What: A handy, interactive guide to every prediction from The Simpsons that proved accurate.
Who: Analytical consultant (and Redditor) Seffana Mohamed-Ajaz.
Why we care: Last week, something incredible happened.
A keen-eyed Simpsons fan surfaced an old clip that felt eerily prescient to our current moment—a panicked public dealing with murderous hornet-style insects during a viral crisis—and then one of the show’s most celebrated writers acknowledged the coincidence.
ok fine i guess we did https://t.co/Nf4suyC8A3
— BILL OAKLEY (@thatbilloakley) May 6, 2020
This sequence of events would have seemed even more incredible, however, if it hadn’t already happened many times before.
Over its 30-plus years on TV, The Simpsons has proven a reliable prognosticator of future events—including, perhaps most famously, the Trump presidency. (Although, to be fair, a lot of TV shows somehow also predicted that.) Maybe it’s because the writing staff has always included comedic geniuses such as John Swartzwelder, Conan O’Brien, Greg Daniels, and Megan Amram. Maybe it’s because if you stick around for 639 episodes and counting of trenchant social commentary, eventually some of your big swings are gonna connect. For whatever reason, though, the world is perennially catching up to The Simpsons. (We at Fast Company stepped into the Simpsons prediction business a couple years ago to guess whether Homer would have voted for Trump.)
Although many listicles have gathered up the show’s prophesies in the past, no collection has ever arrived with the bells and whistles of Seffana Mohamed-Ajaz’s interactive data visualization. The analytical consultant lists 40 predictions—from the Ebola outbreak, to the FIFA corruption scandal, to the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones—and charts what year they were made and how long they took to come true. It turns out the shortest lapse between prophecy and fulfillment was 0 years, when Lisa Simpson accurately picked the Super Bowl winner for 1992, while it took 27 years for Springfield’s three-eyed fish to emerge. (Although there is some dispute about when the first three-eyed fish actually came to our attention.)
Play around with the dataviz here until our favorite cheddar-skinned Nostradamuses hit paydirt again.