Shockingly Accurate Cartoon Predictions
Here are some shockingly accurate cartoon predictions of the future!Entertainment
I’m sure you’ve all heard people claiming that long-running animated sitcom, The Simpsons, has predicted the future. But you might be surprised to discover that it isn’t the only cartoon with seemingly prophetic powers! From presidential projections to foretold food scandals, here are some of the most shockingly accurate cartoon predictions ever made.
The Simpsons Predicting Super Bowls
Back in 1992, The Simpsons’ season 3 episode ‘Lisa the Greek’ revealed that the family’s middle child has an uncanny ability to predict the outcome of football games. Homer quickly catches onto it and makes a killing by placing wagers on the matches.
At the end of the episode, Lisa correctly predicts the winners of the Super Bowl will be The Washington Redskins. Over in our world, the real Super Bowl aired just days after that episode and you guessed it, Washington won! Spooky, yes, but it gets even spookier.
The following year FOX decided to broadcast the episode before the Super Bowl again, with one change. The Simpsons team decided to dub over new predictions to make the episode more current. This time Lisa predicted that the Dallas Cowboys would emerge victorious. Amazingly, she was right again!
And it didn’t stop there. The tradition continued for the following 2 years, with Lisa correctly predicting another victory by the Dallas Cowboys, followed by one for the San Francisco 49ers. One Super Bowl prediction is mad enough, but 4 in a row is absolutely insane. Hopefully, the staff listened to Lisa if there was any betting going on at Simpsons HQ!
The Simpsons Predict The Fifa Corruption Scandal
In 2014, an episode of The Simpsons aired where FIFA contacted Homer and asked him to step in as a referee because everybody else capable of doing the job was corrupt. Homer accepts and sure enough, while refereeing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he’s offered countless bribes to influence the outcomes of matches.
Just a year later, massive corruption going all the way to the top of FIFA was uncovered in the real world, mostly centered on, guess what, bribes being accepted by officials in exchange for lucrative contracts or other benefits.
What makes for the perfect prediction cherry on top of the delicious prophecy cake is the result of the cup. Homer calls the final game fairly, and Germany wins by beating Brazil. That same year, Germany would defeat Brazil, and become the winners of the cup, albeit in two different games.
Futurama And The Wrong Miss Universe
In the episode ‘The Lesser of Two Evils’ from Futurama's second season, a literal Miss Universe pageant takes place with contestants from alien planets! The only thing is, the host gets the winner wrong. He accidentally calls Leela’s name, before immediately having the tiara and bouquet taken back from her and handed to the real winner, much to Leela’s disappointment.
Then, 15 years after the episode aired, the real-life 2015 Miss Universe pageant ended with its host, Steve Harvey, announcing Ariadna Gutiérrez, Miss Columbia, as the winner. But, unfortunately for Gutiérrez, he got it wrong. The actual winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.
Right there on stage, the crown and sash were removed from Gutiérrez and handed over to Wurtzbach. Naturally, Gutiérrez was distraught. The striking similarities to the Futurama episode can’t be ignored, however, Wurtzback isn’t an extra-terrestrial purple blob so the show writers lose points there.
The Simpson And The Horse Meat Scandal
In 2013 the people of Europe were sent into a frenzy when it came to light that, they’d been eating horse meat. It turned out that meat suppliers across the continent had been using the cheap meat without declaring it and passing it off as beef. So, it ended up for sale in grocery stores and you can probably imagine what happened next.
However, while most people were shocked and outraged by the scandal, the writers of The Simpsons had seen it coming since 1994! In an episode from that year, a quick visual gag shows Lunch Lady Doris reaching into a barrel of "assorted horse parts" to serve to the kids. While it’s probably just a crazy coincidence, it’s so specific!
The Simpsons Predict The Shard
The Simpsons is no stranger to episodes set in the future. 1995’s Lisa’s Wedding was the first of those flash-forwards and would turn out to be a more accurate depiction of the future than anyone could’ve known. The episode saw Lisa falling in love with British student Hugh Parkfield.
