The Simpsons Time Machine
From the Rolling Stones’ longevity to Trump’s presidential candidacy, the show has made some startling accurate predictions.
By Kevin Cordon, UC Irvine
The Simpson family has been scrambling to their couch before the opening credits since 1989, meaning that people have been rushing to their sofas every Sunday night for more than 27 years.
America’s beloved yellow family always seems to show audiences the best and worst of what’s going on in the world, with an added comedic spin, of course. Characters in the show provide commentary on real-life mishaps and blunders, entertaining audiences with their own versions of our stupidity.
Lately, though, close observers have begun to notice an eerie trend. A large number of situations that originally appeared on the show as jokes have ended up coming true, making “The Simpsons” more of an oracle than a TV show. In fact, some of the predictions are downright scary, both in their nature and accuracy. Here are four of the scariest predictions the show has made over the years, excluding of course the ones they made that just haven’t come true yet.
1. Ebola Virus
Yes, the Simpsons’ universe knew about the Ebola virus before most audiences did, and they even wrote a book about it before most people knew the disease existed.
The book Marge reads to Bart before bed, titled “Curious George and the Ebola Virus,” was introduced to fans in a 1997 episode. 1997. At the time, I was three and the Ebola outbreak was still about sixteen years away. Magical? Yes. Creepy? Also, yes.
Granted, Curious George usually solves his problems, so maybe viewers thought that Ebola wouldn’t be a problem later. Curious George and that creepy dude in the yellow hat need to get it together.
2. Tiger Mauling
Not sure if you remember, but awhile back there were two Las Vegas performers named Siegfried and Roy who would perform with a white tiger—no, not the tiger that was abducted in “The Hangover,” a different one.
Basically, the duo was a circus magic show and had an adorable white tiger that would rip anyone else to shreds as a pet. In 2003, Roy Horn was severely injured after being bit in the neck by their adorable furry friend during a show. Horn ended up recovering and performing a last show with Siegfried for their die-hard supporters, but maybe the duo should’ve heeded the warning?
Back in 1993, there was a “Simpsons” episode with a similar Vegas duo named Gunter and Ernst; in the show, the two were mauled by their tiger companion during a show at the Monty Burns Casino. It was 10 years before the unfortunate incident happened to Roy, but hey, the Simpsons tried to warn him.
3. The Stones Are Still Going?
There was a “Simpsons” episode in 1995 titled “Lisa’s Wedding” that was essentially the writers traveling into the future and recording what they saw.
The episode had so much packed in it that Steve Jobs probably was probably watching it and taking notes the entire time, muttering “This is genius!!!” every time a tech idea popped up. In fact, I’m going to start watching every Sunday for more billion dollar ideas.
In the episode, Lisa and her fiancé communicate through a watch—sound familiar? Matt Groening & Co probably should’ve filed a patent on the idea before releasing such a moneymaker like that to the public. Lisa also speaks to Marge through a videophone. Granted, it looks like a TV screen attached to a rotary telephone, but hey, they used what they had at the time. We think our technology is state-of-the-art, but in the Simpson’s world, we’re actually pretty far behind. They essentially birthed the idea for Facetime back in 1995. You’re welcome, Mr. Jobs.
One last glimpse into the future from that episode, and probably the least believable one for the 1995 crowd, was a Rolling Stones tour poster for the year 2010. The joke then was that the Stones were still playing in 2010, which seemed impossible at the time. Now, given that 2010 passed almost seven years ago and the classic rockers are still going, the Simpsons writers must have known somehow that the band was indestructible. At 73 years old, my grandma and Mick Jagger are the same age, but one of them is on tour with a world famous band and one can’t figure out an iPad no matter how many times I explain it to her.
4. El Presidente
“The Simpsons” has also been no stranger to predicting events in politics, one of which occurred in the 2008 Halloween episode, when Homer tried to vote for Barack Obama but had his vote switched to John McCain.
Whether the show was trying to hint that the election process was rigged or not, that same mishap actually happened four years later in 2012. A voter was trying to submit his vote for Barack Obama at an electronic station, but instead saw his vote get switched to Mitt Romney. Different white guy, same result. And Barack won twice; you go Barry! That wasn’t the only thing about politics the writers predicted though, which brings us to the doozy that is Donald Trump. Yes people, “The Simpsons” tried to warn us about him too, but apparently all of America missed that episode.
Released in 2000 and titled “Bart to the Future,” the plot has Bart travelling 30 years into the future to find that his sister Lisa has become the first “straight female president.” She claims to have inherited the presidency from Donald Trump, who left the country in financial chaos.
Fortunately in real life, it appears that the public has caught on to the animated prediction, and it looks like Mr. Trump won’t be setting foot inside the Oval Office, which is good, because according to the episode, a Trump administration would’ve been a disaster, bankrupting the country and creating super-criminals who function without sleep. In general, it’s high time we start paying attention to “The Simpsons” and heeding their warnings, because if not, the country may stumble into something even more disastrous, like allowing the EPA to cover cities with giant glass domes or having a womanizer like Mayor Quimby as President. Oh wait…
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