They’ve done it again. The folks behind The Simpsons are basically fortune tellers. This week, it was announced that Disney had agreed a deal to buy a large chunk of 21st Century Fox – something The Simpsons prophesied in an episode nearly 20 years ago. Check it out in the video below – but such prophecies are a regular fixture on The Simpsons, it turns out. Here’s some of their most surreal gags to have come true in real life so far across its 26-year lifespan – ranked in order of craziness…
13. Europe trying to get rid of Greece
The financial crisis in Greece rumbled on in 2015, hogging headlines for weeks, but the long-running US show saw things going awry there years before: just witness this small, subtle gag in 2013 episode ‘Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson’. As Springfield’s most loveable buffoon is being interviewed on TV, a news ticker flashes on the screen below with the headline: “Europe puts Greece on eBay.”
12. The Rolling Stones to keep on rocking into old age
In the 1995 episode ‘Lisa’s Wedding’, set in the future, her fiancee has a poster in her room claiming that The Rolling Stones will still be on tour in 2010 on “The Steel Wheelchair Tour.” The same episode, by the way, sees characters communicate via snazzy electronic watches. Wherever might Apple have got their idea from…
11. Three-eyed fish
In a 1990 episode, Bart catches a mutated, three-eyed fish in the local river – a nod to the pollutant effects of the town’s nuclear power plant. Over 20 years later, in 2011, a real-life fish – and practically a dead-ringer for its cartoon counterpart – was discovered in an Argentinian reservoir located near a nuclear facility.
10. Grease theft
One 1998 episode centred around Homer and Bart’s racket reselling cooking oil – a crime that seems daft on the surface, but was reported as becoming a real life crime caper some 10 years later.
9. Tigers fighting back
In 1993, they lampooned magicians Siegfried and Roy in a set-piece that saw them mauled by their co-star tiger, only for it to happen for real in 2003. Definitely the most tragic of the Simpsons’ gags-turned-prophecies.
8. Rigged voting machines
Their 2008 gag about rigged voting machines which counted votes for the Republican party even when citizens chose Obama seemed spookily dead-on when several people complained about the exact same problem in the 2012 election.
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7. Giant mutated tomatoes
Remember the giant addictive vegetables spawned on the family’s adopted farm in 1999 episode ‘E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)’ when Homer poisons his crops with tobacco? Yep, that too, has since happened in real life, with giant deformed tomatoes popping up around a nuclear plant in Japan.
6. Robotic librarians
Another highlight from ‘Lisa’s Wedding’, here, as Lisa’s college librarian turns out to be an android (and one who violently bursts into flames, too). There haven’t been any blown circuit board disasters in Chicago yet but, in 2011, it was announced that the city’s new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library would have robotic librarians who’d helpfully retrieve books for you.
5. The 2013 horse meat scandal
In 1994, Springfield Elementary school was hiding a shady secret: the secret ingredient in its cafeteria dinners was horse meat. Sound familiar? Of course it does: nearly 20 years later, it turned out loads of us were scoffing equine-based burgers without even realising it. Which leads us nicely to…
4. Hamburger earmuffs
Madcap scientist Professor Fink stumbled upon a new wacky invention in 1998, when he pioneered the world’s first pair of hamburger earmuffs. Sounds daft, doesn’t it? No-one would ever want some, would they? Think again.
3. Bloody Autocorrect and the iPhone
Not only were The Simpsons lot au fair with the perils of Autocorrect long before it started infuriating smartphone users the world over, but a bunch of employees at Apple revealed that the one-off joke about keyboard functions helped motivate them to create the iPhone. The Simpsons writers called the device a ‘Newton’.
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2. President Trump
The Simpsons writers predicted Donald Trump would become president back in 2000. The episode, ‘Bart To The Future’, envisions the futures of Bart and Lisa Simpson. The latter, with an uncanny resemblance to Hillary Clinton, has become the first female president of the United States. “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump,” she says to her advisors. They then inform her that her predecessor has bankrupt the country.
- Disney’s takeover of 21st Century Fox
During the episode When You Dish Upon A Star, shown in November 1998, a sign outside of a building is shown that reads ’20th Century Fox, a Division of Walt Disney Co.’ This prediction came true only yesterday when it was revealed that Disney announced a $52.4 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, including X-Men and the Home Alone series.