One of the most iconic television shows of all time, as well as one of the most quoted properties in pop culture history, The Simpsons has made hundreds of jokes fans and others know, remember, and reference on a daily basis. Often, these jokes revolve around extremely absurd concepts that could only happen in a cartoon or a satire - at least according to the writers. But in reality, a lot of the jokes that seemed ridiculous at the time were actually giving us a glimpse into the future. In fact, Disney+ has an entire collection dedicated to all the episodes that predicted the future (there probably more than you think). Sometimes, these jokes underestimate just how low humanity (and often, America) can go. The Simpsons predictions on this list actually all came true.
Here's a collection of hilarious Simpsons jokes that really ended up as true, happened, or were repeated elsewhere. The Simpsons predicted some crazy things.
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The Joke: In 2007's The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks narrates a video for "the new Grand Canyon" in the spot where Springfield currently stands, saying "The US government has lost its credibility, so it's borrowing some of mine."
What Actually Happened: In 2022, Hanks narrated a video for President Joe Biden celebrating his first year in office while promoting a recovering American under the White House's guidance – again borrowing from Hanks's mountain of credibility with the American public that loves him so deeply.
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The Joke: In the 2000 Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future," Lisa Simpson, as the future president of the United States, wears a purple coat and a pearl-string necklace.
What Actually Happened: When Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021, she wore a purple dress and coat, and a pearl necklace. According to The Associated Press, the pearls were meant to represent her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, whose members receive pearl-adorned badges. The purple outfit was in honor of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for president; Chisholm's campaign colors were purple and yellow.
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The Joke: In the Season 18 episode "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em", the Simpsons are casually strolling through the mall when they stumble upon a dilapidated JCPenney's (obviously a reference to J.C. Penney Co.), which had been shut down and converted into a mix of candle kiosks and CD stores.
What Actually Happened: J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy on May 15, 2020, citing financial difficulties due to COVID-19.
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The Simpsons' Season 4 episode "Marge in Chains" from 1993 apparently foreshadows the events of 2020 with the spread of a new flu virus. When a worker in Osaka, Japan, sneezes into a package that ships to Springfield, the entire town is subsequently threatened by what they call the "Osaka Flu," mirroring the spread of the coronavirus around the world.
What's more, scientists in 2020 claim to have spotted Asian giant hornets in Washington state - a species that threatens life with its poisonous stingers. In the same Simpsons episode, residents knock over a truck they believe to be carrying a cure, but instead crack open a box labeled "Killer Bees."
Episode writer Bill Oakley told The Hollywood Reporter, "I don't like it being used for nefarious purposes. The idea that anyone misappropriates it to make coronavirus seem like an Asian plot is terrible. In terms of trying to place blame on Asia - I think that is gross."