It doesn’t take more than a season — nay, more than an episode — to consider The Simpsons as a cultural icon. It made its debut on December 17, 1989, the show continues to galvanise its audience of all ages with the plethora of ridiculous situations the characters find themselves in.
For such a long running show, The Simpsons is an unusual breed. While it certainly does fit the criteria of a standard situational comedy or sitcom popular around the time, it’s perhaps the outrageous yellow or the tongue-in-cheek satire that make the show strange, goofy, and absolutely irresistible to watch. However, The Simpsons possesses a quality that no other show emulates: the ability to predict the future.
The same cartoon that presents itself as a zany depiction of life in Springfield has predicted groundbreaking moments in history, accurate to the last detail. This article is dedicated to breaking down The Simpsons predictions for 2020 and whether they hold any substantial value. Are these merely coincidences, or are the uncharted territories of our future no different than a script? Hence, does the knowledge of the future help prepare us, or are we better off blissfully ignorant?
Most predictions were initially on the nose to prove satirical value, and therefore aren’t meant to be taken seriously. In Season 3, episode 24, Homer Simpson’s brother Herb invents a translator to help parents interpret baby language.While the concept was cartoony and entirely fictional, they would become a reality no more than 24 years later, when Chinese tech firms would introduce an app that determines a baby’s mood through its cries and speech. It’s certainly impressive, but causation does not equal correlation.
Other times, it is too accurate to be considered a coincidence. In Season 22, Episode 1, a betting pool on who would win the Nobel Prize was shown briefly on screen, with Milhouse predicting Beingt R. Holmstrom for the Economics prize.
Scarily enough, the Finnish economist would earn his Nobel Prize in 2016 along with Oliver Hart for their work in contract theory, or the formation of contracts amongst individuals or businesses to settle to agreements. Needless to say, referencing Holmstrom by name and award yields an incredibly low chance of success, yet manages to deliver without fail.
How about when The Simpsons discovered the mass of Higgs Boson, twelve years before the idea was even conjured by physicists? Season 10, Episode 3 depicts Homer working on a convoluted mathematical equation in front of a chalkboard. To the average viewer, this may be dismissed as meaningless comedy. To Simon Singh, author of The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, it was a scientific treasure.
According to Simon, once this equation is solved, the predicted mass of a Higgs boson is only slightly larger than the actual nano-mass value of the discovered boson. The Higgs boson is part of the Higgs field and gives off mass to anything that travels through it, such as electrons. It is most intriguing, and definitely shocking, that the first quantified prediction of the Higgs boson was delivered through a television cartoon. However, the show isn’t always the bearer of bright news.
Perhaps the most defining moment in 2020 was the imminent outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, to which the Simpsons don’t cease, and here’s where the waters begin to muddy. A mysterious virus by the name of the ‘Osaka Flu’ is depicted in season 4, episode 21, transmitted through infected packages. Apart from the fact that the flu spread around the world, the similarities between the Osaka flu and SARS-CoV-2 end there. Many experts have criticised netizens claiming that Covid-19 was premeditated because of the show’s predictions. This led to further doctored evidence, as seen below:
While the show has been credited for being ahead of its time through its shrouded predictions and discoveries, some of them are a stretch. This spread of fake news and misinformation has led to a warped outlook of the conspiracy behind the disease, otherwise a ‘plandemic’. People naturally alleviate towards the unbelievable, and although The Simpsons hold a reputation for their Nostradamic predictions, a simple fact check never hurt anyone.
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