The iconic animated sitcom The Simpsons is known for its satirical take on American culture and uncanny ability to seemingly predict major events. One of the most famous cases is an episode from 2000 that appears to foreshadow Donald Trump’s eventual presidency.
This article will provide an overview of that episode, its key Trump links, and the reactions to its apparent predictive power.
Overview of ‘Bart to the Future’ (Season 11, Episode 17)
The episode in question is titled “Bart to the Future” and originally aired on March 19, 2000. It depicts Bart Simpson taking a glimpse into his potential future as a layabout musician ().
The main plot involves Bart and his father Homer going to a Native American casino where Bart has a vision that he will become a rock star. The secondary storyline focuses on Lisa Simpson’s future as President of the United States.
In Bart’s vision of the future, Lisa has just been elected President and is working to fix the many problems she’s inherited. The nation is facing a massive budget crunch due to the actions of the previous administration.
Upon taking office, President Lisa states: “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” This joking reference to a future Trump presidency seemed absurd at the time to most viewers ().
Other Trump References
Other references to Donald Trump are made in the episode. Lisa’s Secretary of the Treasury is named “Doug Trump” and states their money has become worthless. Bart’s band is called “Trumptastic Voyage” in the future ().
While including Trump was intended as a silly celebrity cameo, the mentions take on new meaning given Trump’s actual later presidency. The scene directly naming him as a former president is especially striking.
Reactions and Analysis
In retrospect, many media outlets and viewers have spotlighted the Trump presidency prediction as one of The Simpsons’ greatest prophecy moments (). However, some analysts also caution that these “predictions” often seem more improbable or meaningful in hindsight.
Showrunner Al Jean commented that it was mostly just coincidence, as they wanted a celebrity name everyone would recognize as a joke. He expressed surprise at it becoming real (). The episode’s writer said Lisa’s line was meant as a “warning to America.”
Other Notable Simpsons “Predictions”
The Simpsons has seemingly predicted numerous other major events over its long run:
- Auto-correct technology (1994 episode) ()
- Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox (1998 episode) ()
- Siegfried and Roy tiger attack (1993 episode) ()
- Lady Gaga Super Bowl show (2012 episode) ()
- Smartwatches (1995 episode) ()
While prescient in certain cases, the vagueness and abundance of Simpsons content makes coincidental hits fairly likely statistically. Still, the Trump presidency prediction seems one of the most spot-on.
Impact of the Trump Presidency Prediction
The Simpsons’ calling out of a Trump presidency years before it happened has become a cultural touchstone. For critics, it epitomizes concerns that Trump’s troubling behavior was long apparent. For supporters, it shows distrust of conservative figures ().
In any case, it remains a testament to The Simpsons’ perceptive and satirical commentary on American society – with one of the most memorable being the almost casual suggestion that one day Donald Trump would be president.
The Simpsons’ “Bart to the Future” episode in 2000 can be seen as foreshadowing Donald Trump’s real-life presidency in 2016. While likely intended as an outlandish joke, the vision of Trump succeeding Bill Clinton and GW Bush as president became soberingly real. This uncanny prediction demonstrates the legendary animated show’s knack for layering humor with disturbing yet insightful truths about America’s political and cultural trajectory.
- IMDb. “The Simpsons – Bart to the Future (2000)” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0701127/
- USA Today. “‘Simpsons’ writer predicted President Trump – in 2000” https://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/02/the-simpsons-president-donald-trump-prediction-writer-dan-greaney
- Esquire. “All the Times The Simpsons Predicted the Future” https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/g28137716/simpsons-predictions/
- BBC. “The Simpsons: Bart to the Future – when TV predicted President Trump” https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200731-the-simpsons-bart-to-the-future-when-tv-predicted-president-trump
- The Hollywood Reporter. “‘Simpsons’ Showrunner: “President Trump Was a Warning to America”” https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/simpsons-showrunner-president-trump-was-a-warning-america-1306094/
- Mashable. “7 times ‘The Simpsons’ predicted the future with eerie precision” https://mashable.com/2015/10/21/simpsons-back-to-the-future-day/
- CNN. “’The Simpsons’ predicted Disney would buy Fox” https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/19/media/simpsons-disney-fox-prediction/index.html
- E! Online. “How The Simpsons Predicted That Bizarre 2000s Tiger Woods Scandal” https://www.eonline.com/news/962588/a-look-back-at-the-simpsons-predictions-that-came-true
- Billboard. “Looking Back at ‘The Simpsons” History of Astute Musical Predictions” https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/the-simpsons-music-predictions-7510562/
- USA Today. “Hitting the big time: 9 times ‘The Simpsons’ predicted the future” https://ftw.usatoday.com/lists/the-simpsons-predictions-future-simpsons-did-it
- The Atlantic. “The Prophecies of Q” https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/qanon-nothing-can-stop-what-is-coming/610567/
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