7 Times ‘The Simpsons’ Didn’t Predict the Future

The Simpsons, Fox

It’s been a mind-boggling conspiracy for decades that The Simpsons has been able to predict the future with eerily accurate early episodes matching up flawlessly with 21st century reality. From the invention of smart watches to Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance to Donald Trump becoming president, the small-town suburban family and their subsequent hijinks have somehow successfully mastered predicting big occurrences in our real lives through animated television.

On the other hand, there have been a few times that episodes of the hit Fox series have included possible predictions that simply haven’t come true… at least yet. Check out the gallery below to catch some moments from The Simpsons’ 600+ episode run that didn’t accurately represent real life (for once).

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The Simpsons, S12E14, New Kids on the Blecch

Music-induced Brain Washing (Season 12, Episode 14)

In a 2001 episode, the show not only invited N’SYNC for a guest spot, but also hinted at bands making music with the intent to control the minds of its listeners. That’s right: Parents and children everywhere watched this episode for the real-life boyband, but left wondering if the government used popular groups to impart subliminal messages to the youth of America. Fortunately, mind control through music has yet to come true… we think.

The Simpsons, S17E1, The Bonfire of the Manatees

Super Bowl Win: Broncos Over Seahawks (Season 17, Episode 1)

The Simpsons writers thrive when it comes to predicting sporting events and their outcomes, but like any good sports gambler, not everyone wins, guesses or predicts right every time. In the 1990s, the series wrote in three consecutive Super Bowl predictions that each came true. Unfortunately, that prediction streak came to end when Homer (Dan Castellaneta) watches the Seattle Seahawks win against the Denver Broncos in a Super Bowl game. These two teams did end up playing against each other in Super Bowl XLVIII, but while Homer watched the Broncos triumph, in real life it was the Seahawks who took it all home.

The Simpsons, S27E16, The Marge-Ian Chronicles

Life on Mars (Season 27, Episode 16)

Unlike the David Bowie song, Lisa Simpson (Yeardly Smith) did not question whether or not there was life on Mars, because in “The Marge-ian Chronicles” she prepares to travel there herself alongside a group of volunteer astronauts. Unfortunately, we have yet to establish a life form outside of Earth, let alone colonize our neighboring planet. That’s not to say that we haven’t tried, so while Lisa wanted to join those on Mars (and later in the episode, Venus), that possibility has yet to occur outside of the animated sphere.

The Simpsons, S28E2, Friends and Family

Dining Through Virtual Reality (Season 28, Episode 2)

Luckily for us, the way we eat has yet to change. We still have physical plates of food placed in front of us at restaurants, we still cut our food with a fork and knife, and we can still touch the food in front of us. In a 2016 episode, Homer and Marge (Julie Kavner) are seen in the year 2030 “eating” pieces of invisible fudge through the use of virtual reality goggles. We still have a decade to go, but VR-based food doesn’t seem like a feasible prediction based on the status of our health and the physical substances needed to maintain it.

The Simpsons, S6E19, Lisa's Wedding

A Big Change for Big Ben (Season 6, Episode 19)

In reality, London’s Big Ben has not made its infamous “bonging” sound in over a year due to mechanical repairs being conducted since 2019. Although scheduled to return to its regularly chiming in 2021, it will still be the iconic Big Ben that we know and love with the hands on the clock turning 24/7. A 1995 episode, though, showcased that Big Ben went digital in their world’s 2010. The clock tower donned an electronic analog face on the series, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon in real life, especially with two years’ worth of repairs on the original, physical one.

The Simpsons, S3E4, Behind the Laughter

Willie Nelson Goes for a Swim (Season 3, Episode 4)

Willie Nelson is a country singer-songwriter with roots in Americana and folk rock music and a knack for storytelling. Nelson is also a recurring character within the Springfield universe. Yes, Nelson does play himself in the show, but not everything about the animated version remains accurate in terms of facts, history, and predictions for the future. In a Season 3 episode of The Simpsons, Willie Nelson swims across the English Channel diligently for his fans. Could Nelson swim across the English Channel in real life? Maybe. Will he? At 87 years old, probably not.

The Simpsons, S11E17, Bart to the Future

Hologram Mail (Season 11, Episode 17)

Technology is always advancing, especially when it comes to the way we communicate, so Bart’s (Nancy Cartwright) futuristic holographic mail might have been wrong so far, but could eventually come true. That’s right, in “Bart To The Future,” the skater kid himself gets a glimpse into his life down the line, which, while not the prettiest, featured a mailman stopping by his house to give him a letter — a virtual letter in the form of a hologram. Although The Simpsons’ prediction of hologram mail replacing snail mail and email might be incorrect at the moment, the use of holograms during the COVID-19 pandemic is, in fact, on the rise.