The Simpsons is an iconic television show that has impacted society in numerous ways over the past couple of decades. Programs such as South Park and Family Guy would not exist if not for The Simpsons paving the way for those comedies, and it has become close to unimaginable that the series could one day not be on national television. The characters, the sayings and so much that has occurred on the show since it first debuted have forged a legacy unlike anything created by any other television show before it. We may never again see a TV dynasty quite like The Simpsons in this world in which programs are canceled soon after they start to struggle in the ratings.
One thing that The Simpsons has done so well is touch on real-life events and do so in such an entertaining way that it has drawn attention and positive reviews. From the lives of celebrities to elections to professional sports to controversial subjects; nothing has been off limits, and that fact has made the show so fun and also appealing to celebrities who have wanted to be featured in episodes. These types of storylines have helped keep The Simpsons fresh in a way that no other sitcom has been able to replicate even if the show has somewhat fallen off from its greatest days.
Another gift that The Simpsons has given to adoring audiences – intentionally or not – has been glimpses into the future. Those who have written plots for The Simpsons have managed to predict the future on multiple occasions, so much so that some of the instances are downright creepy. Others, however, are more humorous than they are freaky. One has to wonder if writers will be able to predict when The Simpsons will be off of the air in the future; assuming, of course, that day does come and The Simpsons become relegated to reruns that air only on cable.
10. Did The Simpsons Predict 9/11?
This one is technically not a prediction, but it nevertheless earns a mention at the start of the list only because it causes goosebumps to rise on the skin the first time that you notice it. In “New York City Against Homer,” Lisa is holding up an advertisement that has “New York,” The World Trade Center towers and “$9” on it. The towers next to the number unintentionally makes 9/11, a coincidence that is a bit weird and one that has attracted the attention of conspiracy theorists who have actually claimed this to be a legitimate prediction.
9. Homer Comes In Like A Wrecking Ball
You have to go with a bit of humor after the whole September 11 thing, and that humor comes from a reference to a future music video. Homer rode a wrecking ball during the “Sideshow Bob Returns” episode, something that could have been a forgettable moment if not for what has become a famous Miley Cyrus video. While some would suggest that this is another instance of The Simpsons predicting the future, I’d like to think that we live in a world where Cyrus is such a massive fan of the show that she was paying homage to Homer when making her video.
8. The Stones Keep Going
The Rolling Stones have been mentioned on The Simpsons multiple times. There was, for example the one time when the band gave Homer the “Guitar Hero” jacket before the video game of that same name existed. It was predicted during the “Lisa’s Wedding” episode that the Stones would continue touring up through at least 2010. While the wheelchairs have not been necessary – at least they haven’t yet been needed – the Stones have managed to keep on going and keep on touring. One has to wonder if it will be the Stones or The Simpsons that taps out first and calls it a day.
7. Ringo Responds
We learned in the episode “Brush With Greatness” that members of The Beatles, Ringo Starr in this case, will do anything to respond to letters sent from adoring fans, even if doing so means responding to letters that were sent decades before they were read. Humor became reality in September of 2013 when news went public that Sir Paul McCartney had responded to a pair of fans that had attempted to contact him all the way back in 1963. You have to give The Simpsons and McCartney credit for being spot on in treating fans right for long periods of time.
6. Gunter and Ernst
Working with wild animals can be risky business regardless of how well the animals have been trained. The Simpsons predicted a future occurrence during the episode of “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” when performers Gunter and Ernst were attacked by a tiger that had grown tired of working. Roy of the act Siegfried and Roy lived this story out in 2003 when he was attacked by a tiger during a show. While that attack was frightening to behold for those in attendance, Roy survived and he went on to make a full recovery.
5. Broken Voter Machines
Predicting that there will be instances of voter fraud or election miscues is somewhat like predicting that it is going to snow in the winter. You’re going to be right eventually. The Simpsons had some fun with the 2008 presidential election during the “Treehouse of Horror XIX” episode when it was joked that votes for Barack Obama were being registered as voted for John McCain. Fiction became reality just four years later, however, as some who attempted to vote for Obama instead saw their votes go for Mitt Romney. No worries, though, as Obama won both of those elections despite concerns put out there by The Simpsons.
4. Talk to Your Watch
The idea that we would one day be able to communicate via watches is something that had been predicted even before The Simpsons first aired on television. In the episode “Lisa’s Wedding,” we see that Lisa’s future fiance is able to verbally communicate with others through a watch that resembles a miniature computer. What we instead have in 2015 are “Smartwatches” that are more advanced than what Lisa’s future husband-to-be had during The Simpsons episode. In this instance, future life proved to be even better than what The Simpsons had predicted.
3. Lemon Tree
The idea behind the stealing of the lemon tree during the episode “Lemon of Troy” at least has some back story to it. That was more than confused individuals located in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston had to work with in 2013 when they noticed that a real lemon tree had been lifted right out of the ground and stolen. Just as with the Miley Cyrus video, one has to imagine that the thieves at the very least remembered The Simpsons episode before making off with the tree. Either that, or the thieves really needed some fresh lemonade and in the quickest way possible.
2. TV Evangelists
Television evangelists have been the subjects of criticism on television shows for a long time, and The Simpsons got in on the joke during the “Team Homer” episode when it was suggested that such evangelists worshiped the “all-mighty dollar.” Pope Francis made a similar comment in September of 2013 when he stated that the global economic system should stop being focused on a “god called money.” Maybe, just maybe, The Simpsons had once again seen ahead and predicted the future, or maybe the Pope had been a secret fan of the show long before he became the head of the Catholic Church.
The Simpsons has, over the years, made multiple references to Apple products that had not yet, as of the time those episodes first aired, seen the light of day. What looks, after the fact, to be a first-generation iPod appeared as an intercom on the episode “Bart After Dark.” A different Apple product had difficulties being able to recognize what a user was saying to it during “Lisa on Ice,” a look ahead to the many problems iPhone owners have had when trying to use Siri. Want to know what is going to happen a decade into the future? Keep on watching The Simpsons to find out.