Whether you love it or hate it – wait, nobody can possibly hate it, over 36 years, across 34 seasons and hundreds of episodes, Fox’s The Simpsons, while laying the foundation for modern comedy, has had beautiful moments and one-liners that would end up manifesting itself in the real world. The funny ideas that writers presented as jokes rose out of the frame and made their way to our dimension in a world where truth is usually stranger than fiction. Such is the show’s popularity that they are actually the proud owners of several Guinness World Records – including the Longest-running Animated Sitcom and the Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series.
For our list today, we’ve gone in search of 25 of the most bizarre plotlines and throwaway jokes that came to be in our three-dimensional world.
Without further ado, here are 25 Bizarre Simpson Predictions That Actually Came True.
S21, E12 - The Winter Olympics Win
In “Boy Meets Curl,” Homer is forced to work late, ruining his plans with Marge. They go to the ice rink to make up for it but are disappointed when it is closed for a curling event. Homer and Marge, however, decide to take on the sport and realize that they have a natural gift for it. They do so well, in fact, that they qualify for the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Marge injures her right shoulder, but she still helps the team beat Sweden and win the gold medal. “Boy Meets Curl” was released in 2010. Still, it accurately predicted the outcome of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where the United States won its first gold medal in curling by defeating Sweden — the same team that Homer, Marge, Skinner, and Agnes defeated in 2010.
S06, E08 - Autocorrect
The following entry is quite remarkable because it was a blatant satire on Apple before they were, you know, entirely everywhere. The Newton debuted in 1992, and it was essentially a PDA before devices like BlackBerrys and iPhones, but it didn’t entirely take off and was discontinued in 1998. Its handwriting recognition feature was far from flawless, so The Simpsons made a joke in 1994 that essentially anticipated our embarrassing autocorrect errors before they were even a thing.
S10, E22 - The Donut Shaped Universe
We all know Homer and Donuts are a match made in heaven: the idea behind this joke was that Homer’s mind revolves around nothing else, even when contemplating the universe. However, the writers had yet to learn that it would become an actual theory when he talked to Stephen Hawking about a doughnut-shaped universe. The three-torus model actually exists and only recently came to light- in any case, Homer called it. In short, it suggests the cosmos is shaped like a three-dimensional donut and that while it is neither totally finite nor infinite, you would never be able to reach its edge; instead, you would simply loop back on yourself as if circumnavigating the globe.
S25, E16 - The FIFA Fallout
The episode “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee” has Springfield’s children competing in a speech contest in which they are expected to talk about their heroes. Because Lisa’s first pick for a subject, Marie Curie, has been taken by Martin Prince, she bases her speech on Homer, recounting how, despite being her father, he ejected her from a soccer game he refereed. Lisa’s speech becomes viral, and Homer gets appointed as a referee for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This episode, which aired just a few months before the World Cup, weirdly predicted Germany’s win over Brazil but also foreshadowed another, far worse FIFA-related occurrence: Several Fédération Internationale de Football Association delegates were arrested in 2015 for receiving bribes totaling more than $100 million.
S15, E14 - The Matrix 4
In “The Ziff Who Came To Dinner,” one small prediction that could have been easily overlooked was featured on a poster behind Homer. At the opening of the show, viewers saw a movie banner that read “A Matrix Christmas,” “Coming Soon.” The poster depicted Neo (Keanu Reeves) wearing a Christmas hat. The Matrix trilogy ran from 1999 to 2003, and the world had no idea if another film would ever see the light. The next dystopia film in The Matrix franchise – The Matrix Ressurections released on December 22, 2021 – would not be released until 2021 – 17 years after the Simpsons featured the poster. While Neo was prominently displayed on the poster, he was not wearing a Christmas cap.
S23, E22 - Lady Gaga’s Superbowl Show
In 2012, a musical artist’s predicted performance at the Super Bowl was included in one of The Simpsons’ episodes. Lady Gaga visited Springfield in the episode “Lisa Goes Gaga,” and performed her songs while floating over the audience. She even played the piano at one point during her show. At the 2017 Superbowl Halftime Show, Gaga performed her greatest songs, including “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance.” Gaga would also be raised over the audience during her halftime performance and played “Million Reasons” on the piano.