But as she flies over to England to meet his family, we see something very weird. While passing over the London skyline, our attention is drawn to a silly visual of a digital Big Ben. That’s not the weird part though. This building marked in the picture below, looks eerily like The Shard, an artsy skyscraper that didn’t begin construction until 2009 and wasn’t even conceived before 2000.
It doesn’t just look similar either, it’s also positioned next to Tower Bridge, just like the real one! Could London’s higher-ups have been huge Simpsons buffs, saw the episode, and thought “Yeah, that looks pretty cool, let’s do it”? Sounds crazy, but it’s a more sensible explanation than the writers having access to a freaking time machine!
South Park's Medicinal Fried Chicken
In South Park's season 14 episode Medicinal Fried Chicken, all the KFC locations in Colorado are closed down. Eric Cartman can’t handle that, so the plot of the 2010 episode has him sourcing the delicious food himself and selling it on the black market.
Meanwhile, in the UK in 2018, over three-quarters of the nation’s KFC restaurants didn’t receive their shipment of stock, creating a very real and devastating fried chicken shortage. Seeing opportunity in the tragedy though, certain savvy sellers went to work posting listings for the suddenly super rare chicken on bidding sites like eBay, at staggeringly high prices.
The sad-looking meal in the image below was on offer for over £25,000, that’s a little more than $30,000. The bids it had were probably a joke, but similar listings popped up re-selling menu items at around the $100 mark, which is still ten times more expensive.
The Simpsons Predicted Disney Would Buy Fox
From Marvel to Star Wars, Disney has bought out so many franchises and companies that they’ve drawn widespread criticism for trying to monopolize the film and television industries. Back in the year 2000 though, their crusade for media dominance had barely begun. Even so, The Simpsons saw it coming.
In the season 10 episode When You Dish Upon a Star, Homer winds up pitching a movie idea to director Ron Howard. Howard likes his story so much that he decides to steal it and goes to present it to film studio 20th Century Fox. Outside the studio is a sign, explicitly stating that they’re owned by Disney. Only, they weren’t.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Walt Disney Company announced its intention to buy Fox for a colossal $71.3 billion, fulfilling the Simpsons’ 17-year-old prophecy. Rich Appel, the writer of the episode, recalled the gag after hearing about the real-life acquisition. It turns out that Disney had bought the television network ABC a couple of years before the episode aired, so it stemmed from a general sense that Disney would own them all one day.
The Simpsons And The NSA Spying Scandal
We’ve all had that uncomfortable sensation we’re being watched by someone. And in 2013 computer intelligence consultant Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA documents proving that the US government had been spying on its civilians’ conversations. It was an incredible scandal that made Snowden a criminal in the US and forced him to flee the government’s wrath.
But what’s all that got to do with cartoons and predictions? Six years before the scandal, The Simpsons Movie was released. In it, our favorite cartoon family finds themselves on the run from the US government after uncovering a conspiracy. While taking the bus, Lisa pointed out they should keep quiet to avoid attention.
Marge replies that it’s totally absurd to think anyone’s listening in. Turns out though, the bus driver’s a robot that’s recording them and transferring the audio straight to the NSA, where it’s revealed every conversation in the country is in fact being listened to!
It’s worth pointing out that the US government doesn’t literally listen to every conversation and they probably don’t have robot bus drivers. But they do have their grubby paws on a lot more private data than they’d like you to know. This is one freaky prediction we really didn’t want to come true.
Futurama And Smart Devices Spying You
Our microphone-enabled smart devices are always listening, and will even tailor advertisements towards conversations you’ve had. That sort of technology has become super prevalent in the last few years, yet Futurama predicted it way back in 2001!
In the season 3 episode Luck of the Fryish, Fry believes his brother has stolen his name. While trying to research the subject on the internet, Professor Farnsworth says “Fry” out loud. His browser responds, finding a helpful movie about Phillip J. Fry, but also opening his calendar to Friday and ordering French fries.
Which not only predicted voice-activated devices but also the annoying habit they have of misunderstanding what we’re telling them! Nowadays, tech is everywhere from smartphones to smart speakers. Unfortunately, it’s not advanced enough yet to instantly order French fries.
