The animated cartoon The Simpsons is a pretty popular show. But did you know that its popularity has turned it into a billion-dollar merchandising industry?
Some of the industry’s greatest writers have worked on the show including Conan O’Brien, Greg Daniels, creator Matt Groening, and more. Although the show debuted back in 1989, it continues to do one even today.
One of the reasons behind its popularity is that it can predict future instances. On some occasions, some of the things that happened or were shown on the show went on to happen in real life.
While some of the predictions that came true are coincidental, others were spooky and quite worrying. But then how many predictions came true overall? Did the show also make predictions that failed to come true?
True Predictions Made By The Simpson
Let us take a closer look at the predictions made on the show that came true first.
1. Censorship Of Michelangelo’s David:
This episode is from 1990 and was titled Itchy Scratchy Marge. It showed residents of Springfield (where the Simpsons lived) protesting against Michelangelo’s statue of David for being exhibited at the local museum. They called the artwork obscene as it was nude.
The episode went to come true in July 2016 when Russian campaigners voted on whether the copy of the Renaissance statue should be clothed or not.
2. The Barack Obama Prediction:
This was perhaps the first time that such a big prediction had come true accurately and it got a lot of attention from the masses. The Simpsons showed an episode where Homer went in to vote for Barack Obama in the US General Election but then a faulty machine ended up changing his vote.
Four years after the episode premiered, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed from the location as it kept changing votes meant for Barack Obama to his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
3. The Beatles Letter:
In 1991, one of the episodes saw the Beatles Ringo star answering fan mails that were written decades ago.
Fast forward to 2013 and two Beatles fans from Essex claimed to have received a reply from Paul McCartney to a letter and a recording that they had sent over 50 years ago. The letter was sent to a London theatre where the band was supposed to play. The letter was found years later by a historian at a car boot sale.
The BBC’s documentary The One Show reunited the letters with their original owners along with a reply from Paul McCartney himself.
4. The Famous Sideburns:
In an episode that aired in 1992, Mr. Burns recruited some Major League Basketball Players for his softball team, including the famous New York Yankees player Don Mattingly.
Mr. Burns benched Mattingly for not following the rules that he had for the length of a player’s sideburns. It turns out that this did indeed happen to the Yankee player in real life.
It was so real that when the episode aired, people thought that the show was spoofing the real incident. But it was later found that the episode was recorded a month before the actual event took place.
5. The Superbowl Prediction:
In the episode Lisa The Geek, Liscanto successfully predicts the winner of the NFL Games and her father exploits this ability of hers. When she comes to know about it, she gets very upset and makes one last prediction.
She predicts that if she still loves her father, Washington will win the game and if she does not love her father, Buffalo Bills would win the game. Washington ended up winning the game.
Just a few days after the episode aired, Washington went on to defeat Buffalo to win the Superbowl that year. The episode was redubbed the next year when the Dallas team replaced Washington and they ended up winning too.
The same thing happened next year as well. It is believed that predictions made by Lisa have been accurate the majority time.
6. The Tiger Attack:
The show parodied the entertainers Siegfried & Roy in a part of an episode called $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) made in 1993. The episode showed the magicians getting mauled by a white tiger while they were performing in a casino.
What seemed to be a far-fetched figment of imagination turned into a horrific reality in 2003. Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was viciously attacked by one of their white tigers during a live performance. Roy lived but the incident left him with severe injuries.
7. Assorted Horse Parts:
In 1994, an episode of the show aired where the Lunch lady Doris used “assorted horse parts” to make lunch for the school children at Springfield Elementary School.
About nine years later, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland went on to find horse DNA in around one-third of what was said to be beefburger samples from ready-to-eat meals from supermarket samples. There was also the o presence of pigs in about 85% of the samples.
Although the prediction was thankfully not entirely accurate, it is still pretty accurate for what it was.
8. Eat Up Martha:
In the 1994 episode, school bullies Kearny and Dolph of Springfield share a memo to “beat up Martha” on a Newton device. The memo hilariously autocorrects to “Eat up Martha”. The Simpsons took up this opportunity to publicly troll iPhone’s great-grandfather, Newton, and its terrible handwriting recognition. They even put up a small Apple logo with a worm coming out of it.