S02, E19 - The Statue Of David
Marge successfully petitioned to have Itchy & Scratchy censored in season 2, episode 9, “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” but was surprised when her supporters protested Michelangelo’s sculpture David because of its nudity. Thirty-three years after this episode aired, Hope Carrasquilla, principal of Tallahassee Classical School, was fired when parents protested that teachers presenting David in an art lesson constituted “pornography.” Surprisingly, this was not the first time moral guardians questioned David’s nudity. Due to his nudity, a Glasgow subway advertisement using the statue was also censored.
S03, E24 - The Baby Translator
In one of the few episodes that include Homer’s half-brother Herb (voiced by Danny DeVito), he invents a never-before-seen contraption that may make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Herb develops a baby translator that can decode the meaning of babies’ babbling. There are numerous “baby translator” equivalents on the app store nowadays. Apps such as Cry Translator, BabyTalk Translator, and Zoundream can determine why an infant cries. Herb’s is more sophisticated than they are, but there’s no doubt the inventor would be proud of his invention’s far-reaching influence.
S03, E16 - Don Mattingly’s Hair
Don Mattingly is benched in season 3, episode 16, “Homer at the Bat,” for refusing to remove some “sideburns” that only Mr. Burns can see. This bizarrely particular Simpsons prediction came true only one year after the episode aired in 1992. Mattingly was benched by Yankees manager Stump Merrill in 1993 for refusing to shave his hair on game day. This ruling, essentially the same infraction that Burns accused the player of, prevented Mattingly from participating in the game.
S06, E19 - Smartwatches
There were several jokes regarding future technology in the season 6 episode “Lisa’s Wedding,” with only one getting it right. Hugh speaks to his watch briefly in the episode, forecasting the rise of smartwatches nearly two decades before the first one was launched into the world. It briefly highlighted essential technologies like digital watches and speech recognition that would become mainstream today. Unfortunately, Hugh’s attempts to propose to Lisa utilizing technology back then did not go as smoothly as he had intended.
S05, E10 - The Siegfried & Roy Incident
In season 5, episode 10, “$pringfield, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalised Gambling,” the show’s flamboyant Gunter and Ernst parodied the famous Las Vegas act of Siegfried and Roy. After Springfield legalizes gambling, these two Teutonic Vegas showmen arrive with their circus act. In an ominous foreshadowing moment, the pair is attacked by their tamed white tiger. Ten years later, in 2003, one of the duo’s white tigers attacked and nearly killed Roy.
S04, E21 - COVID-19
In season 4, episode 21, “Marge in Chains,” Springfield citizens are forced to stay in bed as the Osaka flu virus spreads quickly throughout the town. The flu depicted in this 1993 episode and the medical advice offered to its victims bore an eerie similarity to the COVID-19 pandemic. While The Simpsons did not address COVID-19 until several months after the height of the pandemic, the fact that the Osaka flu left sufferers bed-bound and also happened to spread like wildfire among the town’s population – prompted many Simpsons fans and online commentators to find parallels during the early days of the pandemic.
S04, E21 - The Murder Hornets
The Simpsons predicted a pandemic in the same episode that they predicted another equally dangerous outbreak. During the episode “Marge in Chains,” a large crowd gets together to find a cure for a disease that has given them all flu-like symptoms. When someone in the throng points out a truck transporting the medicine, the crowd grows impatient and overturns it – in the process, releasing a swarm of “killer bees.” Around the same time as the COVID-19 outbreak, the world learned of the Asian Giant Hornet, a “killer bee,” discovered in the United States. Today we know that Asian Giant Hornets are a threat to bee populations and can destroy entire colonies.
