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17 Predictions Made By The Simpsons That Have Come True

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The popular TV show The Simpsons has secured its place in history as the longest-running series, having produced over 700 episodes since it premiered in 1989. Aside for its iconic status in the pop culture zeitgeist, this cartoon about a Springfield family has also become famous for eerily predicting future events decades before they occur.

With offhanded jokes referencing a number of world major events, such as the surprising 2016 U.S. Presidential election or Russia growing as a superpower, the accuracy of what the show has gotten right is downright astounding. With the last several years being increasingly unpredictable, people have started looking to see what else the writers of this sitcom have foreseen. Take a dive into the oddly-accurate predictions this iconic series has already made so far…

Disney’s Takeover of 20th Century Fox

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The fifth episode of the tenth season (“When You Dish Upon A Star”) was a celebrity-heavy affair in which Homer attempts to rub elbows with the Hollywood’s elite. Actors Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin, and director Ron Howard lent their voices as guest stars for this one.

As the story winds on, we find several references to the studio FOX and its apparent takeover by The Walt Disney Company. The signage and joke was probably just noting Disney’s popularity and the company being everywhere. This prediction turned out to be true about twenty years after airing, as the media giant FOX became acquired by Disney in 2019.

NSA Spying

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The Simpsons Movie took to the beloved family to the big screen in 2007, and they didn’t leave the predictions far behind when crafting the film. Marge discusses her plan to out government secrets courtesy of National Security Agency, and what we saw wasn’t far from the truth.

As Marge’s taken into a room filled with monitors and staff listening in on various phone and media conversations, we get a sneak peek into what was to come in 2013, when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on all the spying that was actually going on courtesy of the NSA.

Three-Eyed Fish

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In the fourth episode of the second season, (“Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”) Bart and Lisa uncover a three-eyed fish during an innocent afternoon outing by the river. This fish is a little too close to the nuclear power plant where Homer works, sparking some environmental controversy in Springfield.

This storyline turned into international news in 2011 near Argentina, when a three-eyed fish was discovered in a reservoir that was being fed near a nuclear power plant. It didn’t take long for environmentalists to make a real-life connection to the television show.

Greece’s Defaulted Debt

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Season 23, episode 10 (“Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson”) has Homer appearing as a guest commentator on the Cable News show Head Butt. While Homer is at the news desk, a ticker is seen running across the bottom of the screen that clearly reads, “Europe puts Greece up for sale on eBay.”

The episode premiered in 2012, and just three years later, in 2015, Greece indeed became the first developed country of the world to default to the International Monetary Fund, which plunged the country and its citizens into even deeper economic ruin.

FIFA’s Corruption

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The Simpsons writers certainly don’t shy away from high profile events, and the World Cup is proof of that. In the sixteenth episode of the twenty-fifth season (“You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee”), through massive corruption within the organization, Homer is asked to referee the games and restore integrity to the the sport once more.

While blowing the door wide open on the corruption scandal, Homer is tempted to throw the game, deciding at the last minute to call fairly and allow Germany to take the championship. The episode aired in 2014, and in 2015, FIFA was subject to investigation for bribery, fraud, and money laundering, with German officials at the helm.

Ebola Outbreak

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The third episode of season 9 (“Lisa’s Sax”), which premiered in 1997, had Marge trying to cheer up Bart by reading Curious George and the Ebola Virus. Though the virus existed long before the episode aired, the timing of this nefarious children’s recitation pointed to future complications.

2014 and 2015 brought with it one of the largest Ebola outbreaks in world history, affecting more than a charming and innocent monkey. Over 28,000 people were infected, with 11,000 succumbing to the infection before the WHO stepped in to aid in its management.

The Evolution Of The Smart Watch

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In the nineteenth episode of the sixth season (“Lisa’s Wedding”), with the help of a fortune teller, Lisa sees her future nuptials. The storyline shows a glimpse into more than a decade from the 1995 airing, we get to see some notable technological devices that show up innocuously, including the Apple Watch.

Lisa’s boyfriend Hugh botches their proposal, prompting him to place an audible call by talking into his wristwatch. In the mid-90s, this just seemed like a dream device, but as of 2013, smart watches with voice recognition entered the market, and now are everywhere.

