Yet as the longest-running sitcom in American history, the timeless series is often lined with “life imitates art” moments that happen years after its airing.
This week, for example, social media users couldn’t help but wonder about the latest match between Vice President Kamala Harris’s outfit during the inauguration and Lisa Simpson’s outfit in a 2000 episode.
In “Bart to the Future,” Lisa takes over the presidency and asks the now-viral line: “As you know, we have inherited a major budget crisis from President Trump.”
In the episode, Lisa was wearing a purple jacket and pearls. At the opening Wednesday, Harris wore a purple jacket and pearls.
With Harris serving immediately after Donald Trump’s presidency, the viewer comparisons were made easily.
The similarities to the inauguration didn’t stop there for Simpsons fans.
Actor Tom Hanks appeared as the host during a virtual concert Wednesday night, aimed at following the theme of President Joe Biden’s national unity in times of crisis.
“Hi. I’m Tom Hanks. The US government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing part of mine,” he says.
At the end of the scene, he says, “If you are going to choose a government you can trust, why not this one?”
Speculation about the show’s prophetic abilities is nothing new. Fans claim the show predicted, among other cases, Siegfried and Roy’s tiger attack, smartwatches, “killer hornets,” and Disney buying 20th Century Fox.
The longevity of the show and its exhaustion of possible comedy scenarios have even been referenced in other comedies, including the South Park episode, ‘The Simpsons Already Did It’.
When asked in 2016 about the prediction of a Donald Trump presidency so far in advance, writer Dan Greaney said The Hollywood Reporter, “It was a warning to America.”
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“And that seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was launched because it was consistent with the vision of America going crazy.”