S05, E19 - The Horse Meat
In “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song,” The Simpsons season 5, episode 19, Lunchlady Doris serves food from a drum labeled “assorted horse parts” with a few delicious additions. Nineteen years after this program aired in 1994, UK news outlets reported that a significant amount of the country’s beef supply had been contaminated with horse meat. While this Simpsons joke became more amusing after 20 years, it was not the only odd food forecast in the series. In another episode, Lunchlady Doris utilized gym mats as a meat substitute, foreshadowing the debate surrounding Subway’s usage of azodicarbonamide to keep its bread bouncy.
S16, E06 - The Legal “Reeferino”
In the 2005 episode “Midnight Rx,” Ned joins Homer and Grampa on smuggling missions to Canada to buy medicine for his children. Ned meets his Canadian counterpart and quickly realizes how different they are when he is offered a “reeferino,” which is legal in their country. Thirteen years later, in 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in Canada. While Ned likely won’t be making any trips back with Apu, Homer, and Grampa, it’s good to know he was at least at the center of one of the most unexpected things the Simpsons predicted.
S06, E19 - FaceTime
In the 1995 episode “Lisa’s Wedding,” Lisa visits a fortune teller who foretells Lisa’s destiny in 2010. It includes marrying her college sweetheart. She contacts her mother, ecstatic to deliver the news. During the conversation, we can see that Lisa’s phone has a screen that shows Marge’s face in real-time – though it is still hooked to a rotary dial. While Skype was created in 2003, it was primarily utilized as a computer calling service. In 2010, Apple announced the development of “FaceTime” for Apple customers, which allowed users to not only communicate but also see the person with whom they were conversing via the phone’s camera.
The Simpsons Movie - Tom Hanks Endorses the US
The 2021 White House video celebrating the accomplishments of the Biden administration, narrated by Tom Hanks, has a parallel: a clip from the 2007 comic adventure film The Simpsons Movie. In the 2007 movie, a cartoon Hanks is seen saying, “Hello, my name is Tom Hanks. Because the US government has lost credibility, it is borrowing some of mine.” The most current White House version was intended to reflect on Biden’s first year in office and highlight his accomplishments at a time when many are focusing on his shortcomings.
S10, E05 - Disney/Fox’s Merger
A hilarious cutaway in season 10, episode 5, “When You Dish Upon A Star,” revealed that the Disney Corporation bought 20th Century Fox. Nineteen years after that particular episode aired in 1998, Disney effectively bought Fox in 2017 in a $71 million transaction. While celebrity cameos were the main focus of this Simpsons episode, and the joke about mergers was just a tiny part of it, it was an extremely unusual coincidence for the satirical series.
Various Episodes - The Super Bowl Predictions
In “Lisa the Greek,” Lisa and Homer bond over football. Lisa’s superior intellect allows her to correctly predict the winner of each game, allowing Homer to profit handsomely from his wagers with Moe, eventually leading to a situation during which Lisa states that if the Washington Redskins win the Super Bowl in Super Bowl XXVI, she will still love Homer (and they will go on a hike). But should the game go the other way, she won’t. Viewers who took Lisa’s forecast seriously would have made a tidy profit. The Redskins beat the Bills, 37-24, three days later. It would have been wise to listen to Lisa’s forecasts for the next two Super Bowls as well. According to Time, Lisa’s line was redubbed during the re-airings of this episode to reflect the current Super Bowl matchups. As a result, her forecasts were correct three years in a row.
S23, E10 - The Greece Bailouts
In the 2012 Simpsons episode “Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson,” Homer appears as a guest analyst on a cable news show, and the news alert reads, “:Europe puts Greece on eBay.” Three years later, Greece defaulted on its third bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund, having previously obtained bailout loans in 2010 and 2012. It became the first economically sophisticated country in the world to fail to make an IMF loan payment. It sent the financial markets tumbling amid fears of Greece leaving the Eurozone.