Autocorrect Feature

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In the eighth episode of the sixth season (“Lisa on Ice”), we see that not only did The Simpsons autocorrect feature raise awareness of poor penmanship and its consequences, it actively contributed to future events that would result in the development of an autocorrect feature on phones and text devices.

From the faulty “Eat up, Martha” found on a bully’s Apple Newton, the Apple company took its cues and developed autocorrect for text and dictation devices, improving communication and allowing for some extremely awkward miscommunications from being avoided.

The Outcome Of The Super Bowl

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Season 3, episode 14 (“Lisa The Greek”) has Lisa correctly predicting the outcome of Super Bowl XXVI, with the Washington Redskins marching to victory over the Buffalo Bills. Interestingly enough, the airing of this episode came just a few days prior to the game.

A psychic writing team accurately also predicted the following two Super Bowl championships as well, calling the Dallas Cowboys to victory both years, again over the Buffalo Bills. Since then, loyal fans have tuned in to Simpsons episodes to see if their winning streak would continue.

Stealing Cooking Grease For Cash

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Homer has seen himself with dozens of different jobs over the years, and has always tried to make a quick buck. His  motivation to provide for his family drove him to some terrible ideas. In the first episode of the tenth season (“Lard of the Dance”), one of his get-rich-quick schemes involves stealing cooking grease from restaurants and selling it to make a profit.

Little did writers realize that delinquent fans would take their cues from the show in 2012, attempting to siphon grease from New York City restaurants to sell it for quick cash. At almost $1 per gallon, the slick thieves got little more than a reprimand for their slippery deeds.

The Beatles Finally Getting To Their Fan Mail

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In the eighteenth episode of the second season (“Brush with Greatness”), Marge reveals that she sent her high school crush Ringo Starr a portrait she painted of him. After decades of hearing nothing from the former Beatle, she’d all but given up hope when she suddenly receives a response thanking her for her gift.

The prediction seemed to come to pass. Whether it’s because The Beatles watched the show or they had more time to get around to returning fan mail, we may never know. What we do know is that as recently as 2013, two women from Essex received a thank you from Sir Paul McCartney after sending him a mixtape nearly 50 years earlier.

All Eyes On Russia

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In season 9, episode 19 (“Simpson Tide”), Homer ends up being fired from his job at the nuclear power plant and joining the U.S. Navy. While on a submarine, he ends up taking the ship into Russian waters, leading to an international crisis.

During a United Nations session, the Russian ambassador refers says that the Soviet Union hasn’t really dissolved. There is then a sequence that then shows the Berlin Wall instantly being rebuilt, the Soviet flag being flown again, and Vladimir Lenin coming back to life. In February 2022, with Russia invading Ukraine, many have wondered what the future of Russia will look like.

Putting Horse Meat In Food

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We don’t really know what’s in the food we eat. Production pressure, cost-cutting, and perhaps a hidden agenda motivate some companies to blend ingredients to make ends meet. Springfield Elementary’s Lunchlady Doris blazes a trail in season 5, episode 19 (“Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baada***** Song”) with her gruesome concoction.

Doris is seen adding horse parts to a typical elementary school lunch. Little did she know that in 2013, health officials would discover that in fact several beef production companies had been adding horse meat to their products as well, and passing them off as other types of meat.

Suing An All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant

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Homer Simpson’s enormous appetite is pretty famous and has been the punchline of many jokes throughout the series. In season 4, episode 8 (“New Kid on the Block”), he discovers a new seafood restaurant with an all-you-can-eat option. While he is still chowing down long after the restaurant is looking to close, he is thrown out of the restaurant.

Not being satisfied with the promise the commercial made, Homer decides to sue for false advertising. Whether patrons took the show’s advice or whether it was mere coincidence, there were lawsuits that followed Homer’s example. In 2012 and again in 2017, this legal issue made its way through the courts, with one particularly ironic being in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Video Chats

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Season 6 episode 19 has us back at Lisa’s wedding once more, with yet another tech gadget prominently prophesied that came to pass more than a decade after the 1995 episode aired. In addition to the Apple Watch, the show predicted the evolution of other forms of communication as we know it.

2010’s introduction of the video chat via Skye, Google, Hangout and FaceTime is now the accepted standard of internet communication used by millions of people each day. While many forms of TV and movies like to make forecasts about what advances we’ll see in the future, the show clearly has a knack for technology coming to fruition.

