After 34 seasons and counting, The Simpsons embodies many things. The longest running scripted series in the history of television began as an upstart, and grew to a Methuselah, with the wisdom of a dinosaur, and the prophetic voice of Nostradamus. Every other month, some news item or deleted tweet fulfills a prediction made by The Simpsons. It appears to follow what the kids in South Park knew decades ago: whenever something unexpected happens, The Simpsons already did it. They usually know because they were expecting it, don’t underestimate the studies of the writing team.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Luckily, The Simpsons is constantly being rerun somewhere, reminding us even the most current events are old news in syndication. Most of the gags which have been interpreted as predictions are cases of The Simpsons pouring commentary on existing, if little known, events.
Even the foretelling of Donald Trump’s presidency was a dig at an exploratory commission Trump put in the field at the time the episode first aired. As Lisa Simpson (voiced by Yeardley Smith) tells the psychic reader in “Lisa’s Wedding,” “Wow. You can see into the present.”
A prediction from the 1996 episode “Much Apu About Nothing” exemplifies the prognostic ratio. Springfield Mayor Quimby (Dan Castellaneta) is confronted by an angry mob of protesters. He asks “Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?” His security detail answers “Dumber, sir.” This is only a half-truth, not a hard statistic like how the rise in gang activity can be linked to a decrease in interest in the Spirograph. Think about it. We know Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) won’t.
Prescience can be intimidating. No one was more frightened than Homer Simpson, voiced by Castellaneta, when a doomsday comet headed towards Springfield burns out in the earth’s atmosphere, as he’d initially guessed. The writers and animators for The Simpsons may have similar concerns. The more the world becomes like The Simpsons, the less funny the show will be in comparison to real life. They’ve seen it happen.
Still, a look into The Simpsons’ precognitive prowess was preordained. Here are The Simpsons Quatrains laid out for easy reference.
Predicted in 1990
Season 2 episode 4 “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish,” is a political quagmire drudged from an environmental oversight. Mr. Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer) decides to run for local office after a three-eyed-fish, lovingly called Blinky, is discovered in the atomic-waste tainted waters around his nuclear plant. Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner) serves it up in a delicious display of non-violent protest.
Blinky the three-eyed fish is a recurring reminder of the mutations inherent in a town with questionable waste management practices. Burns should have called Fat Tony. The recurring gag found its way downstream to the Córdoba province in Argentina in October, 2011, when fisherman Julián Zmutt caught a three-eyed wolf fish in a reservoir near a nuclear plant.
Censoring Michelangelo’s “David”
Predicted in 1990
“Itchy & Scratchy” cartoons have always been a stand-in for The Simpsons in the world of Springfield. In season 2 episode 9 “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” concerned mom Marge “shows what one lunatic can do,” writing a letter to ban the violent children’s programming before kids think it’s funny to play those dangerous cat and mouse games at home. Later in the episode, and using Marge as their public face, residents of Springfield protest the exhibit of Michelangelo’s statue of David, branding the ancient artwork obscene because the figure is nude.
In July 2016, voters in Russia cast ballots over whether a copy of the Renaissance statue should be clothed. The gag is also a case of recycling an old joke, as Garrett Morris reported on the circumcision of Michelangelo’s “David” during a 1976 Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.
The Beatles Answer Belated Fan Mail
Predicted in 1991
In season 2 episode 18, “Brush with Greatness,” Ringo Starr voices himself answering a fan letter Marge sent on Dec. 12, 1966. The former Beatles drummer apologizes for the tardiness, but cards and letters had been coming in for 30 years, and that’s as far as he’s gotten since promising to answer each one personally. Marge goes on to paint a portrait of Mr. Burns’ to the Starkey-George Harrison-written hit song “Photograph.”
This vaguely corresponds to an incident in 2013 when Barbara Bezant and Lyn Jeffries from Eltham, South London, received a 50-year-old response from the other half of the rhythm section, bassist Paul McCartney. In December 1963, the two fans sent a recorded message to the Lewisham Odeon, where the pair saw the band play. The package was found years later at a car boot sale. Bezant and Jeffries received a reply while attending The Beatles Story exhibition in Liverpool. Paul left them a note saying “lovely tape,” with an added wink, “better late than never.”