S10, E02 - The Simpsons’ Mathematical Secrets
Homer, who feels he hasn’t accomplished as much as he should have at his age, gets inspired by Thomas Edison in the 1998 episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace.” He quits his job at the nuclear power plant and becomes an inventor. Given his lack of scientific knowledge, intelligence, and mathematical expertise, it’s no surprise that his first few inventions are disasters; the world doesn’t need a weapon that shoots cosmetics, an uncontrollable electric hammer, or a reclining chair with a toilet built into it. However, as amusing as it is to mock Homer, one of his equations was much more intelligent than it appeared. Years later, they were found to have correctly predicted a significant development in physics. According to Simon Singh, author of “The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets,” one of Homer’s formulas actually predicted the mass of the Higgs boson. François Englert and Peter W. Higgs eventually won the Nobel Prize for their research on the elusive particle in 2013, 15 years after Homer already had it figured out.
The Simpsons Movie - NSA Surveillance Scandal
In the 2007 Simpsons Movie, the family finds themselves on the run. Eventually, they end up on a train where Marge comforts Lisa and at one point says, “It’s not like the government is listening to everybody’s conversations.” The NSA is subsequently seen to be operating a vast surveillance operation, with endless rows of operatives glued to their monitors, listening in on all of America’s conversations, including Lisa and Marge’s. While the world’s conspiracy theorists had been expecting as much for years – hence the fun-loving poke from the show’s creators, all hell broke loose in 2013 when former CIA employee Edward Snowden revealed classified material from the NSA about the organization’s global monitoring programs, which were significantly more extensive than previously believed.
S17, E10 - A Submersible Emergency
In this episode, Homer believes he has found his long-lost biological father, Mason Fairbanks. The two embark on an underwater voyage in separate submersibles in search of the wealth in the sunken ship “Piso Mojado.” However, Homer becomes entangled in coral while oxygen levels continue falling, and he loses consciousness. Many fans noticed the parallels with the real-life disappearance of an OceanGate submersible which transported five adventurers on a trip to view the Titanic ruins at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in June 2023. As we all know, the company lost touch with the submersible, and its wreckage was tragically discovered a few days later.
Ironically, Simpsons writer and producer Mike Reiss has been down to the Titanic wreckage in the same sub that imploded. Mike tweeted his solidarity with the passengers, saying, “Yes, the sub that’s gone missing is the same one I took down to the Titanic.” I wish everyone involved all the best.”
S11, E07 - Trump’s Presidency
In “Bart to the Future,” Bart sees a future in which his sister Lisa is the President of the United States. In an interview, she declares that her administration inherited a large amount of debt from President Trump. Although this was without a doubt meant to be a one-line joke, Donald Trump won the election sixteen years after this episode aired in 2000, and it instantly became The Simpsons’ most famous prediction. However, The Simpsons’ Trump predictions didn’t end there. The hit show’s predictions came true again when Donald Trump announced he would run for President in 2024. The show’s producer, Al Jean, tweeted an image from an episode that ran eight years ago – showing our beloved Homer holding a sign that reads: Trump 2024.
S20, E04 - Voting Machine Trouble
The first episode of season 20’s “Treehouse of Horror XIX” was a bit unusual because it failed to include anything horror-related – at first. The setting was Election Day 2008, when Barack Obama ran for President of the United States against John McCain. Homer arrives at his polling station and is impressed by the high-tech digital voting system. He casts a vote for Obama, but the system counts it as a vote for McCain. Frustrated, Homer votes for Obama again, but the device again switches his vote to McCain. Homer perseveres until the machine develops sentience and – swallows him whole. It then spits out Homer’s corpse, which a bewildered Jasper decorates with an “I Voted” sticker. While there have been no reports of voting machines swallowing voters whole, a similar scenario occurred during the 2012 presidential election. According to MSNBC, an electronic voting machine kept changing a person’s vote from Obama to Mitt Romney (the voter even recorded footage of the error); the equipment was taken out of service, recalibrated, and reinstalled.
Life imitated art again in 2020, when former President Donald Trump launched an ongoing campaign against voting machines, alleging that election fraud occurred due to “corrupt” machines. Due to the 2020 election aftermath, we can only hope the 2024 elections will feature no “voting machine trouble” and will go down as one of the most successful elections in US history.