Dismiss The Simpsons simply as a cartoon for kids at your peril. In the 30-plus years it’s been running, Matt Groening’s hit animated sitcom has delivered countless storylines over 34 seasons and one movie, and nestled among the anarchic tales of the US's premiere nuclear family have been some weirdly prescient predictions about the near future.
Here are 16 of the most chillingly accurate predictions made by The Simpsons.
Richard Branson's trip to space – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2014
How can The Simpsons show predict every Damn thing? 😯 pic.twitter.com/9wt3uSbiFh
— Aditya Kondawar (@aditya_kondawar) July 12, 2021
Episode: Season 25, Episode 15: The War of Art
Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, so The Simpsons 'predicting' his recent sojourn into near space wasn't too much of a stretch for the writers of The War of Art in 2014.
However, what is eerie is the accuracy with which the artists behind the Season 25 episode were able to predict what Branson's space craft would look like. From the neutral coloured walls and flight suit, down to the round windows, it's scarily close to reality.
US beat Sweden in the Winter Olympic curling – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2010
No one could have predicted that the US would win curling gold, right? Actually, the Simpsons did in a February 14, 2010 episode. They beat Sweden, who the US happened to beat to win gold today (H/T @dansnierson) pic.twitter.com/0gkhycQ3xF
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 25, 2018
Episode: Season 21, Episode 12: Boy Meets Curl
The US men’s Olympic team won gold during the 2018 Winter Olympics but the Simpsons had won it eight years earlier. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, an episode aired showing Homer and Marge forming a curling team and making their way all the way to the finals. They managed to beat the Swedes after nearly conceding a loss due to injury, but Marge stepped up and took them all the way to the top of the podium.
The ‘Girther’ movement – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1990
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 16, 2018
Episode: Season 1, Episode 10: Homer’s Night Out
Questions over the validity of the results of Donald Trump’s medical examination gave birth to a new online conspiracy theory known as “The Girther movement”. It’s a play on the “Birther movement” that arose during Barack Obama’s time in the White House, focussing instead on Trump’s health rather than his birthplace.
The check up says Trump weighs 239 lb which many claim to be clearly false (including Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn), but guess who else weighed 239 lb when he stepped on the scales? Homer Simpson, in the very first season of The Simpsons.
Homer’s response when he steps on the scales? “Oh no, I’m a whale!
The Disney-Fox merger – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1998
Episode: Season 10, Episode 5: When You Dish Upon a Star
This 1998 episode sees Homer making friends with Hollywood power couple Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger when he crash lands in their Lake Springfield summer home. It predicted the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney 19 years earlier. A billboard outside Fox’s studio proclaims the company (which also makes The Simpsons) as “a division of Walt Disney Co.). The deal, announced in 2017, officially brought The Simpsons into the Disney group.
Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl show – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2012
Episode: Season 23, Episode 22: Lisa Goes Gaga
Lady Gaga’s half-time show at the 2017 Super Bowl featured the singer being lowered into the stadium on wires. Many Twitter users were quick to point out that the stunt bore a startling resemblance to Gaga’s performance in the 2012 episode Lisa Goes Gaga. The episode, featuring the vocal talents of Gaga herself, saw the Poker Face singer performing in Springfield after making friends with Lisa.
President Trump – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2000
Episode: Season 11, Episode 17: Bart To The Future
Donald Trump served as president of the United States between 2016 and 2021, but his ambition was foreseen by this classic Simpsons episode where Bart was shown his future by a Native American.
Lisa has become president and, in a scene where she addresses her inner circle, she says: “We’ve inherited quite the budget crunch from President Trump.” Spooky.
The Higgs Boson Particle – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1998
Episode: Season 10, Episode 2: The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace
Simon Singh, the author of a book titled The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, claims Homer Simpson predicted the mass of the Higgs Boson particle 14 years before it was actually figured out for real by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider.
Singh says this equation, written by Homer on a blackboard, is eerily accurate. “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is.”
Greece’s economic collapse – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2012
Episode: Season 23, Episode 10: Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson
Three years before a government debt meltdown that Greece it become the first country to default on an IMF loan repayment, a throwaway gag on this 2012 episode predicted how outlandish the situation would become.