Super Bowl Winners
Predicted Three Times Starting in 1992
The Simpsons’ predilections for predictions began with a three-time long shot called by Lisa. “Lisa the Greek” saw the Simpsons’ middle child use the scientific approach to sports gaming under her episodic-stage name Liscanto. She told viewers to put their money on the Washington Redskins over the Buffalo Bills for the biggest game of 1992. The 14th episode of season 3 ran a few days before Super Bowl XXVI, and Lisa was on the money.
Fox re-aired the episode the following year, re-dubbing it to reflect the players of Super Bowl XXVIII, and predicting the Dallas Cowboys, who not only won but beat the point spread. The third time kept the charm, as the players were re-dubbed again, and picked the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XXIX. They let it roll, and lost on the fourth try as Homer bet it all on the Denver Broncos, only to see them defeated by the Seattle Seahawks.
Blood Spewing Theatrical Billboards
Predicted in 1992
Season 4 episode 6 “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” promotes the fictional animated film with a decapitating billboard that spouts blood over passing motorists. The first victims to stop at the crossing are newlyweds, still at their photogenic best. The red and sticky promotional material gets all over the bride’s white wedding dress.
In 2003, while promoting Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 1 for its TV premiere, advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi constructed a blood-splattering billboard on one of the busiest intersections in Auckland, New Zealand. Uma Thurman isn’t wearing the ill-fated wedding dress on the billboard, however, but the iconic yellow track suit which ultimately cut the cake.
Predicted on Aug. 27, 1992
After Homer destroyed his half-brother Herb’s (voiced by Danny DeVito) life by designing a car for the everyman (the design of which actually did come into vogue for a short period of early 2000’s RV madness), he gets a chance at redemption in season 3 episode 24 “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?” While Herb was living a hobo’s life, he invented a novel device that could put him back on top again: a baby translator, which decodes the incoherent noises from infants and toddlers into complete sentences.
Today, there are apps for that. They don’t have the sophistication of Herb’s contraption, but they made some of their inventors rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Florida’s Python Problem
Predicted on April 29, 1993
Season 4 episode 20 “Whacking Day,” is named for Springfield’s annual tradition of beating snakes to death to help lower the snake population. The practice is said to go back to the days of the town founder, Jebediah Springfield, but the mythology is actually a lie because it conflicts with his actual Revolutionary War duty. The snakes are ultimately saved by the sultry baritone of soul singer Barry White.
The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board issued a Python Elimination Program in 2017 when about 300,000 Burmese Pythons encroached on their habit. With no natural deterrent in place in the area, the pythons threatened native wildlife, caused habitat damage, and could do it for a very long time because they have a very long lifespan. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encouraged civilians to “humanely” dispose of the animals.
Predicted in 1993
In season 4 episode 21, “Marge in Chains,” Springfield is overrun by a pandemic of a fictional disease named “Osaka Flu.” The infection is delivered when an overworked Japanese factory worker sneezes on a crate of juices in a shipment due for Springfield. Marge is the only one unaffected because she was in prison on a shoplifting conviction. The rest of the town spirals into chaos. Dr. Hibbert tells the crowd to go home and rest in bed, because no cure has been found.
The public face of medicine for the town says anything in the infirmary would be nothing more than a placebo. That’s good enough for the crowd, and every pharmacy in town experienced a run on placebos. People considered mainlining Windex during the COVID epidemic, in one of many parallels between the two health crises.
State Officials Vacation Over Local Disasters
Predicted in 1993
In “Marge in Chains,” when Mayor Joe Quimby first hears of the virulent dangers facing the town he’s responsible for, he springs into action, flying off to the Bahamas until the pandemic runs its course.
During the early news of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2020, Austin Mayor Steve Adler told people to stay inside their homes. That way they wouldn’t notice him jetting off in a private jet to wait it out in a Cabo San Lucas, Mexico timeshare. In February 2021, when Texas lost electricity, heat, and water during a particularly hazardous winter storm, Senator Ted Cruz booked a family holiday in Mexico with a non-refundable reservation policy which didn’t list state emergencies.