U.S. Gold Medal Win In Curling

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In Season 21, episode 12 (“Boy Meets Curl”) the Simpsons family goes international when Homer and Marge are recruited for the United States Curling team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It took a bit of determination and some serious beating the odds, but the U.S. was able to sweep Sweden for the gold.

A mere eight years later, Marge and Homer weren’t on team U.S.A., but they did manage to pull ahead of the Swedish Curling team and win the gold medal in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. No one was more surprised than the Swedish team, who had retained a clear advantage until this surprising upset.

“Average Joe” Visits Space

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Season 5, episode 15 (“Deep Space Homer”) has Homer sent into space as a representative for the “Average Joe” in hopes that NASA will regain its popularity of the past. His hilarious hijinks were soon to be mimicked in real life as a result of a 2013 contest in the United Kingdom.

25-year-old Oliver Knight beat over 250 candidates to be able to take the real-life trip into space. Multiple interviews, rigorous testing, and a tight training schedule turned Knight into a solid representative, affording him the experience of a lifetime.

Covering Up Michelangelo’s David

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Did The Simpsons actually cause controversy around one of the most famous works of art? Michelangelo’s legendary statue of the Biblical David was referenced in a season 2 episode (“Itchy and Scratchy and Marge”). What started as mild censorship quickly spiraled out of control.

Marge’s attempt at cartoon censorship quickly bled over into the art world, when cartoon outcry arose at the nude statue of David and how it might influence patrons. People in Russia had the same debate in 2016, when it was suggested that the real statue be covered with clothing.

 Nobel Prize Winner

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Some of the best written jokes on the show are quickly displayed that viewers may not catch without pausing or rewinding. These are referred to as “freeze frame gags” and often require a keen eye to spot. In the season 22 premiere, Lisa and her friends are logging predictions for the Nobel Peace Prize, and we quickly see Homer’s board for who he chose to win.

While in 2012, Milhouse does lose out on his prediction that Bengt R. Holmstrom would win the prize for economics, it was just four short years later that Holmstrom would be recognized for the subject in 2016. It has left us to wonder if this appointment was pre-planned.

Doughnut-Shaped Universe

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There’s just something magical about the meeting of one of the brightest minds in the universe and one of the dimmest minds the world has ever known. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has made appearances on several Simpsons episodes, with one in particular causing fans to raise eyebrows.

In the twenty-second episode of the tenth season, (“They Saved Lisa’s Brain”) while over beers at Moe’s Tavern, Hawking tells Homer that he’s intrigued by Homer’s theory of a doughnut-shaped universe. This theory does actually exist, though Hawking is much more likely to have come up with it than Homer Simpson.

The Shard

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We are taken to the episode “Lisa’s Wedding” yet again and this time the prediction is too eerie to be considered coincidental. In keeping with the technology advancements already present in the show, Big Ben is featured with a digital face, and behind it is a building that hadn’t been constructed at the time of airing.

Construction of the Shard, the tallest building in the UK, is seen in the 1995 episode, but wasn’t started until 2009. Not only does the skyscraper resemble the shape of the mystery building in the show, but it is also located in the same exact location when compared to Big Ben.

The Donald Trump Presidency

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In season 11, episode 17, (“Bart to the Future”) this time we see that Bart is the one to get a look at what’s in store for him and his family. In his vision, Lisa has officially become President of the United States, and she is vowing to once again pick the country up by its bootstraps and regain financial security.

Her cabinet and administration are holding a meeting and they mention that they have to clean things up after President Trump. This is probably one of the most famous predictions that the show has made accurately, and it did so sixteen years before it ever happened. The writers’ getting this one right has made many people take these predictions a bit more seriously.

Faulty Voting Machines

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At this point, the “Treehouse of Horror” annual Halloween episodes have become a beloved tradition of the show. In the fourth episode of season 20 (“Treehouse of Horror XIX”) one of the vignettes has Homer attempting to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. A faulty voting machine ends up tallying it for his opponent John McCain.

In years since that episode aired, it’s been shown that even computerized voting is not infallible. In the 2012 Presidential election, there were reported instances of votes that were cast for then-President Obama, but were counted for his opponent Mitt Romney.

Tom Hanks For America

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This was another instance where it wasn’t the series itself that predicted something, but instead was from The Simpsons Movie that came out in 2007. In the movie, the family is watching TV and see a commercial with actor Tom Hanks. In it, Hanks says the line, “The US government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine.”

