Over the course of 31 seasons and more than 680 episodes, The Simpsons has covered a lot of ground, told a lot of stories, and poked fun at nearly every pop-culture moment. However, the groundbreaking show has also been shockingly prophetic.
The uncanny ability for the Fox animated sitcom to seemingly predict the future has been well-established over the years, but the recent global pandemic and subsequent “invasion” of so-called murder hornets has brought the show’s fortune telling powers into the spotlight once again, thanks to a 1993 episode.
The episode in question, “Marge in Chains,” features a joke where the people of Springfield get sick from a contagious airborne flu-like virus. When the panicking residents begin rioting while seeking a cure, they tip over a truck filled with killer bees that attack the sick townsfolk.
In celebration of The Simpsons Season 31 finale, ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with the cast and creators about their show’s predictive prowess.
“We’ve got quite a track record, which is impressive,” said Nancy Cartwright, who provides the voice of Bart Simpson.
Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, joked that it’s all a matter of time, explaining, “If you’ve been on for three decades, probably you’re going to hit it once in a while.”
Past “predictions” — some more loosely interpreted than others — include Lady Gaga’s high-flying Super Bowl LI performance, the election of President Donald Trump, the invention of Smart Watches and iPads, Disney buying 21st Century Fox, the FIFA corruption scandal, the NSA domestic surveillance scandal and the Game of Thrones finale, among many, many others.
“What people are telling us now is, ‘Start predicting some good things!'” showrunner Al Jean said with a laugh. “Because these have been too negative.”
While the coronavirus pandemic has forced shutdowns and stay-at-home orders across the nation, the show must go on for the cast, crew and all 500 animators. For the voice actors, this has meant setting up recording equipment and taping their lines from their homes.
Meanwhile, Sunday marks the show’s season 31 finale, and the episode features some serious star power with Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett providing the voice of a dog psychiatrist.
“She was recorded about six months ago,” Jean explained. “[For one scene], we asked her to do nonsense talk to the dog and I swear she did the elf language from Lord of the Rings. It was really cool.”
The Simpsons’ season 31 finale airs Sunday, May 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.