Nitin Ganatra, the former director of engineering iOS applications at Apple, later on, revealed that this moment on the show went on to be the inspiration to work on the iPhone keyboard and make it accurate.
The next time you type something on your iPhone, you know whom to thank!
9. Really Smart Watches:
Over the years, so many movies and series have tried to predict what our future would look like, but nothing got it quite as right as The Simpsons did.
The Simpsons presented the idea of using a watch like a phone back in 1995. This was about 20 years before the first-ever Apple Watch was released.
10. The Shard:
The episode called Lisa’s Wedding from 1995 had a lot of predictions in it. In the episode, she takes a trip to London and there is a view of Tower Bridge and there is a skyscraper behind it. It looks quite similar to The Shard, even though the location was the same.
But the strange part is that the construction of the Shard did not begin 14 years later, until 2009.
11. Grease Theft:
When you think about a theft that took place at a restaurant, you might wonder whether the thieves stole money or some expensive equipment but no one would wonder if they stole grease.
In one of the episodes that aired in 1998 called the Lard of the Dance, Homer gets Bard to help him steal grease to help him make more money. They tried to steal grease from Krusty Burger and Bart’s School so they could sell it off and make some money.
During the 2008 financial crunch, an article was published in the New York Times which showed that grease-related theft in restaurants had seen a spike. It even covered a story of a man who stole about 300 gallons of grease from Burger King.
12. Picture Phone:
In the same episode that predicted the Shard (Lisa’s Wedding), a fortune teller transports Lisa into the future, the year 2010 to be particular. In the future, Lisa is seen talking to Marge on the phone which also had a video of her. The episode referred to it as PicturePhone.
Many other movies and series had predicted similar things but here is the main thing, it was in 2010 when Steve Jobs announced the breakthrough video call feature called FaceTime.
13. Higgs Boson Equation:
In a 1998 episode called The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace, Homer Simpson became an inventor and was shown working on a blackboard with a complicated equation on it.
According to The Simpson and their Mathematical Secrets, the equation predicted “the mass of the Higgs Boson particle”.
Although the Higgs Boson was first predicted in 1964 by Professor Peter Higgs and 5 other physicists, it was not until 2013 that scientists were able to garner enough proof in what was estimated to be a 13 billion experiment.
14. Ebola Outbreak:
Although Ebola was first discovered in 1976, it was not a serious disease until the outbreak in 2000 which killed 254 people in the Republic of Congo and 224 people in Uganda.
But The Simpsons predicted the outbreak long before it had even happened. In the episode called Lisa’s Sax, Marge told a sick Bart to read a book called “Curious Gorge and the Ebola Virus”. Considering how Ebola was not even remotely relevant at the time, the placement is certainly thought-provoking for many.
15. Disney’s Purchase OF 20th Century Fox:
The episode When You Wished Upon a Star was originally broadcasted in 1998. In the episode, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard produce a script that Homer pitched. It ended up being produced at the 20th Century Fox studio and a picture of the studio showed “a division of Walt Disney Co” written below it.
Almost 2 decades after the episode aired, Disney ended up purchasing 21st Century Fox Studios for over $52.4 billion. It also acquired the film studio called 20th Century Fox. The conglomerate also ended up with access to entertainment properties like Avatar and The Simpsons.
16. Tomacco Plant:
A 1999 episode saw Homer using nuclear energy to create a hybrid plant of tomato and tobacco, which he called “Tomacco”.
A fan of the show Rob Baur decided to create a similar plant in 2003. Writers of the show were so impressed with this invention that they even invited him to the office and ate the plant with them. Although this was not a prediction, it still did come true.
17. Donald Trump As President:
Most of us who remember Donald Trump from the show The Apprentice never really saw him becoming the president of the country one day, but maybe The Simpsons did.
In a 2000 episode called Bart to the Future, the show dropped some predictions which came true even recently. The episode explored Bart’s life when he got older and it saw Lisa becoming the president. In the oval office, she says “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.”
We all know that Trump went on to become the 45th President of the United States of America.
