In the 2016 "Simpsons" episode entitled "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus," a newly erected chrome statue in downtown Springfield unexpectedly reflects the sun's rays in a focused beam throughout the town, virtually destroying it. While perhaps visually reminiscent of a high-power laser beam, however, it was in no sense represented in the episode as a military weapon.
Thanks to the proliferation of an outlandish conspiracy theory holding that the deadly and destructive August 2023 Maui wildfires were purposely started by means of a military weapon known as a "directed energy weapon" ("DEW" for short), a new entry in the canon of supposed "predictions" made by writers of the animated TV series "The Simpsons" was born. Social media users circulated an alleged excerpt of a "Simpsons" episode that they claimed predicted the use of such a weapon on a civilian populace. This example was reposted on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) after it first appeared on TikTok:
The Simpson predicting Direct Energy Weapons (DEW)
Looks very similar to what happened in Maui pic.twitter.com/osUQx2pM3Q
— Vision4theBlind (@Vision4theBlind) August 15, 2023
But although the video clip was real, the characterization of it as representing or predicting a "directed energy weapon" was pure fancy. (Note that the edited, decontextualized clip above only shows a destructive beam of light wreaking havoc with no explanation.) What actually happened in the 2016 episode of "The Simpsons" titled "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus" was that a newly erected chrome statue in downtown Springfield unexpectedly acted as a mirror, focusing the sun's rays into an intense beam that then destroys most of the town. It was not represented as a military weapon, much less a "directed energy weapon."
Here's what that scene looked like in full, courtesy of the Daily Simpsons YouTube channel:
In short, the content of the episode was misrepresented in the interests of promulgating a conspiracy theory that bears scant resemblance either to the script of the episode or to real-world events. Get back to us when a real-life chrome statue is erected somewhere that destroys a town by reflecting and concentrating the sun's rays on the landscape and we'll consider revising our fact-check rating, which currently stands as False.