23 times 'The Simpsons' accurately predicted the future

  • "The Simpsons" has built a reputation for predicting the future.

  • The show predicted the election of Donald Trump.

  • A 1996 episode predicted Cypress Hill and the London Symphony Orchestra would perform together.

Edith Hancock, Amanda Luz Henning Santiago, Lucy Yang, Carrie Wittmer, and Tom Murray contributed to previous versions of this post.

Three-eyed fish — Season 2, Episode 4

The Simpsons three-eyed pub
The three-eyed fish in "The Simpsons" 1990 episode.20th Century Fox

In 2008, "The Simpsons" showed Homer trying to vote for Barack Obama in the US general election, but a faulty machine changed his vote.

Four years later, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed after it kept changing people's votes for Barack Obama to ones for his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The censorship of Michelangelo's David — Season 2, Episode 9

Michelangelo's David on The Simpsons
Michelangelo's David on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

An episode from 1990 titled "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge" showed Springfieldians protesting against Michelangelo's statue of David being exhibited in the local museum, calling the artwork obscene for its nudity.

The satire of censorship came true in July 2016, when Russian campaigners voted on whether to clothe a copy of the Renaissance statue that had been set up in central St Petersburg.

Letter from The Beatles — Season 2, Episode 18

Ringo Starr the simpsons
Ringo Starr in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In 1991, an episode of "The Simpsons" saw The Beatles' Ringo Star diligently answering fan mail that had been written decades ago.

In September 2013, two Beatles fans from Essex received a reply from Paul McCartney to a letter and recording they sent to the band 50 years ago. The recording was sent to a London theatre the band was due to play at but was found years later in a car boot sale by a historian.

In 2013, the BBC's "The One Show" reunited the pair with their letter, plus a reply from McCartney.

The sideburns of MLB great Don Mattingly — Season 3, Episode 17

Don Mattingly with no sideburns being yelled at by Mr Burns
Don Mattingly on "The Simpsons."Fox

In the 1992 episode "Homer at the Bat," Mr. Burns recruits Major League Baseball players for his softball team, including the then-New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly.

Mr. Burns ends up benching Mattingly for not following the policy he has for the length of a player's sideburns. This actually happened to the Yankee captain in real life.

In 1991, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner fined him $250 and Mattingly was benched for not adhering to the boss' rule on hair length.

When the episode aired a year later, everyone thought "The Simpsons" was spoofing the event, but it turned out that Mattingly had recorded his lines for the episode a month before his standoff with Steinbrenner.

Siegfried and Roy tiger attack — Season 5, Episode 10

Siegfried and Roy tiger attack the simpsons
Siegfried and Roy tiger attack on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

The Simpsons parodied entertainers Siegfried & Roy in a 1993 episode called "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)." During the episode, the magicians are viciously mauled by a trained white tiger while performing in a casino.

In 2003, Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was attacked during a live performance by Montecore, one of their white tigers. Roy lived but sustained severe injuries in the attack.

Horsemeat scandal — Season 5, Episode 19

horse parts the simpsons
Horse parts in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In 1994, Lunchlady Doris used "assorted horse parts" to make lunch for students at Springfield Elementary.

Nine years later, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in over one-third of beefburger samples from supermarkets and ready meals, and pig in 85% of them.

Autocorrect — Season 6, Episode 8

Autocorrect simpsons
Autocorrect in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

School bullies Kearny and Dolph take a memo to "beat up Martin" on a Newton device in an episode of "The Simpsons" that aired in 1994. The memo gets quickly translated to "eat up Martha" — an early foreshadowing of autocorrect frustrations.

"The Simpsons" was lampooning Apple's underwhelming Newton — the iPhone's ancient ancestor — that had just been released, and included shoddy handwriting recognition, according to Fast Company.

Nitin Ganatra, former director of engineering iOS applications at Apple, told Fast Company that this particular moment on "The Simpsons" served as inspiration to get the iPhone keyboard right.

Smartwatches — Season 6, Episode 19

smartwatch the simpsons
A smartwatch used on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

"The Simpsons" introduced the idea of a watch you could use as a phone in an episode aired in 1995, nearly 20 years before the Apple Watch was released.

The invention of The Shard — Season 6, Episode 19

The Shard the simpsons
The Shard in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

The "Lisa's Wedding" episode from 1995 came with a lot of unexpected predictions. During Lisa's trip to London, we see a skyscraper behind Tower Bridge that looks eerily similar to The Shard, and it's is even in the right location.

Construction on the building started in 2009, 14 years later.

Robotic librarians — Season 6, Episode 19

The Simpsons robot librarian
A robot librarian in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In "Lisa's Wedding," we discover that librarians have been replaced with robots in the "Simpsons" universe.

More than 20 years later, robotics students from the University of Aberystwyth built a prototype for a walking library robot, while scientists in Singapore have begin testing their own robot librarians.

Cypress Hill performing with the London Symphony Orchestra — Season 7, Episode 24

Cypress Hill looking at London Symphony Orchestra members
Cypress Hill in an episode of "The Simpsons."Fox

In a 1996 episode titled "Homerpalooza," the Simpsons watch in amazement as legendary rap group Cypress Hill performs with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Decades later, a Cypress/LSO collab will happen in real life. The band announced a performance in July and also shouted out "The Simpsons" in its official statement.

"We are thrilled to be performing with the London Symphony Orchestra in such a prestigious venue as the Royal Albert Hall," the group said. "It's a dream come true, a collaboration only 'The Simpsons' could have predicted."

The discovery of the Higgs boson equation — Season 8, Episode 1

higgs boson the simpsons
Homer doing what turns out to be the Higgs boson equation on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In a 1998 episode called "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace," Homer Simpson becomes an inventor and is shown in front of a complicated equation on a blackboard.

