points for predicting the specific act, and how funny and deserved the consequences were. Gunter and Ernst’s 1993 attack pre-dated Siegfried’s attack by almost three decades.
Civilian space flight
The idea that the humble every man could one day break free of Earth’s upper atmosphere and claim his steak among the stars was but a pipe dream back in 1994. Deep Space Homer is a beloved classic, and can now be a reality for anybody with a vast inherited fortune, a lack of a moral compass, and the right social connections. The future is here.
This episode is said to have predicted the Coronavirus pandemic. Extraordinary claims, and so on. It’s a story about how most people aren’t equipped to deal with complicated medical information and latch onto simple answers that confirm their biases. It did, however, sort of predict murder hornets in the US, which migrated from Asia and currently reside in Washington State.
The Albuquerque Isotopes
Homer at the bat is a common sight in Springfield, with baseball combining all of his favorite pastimes. The episode Hungry Hungry Homer features his beloved Springfield Isotopes at risk of moving to New Mexico. A similar instance occurred in 2002 when the Calgary Cannons moved way down south. A public poll opened to rename the team, with the Isotopes sweeping the competition.
The continued sense of gay panic
It was almost a contractual requirement to have gay panic in your 90s sitcom (See: Friends). Shows like Seinfeld, and The Simpson’s episode Homer’s Phobia help demonstrate how utterly deranged it is to hold stock in the idea that any non-traditionally masculine act is some kind of deep personal weakness. The more things change, hey?
The Capitol Riots
Some fans have pointed to a satirical cartoon within a satirical cartoon to draw some more clairvoyant gold from the rich mines of The Simpsons’ hills. The Day The Violence Died, one of the show’s absolute best episodes, has a mock “How a Bill..’ cartoon about how Republicans fight civil liberties despite it being deeply unpopular. Door’s open boys.
The show’s writers were known for their ability to satirize moral panics. The cry ‘won’t somebody think of the children’ has been a subject of mockery for decades, particularly when utilized by the religious right. The 1990s episode didn’t exactly predict Florida parents’ outrage over the statue of David, which resulted in a principal’s resignation in 2023, but it recognized a pattern.
Lady Gaga’s halftime show
In a wonderful case of life imitating art, The Simpson’s take on a Gaga performance saw her descending on wires while her breasts shot fire. As tame as that likely sounded to Gaga, she was a wonderful sport and decided to recreate her Simpsons Superbowl show in 2017, flying above the audience like the most wonderful monster they have ever seen.
Homer’s half-brother Herb, memorably voiced by Danny Devito entering a prime that he would never leave, somehow managed to build a machine that could translate baby cries way back in the 1992 episode Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes. Currently, smartphone apps are capable of understanding baby cries with a good degree of accuracy, but only for the first few weeks of development.
The Matrix 4’s Christmas Release date
They might have been a couple of decades off with the year, but the 2004 episode The Ziff Who Came For Dinner took a stab at a potential Matrix quadrilogy. While 2021s Matrix Resurrections wasn’t quite a Christmas film in subject matter, besides the obvious messianic elements of the story-telling, it did release on December 22nd, just in time for the holidays.
The killer animatronic trend
It has become genuinely impossible to conduct any research on the origins of killer mascots as a concept. Five Nights At Freddy’s conquered not only an entire generation of lore-addicted teens but any feasible chance a similar story has to get any search engine presence at all. This makes 1994s Itchy And Scratchy Land one of the tropes’ earliest and most prolific uses.
Tom Hanks for President
As preferable as this would have been to the show’s other political predictions, the actor’s cameo in The Simpsons Movie as an ambassador for the US Government, came true in 2022. President Biden had the esteemed actor help commemorate his first year in office, seemingly unaware Hank’s Simpsons cameo was about the government leeching his credibility.
The power of the NSA
This is an example of something that was known at the time but never proven, now seeming almost clairvoyant in its accuracy. The Simpsons Movie saw the Springfieldians pursued by the enormous might of the NSA, which in 2007 was known to be up to a lot of warrantless activity, but it wasn’t until the Snowden leaks in 2013 the public saw the true extent.