Similarly, in January 2022, the Presidential Inaugural Committee released a video marking the first year of President Biden’s term, narrated by none other than Tom Hanks. The ad focused on the resilience of America despite the significant challenges that the country faced over the past couple of years. Many couldn’t help but see the connection to The Simpsons‘ version.

Siegfried and Roy Tiger Attack

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Season 5, episode 10 (“$pringfield”) has local billionaire Mr. Burns opening a Vegas-style casino in Springfield. One of his premiere attractions was the duo Gunter and Ernst, two flashy performers that do magic and work with a tiger. At one point, the tiger Anastasia suddenly turns on them and attacks them.

In 2003, nearly ten years after this episode aired, life imitated art quite unfortunately. During one of the shows for famed Vegas performers, Siegfried and Roy, Roy Horn, one of the magicians and animal handlers ended up being mauled by one of the tigers.

Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Performance

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Many loyal fans of the show regard the 22nd episode of the 23rd season (“Lisa Goes Gaga”) as one of the poorer episode’s in the show’s long history. However, it does quite accurately predict the rise of Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl appearance that would happen just four years later.

Gaga’s performance on the show very closely resembles her actual performance at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.  The aerial display of the singer flying over the crowd, the similar metallic outfit, as well as the fireworks all happened in real life as well.

The 2020 Experience

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If we’d only taken heed of Marge’s warning back in 1993, we might have been prepared for what 2020 had in story for the world. The nearly 30-year-old episode from season 4 (“Marge in Chains”) had a plotline about an unprecedented flu virus sweeping through Springfield, wreaking havoc on young and old.

As if the virus wasn’t bad enough, people eventually began to riot for a cure while a swarm of bees attacks them. As 2020 was certainly remembered as a rough year with the amount of people that got sick, news stories also mentioned the discovery of “murder hornets” coming into the picture.

Higgs-Boson Particle

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Homer has big dreams in the second episode of season 10, where he is inspired and motivated by the works of Thomas Edison. As Homer becomes embroiled in all things theoretical and mathematical, he can be seen scribbling on a chalkboard to reveal an equation.

More than a decade later, scientists uncovered the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle, otherwise known as the “God particle.” This equation is eerily similar to the formula you can see Homer scribbling on his chalkboard in that episode, “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace.”

Mutant Tomatoes

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In the fifth episode of season eleven, (“E-I-E-I-Annoyed Grunt”) a ridiculous attempt by Homer to crossbreed some crops on a farm he owns results in the “tomacco,” plant, a hybrid tomato/tobacco product. It had nuclear residue from Homer’s day job at the power plant that helped form the mixture. It was difficult to find a use for this disgusting combo.

Once again, satire became reality in 2013, when fruits and vegetables in Japan were affected. Crops that grew near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that had an accident in 2011, had morphed into hybrid horrors, becoming unusable for anything except refuse.

The Albuquerque Isotopes

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The Albuquerque Isotopes may not have been a prediction of sorts, but a natural extension of the show’s pop culture suggestions. Season 12, episode 15 (“Hungry Hungry Homer”) has Homer going on a hunger strike in protest of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team threatening to move to Albuquerque.

A short year later, the Calgary Cannons relocated to New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Tribune reached out to fans to select a new name. As they showed up in droves to support the new team, they unanimously voted on the name the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Selling Ferrets As Toy Poodles

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The mobster Fat Tony is notorious for his knowledge of the dark side of Springfield. His not-very-legal antics and ability to craft some dark schemes are pretty frequent throughout the series. One hustle actually had real-life criminals sitting up and take notice of what writers were doing on the show.

The season finale of the season 13 inspired a movement in which criminals attempted to groom ferrets and pass them off as toy poodles. The cartoon version of this deed was accomplished with cotton balls. So imagine an Argentinian man’s surprise when he bought what he thought was a dog, only to find out later that he’d been duped into it really being a ferret.

Bloody Billboard

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Plenty of storylines involve a show-within-a-show advertising, with billboards, radio, and television commercials telling the tale of a sub-story. In the sixth episode of season 4 (“Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie”) the beloved cartoon Itchy and Scratchy were promoting their first movie with a particularly gory billboard.

