Over the past four decades, the The Simpsons television program has made thousands of incorrect predictions about the future, ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming president, Disney’s acquisition of romance, and the seizure of the East Coast by a supervillain.
So it frankly wasn’t all that surprising when a human-eyed viewer on Digg shared yet another bungled prediction to add to the pile: the late Farrah Fawcett still being alive in the year 2034.
In the 1994 episode “Bart Gets Famous,” Bart Simpson becomes a famous celebrity. Worried that his fame is fleeting, he imagines a future in which he appears on the game show Match Game 2034 alongside other has-been celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Loni Anderson, Spike Lee, the head of Kitty Carlisle, and Farrah Fawcett.
Sadly, Fawcett would not live to see the year 2034, as the Charlie’s Angels star would tragically pass away from a rare type of cancer on June 25, 2009. Compounding the tragedy, she is introduced in Bart’s fantasy as “Farrah Fawcett-Majors-O’Neal-Varney,” implying that she would eventually marry actor Jim Varney, best known for playing the character Ernest P. Worrell. Varney passed away himself in the year 2000.
Nobody expects a cartoon to get everything right, particularly one as frequently wrong as The Simpsons. However, one can’t help but wonder if this tragedy could’ve been avoided if Fawcett had been the one whose head was preserved in a jar. Perhaps Fawcett would’ve seen the episode, become more aware of her mortality, and the cancer could’ve been detected earlier. The Simpsons would still be wrong, but at least we’d still have one more Angel here on Earth.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinbrugh and longtime husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has died. The world may have surprised at the shocking and unexpected death of the 99 year old monarch, but there’s at least one cartoon that wasn’t suprised at all: The Simpsons! That’s right, The Simpsons has once again predicted the future with trademark accuracy, as is their wont.
True Simpsons aficionados will undoubtedly remember the scene from 1995’s “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” where little Maggie Simpson creepily turns her head around and informs Bart and Lisa “Prince Phillip will die on April 9, 2021.” The line was replaced in subsequent airings, but not before causing much consternation on the newsgroups, where Simpsons dorks expressed bafflement at the reference and its complete irrelevancy to the episode’s plot. The specificity of the date will surely draw questions from the authorities, but there’s one thing for sure: we should all live in fear of The Simpsons and its unfathomable psychic powers!
As you may have heard, longtime Supreme Court justice and Funko Pop icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently passed away at the age of 87, a tragic occurrence nobody could have possibly seen coming… nobody, that is, except for the genius writing staff of cult classic animated sitcom Futurama! The Simpsons may grab headlines for predicting future events, like the election of President Trump, but its sister series is certainly no slouch in the prognostication department either.
In the December 2002 episode “A Taste of Freedom,” Justice Ginsburg’s disembodied head appeared as an Associate Justice of the Earth Supreme Court. Now, in case you’ve forgotten, the world of Futurama features a technology invented by Ron Popeil that keeps human heads alive in jars, even long after the person has died. Getting goosebumps yet? This means that the people behind the show somehow knew that Justice Ginsburg would pass away at some point between the year 2002, when the episode first aired, and 3003, which, according to The Infosphere, is when the episode takes place. And that’s exactly what happened in real life. Uncanny!
The head of the Notorious R.B.G., as Justice Ginsburg is commonly referred to in the ‘hood, later reappears in the 2009 OVA Into The Wild Green Yonder and the 2012 episode “Decision 3012.” Unfortunately, her name was misspelled as “Ginsberg” in all three appearances. Oh well! When you’re able to use your third eye to peer into the world beyond the veil and prophesize future events with such a startlingly high degree of accuracy, you’re bound to make a few slip-ups here and there.
Here’s an intriguing headline from Vox:
And here’s an excerpt from the actual story:
Of course it was not actually “predicting” today’s Russian economic downturn, but rather riffing off the earlier downturn, of which there have been several.
So, basically, the show didn’t predict it at all and your headline is a blatant lie. That’s some good reportin’ there, Lou.
Wait a minute… this was all a ploy to get us to learn about the Russian economy, wasn’t it?!
Learning? Russia? Let’s get out of here!
During an interview with London’s Financial Times back in April 2002, Simpsons creator Matt Groening mused “I think we are closer to winding it up.” It was a fairly innocuous comment – the show had been on for over 12 years at that point, and he naturally didn’t think it would go on for another 12 – but our alarmist media took it to mean the show was ending immediately, causing something of a global panic. It was all very stupid:
D’OH! THEY’RE MAKING FUNERAL PLANS FOR… THE SIMPSONS (New York Post)
Save the Greatest Show on Earth; Can Simpsons Creator Matt Groening Be Persuaded Not to Quit? (The Evening Standard)
‘The Simpsons’ may be . . . D’oh! (Philly.com)
Are Homer’s days numbered? (Daily Telegraph)
‘The Simpsons’ soon to bow out (CNN Money)
In an effort to quell the uproar, Groening later clarified, “I don’t want anyone to think I am predicting the demise of the Simpsons. They will live on with new adventures for years to come. As long as there are things to make fun of we will be around.” The next episode’s chalkboard gag also addressed the issue.
At the time of the “wrapping it up” comment, The Simpsons had been on the air for 4,517 days. It has now been 4,518 days since that comment was reported, and there is still no end in sight.
Simpsons Illustrated was an official Simpsons magazine that went on for 10 issues in the early 1990s. Each issue featured exclusive Simpsons comics, news, and pictures of people who worked on the show (Disclosure: the header and title of IN THE NEWS is an, er, homage to this magazine). It was the forerunner to Bongo Comics Group and the Simpsons Comics series.
In 1992, they did a special 3-D issue featuring a barbecue-themed comic with an interesting moment:
Yes, Lisa requested a vegetarian alternative three years before becoming a vegetarian in the 1995 episode “Lisa the Vegetarian.”
Was this quick moment merely an indication of Lisa’s multiculturalism and non-conformist personality? Was her character so predictable that it was assumed she’d eventually turn vegetarian? Was it simply to set up the use of a long prop, in this case a shish kebab, in order to take advantage of the 3-D gimmick? Or, more likely, did the writer of the comic have access to Simpsons episodes from the future, thus allowing him or her to retro-plagiarize “Vegetarian” writer David X. Cohen?
You can read the whole issue over at the astoundingly comprehensive Spanish Simpsons Comics blog Tebeos de los Simpsons, including an early comic version of the Hey Arnold! pilot.