A ticker on a rolling news station that Homer appears on reads “Europe puts Greece on eBay”. We wonder if the Greeks have considered this option during their darkest hours.
Ebola outbreak – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1997
Episode: Season 9, Episode 3: Lisa’s Sax
A crackpot viral video that did the rounds in 2014 claims The Simpsons predicted the recent US Ebola outbreak. The episode saw Marge offering to read Bart a book titled Curious George and The Ebola Virus, which the YouTube creator Thecontroversy7 says proves that the makers of the show knew about the future outbreak and are, of course, members of the Illuminati.
It was almost convincing before the Illuminati stuff wasn’t it?
Siegfried and Roy tiger attack – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1993
Episode: Season 5, Episode 10: ‘$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)’
The stage career of flamboyant German magic duo Siegfried & Roy was brought to a shocking end in 2003 when Roy Horn was mauled by one of their trademark white tigers while performing live on stage in Las Vegas.
Ten years earlier, in a Simpsons episode that sees Springfield briefly legalise gambling, a flamboyant Germanic magic duo with a penchant for albino big cats called Gunter and Ernst make an appearance at Mr Burns’ casino. Their performance is cut short when their mauled by their trademark white tigers. Makes you paws for thought doesn’t it?
The NSA scandal – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2007
Movie: The Simpsons Movie
In the Simpsons big screen outing, the sinister-looking National Security Agency (NSA) is deployed to locate the family who have been forced into hiding after escaping from Springfield's biodome. They track the family by listening in on their conversations, something the real NSA was revealed to be doing in 2013 when whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the government's mass surveillance of Americans' phones and internet records.
Horse meat scandal – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1994
Episode: Season 5, Episode 19: Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song
A full 19 years before it was revealed that some beef sold in Europe had been contaminated with horse meat, The Simpsons made a joke about Lunchlady Doris cooking with “assorted horse parks – now with more testicles”.
On a side note, Lunchlady Doris is now Lunchlady Dora, a name change facilitated when the character’s original voice actor Doris Grau died in 1995.
Faulty voting machines – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2008
Episode: Season 20, Episode 4: Treehouse of Horror XIX
In the 2008 Halloween special, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama at an electronic voting both, but the machine malfunctions casting a vote for his rival John McCain instead. Just four years later, a Pennsylvania voting machine was taken out of service when it was filmed casting votes intended for Obama in favour of his real-life rival Mitt Romney.
FIFA scandal – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2014
Episode: Season 25, Episode 16: You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee
A year before the football world was turned upside when a series of high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested by the FBI on charges of corruption, a similar thing played out in this 2014 episode of The Simpsons.
Homer is visited by the executive vice president of the “world football federation” who wants him to be a referee in the upcoming World Cup. He’s promptly arrested by American authorities for corruption and carted off. The episode even predicted Germany as the winners of that year’s tournament.
9/11 – Predicted by The Simpsons in 1997
Episode: Season 9, Episode 1: The City of New York vs Homer Simpsons
You’re deep into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole if you think this one is even vaguely feasible, but here we go anyway.
A YouTube video from user “truthwillfindyoubru” points to a moment in the 1997 series 9 opener that sees Lisa holding up a bus coupon ad that promises New York tickets for $9. The placement of the price, next to the Big Apple’s skyline including the World Trade Center, makes the ad read “New York 9 11” which they suggest means the show’s makers had “foreknowledge” of the attacks.
2016 Nobel prize winner – Predicted by The Simpsons in 2011
Episode: Season 22, Episode 1: Elementary School Musical
In the 2010 season opener Lisa, Millhouse, and a bunch of her nerdy friends have stayed up late to hear the winners of the Nobel prize, in which Krusty wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
So far, so Simpsons, but then we get a look at Martin’s betting pool card and we see Millhouse had predicted an Economics prize for Bengt R. Holmstrom, who actually went on to win six years later. MIT’s Holmstrom was joint winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics with Oliver Hart for their work on “contact theory”. No, us neither.
All 34 seasons of The Simpsons are now streaming on Disney+.