One of the original writers for “The Simpsons” has revealed why he believes the show has such an uncanny ability to accurately guess the future.
Indeed, in its over 30 years on air, the animated Nostradamus has been credited with predicting everything from Roy Horn being mauled by a tiger to fish having three eyes, Apple’s keyboards having a glitch, the big “Game of Thrones” surprise ending, European beef being contaminated with horse meat and, perhaps most famously, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The showrunner of “The Simpsons,” Al Jean, who has been writing for the show since it premiered in 1989, believes the trick to its correct prognostications is both luck and the sheer quantity of episodes produced.
“One of our writers, the guy whose episode predicted Donald Trump as president, said it best: ‘If you write 700 episodes, and you don’t predict anything, then you’re pretty bad. If you throw enough darts, you’re going to get some bullseyes,” Jean recently told NME. Still, he notes that he finds the show’s unintentional 9/11 prediction particularly strange.
The episode premiered in 1996, years before the Twin Towers fell in the terrorist attacks.Courtesy of Fox Broadcasting“The 9/11 one is so bizarre,” said Jean of the episode. “In the World Trade Center episode, [‘The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson’], there was a brochure reading $9 a day with an 11 styled up like the towers. That was in ’96, which was crazy, like this insane coincidence.”
It’s not just Providence that makes “The Simpsons” writers so good at randomly seeing beyond the present, though — it’s also intelligence.
“[Mostly] it’s just educated guesses,” Jean continued. “Stanley Kubrick made the movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in 1968, and there’s Zoom and iPads in it — but that’s because he had futurologists helping him construct what the world might look like in 30 years time.”
As for the show’s own future, Jean says that another “Simpsons” movie may be down the line, although animators already have more than enough on their plates creating the TV show.
“We’re cursed by high ratings,” Jean said. “We’re still on the air as a TV show, and that takes up a lot of time. I worked on the [first] movie simultaneous to the show, and it nearly killed the animators. But we have an idea, it’s just that we’re waiting to see what the environment is.”