'The Simpsons' Didn't Predict That

The popular animated TV series does not have clairvoyant powers.

Published Aug 22, 2019

THE SIMPSONS: Fearing that the end of the world is near, Mr. Burns tasks Dr. Frink with testing all of Springfield to determine who is worth saving. The results shake the Simpson family to their core in the all-new Frink Gets Testy episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Jan. 14, (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT). (Photo by FOX via Getty Images) (FOX via Getty Images)
Image Via FOX via Getty Images

On Dec. 17, 1989, the animated show "The Simpsons" debuted on the Fox Network with a Christmas episode entitled "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire." Since then, Springfield's most famous residents, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, have appeared in more than 600 episodes over the course of 31 seasons.

That's more than 200 hours of content. If you watched "The Simpsons" non-stop 24 hours a day, it would take you more than a week to finish the entire series. That's a lot of content, a lot of jokes, and a lot of opportunities for coincidences to appear.

Fans of "The Simpsons" have undoubtedly encountered people on social media claiming that the show's writers have an uncanny ability to predict the future. Even major media companies such as Buzzfeed, Time and Hollywood Reporter have published articles touting the prognosticating prowess of "The Simpsons."

Here's an excerpt from a Time Magazine article entitled "15 Times The Simpsons Accurately Predicted the Future."

"With 28 seasons and counting on the air, The Simpsons is undeniably a television phenomenon. Both the longest-running American sitcom and animated program, the critically acclaimed cartoon is widely recognized as one of, if not the, best shows of all time for its humorous satire of everything from politics and pop culture to everyday family life.

"In fact, throughout its more than 600 episodes, creator Matt Groening and his team have been so on top of the country’s cultural pulse, they’ve even managed to predict several major historical events — along with a few less momentous happenings."

A viral video from "The Pat McAfee" show (which has more than 2 million views on YouTube and more than 18 million on Facebook) hits on several of these so-called predictions:

While we'll readily admit that there have been a few interesting coincidences between jokes on "The Simpsons" and real-world incidents, most of these "predictions" have rather simple and mundane explanations. In this collection, we'll go through some of the most popular and persistent rumors regarding the show's fortune telling abilities.

Spoiler alert: "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is not a time traveler.

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