‘The Simpsons’ Has Predicted a Lot. Most of It Can Be Explained.

There is no crystal ball in “The Simpsons” writers’ room, but you’d be forgiven for wondering.

Over its nearly 30-year run, the series about the world’s most famous animated family has alluded to many real-life events long before they’ve actually happened: the Trump presidency, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, 9/11 and, most recently, Disney’s takeover of Fox. By some accounts, the coincidences — predictions, if you will — number in the 20s, or more.



This track record has led the show’s legion of fans to think that “The Simpsons” is, at the very least, a product of television’s most intelligent writers, and, at the most, prophetic.

So is there something bigger going on?

The future can be forecast better than one might think, said Al Jean, one of the show’s original writers and its showrunner since 1998. Episodes of “The Simpsons” air a year after they’re produced, he said, so “it’s just a sort of frame of mind that we’ve got that we think one year ahead.”

“I predict people will make too much of our great predictions,” he joked.

The show is the product of brilliant minds, many Harvard educated, said William Irwin, whose book “The Simpsons and Philosophy” has for years been taught in college courses at The University of California, Berkeley and other schools. Mr. Irwin is the chairman of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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