“The Simpsons”: Between Right Coincidence and a Team of Enlightened Writers

“The Simpsons”: Between Right Coincidence and a Team of Enlightened Writers

The mystery of the expectations of the “yellow family”


Friday – 25 Dhu al-Qi’dah 1443 AH – 24 June 2022 AD


The series “The Simpsons” is the longest-running series in the history of the American “Sitcom”.

Beirut: Christine Habib

He loves the mysterious and the strange, attracts them. The recent rise in viewership of forecast programs in some Arab countries is only a reflection of that attraction. But if the predictions come from comic strips and come true, therein lies the biggest mystery.
The Simpsons series predicts Donald Trump will win the US elections. “The Simpsons” predicted the “Corona” pandemic … and other global events that were hinted at or mentioned clearly in the program, and turned into facts weeks or even years after its broadcast.
But to what extent is it correct to describe the “Simpsonian phenomenon” with predictions? What is the boundary between seriousness and joking?
In one of the 11 episodes of the series, during the year 2000, one of the main characters stated that the budget crisis caused by Donald Trump during his presidential term must be fixed. Sixteen years after that episode, Trump entered the White House as president. At that point, attention immediately turned to the archives of the “Simpsons”, and the talk about their predictions began to grow in size and spread.
This coincided with a decline in the series’ popularity after 27 years of continuous broadcasting. So talk about predictions and predictions, especially from “Simpsons” fans, revived a program that had begun to lose its luster.
Then the Corona pandemic struck the world in 2019, so it became clear that the program had touched on a similar scenario in 1993 when “Osaka” fever struck the city of “Springfield”, where the “Simpsons live”, after an infested parcel entered it.

A team of “enlightened” writers
The Simpsons are not clairvoyants, nor occultists, nor witches, nor are they the modern-day Nostradamus. The series’ producers and writers reject this theory, and do not want their work to wear the character of witchcraft. But what was the source of their vision, and how did a good number of their predictions come true?
Behind the first American animated series, a team of writers well versed in all fields of science, arts and literature. It is remarkable that most of them specialize in mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry… They have sufficient insight and a sense of criticism, in addition to their research and statistics and their constant keeping up with the course of events. All of this helps to form a correct future vision presented by the writers team “The Simpsons” within a satirical comedy framework.
In his book “The Simpsons and Philosophy,” William Irwin says that “the program is the manufacture of brilliant brains, filling it with references to art, literature, politics, and science. It is not surprising, therefore, that this has resulted in some surprising predictions.”
In their interviews, the writers of the series try to simplify and alleviate it. Almost unanimously on the word “coincidence” to explain what is happening. They prefer it to the word “predictions.” The creator of “The Simpsons”, Matt Groening, goes so far as to ridicule the topic, saying: “We invent the most bizarre, impossibility, and absurd jokes, so that it becomes clear to us later that our imaginations are not so imaginative!”
Commenting on the episode that predicted Trump’s accession to the presidency, Ai Jin, one of the series’ most prominent writers, says that “the issue did not come out of nowhere.” He looks at the matter simply, not caring about the uproar around him, recalling that the scene was broadcast in 2000, a few months after Trump announced his desire to run for the presidency one day. As for the writer of that famous episode, he commented once: “If you shoot a lot of arrows, you must hit some targets.”
The time element plays a major role in enhancing the phenomenon of predictions. The television series, which was launched on the “Fox” network in 1989, has so far accumulated 33 seasons and more than 725 episodes, and is the longest series in the history of the American “Sitcom”. This huge amount of content has contributed to the transformation of some fictional scenarios into real events.
In this context, explains Bill Oakley, one of the series’ writers: “Rare are the times the Simpsons predicted something. In general, it is purely a coincidence, because most of the episodes are so old that it is correct to say that history repeats itself. “Most of these episodes are based on events that happened in the sixties, seventies and eighties,” Oakley adds.

The most prominent predictions of the yellow family
In addition to the Trump presidency and the Covid pandemic, the Simpsons (Father Homer, Mother Marge, children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie) have rotated expectations across everything from politics to sports, technology, science, health, environment, economics and the arts.
Three-eyed fish
It’s the Simpsons’ first ever prediction. In a 1990 episode, Bart catches a three-eyes fish from a river near a nuclear plant. Twenty-one years later, a three-eyes fish appeared in a lake near a nuclear plant in Argentina.
The events of September 11th
In a 1996 episode where The Simpsons visits New York, Bart appears in front of a poster promoting city tours for $9, and near Number 9 a drawing of the World Trade Center towers as Number 11.
Ae Jin describes that episode as strange, and the writer does not find an explanation for the topic, so he summarizes what happened by saying: “It is a crazy coincidence.”
– Video communication
Since 1995, video call has entered the Simpsons’ diary, 15 years before the technology actually appeared. In that episode, Lisa hired a fortune-teller who helped her communicate with her mother, through a video screen connected to a traditional telephone.
FIFA scandal
In one of the episodes of 2014, Homer Simpson became a referee in the FIFA World Cup matches against the backdrop of a corruption scandal that shook FIFA, according to the scenario. He witnessed the victory of the German national team against Brazil. It was only a few months before the predictions came true. Germany won and the FIFA window shook with corruption.
Voting machine scandal
Prior to the 2008 presidential election, Homer Simpson was shown trying to vote for Barack Obama using an electronic voting machine, and his vote was incorrectly counted for Obama’s rival, John McCain. Four years later, a similar problem occurred in the election in which Obama and Mitt Romney faced off.
Expectations abound in which the “Simpsons” believed, such as the results of the Super Bowl, the Ebola pandemic, the horse meat scandal in Britain, the bankruptcy of Greece, the results of the Nobel Prize for economics, Disney’s acquisition of the “Voc” network, and others…
On the other hand, there are many expectations that were not believed, or at least not yet fulfilled, among the thousands of scenes that included suggestions of future events.
On the other hand, the series “The Simpsons” was not spared the phenomenon of fake news. The program, contrary to what was circulated on social media, did not predict the bombing of the port of Beirut, the Russian-Ukrainian war, or the disease of monkeypox.


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