Why The Simpsons Seems To Be So Good At Predicting The Future

The Simpsons has managed to predict the future over and over throughout its 33 seasons, but why is it so good at showing events before they happen?

In recent years, The Simpsons has become notorious for its ability to predict the future, but how has the show managed to predict so many future events? The Simpsons has been accused of being a result of everything from psychic abilities to time travel thanks to more than a handful of episodes that somehow managed to portray oddly specific events before they happened. The popularity of viewer speculation has led to an entire Disney + collection dedicated to episodes that supposedly showed the future before it happened. Audiences have also spent hours backtracking through The Simpsons’33 seasons to find more examples of eerie connections, but many of them cannot offer a proper explanation for how The show has managed to do this over and over again.

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The rabbit hole viewers have been traveling down initially gained traction after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and more recently, it’s been speculated that The Simpsons predicted Tom Hanks’ and Biden’s team-up. People were quick to point out season 11 episode “Bart to the Future” where Lisa says, “We inherited quite the budget crunch from President Trump”In an episode meant to poke fun at the idea of ​​the celebrity becoming president. The Simpsons creators even capitalized on this theory by having Bart write “Being right sucks”On the chalkboard the following week.


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The moments where The Simpsons has supposedly shown psychic abilities are surprisingly numerous. The accuracy and specificity of the scenes have ranged from images showing 20th Century Fox being purchased by Disney in season 10 to Springfield residents forcing censorship of the Michelangelo’s David, which (in quite a stretch) has been compared to events in 2016 when Russia had the same debate over the famous statue. Viewers have continued to hypothesize about time travel over recent years – and even weeks – especially since The Simpsons predicted The Matrix Resurrections; however, a few more logical explanations have risen to the surface. Below is an explanation for just how The Simpsons got so good at seeing into the future.


The Simpsons History Of Predicting The Future


Bart Simpson-The Simpsons-Predict the Future-9: 11-911

While the popularity of this theory gained the most traction in 2016, viewers have since discovered other moments The Simpsons has predicted that occurred decades earlier. One of the most notable examples is that the show predicted 9/11. In an episode that premiered in 1996, a New York brochure is shown. On the brochure, the number 9 is displayed after a dollar sign. The World Trade Center can be seen in the background, making it appear as if the two towers are the ones in 9/11. This also contributed to making season 9’s “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson ”one of the banned episodes of The Simpsons, which was censored after the 9/11 attacks before being brought back a few years later. Season 2, episode 4, “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish” is widely agreed upon as the first example of a The Simpsons prediction. The 1990 episode shows Bart catching a fish that has three eyes thanks to water contamination from Springfield’s power plant. While the prediction may have been a Simpson‘s first, it didn’t come true until years after multiple later predictions. In 2011, an Argentinian fisherman discovered a fish with three eyes while fishing in a reservoir close to a nuclear plant. The episode has also helped fuel theories that The Simpsons‘power plant mutates Springfield residents.


The number of alleged predictions, however, is usually not agreed upon and ranges from around 12 to 33, depending on who is asked. This is because certain events are a little too vague to count in many viewers’ opinions. Episodes that tend to be written off usually include season 5, episode 10, “$ pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling).” In the episode, circus performers Gunter and Ernst are working with a white tiger that turns on them. This is cited as a prediction for a 2003 show put on by German-American performers Siegfried and Roy in which a white tiger they were performing with attacked Roy. Everything from the German origins of their names to the color of the tiger has caused multiple viewers to call this an example of The Simpsons‘psychic abilities. However, as viewers have hopefully learned by now after Netflix’s Tiger King and its two failed sequels), tiger attacks aren’t exactly uncommon among people working with large predators on a regular basis. Therefore, it is hard for most people to call this a psychic prediction instead of coming to the more realistic conclusion that the show portrayed a fairly inevitable event, not a unique scenario.


This displays an interesting phenomenon. Part of the reason the show is considered to be so accurate is that since the popularity and truly interesting coincidences of some episodes have gained traction, viewers who have combed through previous episodes have tended to be very liberal with the examples they use, such as with the tiger attack and another moment during the The Simpsons episode that predicted President Trump in which Lisa’s presidential outfit is very similar to Kamala Harris’ inauguration day wardrobe. This has led audiences who haven’t backtracked through the show’s decades-long run to take their word for it and assume there really are dozens of accurate examples.

Related: How The Simpsons Mocked Its Most Ridiculous Censor Notes

A Study Revealed Why The Simpsons Is So Good At Predicting Events


Multiple classes, studies, and papers have focused on The Simpsons and its prediction ability – however, in an article published by Mic, Daniel Chun, former co-executive producer of The Simpsons, denied this ability (via Mic). The same article calls upon Matt Zaremsky. He is an assistant math professor at the University of Albany and had a few things to say about the show. During The Simpsons‘Golden Age and the remainder of the first 12 seasons, there was an average of 8.54 jokes per minute, (via Vulture). According to a study Zaremsky conducted after the show’s 29th season, he determined that if the show continued at the same rate, then it contained roughly 120,000 jokes, and over 1.2 thousand of those jokes were future predictions.


As mentioned above, viewers commonly believe there are only 12-33 accurate predictions. However, Zaremsky’s study determined that 1,224 predictions were made. It was done before seasons 30-33, but assuming the jokes have still come at the rate, this means The Simpsons has roughly a 1.6% rate of success. In simple terms, the study shows that less than two out of every 100 predictions have come true.

What This Actually Means About The Simpsons’ Track Record For Predictions


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It’s undeniable that some episodes show events with a significant amount of detail – for example, many refer to Lady Gaga’s The Simpsons cameo showing her Super Bowl performance as an example of the specifics of a real scenario being very similar. The show not only foretold her performance, but it also managed to show a remarkably similar costume and her high-flying performance and accompanying harness. It also cannot be denied that the highest estimate of 33 examples of the show’s creepy ability to see into the future would mean that there’s approximately one prediction per season. Even the estimates at the lower end of the spectrum seem significant, considering the lack of other cartoons’ ability to seemingly predict the future. However, even when disregarding the generosity with which some viewers determine which episodes predicted the future, if the show is broken down by every single prediction creators threw at the wall versus the ones that actually stuck, it’s clear that The Simpsons‘ability to predict the future is only as accurate as audiences choose to believe it is.


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