The Simpsons Predicted Outrage Over David Statue
If there’s one thing people seem to like more than enjoying art, it’s censoring it so that other people can’t! Enter the 1990 Simpsons episode Itchy & Scratchy & Marge. In it, Mrs. S decides that the kids’ favorite cartoon, Itchy & Scratchy, is too violent.
So, she campaigns to censor the show and ultimately ends up incensing the town so much that they censor everything, even Michelangelo’s classic art piece, David with a pair of pants.
David has been at the center of censorship discussions for a long time, many versions of the statue have a fig leaf covering David’s little Michelangelo. What the episode really predicts is the discussion on clothing the artwork.
In 2016, 26 years after it aired, a sculpture exhibition was set up in St. Petersburg, Russia. A 16-foot-tall replica of David was erected outside the building it was taking place in. It offended conservative Russians, and after several complaints, a vote was held to decide whether the statue should be clothed and if so, with what.
There’s no word on the outcome, but one woman suggested dressing him in a big old pair of pants. Just like in The Simpsons. And it's not surprising if that’s exactly what happened. Either way, there’s no denying it’s a super strange coincidence.
Homer Simpson's Grease-Stealing Idea Comes To Life
Everybody needs to make cash but you probably didn’t know there was any money to be made from selling grease. However, in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons, Homer did. He and Bart find out there’s a lucrative grease trade and start stealing it in huge amounts to sell.
But stealing grease? That’d never happen in real life, surely? Turns out, it would. Believe it or not, in the years since the episode aired, the grease business has become a seriously lucrative one. Demand for biodiesel has increased massively, and guess what can be turned into biodiesel? Grease.
So, after restaurants are done with their old vegetable oils, they sell them on to recyclers for hundreds of dollars a barrel. The thing is, criminals have caught onto this and now they’re posing as grease collection companies, stealing the grease, and selling it on for profit!
For every spot-on prediction a cartoon makes, there are 10 others that are total duds. But folks on the internet are often convinced those fakes are real. Let's separate the truth from the lies! Lots of people are convinced that the scene below from The Simpsons’ 2017 episode The Serfsons predicts the much-maligned 2019 ending to the HBO epic Game of Thrones.
The two scenes do look very similar, but a dragon destroying a town is a trope as old as the fantasy genre itself, it’s been written about and televised countless times. Truth is, nobody could’ve predicted the ending of Game of Thrones would suck that much.
What sucked even more though was Toys ‘R’ Us closing down in 2018. According to the citizens of the internet, you’d have known it was coming if you’d just listened to The Simpsons. A scene from a 2004 episode supposedly shows Moe shutting down the store.
In actuality, the grouchy bartender is just switching the ‘R’ on the sign to face the correct way round in an attempt to make the town “less kid friendly”. The screenshot was taken out of context and framed as something else by internet liars.
Over in the world of Futurama, the episode Raging Bender is often given credit for predicting interactive film media like Netflix’s movie Bandersnatch. In Raging Bender, Fry does go to see a movie where you choose the outcome, much like you can in Bandersnatch: though, it predates The Black Mirror episode by a whopping 18 years!
Turns out Bandersnatch was never in the running for the first interactive movie. The real first was named Kinoautomat and came out all the way back in 1967! Back then, people didn’t decide what happened with a TV remote, they saw it at the theater. At various points throughout the movie, the scene was paused, a moderator walked out on stage, and the audience would vote on what happened next!
That’s actually pretty cool. But it means Futurama was commenting on the past, not predicting the future. Regardless, enough of that, let’s get back to some real predictions.
The Simpsons Predicted Tom Hanks' Biden Video Appearance
Politicians aren’t exactly the most popular people. So, it’s not uncommon for them to enlist a little star power to win people over, a concept 2007’s The Simpsons Movie lambasts.
In the story, the US government is planning to destroy the town of Springfield and open a "new Grand Canyon" in the place of its remains. Naturally, that isn’t expected to prove a popular proposal, so the government enlists Hollywood favorite Tom Hanks.