The billboard features Scratchy getting his head cut off, spurting what appears to be blood into open cars. A real billboard for the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill Vol 1. emerged in 2008 with a similar advertisement, advertising remnants from Beatrix Kiddo’s most recent victim.

Whacking Day

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Season 4, episode 20 (“Whacking Day”) of The Simpsons is a classic episode that satirizes some of the rituals that some small towns have, no matter how seemingly-senseless. To celebrate Whacking Day, residents of Springfield are tasked with slaying as many snakes as possible.

In real life, the Python Challenge has become an annual event across southern Florida. Residents and tourists alike wade into the murky waters of the Florida Everglades to help thin out the population of Burmese pythons, whose overpopulation has endangered local wildlife.

Drogon’s Fiery Rampage on Game Of Thrones

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In 2017, the first episode of the 29th season was an episode entitled “The Serfsons.” The plot had the Simpsons gang smack dab in the middle of an alternate universe called Springfieldia, a kingdom that closely paralleled many aspects of life in Westeros on the hit series Game of Thrones.

In the episode, a fire-breathing dragon ends up burning down the Serfson’s village. In the spring of 2019, Game of Thrones was at the end of its run, and to much controversy, King’s Landing residents saw their entire town burnt to a crisp by Daenerys’ own Drogon, in the action-packed episode, “The Bells.”

 Catchphrases In The Lexicon

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Aside for providing great entertainment for over thirty years, The Simpsons has given popular culture plenty of catchphrases as well. One of the more common phrases that comes to mind is Homer’s trademark “D’oh!” It’s become so a part of the lexicon that it’s become acceptable to utter when caught in a sticky situation.

This prime-time blunder phrase has become so popular that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary, becoming an official word in the English language. Other words that were created by the writers or were popularized by the show such as “embiggen,” “meh” and “yoink” have also been added to certain dictionaries as well.

Political Props

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While truly an icon now, The Simpsons at its peak of popularity was a source of frustration to some, as they saw it signaled the end of traditional family values. While it may not have been the first show to poke fun at a traditional family dynamic, it became widely publicized thanks to its reference by a U.S. President.

President George H.W. Bush pushed conservative values on the campaign trail, citing that America needed to get back to the wholesome relationships you saw on The Waltons and be less like The Simpsons. Naturally, the show decided to make an episode in the seventh season  (“Two Bad Neighbors”) based on the comment, which saw Homer and his new neighbor President Bush become enemies.

 Primetime Animations Galore

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While cartoons in the ’70s and ’80s had a tendency to cater to child audiences, The Simpsons was one of the first animated series to inject adult humor and mature situations into a cartoon. This risk paid off, and the show earned a loyal following of teens and adults alike.

This certainly set the stage for other animated shows to follow, with King of the Hill, South Park, and Family Guy being some of the more successful examples that have been hot on the heels of The Simpsons franchise. The intelligent humor sprinkled with moments of shock became the perfect recipe for animated sitcoms.

Elimination Of The Laugh Track

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For those that grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, they should be very familiar with the concept and sound of a laugh track. These moments were brought to us courtesy of sitcom writers, who may not have had enough faith in their audiences to find appropriate moments to laugh that they needed to cue them when a joke was made.

The Simpsons emerged without a laugh track, thankfully. Audiences had grown tired of the canned response, and other shows followed suit. Nowadays, a majority of shows, whether they are animated or live-action comedy series, can be enjoyed without artificial chuckles.

Forever Impacting Our Culture

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With The Simpsons setting the gold standard for animated comedy, many other television shows have taken several storylines or jokes from the classic comedy and reused them. The concept and idea of The Simpsons‘ impact on television was even a storyline.

On the longstanding animated show South Park, there was an episode entitled, “The Simpsons Already Did It.” The entire premise of that episode highlights that nothing is original anymore, and notes the plethora of gags and jokes that The Simpsons writers have already done.

Putting Fox On The Map Forevermore

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Thanks to the popularity and cultural acceptance of The Simpsons, FOX is now officially on the entertainment map for all eternity. The network’s inception in 1985 might have been small, but since the dawn of the hit show, it has become one of the most well-known and successful networks in entertainment.

A statue of Bart Simpson grace’s FOX’s New York City office grounds, paying tribute to the quirky characters that have changed the face of animated television culture. While the series has no plans to end its run, whenever it does, there will certainly be millions of fans that can attest to how monumental the show has been.