The Simpsons has earned a reputation online over the years for somehow predicting the future. They’ve been accused of forecasting everything from the rise of Donald Trump to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now fans are joking that we have the popular animated series to thank for The Matrix 4.
Eagle-eyed fans spotted a poster for ‘A Matrix Christmas’ in the background of The Simpsons season 15, episode 14 (we checked on Disney Plus). Consequently, fans are now joking (or at least we hope they’re joking) that the show foretold the coming of The Matrix Resurrections. Now far be it from us to say that’s absolute rubbish but… wait no, it’s absolute rubbish.
For context, this episode came out in March 2004. The Matrix Revolutions was in theatres in November 2003 and Reloaded was out in May. It takes about nine to twelve months for a Simpsons episode to go from the writer’s room to the small screen. Were we to hazard a guess we’d say it’s far more likely a writer saw Reloaded, pitched a background gag about the action movie soon after, and it ended up in an episode ten months later. No power of foresight here just a slightly dated pop culture reference.
Al Jean, former Simpson’s showrunner and long-time writer spoke recently with the NME about the show’s ability to “predict” the future. “One of our writers, the guy whose episode predicted Donald Trump as president, said it best,” he explained. “‘If you write 700 episodes, and you don’t predict anything, then you’re pretty bad. If you throw enough darts, you’re going to get some bullseye'”
Jean even acknowledged the show’s most notorious alleged prediction, the September 11 terror attacks. “The 9/11 one is so bizarre. In the World Trade Center episode, there was a brochure reading $9 a day with an 11 styled up like the towers,” he said. “That was in ’96, which was crazy, like this insane coincidence.”
He finished by saying that a lot of the animated series predictions are just “just educated guesses”. “Stanley Kubrick made the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 and there’s Zoom and iPads in it,” he said. “But that’s because he had futurologists helping him construct what the world might look like in 30 years time.”