According to Simon Singh, the author of "The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets," the equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson particle. It was first predicted in 1964 by Professor Peter Higgs and five other physicists, but it wasn't until 2013 that scientists discovered proof of the Higgs boson in a £10.4 billion ($13 billion) experiment.

Ebola outbreak — Season 9, Episode 3

The SImpsons ebola
Ebola featured on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

Some people maintain that "The Simpsons" predicted the 2014 outbreak of Ebola 17 years before it happened. In a scene from the episode "Lisa's Sax," Marge suggests a sick Bart read a book titled "Curious George and the Ebola Virus." The virus wasn't particularly widespread in the 1990s, but years later it was the top of the news agenda.

Ebola was first discovered in 1976, and though this latest outbreak has been the worst yet, it killed 254 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 and 224 in Uganda in 2000.

Disney buys 20th Century Fox — Season 10, Episode 5

simpsons predicts disney buying fox
Disney own Fox in "The Simpsons" before it actually happened in real life.Fox

In the episode "When You Dish Upon a Star" that originally aired in 1998, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer produce a script Homer pitches. The script is being produced at 20th Century Fox, and a sign in front of the studio's headquarters reveals that it is "a division of Walt Disney Co."

On December 14, 2017, Disney purchased 21st Century Fox for an estimated $52.4 billion, acquiring Fox's film studio (20th Century Fox), in addition to a bulk of its television production assets. The media conglomerate also has access to popular entertainment properties like "X-Men," "Avatar," and "The Simpsons."

The invention of the tomacco plant — Season 11, Episode 5

The Simpsons Tomacco
Tomacco plant in "The Simpsons."YouTube screengrab

In 1999, Homer uses nuclear energy to create a hybrid of tomato and tobacco plants: the "tomacco."

This inspired US "Simpsons" fan Rob Baur to create his own plant. In 2003, Baur grafted together a tobacco root and a tomato stem to make "tomacco." Writers for "The Simpsons" were so impressed that they invited Baur and his family to their offices and ate the tomacco fruit themselves.

Donald Trump as president — Season 11, Episode 17

lisa president
Lisa Simpson takes office after Donald Trump's presidency in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In the 2000 episode, "Bart to the Future," the show goes next level on its prediction talents when it name drops Donald Trump as having been POTUS.

The episode explores what Bart's life would be like when he got older. It features Lisa being president. While in the Oval Office, we hear her say: "As you know, we've inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump."

In 2017, Trump became the 45th President of the United States.

Pot legal in Canada — Season 16, Episode 6

Homer and Ned look at a joint
Homer and Ned discover marijuana is legal in Canada on "The Simpsons."Fox

In the 2005 episode titled "Midnight Rx," Ned travels to Canada with Homer, Grampa Simpson, and Apu and discovers that pot is legal in the country.

In 2018, Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Faulty voting machines — Season 20, Episode 4

The Simpsons voting machine
Faulty voting machine in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In 2008, "The Simpsons" showed Homer trying to vote for Barack Obama in the US general election, but a faulty machine changed his vote.

Four years later, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed after it kept changing people's votes for Barack Obama to ones for his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The U.S. beats Sweden in curling at the Olympic games — Season 21, Episode 12

curling the simpsons
Curling upset in "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

In one of the biggest upsets at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the U.S. curling team won gold over the favorite, Sweden.

This historical win was predicted in a 2010 episode of "The Simpsons," called "Boy Meets Curl." In the episode, Marge and Homer Simpson compete in curling at the Vancouver Olympics and beat Sweden.

In real life the U.S. Men's Olympic Curling Team won a gold medal after defeating Sweden even though they were behind, which is exactly how it played out on "The Simpsons." The victory is the second curling medal ever for the United States (not including Marge and Homer's, of course).

Nobel Prize Winner — Season 22, Episode 1

nobel prize the simpsons
Bengt Holmström was bet on to win the Nobel Prize on "The Simpsons."20th Century Fox

MIT professor Bengt Holmström won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2016, six years after he was bet on to win the Nobel Prize on "The Simpsons."

Holmström's name appears on a betting scorecard when Martin, Lisa, Database, and Milhouse bet on Nobel Prize winners.

Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show — Season 23, Episode 22

Lady Gaga The Simpsons
Lady Gaga in "The Simpsons."FOX / YouTube

In 2012, Lady Gaga performed for the town of Springfield hanging in midair. Five years later, she flew off the Houston NRG Stadium roof in real life to perform her Super Bowl halftime show.

Apple's Vision Pro virtual reality headset — Season 28, Episode 2

Simpsons character using VR headset
VR headset on "The Simpsons."Fox

In 2024, Apple releases its virtual reality headset, the Vision Pro. Social media quickly fills up with public displays of people using the headset. It's pointed out that the sights are similar to a 2016 "Simpsons" episode.

Titled "Friends and Family," Mr. Burns hires the Simpsons family to be his virtual reality family, and they all use a VR headset that looks just like the Vision Pro.

The end of the episode fast-forwards a few years, showing everyone in Springfield now wearing the headset, leading them to run into lampposts and fall into manholes.

Daenerys Targaryen's big plot twist in 'Game of Thrones' — Season 29, Episode 1

The Simpsons Game of Thrones
"Game of Thrones" in "The Simpsons."Fox

On the penultimate episode of "Game of Thrones," Daenerys Targaryen shocked fans when she and her dragon laid waste to an already surrendered King's Landing, obliterating thousands of innocent people.

In 2017, on a season 29 episode of "The Simpsons" titled "The Serfsons," which spoofed various aspects of "Game of Thrones" — including the Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King — Homer revives a dragon that proceeds to incinerate a village.

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