FIFA officials arrested for corruption
If anything can be said of the shotgun approach to comedy The Simpsons is known for, it’s that if you pay attention to the news you can preempt the indictments with comedy years in advance. The episode You Don’t Have To Live Like A Referee aired in 2014, one year before a slew of high-profile FIFA executives were arrested on bribery and corruption charges.
Greece’s economic collapse
Despite the shifting of the show’s original heart, let it not be said that each new rotation of writers isn’t handed Apollo’s gift of prophecy from their predecessors. Season 24 was airing back in 2012, and the episode Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson has a gag about Europe putting Greece on Ebay. This came three years before the country’s default.
The Oceangate accident
The 2005 episode Homer’s Paternity Coot has him stuck beneath the ocean in a small personal submarine, losing air as the ship malfunctions. This was immediately circulated as yet another correct prediction after the news of the Titanic exploration submarine broke in June 2023. The malfunctions and results clearly aren’t alike, but thematically it hits all the same beats.
Three consecutive Superbowl winners
One of the incidents that kicked off the cottage industry of Simpsons Soothsaying was their Superbowl predictions. Lisa the Greek aired only a couple of days before Super Bowl XXVI, which accurately called the Redskins’ victory. The episode was re-aired every year pre-Superbowl, dubbed with the relevant year’s predictions. They called it three years in a row and continued with decent accuracy.
The universal doughnut
In season 10’s They Saved Lisa’s Brain, Homer has a chance to share his thoughts on the nature of the universe with the late Steven Hawkin. He theorizes it to be doughnut-shaped, obviously. This it turns out, is a potential theory for how space works. The tree torus model posits that the universe loops back in on itself, like a doughnut.
Ted Cruz’s tactical retreat
Another entertaining tidbit to emerge from The Simpson’s take on a pandemic was the joke about ‘Diamond’ Joe Quimby addressing the public from his summer vacation. People on Twitter are lightning fast when it comes to drawing parallels between current politics and gags from the Simpsons, so obviously Ted Cruz’s Cancun getaway while his state froze solid got posted into oblivion.
Civilian surveillance for good and evil
“You know, the courts might not work anymore, but as long as everybody is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.” – Marge Simpson (1994). Somehow in a throwaway line about Homer’s exoneration thanks to Willie’s ‘amateur videos’, Marge can encapsulate our current culture of filming strangers, and how it often falls to irrefutable, often hidden video evidence for the truth to emerge.
A Stranger Things villain
This one might seem a little tenuous, but it fits the same explanations as so many on the list, making it part of the same pantheon. The memorable one-off carny boy Spud showed Lisa his talent for, contortionism maybe? Fans are keenly aware of the 80s and 90s nostalgia behind the Duffer brother’s flagship show and believe Spud inspired how Vecna claims his victims.
Don Mattingly getting benched for his sideburns
This could well be the hardest to explain without a shrugging and suggestion of wizardry. In Homer At The Bat, Burns uses his wealth to pack his team with pros, including Don Mattingly who he accosts for his sideburns. This was thought to be poking fun at the famous real-life instance of this occurring, but he recorded his lines months before that ever happened.
Stop the steal
A 2008 Treehouse of Horror episode had a voting machine replace Homer’s one vote for Obama with seven votes for John McCain. Domestic election interference in the US, based on ALL of the available evidence, tends to be policy based or a mistake, as appose to rogue A. I hackers. Machines do mess up though and this one happened to Romney in 2008, instead of McCain.
This reeferino is lou-diddly-oud
When Ned, Apu, Homer, and Grandpa got involved in a cheap drug smuggling scheme in 2005, the Simpsons’ version of Canada legalized marijuana. Now, Flander’s style nachos suggest Ned is an organic guy, and a little ingested herb is far from breaking his morals, in fact, he was 13 years ahead of Canada in embracing the plant.
The big butt Skinner balloon is a knee-slapper, though often forgotten is a joke immediately following. Two Air Force pilots respond to Willy’s shots to take down the balloon, first targeting him as an Iraqi civilian and then blowing themselves up trying to kill him. The war in Iraq was plagued with not only human rights violations but many incidents of friendly fire.