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Over nearly three decades on the air, The Simpsons have covered a lot of narrative ground. When you consider that most episodes start out headed in one direction only to take a bizarre left turn a few minutes in, there’s even more potential for the show’s writers to satirize pop culture (or just take a blind stab in the dark) and unwittingly hit the nail on the head about some future reality. In the show’s history, The Simpsons has guessed right a shocking amount of times. Check out these scenarios where a Simpson’s punchline became an actual headline, and you’ll wonder if the writers have some secret Magic 8 ball at the table.

1. The Voting SNAFU

In 2008, The Simpsons ran an episode in which Homer Simpson voted for Barack Obama, only to have his vote changed to the Republican nominee, John McCain. It was a silly joke at the GOP’s expense, until four years later when those same complaints were levied against the Romney campaign.


2. The Great Grease Robbery

In 1998, Homer and Bart broke into Springfield Elementary in order to get into the profitable world of second-hand grease sales. That sounds preposterous, until you learn that, these days, there are people who use biofuels that rely on grease as a propellant. Enterprising thieves can make good money.


3. That Vegas Thing

So, it wasn’t exactly a huge leap to suggest that when you spend your entire professional career making savage beasts do silly tricks, eventually one is going to draw the line. That said, The Simpsons totally called poor Roy’s mauling a full decade before Siegfried and Roy were visited with a white tiger tragedy in 2003.


4. The iPhone

In 1994, The Simpsons featured a flat device that supposedly transmitted messages via a touch screen complete with autocorrect. Flash forward to 2007, and the device was made by Apple (for reals). Little known fact: Steve Job’s biological sister, Mona Simpson, was married to writer/producer Richard Appel who wrote the “Mother Simpson” episode inspired by his his wife. So, in a round about way, you could say that Steve Jobs is Homer Simpson’s uncle.


5. Baby Translator

In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer’s far more industrious half-brother Herb invents a device that translates infant complaints into actual usable words. Today, you can pull up your phone and download an app for that.


6. No Librarian Needed

In a glance forward at the future (one of several for the series) one of Lisa’s college librarians is actually a robot (a poor, sad robot). These days, librarians themselves are actually going extinct thanks to two magical things called digital imaging and the internet.


7. They Predicted 9/11?

Okay, so we’re only including this one because it’s so incredibly coincidental. Thanks to this still, some crackpots out there actually believe that the writers of The Simpsons predicted something dire on September 11 in the episode “New York City Against Homer.” Obviously, it’s ridiculous … unless it’s not?

simpsons 911

8. The ‘God of Money’

In a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, a group of TV evangelists are praising the majesty of the “almighty dollar.” Okay, so not that you needed proof that money is worshipped in this day and age, but several years later, Pope Francis warned against propping up the “god of money.”


9. The Wheelchair Tour

In a 1995 episode, the series flashes forward to Lisa’s wedding. On the wall next to her and her paramour is a poster for the Rolling Stones: the Wheelchair Tour 2010, a prediction of the band’s continued ability to draw audiences even when covered in wrinkles. It’s 2016 and the Stones are still touring.


10. Apple Watch

Here’s another prediction from the same episode of The Simpsons, 1995’s “Lisa’s Wedding”. In one scene, Lisa’s husband uses his watch to communicate with someone else. The same technology is now readily available from several cell phone companies.


11. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

In 1999, The Simpsons ran an episode in which a little radiation and some cross pollination between tomatoes and tobacco creates ToMacco, the most disgusting thing imaginable. Unfortunately, radiation has made it into crops and the results are nearly as addictive. In the area around a Japanese nuclear plant, mutated fruits and vegetables have been known to pop up. Also, Rob Baur, a scientifically-minded Simpson fan in Oregon actually grafted together a tomato plant and tobacco root, thereby creating a real nicotine infused hybrid tomato.


12. For the Love of the Toil

These days, thousands (and thousands) of people across the world sign on to Facebook daily, so they can check in on their FarmVille farms … it’s so popular my Mac just corrected me right now when I misspelled it. Well, in 1998, the opening moments of a tech expo in town depicts children enjoying the newest game about boring chores, Yard Work Simulator. It’s not far off.

Simspons FarmVille

13. Horse Meat Unfortunate-ness

What kid forced to choke down public school food has never looked into the back of their school cafeteria and wondered what exactly was going into the food? Well, The Simpsons made that same joke in 1994 … only to see the food industry mired in a similar scandal nearly 20 years later.


14. I Came in Like a Wrecking Ball

Maybe The Simpsons Movie predicted Miley Cyrus’ mostly nude performance about getting hit with a wrecking ball or some such thing (she just shouts it over and over, right?) or maybe Hannah Montana was watching the film and just thought, “That could use more me with no clothes on.” Either way, The Simpsons did it, first.

Wrecking Ball

15. ‘Ice To See You’

There’s a movie clip bit from one episode of The Simpsons featuring the Schwarzenegger-inspired action hero McBain uttering the awful pun above … it’s so terrible I literally can’t type it twice. Anyway, a few years later, the IRL Schwarzenegger used that exact line to herald the end of his hey day in Batman and Robin.


16. Dear God No

This one’s not a forgone conclusion (yet), but when writer Dan Greaney wrote the “Bart to the Future” episode in 2000 he hit close to an all-too-possible reality. In this future-forward scene, Lisa Simpson has become the first straight female president of the United States, and says, “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” It was supposed to be a joke, people. Greaney has said, “It was a warning to America,” adding, “And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.” It seemed so ludicrous not that long ago…

Lisa Simpson president
trump simpsons

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