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10 Times Cartoons Other Than The Simpsons Predicted The Future

Droopy_predicts_FOX_News

If you guys all heard a “thunk” echoing from somewhere in the Midwest tundra recently, that was my head hitting the desk after reading the latest “Simpson’s predicted it” news story. You see, at the 2021 US inauguration, vice president Kamala Harris was sworn in while wearing a purple pantsuit, exactly as how Lisa Simpson is shown in a 2000s episode of The Simpsons… when Lisa becomes president.

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“Ooooh spooky!” said the Internet the way it always does. Now we’ll grant, that’s a spiffy resemblance on the wardrobe, but there’s a lot of logical leaps being ignored here:

  • Kamala Harris is currently vice president, not president. Lisa was shown as being prez.
  • It’s a pantsuit. It’s what professional women wear.
  • That’s not even the same shade, or cut – note Lisa’s absence of lapels.
  • Pantsuits only come in so many sensible colors.
  • Purple is traditionally a color of authority, as in “imperial dye.”
  • I might be putting thoughts into Mrs. Harris’s head here, but she may have been giving us a subliminal hint of support for Joe Biden’s “unite the divided nation” platform. Red + blue = purple.

Over the years, these “Simpsons predicts the future” posts keep piling up. Business Insider, the redneck Wall Street Journal, has a list claiming 18 times that The Simpsons “accurately” predicted the future! The list has nuggets like this claim that The Simpsons predicted Apple’s Watch:

Business_Insider_Simpsons_prediction

Hey Business Insider! Dick Tracy called:

dick-tracy-2-way-wrist-TV

He says your research sucks! Not to mention that the smartwatch has been a developing idea for decades. The concept did not spring forth unheralded from Cupertino’s drafting tables.

This rustled my oft-rustled jimmies all over again, because The Simpsons gets all the credit all the time. The show has been on continuously for 32 years – it damn well better get a prediction accidentally right through sheer law of averages. In fact, given its a comedy featuring heavy social satire, it’s kind of sad that the writers don’t guess right even more often.

I shall now demonstrate that any cartoon has the exact same prognostication powers as Matt Groening’s progeny:

FOX_News_Droopy

[1] Droopy predicted FOX News

In the 1949 Droopy cartoon “Out-Foxed,” Droopy is part of a British fox-hunting troupe. We get an establishing shot of said fox at home, casually reading his “Fox News” newspaper. Cue some half-century later, the actual FOX News TV channel premieres. Ironically, foxes in popular culture are typically portrayed as wily and clever.

[2] Alvin and the Chipmunks predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall

We’d like to see The Simpsons top this! One year before the actual event, Alvin and the Chipmunks broadcast the episode “The Wall” which had no connection to Pink Floyd (as awesome as that would be). The furry fab’s playing is so heartfelt that they apparently collapse the Berlin Wall with nothing but their groovy love power. This actual event, minus the singing rodents, would take place in November of 1989, just 11 months after this episode aired.

How did they know? Well, the Berlin Wall had achieved worldwide meme status long before this, as a general symbol of Cold War relics. Then-US president Ronald Reagan made his “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” speech at Brandenburg Gate in 1987. Musicians playing at the Berlin Wall were a regular event before the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode, including David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. But even with all that, the Berlin Wall dropping wasn’t a certainty right up until it happened. So good call, Alvin!

[3] The Critic predicted Home Alone 5

How weak is this? Well, never mind, this is The Critic, Generation X’s own 1990s forgotten satire, which must be shoved into every post it will half-fit, since it’s never going to deserve a post of its own. Home Alone 5 didn’t come out until 2012. Hey, the cartoon was about a movie critic. What else was he supposed to predict, the Higgs Boson?

[4] Futurama predicted Amazon would survive the dot-com crash

Pretty freaky, but Futurama is basically another Simpsons, so we can’t get too excited. This is fron the episode “Three Hundred Big Boys” which first aired June 15, 2003. Characters discuss buying Amazon.com stock, 5 shares for a penny. At the time, Amazon stock was trading at under $20, and the great dot-com crash had just happened, wiping out eCommerce with many doubting it would ever recover. Futurama was shorting the value just a tad, but otherwise was on target.