18. Kamala Harris’s Outfit:
Another prediction came true from the same episode where Bart peaked into his future and saw Lisa become the president.
In the episode, Lisa wore a purple suit with a necklace, which was eerily similar to the one Kamala Harris wore when she became the first South Asian and black person and the first woman ever to become the vice president of America.
19. Pot Legalized In Canada:
In a 2005 episode titled Midnight Rx, Ned goes to Canada with Grandpa, Homer, and Apu to discover that pot was legal there.
The only thing is that pot was not legal in Canada back then and only went on to be legalized in 2018 and it is not even legalized in the USA yet making the prediction much more relevant.
20. The Government Is Not Spying:
In 2007, The Simpsons Movie saw the family being on the run and Lisa was worried about getting nabbed. Marge assured her and said that “It’s not like the government is listening to everybody’s conversation”. Then the NSA is shown listening to people’s conversations including the one between Marge and Lisa.
In 2013, the former CIA employee Edward Snowden came forward to reveal classified information from the NSA about the organization’s access to surveillance which had a much wider range than what was disclosed.
There were always speculations about the government listening to your conversations but Snowden’s evidence showed just how real all of it was and made The Simpsons’ prediction appear eerily true.
21. Boy Meets Curl:
The 2018 Winter Olympics saw America’s curling team win gold over the mass favorite Sweden. But The Simpsons had predicted this win over 8 years earlier. In the 2010 episode called Boy meets Curl, Marge, and Homer compete in curling at the Vancouver Olympics and went on to beat Sweden.
It is one thing to predict to win the Olympics but to win it by beating a particular country grabs one attention. The event played out exactly as it happened in the episode, where the American team lagged and ended up winning.
22. Nobel Prize Winner:
In 2016, MIT Professor Bengt Holmström went on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. The only thing is that The Simpsons predicted that he would win it about 6 years ago.
In the show, Martin, Lisa, Database, and Milhouse, went on to bet on the potential Nobel Prize winners and Holmström’s name appeared on the list.
23. Lady Gaga:
In one 2012 episode, Lady Gaga performed in Springfield town by hanging in midair. That does not sound like much but about five years after that, Lady Gag performed at the Superbowl where she made her entrance the same way.
In real life though, she thankfully did not wear a sparkle shooting brassiere.
24. Greece On EBay:
The Simpsons broadcasted an episode called Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson. In that episode, Homer is one of the guests on the local cable news and the ticker at the bottom of the ticker was showing news alerts. One alert was “Europe puts Greece on eBay.”
In 2015, Greece could not pay the bail-out loan from the International Monetary Fund for the third time. This led to a tumble in the stock market as fears of Greece leaving the Eurozone increased. In a way, the news clip came true as Greece failed to pay back the loan.
25. Game of Thrones:
In season 29 of The Simpsons, there was one episode called The Seasons. It spoofed various aspects of the famous show Games of Thrones including the Night King and the Three-eyed Raven. In the episode, Homer revived a dragon, which then went on to incinerate a whole village.
In one of the episodes of Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons wreaked havoc on an entire village that had already surrendered, wiping out thousands of innocent people. This is how another prediction by The Simpsons went on to come true.
Fake Predictions: The Simpsons
Although some predictions which came true are more surprising than others, the fact that so many predictions made on the show have come true grabs people’s attention. But there have also been a few times when the show did not predict the future.
This somewhat concludes the list of predictions made by The Simpsons that went on to come true. But did you know that there are a few FAKE predictions made by The Simpsons as well? The internet claimed that the tv show had made some predictions when it had not. Let’s take a look at those!
1. Ukraine- Russia War
Reports of The Simpsons predicting the Ukraine-Russia war went viral on social media. One picture that was circulated widely showed Homer Simpson dressed in Ukrainian military uniform standing in front of a man who looked similar to Vladimir Putin in a t-shirt with the USSR written on it.
A second picture showed a nuclear explosion, which took place on May 5, 2022. These created some buzz on social networking platforms where many believed the show to have correctly predicted the future.
Some people also worried that the nuclear attack would happen on May 5 as mentioned in the picture, but all of this was fake.
