The Simpsons was first broadcast as part of a segment on The Tracey Ullman Show in April of 1987. Just over two years later on December 17, 1989, it broadcast its first-ever full-length episode and the rest, you could say, is history.
35 years on, and with more than 600 episodes under its belt, The Simpsons has become a behemoth of pop culture, where its jokes and quotes have become commonplace, "embiggening the soul of all of its fans".
Dedicated followers of the show might argue that the quality of the episodes has declined in recent years, yet it has managed to remain relevant to some thanks to a strange online phenomenon.
Due to it being on air for so long, The Simpsons has covered virtually every topic going. Be it politics, climate change, the economy, celebrities or entertainment, it hasn't left a stone unturned. This has resulted in it having an uncanny ability to seemingly foresee things that have happened in the future.
These instances can be frighteningly accurate or so tedious that your eyes will roll into the back of your head, but they're always fascinating. So on the 35th anniversary of the show's first episode, let us take a look back at some of these strange anomalies in the show's long history.
Greta Thunberg's iconic climate change speech
One of the most recent examples of The Simpsons' incredible mystic abilities came after Greta Thunberg's iconic clash with Donald Trump at the 2019 UN climate action summit.
However, the show did appear to hint that Thunberg would make her iconic speech at the event. Back in the 2007 Simpsons feature film, Lisa gave a speech that had the same tone and bile that Thunberg emitted in her now legendary address, making us think that the young Swedish activist is a fan of the family from Springfield.
Donald Trump's 2016 election victory
The biggest story of the last decade was Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency and the rhetoric that he has unleashed upon the world.
Viewers of the Simpsons wouldn't have been surprised to see this happen, as way back in 2000, they had already predicted that Trump would become the most powerful person in the world.
In an episode called 'Bart to the Future' which aired in March of that year, a grown-up Lisa has become president but is dealing with a huge amount of national debt that has been left to her by her predecessor, yes, you guessed it, Donald Trump.
The shocking twist at the end of Game of Thrones
Did the show predict the Game of Thrones ending?20th Century Television
The ending to Game of Thrones left many people divided and ultimately disappointed back in 2019, as the show didn't come to the conclusion that many wanted as characters like Daenerys and her dragon became the show's villains, almost out of nowhere and burnt Westeros to a cinder.
Two years previous to this a Simpsons episode called 'The Serfsons,' which was a parody of Game of Thrones, saw a dragon do exactly that. It wasn't until it happened on the actual show that it was parodying that people started to freak out.
Sometimes Simpsons predictions aren't that obvious and do require a bit of explaining but are eye-opening nonetheless. This is the case when trying to explain why some people believe the show foresaw the actual day that celebrated scientist Stephen Hawking would die on.
Hawking made a famous cameo in the 1999 episode 'They Saved Lisa's Brain.' In one scene he is seen wearing a necklace that bears the E =mc2 formula that was created by Albert Einstein. That doesn't seem too odd but things begin to get weird when you learn that Hawking died on Albert Einstein's birthday on March 14.
Maybe the Simpsons knew when one of our greatest minds was going to pass away or maybe they just wanted to make another reference to an equally great scientist.
The 2018 Winter Olympics
Predicting sports events isn't always that hard, as 99 per cent of the time the best team or individual usually wins. However, predicting the result of a contest eight years before it even happened is something else.
In the 2010 episode 'Boy meets Curl' the Simpsons predicted that the United States would win the curling gold medal at the Winter Olympics, beating Sweden in the final.
Eight years later at the actual Winter Olympics in South Korea, the United States would beat Sweden in the curling final. All we can say is that we hope someone in The Simpsons production office had a bet on that match.
The demise of Toys R Us
The creators of the Simpsons gotta be psychics cause this episode is too damn accurate https://t.co/5WuymK0Xj3
Kids of the 90s will have been saddened to see the demise of beloved toy shop Toys R Us, which sadly went out of business and vanished from high streets across the world in 2018.
In a 2004 Simpsons episode, exhaustively called 'Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays' a scene seems to hint at Toys R Us's imminent demise as the downtrodden bartender Moe, is seen removing the sign from Springfield's local Toys R Us store.
The episode actually focused on a vindictive scheme by childless adults in the town to make the lives of the local kids worse so it wasn't actually saying that Toys R Us was going out of business but the imagery was too much for some to take.
The merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox
Disney announces it has reached a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox, as predicted by a Simpsons episode that first aired on November 8, 1998.pic.twitter.com/kzloJQHeM8
The Simpsons is owned by Fox and has been broadcast by the network since its inception. That doesn't mean that it hasn't shied away from mocking them.
Frequently, throughout the shows history The Simpsons creators have made very pointed jokes about Fox but one take from the 1998 episode 'When You Dish Upon A Star' appeared to predict the future fate of Fox, which was officially acquired by Disney in March 2019 having been rumoured for years.
The joke in the episode was a blink-and-you'll miss it moment, as a 20th Century Fox sign, that was set in the near future, came complete with a coda, signifying that it was now 'a division of the Walt Disney Co.'
This one is perhaps the most meta prediction of them all and saw The Simpsons predict a very embarrassing scandal where they didn't cover themselves favourably.
Its own discrimination scandal
The Simpsons goes after politically correct critics, singling out "The Problem With Apu”
In 2018, the animated show was criticised after comedian Hari Kondabolu released the documentary The Problem with Apu which extrapolated the stereotypical character of Apu, the lovable convenience store worker.
The response from the show wasn't an apology or a rethinking of the character (instead they just dropped him altogether) but rather acted like the victim, leading to an awkward moment in the episode 'No Good Read Goes Unpunished’ where Lisa and Marge asked 'what could they do?' in response to the accusations.
For many, this was disheartening to see such a beloved and family-friendly show reduced to having to deny they are racists by not actually owning up to the problems they had created. It flew in the face of a moment from in the 1994 episode 'Lisa vs Malibu Stacy' where Lisa campaigned to have the sexist stereotypes enforced upon her favourite doll removed.
This one can hardly be classified as a prediction but goes to show that if anything is on air for as long as The Simpsons has, it will one day have to answer some pretty big questions and might not always come up with the best answer.
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.