First things first: No, “The Simpsons” cannot actually predict the future.
Yet, as the longest-running sitcom in US history, the timeless series often finds itself aligning with “life imitates art” moments that happen years after airing.
This week, for example, users on social media couldn’t help but wonder at the latest coincidence between Vice President Kamala Harris’ outfit during the inauguration and Lisa Simpson’s outfit in an episode from 2000.
In “Bart to the Future,” Lisa assumes the presidency and asks the now-viral line, “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.”
In the episode, Lisa wore a purple jacket and pearls. At Wednesday’s inauguration, Harris wore a purple jacket and pearls. With Harris serving immediately after Donald Trump’s presidency, comparisons by viewers were readily made.
The similarities with the inauguration didn’t stop there for Simpsons fans. Actor Tom Hanks appeared as a host during a virtual concert Wednesday evening, which aimed to keep with President Joe Biden’s theme of national unity in a time of crisis.
In “The Simpsons Movie” from 2007, Hanks in a cameo role pitches a proposed new Grand Canyon at Springfield, the hometown of the Simpsons.
“Hello. I’m Tom Hanks. The US government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine,” he says.
At the end of the scene, he says, “If you’re gonna pick a government to trust, why not this one?”
Speculation over the show’s prescient abilities is nothing new. Fans claim the show predicted, among other instances, the Siegfried and Roy tiger attack, smart watches, “murder hornets,” and Disney buying 20th Century Fox.
The show’s longevity and its exhausting of possible sitcom scenarios have even been referenced in other comedies, including the “South Park” episode, “The Simpsons Already Did It.”
When asked in 2016 about predicting a Donald Trump presidency so far in advance, writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was a warning to America.”
“And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane,” he added.