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'The Simpsons' writers explain how they've been making accurate predictions about world events

The popular show has been predicting many world events creatively in their episodes and writers have shared the tactics behind the same.

'The Simpsons' writers explain how they've been making accurate predictions about world events
Cover Image Source: Executive Producer Al Jean in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

"The Simpsons" TV show has a massive fan base for several reasons, one of them being the unique characters and comical plots. However, a particularly fascinating aspect of the show's appeal is its uncanny ability to predict the future. To a great extent, several episodes have featured futuristic events which have been mostly accurate. The show has accurately depicted various future scenarios, including Donald Trump's presidency, technological advancements, and evolving societal norms. One of the oldest writers Al Jean, shared the secret to how the crew have been able to make such predictions, per NME.

Image Source:
Image Source: "The Simpsons" Executive Producer Al Jean in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)

Jean, who has been writing for "The Simpsons" since 1989, said, “One of our writers, the guy whose episode predicted Donald Trump as president, said it best: ‘If you write 700 episodes, and you don’t predict anything, then you’re pretty bad. If you throw enough darts, you’re going to get some bullseyes.’” Jean elaborated on how each prediction was derived, using numerous episode examples and various creative perspectives. “The 9/11 one is so bizarre. In the World Trade Center episode, [‘The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson’], there was a brochure reading $9 a day with an 11 styled up like the towers. That was in ’96, which was crazy, like this insane coincidence. But mostly it’s just educated guesses,” he said. 

Commenting on other shows and films that use predictions to enhance their plots, Jean said, “Stanley Kubrick made the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey' in 1968 and there’s Zoom and iPads in it – but that’s because he had futurologists helping him construct what the world might look like in 30 years.” While Jean owes these mind-boggling accurate predictions to observation and mere guesses, audiences are intrigued to know how they’ve managed to ace so many instances. While there are no plans to discontinue the show, Jean mentions that their plots are changing due to the fast-paced dynamics of the world.

Image Source: ) Al Jean and Matt Selman speak onstage at
Image Source:  Al Jean and Matt Selman speak onstage at "The Simpsons" panel during 2022 Comic-Con International, San Diego, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“To people who say 'The Simpsons' isn’t as good as it used to be, I would say I think the world isn’t as good as it used to be. But we’re declining at a slower rate,” he remarked. The show has undoubtedly marked several happenings with an eerie accuracy, but of late there have been rumors that AI has caused the predictions to downgrade, per Cracked. One of the writers and producers of the show, Matt Selman, shared a post on X pointing towards the unrelatable and ruthless predictions the show has been making.

Sharing a glimpse of the same from one of the episodes, he wrote, “Sadly the Simpsons 'predictions' are now meaningless. People so desperately want to believe in the show's 'magic powers' (or are just very lazy) that they ignore that fake images of the so-called predictions cannot be traced to any actual episode. Another writer Bill Oakley remarked, ‘“I would say in general when people say 'The Simpsons' has predicted something, it is just that we were satirizing real-life events from years before, and because history keeps repeating, it just seems like we were predicting things.”



 

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