The Simpsons has had an impressive track record for predicting future events. A 1998 episode showed the 20th Century Fox logo with “A Division of Walt Disney Co” beneath it. (This week Disney reached a deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox’s assets for $52.4 billion.) In 2000, the show presented an alternate reality where Donald Trump was in the Oval Office. Take a look at 10 other times Matt Groening’s dysfunctional family peered into their crystal ball—with surprisingly accurate results.
1. THE SIEGFRIED AND ROY TIGER ATTACK
Vegas stage magicians Siegfried and Roy had spent decades performing with their stable of tigers without serious incident. In 1993, The Simpsons used stand-ins Gunter and Ernst—clear parodies of the European duo—to express the writing staff’s doubts that their track record would hold up: One of their tigers attacks them while performing in Mr. Burns’s ill-fated Springfield casino. In 2003, Roy Horn was mauled by a tiger while on stage, severing an artery and leaving him with partial paralysis. Horn maintains the tiger bore him no ill will.
2. THE DON MATTINGLY HAIR SCANDAL
3. TWO WORDS: HORSE MEAT
In 1994’s “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song,” Principal Skinner is ousted from his seat after angering the superintendent. Unnoticed by his inspection: the fact that Lunchlady Doris prefers to prepare school lunches using giant tubs of horse parts. In 2013, several food producers in France, Sweden, and the UK were found to have distributed frozen burgers and other products that contained horse meat, an unwelcome additive they did not disclose on package labeling.
4. THEY NAMED THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNER IN ECONOMICS SIX YEARS EARLY
5. THE FIFA CORRUPTION SCANDAL
In a 2014 episode, Homer is petitioned by the head of an unnamed football (a.k.a. soccer) league to help foster a better image after allegations of corruption emerge; he’s quickly carried away in handcuffs. In 2015, FIFA, the world’s leading governing body of soccer, made headlines for a widespread scandal involving the arrest of seven FIFA executives for abusing their positions for financial gain.
6. THE LEMON TREE THIEF
7. A BABY TRANSLATOR
Homer’s down-and-out half-brother, Herb, reversed his fortunes in a 1992 episode when his handheld baby-babble translating device became a sensation. In 2015, an app called the Infant Cries Translator purported to convert your child’s incoherent cries into something resembling speech. The app’s developers claim they analyzed the mewling of 100 newborns to help identify their particular diaper-related needs.
8. A SNAKE MURDER SPREE
9. COOKING GREASE HEISTS
In 2008, The New York Times declared “fryer grease has become gold” for its application as engine fuel after undergoing conversion and detailed a criminal who had siphoned nearly 2500 gallons of the stuff from a Northern California Burger King and other outlets. In 1999, Homer and Bart attempted a similar heist at the grade school’s cafeteria, before being stopped by Groundskeeper Willie.
10. THE THREE-EYED FISH
11. LADY GAGA’S SUPER BOWL LI HALFTIME SHOW.
Gaga’s enthusiastic, airborne performance during the 2017 Super Bowl LI broadcast—the first game in the series’ history to go into overtime—got rave reviews. It turns out she did a dry run in animation five years earlier. In a 2012 episode, Gaga (playing herself) soared over Springfield in a wire harness, much like she did in Austin’s NRG Stadium. Of course, since Gaga was aware of what her cartoon counterpart did, maybe it was less a prediction and more inspiration.