Five Things ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted
After more than 20 years and nearly 500 episodes, the Simpsons have seen and done just about anything you can think of (much to the chagrin of the ‘South Park’ kids).
In fact, in their ongoing quest to make fun of anything and everything, our favorite Springfield residents have occasionally managed to predict the future. Here are just a few surprising examples.
‘The Three Musketeers 3D’
Before director Paul W.S. Anderson decided to film the adventures of Alexandre Dumas’ famous heroes in 3D, ‘The Simpsons’ imagined ‘The Poke of Zorro,’ in which the musketeers end up on the wrong end of the masked bandit’s trusty blade.
Parents, do you struggle to get your kids to mow the lawn, only to watch in exasperation as they devote countless hours to virtual manual labor in online simulator games? Marge Simpson felt your pain in the 1998 episode ‘Bart Carny,’ when the carnival comes to Springfield — complete with the very popular Yard Work Simulator attraction.
It all seemed pretty ridiculous in the ’90s, even during the Tamagotchi era, but if there’s one thing the last decade has taught us, it’s that there’s no task too menial for people to enjoy … as long as they get to sit in front of a screen while they’re doing it.
The 9/11 attacks
Believe it or not, there really are people who think the Illuminati are sending messages to America through ‘The Simpsons.’ The most infamous example is this clip from the ‘To Surveil with Love’ episode, in which a large number nine is shown next to the outlines of the twin towers. Sinister prediction, or simple coincidence? You decide.
Ten years before Nadya Suleman made headlines for giving birth to a full set of octuplets — and publicly dealing with all the headaches that eight babies bring — ‘The Simpsons’ imagined a similar situation for Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon, the wife of kindly convenience store owner Apu.
In the episode ‘Eight Misbehavin’,’ Apu and Manjula use fertility drugs to add the pitter-patter of little feet to their home, only to end up with a whole lot more than they bargained for. Adding insult to injury, a couple in nearby Shelbyville soon gives birth to nine babies, bringing an end to the shower of gifts that the Nahasapeemapetilons had been counting on to help pay for their brood.
Of course, the real-life Octomom never agreed to sell her kids to an unscrupulous zoo owner, but the rest of the episode does contain some eerily prescient gags — and, as a bonus, it ends with Homer being attacked by snakes.
The Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect and Sony PlayStation Move
Way back in 1995, ‘The Simpsons’ time-traveled 15 years into the future for ‘Lisa’s Wedding,’ an episode that imagined what life might look like for the grown-up Simpsons kids as Lisa prepares to walk down the aisle. (Who could have guessed that everyone in the family would be exactly the same age in 2010? Ah, the irony.)
The episode included a long list of predictions, but one of the most interesting was glimpsed in a throwaway bit about Bart playing video games with a friend. Envisioned as a sort of hybrid between current motion-controlled games and ’90s “virtual” systems like the Nintendo Virtual Boy, the gaming technology dreamed up by ‘The Simpsons’ writers looked pretty fantastical in the mid ’90s. Today, of course, we can hack our Kinects to do things no sci-fi writer would have dared dream — but this is still pretty impressive.
It looked like we might lose ‘The Simpsons’ a few weeks ago, but now that they’re sticking around for at least two more years, we should be able to get at least a couple more future predictions out of them. What will they think of next?