Over the years -- and we're talking almost three decades -- The Simpsons has been uncannily prescient when it comes to real world events and situations, from a three-eyed fish being found in waters near a nuclear plant (in Argentina) to Donald Trump being President of the United States. And more are certain to come, given how many instances of altered reality the show has put out there. During a conference call with Simpsons showrunner Al Jean, who was promoting this weekend's episode, I asked if there were any future predictions he actually wanted to come true. In his words:
If you thought or wished Al Jean was going to say that he wanted there to be a real life Whacking Day for snakes, that already kind of happened with Florida's Python Challenge. Plus, I don't think the longtime Simpsons vet has any particular inclinations to harm animals. Jean seems to care an awful lot about one particular animal, though: humans. Otherwise, why would he bring up such magnificent things such as widespread joy and world peace? Okay, so he was quite possibly just lobbing an amusing slice of hyperbole out at me instead of picking anything legitimate. Either way, I don't think he'd be pissed if some real-life infant named Maggie inexplicably ushered in an era of rainbows and global harmony.
The episode Al Jean was referring to is "Gone Maggie Gone," which was part of the then-monumental Season 20. In it, Lisa enters a puzzle-filled adventure that takes her from a convent to Philadelphia and back to the giant Springfield sign, and it's revealed that Maggie is the gem child, who can be used to unlock a far more colorful and happy Springfield (and perhaps beyond). This is the kind of utopia where oil and water can get along, and baseball players and umpires really get along. Of course, Marge isn't willing to give up her youngest child for the sake of everyone else's magnificence. C'est la vie.
That wasn't the only prediction Al Jean offered up, either. Here's what else he told me.
Strangely, this option is even harder to conceive than Earth entering full-on bliss at any point before our sun goes kaput. Although, to that end, when The Simpsons threw Donald Trump's name in as being President one day, that also seemed like one of the more unlikely things that could ever happen. So, I guess now would be the time to start up a political campaign for anyone named Lisa Simpson. And like Bill Clinton showed us in the past, being able to play the saxophone doesn't hurt.
Don't forget to tune into The Simpsons on Fox this Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET for the episode "Caper Chase," which sees Mr. Burns founding his own for-profit college (like a certain POTUS), and features a full squad of brainy guest stars that includes Jason Alexander, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Suze Orman, Robert McKee and Ken Jennings. If you want to see more of The Simpsons' strange powers, check out some of its most prophetic blackboard gags, and then hunt down what's coming to television in the coming months with our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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