5 Real-Life Events Predicted by Simpsons Jokes
1. Blood-Splattering Billboard
In 2008, the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi constructed a blood-splattering billboard in promotion of the television debut of Kill Bill Volume 1. The blood rained down on one of the busiest intersections in Auckland, New Zealand.
Seventeen years before the Kill Bill billboard, The Simpsons featured a similarly gory ad. In the season four episode “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie,” a promotional billboard for The Itchy and Scratchy Movie splatters blood on unsuspecting drivers.
2. Roy Gets Mauled
In 2003, Roy Horn of the duo Siegfried & Roy was attacked on stage by a 7-year-old white tiger named Montecore. Thankfully, Horn survived the attack and eventually regained the ability to walk and talk. The duo even performed a final show with Montecore before retiring in 2010.
The Simpsons predicted the Horn attack 10 years before it occurred. In the season five episode, “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)," Homer and Ned Flanders travel to Las Vegas where they meet Gunter and Ernst, a Siegfried and Roy parody. Near the end of the episode, one of the duo’s white tigers attacks the performers. On the commentary for the season five DVD, the production team dismissed this incident as evidence of their greenseeing abilities, saying that it was “bound to happen” sooner or later.
3. Grease Thieves
As oil prices have soared over the last decade, so has the ability to make a living stealing grease. Grease thieves target commercial kitchens and siphon away the valuable fryer grease. In 2000, the price for yellow grease was 7.6 cents/pound. By 2008, that figure had risen to 33 cents/pound. One raid on a Burger King netted a bandit 2500 gallons of grease worth over $6000.
In the season 10 premiere “Lard of the Dance,” which first aired in 1998, Homer and Bart initiate a get-rich-quick scheme where they attempt to steal grease from Springfield Elementary in order to sell it for a profit.
4. Don Mattingly Gets Benched Because of His Hair
In 1991, Yankee captain Don Mattingly was benched by manager Stump Merrill for refusing to cut his long hair. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner had demanded that Merrill bench all players with unkempt hair, so the Yankee manager was forced to sit his best player.
Months later, Mattingly appeared on the classic 1992 The Simpsons episode “Homer at the Bat” from season three. Mattingly is one of nine professional baseball players to appear in the episode as a member of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. In the episode, Mattingly is benched by Mr. Burns for his unruly sideburns.
The episode was produced so close to the incident with Steinbrenner that most fans assumed The Simpsons was lampooning the event. But according to Deadspin, Mattingly recorded his lines for the episode a full month before his real-life benching. The story was actually inspired by showrunner Al Jean’s grandfather, who was obsessed with the facial hair of his employees.
5. Malfunctioning Voting Booths
In 2012, voters in the presidential election were furious when a man posted this video on YouTube:
The video shows a voter selecting Barack Obama, only to have the screen register for Mitt Romney. The populace were outraged and questions about vote integrity were raised by the media.
Four years earlier, during the Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XIX,” Homer found himself in an eerily similar situation. In the episode, Homer attempts to vote for Barack Obama, only to have the machine select John McCain instead.