Did ‘The Simpsons’ Predict Disney & Fox’s Merger? This Flashback Is Pretty Eerie
Nearly two decades ago, an animated series about a family who lives in a town called Springfield (not that Springfield, that Springfield, or that Spring— you get the picture) made a joke about Walt Disney Co. owning 20th Century Fox. Yes, The Simpsons predicted the Disney and 21st Century Fox merger, as Entertainment Weekly pointed out. It only took 19 years and a cool $52.4 billion, but this prediction has come true. On Thursday, Dec. 14, Disney announced that it made an offer to buy most of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s company.
This particular instance of tea leaf reading takes place in Season 10's “When You Dish Upon a Star,” an episode in which Homer Simpson becomes Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger's assistant. The 1998 episode features an amended 20th Century Fox sign that reads, “A division of Walt Disney Co,” a nod to the ever-growing House that Mouse built. And now, it seems pretty darn prescient: 20th Century Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox, and Disney is now making moves to buy most of 21st Century Fox.
On Thursday, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean reacted to the observation, declaring the series' 20th Century Fox/Disney joke nothing more than a funny happenstance. He tweeted, "I predict people will make far too much of this mere coincidence." Well, that's quite the prophecy, but can you really make too much out of The Simpsons calling something years before it occurred?
Granted, of all the stuff that happened in that particular episode, Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox isn't the craziest thing that could've come to fruition in the real world. If the real world really wanted to up the ante, Ron Howard should pitch Homer's script The Terminizor: An Erotic Thriller to 20th Century Fox. Honestly, how hasn’t Homer’s movie about a time-traveling robot happened already? He’s a robot, a killer, and a driving instructor who is best friends with a talking pie. A talking pie. Honestly, Homer is a visionary.
It's been pointed out time and time again, but it never gets old: The Simpsons has predicted a lot of things long before they took place in the real world. In 1995 episode “Lisa’s Wedding,” there’s a pyramidal building behind the Tower Bridge that, as fans have noted, looks a lot like The Shard, a skyscraper in London that didn’t exist back then. In that same episode, Future Lisa’s fiancé uses his wristwatch to make a phone call. (Hello, Apple Watches?) In 2011, fishermen found a fish near a nuclear power plant that, like Blinky, had three eyeballs. And of course, there was the episode that aired back in 2000 that predicted Donald Trump would become president. The list of Simpsons soothsaying examples (Simp-soothing? Simp-saying?) goes on and on.
And now, Disney will scoop up 21st Century Fox. The Simpsons crystal ball has done it again. What Simpsons moment will come true next? What, oh what will happen in the real world one day that has already happened in The Simpsons universe? Only time will tell. Let’s cross our fingers for a real-life feature-length Planet of the Apes musical, because that would be incredible. Andy Serkis-as-Caesar belting out Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off! jam “Dr. Zaius” would be life-changing.
Oh, and let’s cross our fingers that cursed Frogurt doesn't become a thing in the future. Sure, that probably wouldn’t be the absolute worst thing from The Simpsons to come true, but uh, cursed frozen yogurt would be wicked awful.
Like brain freeze isn't bad enough, you've gotta deal with some sort of hex, too? No, thank you. Keep your potassium benzoate toppings to yourself, The Simpsons. But please, never stop gifting viewers with mind-blowing predictions.