It’s a funny gag that pokes fun at celebrities propping up politicians, but it would wind up being yet another prophetic vision! 15 years later, in 2022, Hanks narrated and appeared in a promotional video designed to highlight the achievements of President Joe Biden’s government.
In a time of immense scrutiny for the Biden administration, the video was intended to turn things around and give the government some much-needed credibility. By borrowing some of Tom’s!
The real government video didn’t visually match up quite as much with The Simpsons as some people would have you believe, but the undeniably uncanny similarities led to an explosion of social media posts. Even other politicians and political commentators pointed them out! That’s got to have been embarrassing.
Old Cartoon Predictions
When you think about cartoons, you probably immediately think of an animated TV show. But cartoons can also mean physical comic strips, and they’ve existed far longer than television, over a hundred years in fact! So it’s no surprise that over that time, some of them have made some super freaky predictions.
Back in the Second World War, cartoons were used by both sides as propaganda tools to push their political agendas. The patriotic American hero Uncle Sam was featured in the December 1941 issue of National Comics, where he defended Pearl Harbor from an attack by a mysterious enemy army.
Just a few days after the strip was published, the Japanese Navy actually attacked Pearl Harbor! Going a little further back in time we have a panel from 1923. It shows how the artist envisaged their job would be in 2023, which was then a whole 100 years in the future. A machine is doing the work for them, while they casually arrange a fishing trip.
Amazingly, the AI art generation has exploded in popularity over the last few years, so the cartoon got that pretty much spot on! Less spot on is the artist’s happy reaction though, rather than freeing up time for fishing, many artists are worried the new technology will put their jobs at risk.
Finally, and the oldest toon in the list, is something that was released way back in 1919.
Yes, that’s a cell phone, and cell phones like that weren’t invented until decades later, in the 1970s. Yet the strip accurately depicts how annoying they can be in places like the movie theater. It’s not that surprising to think people speculated about portable phones back then, but the level of accuracy there is bizarre.
Trump Presidency Predicted By The Simpsons
Way back in the year 2000, the show’s 11th season featured an episode where an adult Lisa becomes president of the United States. As the newly inaugurated President Simpson discusses the state of affairs with her team, she mentions that they’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.
As we all know, in 2016, Donald Trump would indeed be elected president. Which is pretty darn freaky considering he didn’t announce his candidacy until 15 years after the episode aired.
In recent years though, the already impressive prediction has been somewhat overshadowed by other, supposedly even more accurate predictions. When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, he descended Trump Tower on an escalator while people stood waving signs for him. Lo and behold, The Simpsons had apparently predicted that exact scene years before.
Only, this time, they actually hadn’t. It turns out that the scene is only so similar because it’s from a 2015 Simpsons YouTube video produced after Trump’s campaign had already begun! And it’s exactly the same story with the image below, propagated as a so-called prediction of Trump’s 2016 election run.
The Simpsons screenshot is from the same 2015 YouTube short "Homer Simpson In Trumptastic Voyage"! Sneaky online trolls had simply claimed it was a prediction for internet clout. Many also say that that clip from the short predicts Trump’s 2024 election run, even Simpsons writer Al Jean posted on Twitter asserting the claim!
But that’s not exactly true either. The visual gag just makes fun of Trump by implying he’ll run every 4 years until he’s elected, so 2024 would inevitably be one of those years.
Future Technology Predictions
Science and sci-fi have a symbiotic relationship, fictional technology often inspires people to try and create it in the real world. Because of that, there are a surprising number of cases where old cartoons appear to directly predict the future. One 1992 Simpsons episode features a device that could translate baby cries into plain English.
A fantastical idea at the time, yet very real today! At least, that’s what companies like Zoundream claim. The startup got to work on the project in 2020, nearly 30 years after The Simpsons came up with it. And although it won’t allow you to actually converse with a baby, it does apparently translate their cries into a few fundamental needs. It even looks kind of similar to the animated one!
But enough of The Simpsons for a second. Classic ‘60s animated sitcom The Jetsons is set in the future and predicted a whole slew of tech that would later end up a massive part of our day-to-day lives. Flat-screen TVs? Check. Smartwatches? Check. Also, the little automatic vacuum really looks like a Roomba! Wonder if the Jetsons’ one constantly smacks into things too?