No reference to the Ukraine-Russia war was made on the show. The picture with Homer in the Ukrainian uniform was that of his father, Abraham Simpson, and his uniform did not have any Ukrainian symbols.
Putin did appear in the series, but it was in the episode Homer Votes, where he wore a t-shirt with “Red Sox” written on it, not USSR. Also, the nuclear explosion was a detonation of radioactive waste, not a nuclear warhead.
So, different pictures were put together and then manipulated to give the impression of another prediction coming true.
2. Musical Brain Washing:
In a 2001 episode, the show hinted that the government used popular music to control the minds of the young generation. People tuned in from around the world to enjoy NSYNC being on the show and left wondering whether their choices in life were influenced by popular music.
Thank goodness, that prediction has not come true so far.
3. Queen’s Death:
Ever since the queen passed away, pictures and videos of her laying in her casket have been doing the rounds. A cartoon version even showed a plaque near the casket reading Elizabeth II:1926-2022.
Videos with captions claiming that The Simpsons predicted when the queen would be dying have been going around.
Out of the 6 times that the Queen appeared on the show, it never referenced the date of the Queen’s death.
4. Mexico Vs Portugal Game:
Football or soccer is a serious matter for many people in the world. So, when the news of The Simpsons predicting Mexico vs Portugal came out, many people wondered how the television show could have predicted that.
The truth is that it did not make any such prediction. The scene is from a season 9 episode called The Cartridge Family where this part comes up as an advert on the tv as the family watched a show.
The commercial said that the match would determine the “greatest nation on Earth and the match was between Portugal and Mexico, hence the confusion.
That episode was aired in 1997 and did not mention any dates or times, therefore it did not predict the 2022 World Cup match at all.
5. Osaka Flu:
Several snippets from the show seem to have been taken out of context. The video from the show with two workers wearing yellow suits and helmets and coughing into it went viral around COVID-19, claiming that the show had predicted the massive outbreak of the disease.
That is from an episode called Marge In Chains in season 4 where the reference was about a fictional disease named Osaka Flu and not COVID-19.
6. Super Bowl:
In the 1990s, the series predicted the 3 consecutive Superbowl winners However, the impressive streak came to an end when Homer watched the Seattle Seahawks win against the Denver Broncos.
The two teams did end up playing against one another but contrary to the prediction, Seahawks ended up winning the game, thus ending The Simpsons’ mind-blowing streak of accurately predicting the winners of the Superbowl.
7. Notre Dam:
An image of Notre Dam engulfed in flames while Mr. Burnes stood in front of it and posed went viral some time ago. It was shown to say that the show had predicted that the iconic building would catch fire.
However, the original picture is from episode 7 of season 19 and the building was not on fire in the episode. It was called Husband and Knives.
Over 740 episodes of The Simpsons have been aired so far. Many moments from the show went on to come true like the reference to Donald Trump being the ex-president of the country. But there have also been a lot of times when the show did not make correct predictions.
Although it is uncanny how some predictions about certain teams winning awards and the Olympics came true, there are so many predictions that did not come true. If we choose and pick only the ones that did end up coming true, it makes the show look like a future-predicting show, which it is not.
The popular animated show is currently on its 33rd season and it averages about 1.95 million views per episode, which is quite impressive considering how long the show has been running. However, the number has been on a decline for a few years.
One of the reasons that it continues to rope in millions of viewers is because well people do like it but another reason is that people are now curious to see whether they can catch any predictions and if they end up coming true or not.
Many people who were not aware of the show now know it because of the viral videos predicting events that ended up coming true.
According to one calculation, the show has made about 153, 149 jokes, give or take a couple thousand more. Quite a few interesting ones have turned out to be true, getting the show some much-needed viewership boost.
As the show is noticing a constant decline in its viewership, it will be interesting to watch what they do to try and increase the viewership.
Hi, this is Arif Khan, Working as a full time Editor at New Vision Theatres Blog. With 5 years of experience as Content Editing Specialist and 4 years as Content Writer, together I got around 9 years of experience in this industry and I have worked with several niches including Tech, Entertainment, Sports and Fashion.