But Amazon, as we all know, managed to do just fine. At that, it was through sheer fluke of luck that it didn’t crumble with the rest of the dot-com empires. In fact, the dot-com bubble actually helped it, because it wiped the board of all competition.

Loony_Tunes_Hitler_suicide

[5] The Looney Tunes short Tortoise Wins by a Hare predicted Adolph Hitler’s suicide

There’s a thing going around with cartoon shorts and throwaway newspaper gags, isn’t there? The short Tortoise Wins by a Hare aired in 1943, showing “tortoise and hare” race with Bugs Bunny as the rabbit of honor. The newspaper announcing this event is a real newspaper copy, but the “Adolph Hitler commits suicide” line was inserted along with other edits. This was typical of Warner Brothers and cartoons in general during WWII, which inserted one-off gags wherever they could; doubtless one outcome or another would be guessed somewhere along the way. Hitler, of course, died in 1945, with the best shot he ever took.

Pinocchio_Red_Lobster

[6] Pinocchio predicted Red Lobster restaurants

Disney’s Pinocchio premiered in 1940. The Red Lobster restaurant chain debuted in 1968. Granted, it’s a pretty obvious thing to name a seafood restaurant.

[7] Spongebob Squarepants predicted that mayonnaise could be an instrument

We don’t care if this experiment was directly provoked by the cartoon. Any day we can vindicate Patrick is a good day around here. Also, we’re not about to cross a sound engineer. Those people are dangerous witches.

South_Park_same-sex_marriage

[8] South Park predicted same-sex marriage

While nobody is handing South Park any LGBTQ+ sensitivity awards, the episode “Follow That Egg!” aired 2005 and has Big Gay Al marry his sweetheart Mr. Slave. Same-sex marriage would not be federally legal until 2015 under then-president Obama. Even though states were individually legalizing same-sex marriage as early as the 2000s, Colorado, where South Park is set, did not legalize same-sex marriage until 2015.

However, we can’t do better than award a half-point here since this was a loudly vocalized progressive issue for many years prior. South Park has also been another disgustingly long-running show, so while it is marking its time trying to outlive The Simpsons, it could snap up a future prediction for itself more often.

[9] Family Guy predicted Caitlyn Jenner’s gender change

We’re trying not to get too personal here, but, meh, one’s Family Guy and the other is a Kardashian, so we don’t care who wins. Stewie here makes blunt assessment of Jenner’s genitals, but he’s one to talk while wearing a hat that you could lose Carmen Miranda and a bunch of bananas in. This episode aired 2009; Jenner transformed in 2015.

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[10] Bugs Bunny had to fly a plane between two towers in New York

You didn’t think you’d get out of this article without at least one 9/11 reference, did you? The 1943 short Falling Hare, Bugs Bunny fights a gremlin while piloting a plane. The gremlin sabotages his flight (this is exactly the same WWII gremlins that the movies would be based on), and Bugs at one point has to flip ‘er sideways to dodge a narrow gap between two towers in the Big Apple. That’s all it takes for legions of Internet fans to lump this in with the rest of the obscure references to the World Trade Center tragedy of 2001.

We should really do a 9/11 post sometime…

Just kidding.

We could, of course, spout paragraphs about apophenia, the tendency to perceive connections between unconnected things. It’s a common short-circuit in our brains, which weren’t wired up to have decades of media and information accessible on a screen in front of our noses all day. We also really suck at statistics, else we would never find it remarkable that out of the billions of hours of video footage out there, we can only find ten or fifteen instances where real life later imitated art.

But hey, if it’s more fun to go “Ooooh spooky!” You go right on ahead, as long as you’re not hurting anybody else with your craziness. After all, if you’re really into apophenia, you’re just the kind of person who could go back and find the secret message embedded in a blog post.

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