You could argue those predictions aren’t that impressive as they were all logical extensions of items that already existed. But you definitely can’t use that argument with the next crazy piece of tech from a 1998 Futurama episode. Named a “Smell-o-Scope”, the device in the show looks like a telescope but is designed to magnify smells rather than images.
24 years later, the real world was graced with the “nasal ranger”! While not quite the same as its cartoon counterpart, it’s certainly similar. It uses a carbon filter to isolate odors from the rest of the air, so when you take a honk through it it’s easier to determine how strong a scent is.
The Simpsons Predict Ferrets Sold As Dogs
Have you ever been scammed? Well, in a 2002 episode of The Simpsons, mobster Fat Tony and his gang are working on the single most impressive scam in history. Gluing cotton balls to ferrets to pass them off as toy poodles. So maybe it’s not that impressive. Nobody would try that in real life, right?
Fast forward to Argentina in 2013. A retired man thought he’d found the bargain of a lifetime when he managed to buy some toy poodles from a local bazaar for $150 each! Just one would normally set you back over $1,000, so the guy thought he’d snapped up an absolute bargain!
As you can probably imagine, he hadn’t, because a criminal gang had been passing ferrets off as poodles! Unfortunately, it ain’t a joke. Unlike the episode of The Simpsons, instead of gluing cotton balls to the poor animals, the real gang had pumped them full of steroids at birth to beef them up.
On the plus side, however, as far as I can tell the duped buyer never lodged any complaints about the fraudulent ferrets. So who knows, maybe he fell in love with his new muscly mammals despite their lack of bark? We can only hope!
So, we covered a few false predictions earlier, but there are so many glaring inaccuracies being shared online that we need to address more of them. For instance, a lot of people claim that a sequence in the 1993 Simpsons episode Marge in Chains predicted the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
In the episode, a flu that originates in Asia makes its way to Springfield, causing an outbreak that sends the town into panic. Sounds familiar, right? What’s more, the images below are commonly associated with the episode.
Which would be astounding, if it wasn’t completely fake. The image below is the real screenshot. Someone photoshopped it! Plus, the flu in the episode comes from Japan, not China as is commonly accepted with COVID.
A similar false prediction stems from the 1990 Simpsons episode The Telltale Head. In the season 1 classic, Bart beheads the statue of town founder Jebediah Springfield. Randos online claims the episode predicted the politically motivated beheading of Boston’s Christopher Columbus statue in 2020.
However, Bart beheads the Jebediah statue to impress some bullies, not for political reasons. And people have been defacing statues since they first started being built. Furthermore, the image below has been spread around the web by some YouTube channels.
The picture depicts Bart glumly standing by the grave of late basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Apparently, it’s from a Simpsons episode that aired sometime before the sportsman’s tragic helicopter crash in 2020. However, it's a lie, the episode the image is from has nothing to do with Bryant, the grave’s been photoshopped!
There is a conspiracy doing the rounds that an earlier, different episode predicted Bryant’s passing, but it’s also completely baseless, the episode just mentions a helicopter crashing. It's unclear why people even bother spreading these lies. But it just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you see online!
Blinky in Real Life: 3-Eyed Fish Caught in Argentina
It’s pretty difficult to make an iconic cartoon character with zero lines of dialogue and only a few episodes of screen time. However, the writers of The Simpsons pulled it off with Blinky the three-eyed fish.
He first appeared on the show back in 1990, where the once ordinary fish is irradiated by toxic waste from Mr. Burns’ nuclear power plant, giving him his iconic third eye. Blinky reached all-new heights of fame though in 2011 when some Argentinian fishermen discovered, something similar: a real-life Blinky!
The bizarre three-eyed wolffish was even caught in a reservoir that’s fed by a local nuclear power plant. That’s unnervingly similar! But don’t worry, it’s more likely that the all-seeing fish is just the result of a natural mutation rather than radioactivity. Those kinds of genetic anomalies are actually more common in nature than you might think. Even so, it’s definitely creepy!