Issue of the day: Life imitates art via The Simpsons

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IT is said truth is stranger than fiction, but someone ought to tell producers of animated US sitcom The Simpsons this old saying as it emerges many of their historic plot lines have seemingly come to pass in real life.

 

Excuse me?

No-one is suggesting the producers and writers have crystal balls, but when you appraise what storylines seem to then have gone on to occur in real life, you do at least raise a quizzical eyebrow and have a giggle at the idea of Homer Simpson being some sort of Mystic Meg.

 

Homer?

If you haven’t watched in a while, or indeed ever, the cartoon sitcom features a satirical depiction of American family life, starring buffoon-like father Homer, who works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant; his housewife beloved Marge and their three children, troublemaking 10-year-old Bart, confident Lisa, 8, and baby Maggie. The show parodies American culture and the human condition.

 

So what’s been going on?

Since it first aired in December 1989, there have been more than 700 episodes of The Simpsons and it appears that many storylines from older episodes have apparently come to pass.

 

Such as?

Last week, social media users were quick to note the array of coincidences between Vice President Kamala Harris’s outfit at the inauguration ceremony and Lisa Simpson’s outfit in a 2000 episode, “Bart to the Future”. In the show, Lisa becomes president and says an iconic line: “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump”.

 

Trump?

 

Asked about this episode, one of the show’s writers, Dan Greaney, told The Hollywood Reporter that at the time it aired, “It was a warning to America.” As well as “predicting” Trump’s presidency, Lisa wore a purple jacket and pearls, similar to Harris’s outfit last Wednesday.

 

What else?

Tom Hanks was the host of a star-studded virtual concert that took place instead of the usual round of inaugural balls last week. In a cameo in the 2007 The Simpsons Movie, Hanks appears to propose a new Grand Canyon in Springfield, saying: “Hello. I’m Tom Hanks. The US government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine.”

 

It also foresaw Biden/Harris?

In a special short online episode titled “West Wing Story”, released on YouTube in 2019, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden were put together in a can-can outside the White House. Show animator and director, David Silverman, tweeted: “I set up this kick line for ending. Just happened to put then-candidates Biden & Harris together..did we predict future again?”

 

2020?

In the same 1993 episode, “Marge in Chains”, a mysterious virus from Asia invades the town. The “Osaka Flu” spreads like wildfire and an angry mob demand a cure. When they knock over a truck outside the hospital, they release a crate of “killer bees” and social media has beenb alight with the idea the show predicted the pandemic and also a plague of “murder hornets” that were found in the US for the first time last year.

 

As Oscar Wilde put it…

In his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying, Wilde wrote: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”.

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