Predicted in 1993
“Marge in Chains” also unloads a truck full of killer bees into the streets of Springfield USA. These are an entirely new species to the country.
In 2020, reports of Asian “murder hornets” began seeping into the media, after a newly-arrived flying insect, initially reported in the state of Washington in late 2019, began multiplying and migrating.
Siegfried & Roy Tiger Attack
Predicted in 1993
In season 5 episode 10 ‘$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling),” Mr. Burns builds a luxury casino in Springfield. One of his headlining acts is Gunter & Ernst and their trained circus tiger, Anastasia. In the middle of their premiere appearance, Anastasia remembers how the animal training showmen captured her from the jungle, and attacks them.
The act was a parody of Las Vegas headliners Siegfried & Roy. Ten years later, on Roy Horn’s birthday in 2003, he was mauled by a seven-year-old white tiger during a live performance. Roy lived but the incident left him with severe injuries. The incident ended the Vegas veterans’ career.
Horse Meat Scandal
Predicted in 1994
In season 5 episode 19 “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song,” Lunch lady Doris (Tress MacNeille) used “assorted horse parts” to make meals for students at Springfield Elementary. Nine years after the episode aired, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in about a third of beefburger samples from ready-to-eat supermarket meals.
Accessible Space Travel
Predicted on Feb. 24, 1994
In season 5 episode 15 “Deep Space Homer,” NASA wants to boost ratings for shuttle launches by sending an average person into space. Homer and Barney are the final two average Joe contestants to make it through the testing. Recovering alcoholic Barney relapses, allowing Homer to make the trip, eat potato chips, and release a colony of ants into the zero-gravity atmosphere of the atmospherically controlled cabin.
In 2013, the United Kingdom held a similar contest, 250 wannabe-astronauts submitted themselves to questioning and physical training at Cape Canaveral before a crew of Astronaut Homers were assembled. Since then, commercial “all-civilian space flights” have become the rage for the rich, and a golden ticket for lucky regular folks. Star Trek’s William Shatner spoke with Den of Geek about the experience.
Predicted on March 19, 1995
A Renaissance fair fortune-teller shows the future Simpson family using seemingly futuristic tech in season 6 episode 19, “Lisa’s Wedding.” One of the surprising new features presented comes when Lisa’s boyfriend/fiancé Hugh Parkfield (Mandy Patinkin) makes calls on his new watch-phone.
The sequence aired 20 years before the Apple Watch was released, and is often used as a claim The Simpsons predicted smartwatches, but Dick Tracy always had a wrist-phone up his sleeve, and Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, was talking into his shoe as far back as 1965 in the James Bond-sendup series Get Smart.
Predicted in 1995
During “Lisa’s Wedding,” Lisa also calls her mom on a picture-phone, and while Marge’s reaction to the new technology did mirror too many conversations to come, video telephones had already been seen in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II.
Most predictive lists envision The Simpsons’ PicturePhone as foretelling Steve Jobs’ 2010 announcement of FaceTime. Real videophones were available within a year. We can see ever-returning Simpsons champ Albert Brooks speaking with Debbie Reynolds on one in the 1996 film Mother.
The Shard Highrise in London
Predicted in 1995
“Lisa’s Wedding’” is loaded with vague predictions on both sides of the pond. Lisa’s fiancé Hugh Parkfield (Mandy Patinkin) is British. On their trip to London, we see a photo with a view of Tower Bridge, in it you can see the Palace of Westminster’s Big Ben with a digital clock face. In the background is a skyscraper which was not yet part of the London Skyline.
The Shard began construction in 2009. It was completed 17 years after The Simpsons drew it on the map.
Predicted in 1995
In “Lisa’s Wedding,” librarians are replaced with self-aware robots who don’t understand the inconsistencies of love. The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened at the University of Chicago on May 21, 2011. Made for computers, it has no bookshelves but has a huge underground storage area collection that is managed by robotic systems. University of Aberystwyth robotics students built Hugh, a prototype for a walking library robot in 2016. They have not been told they are robots.
Predicted on Oct. 19, 1997
“Lisa’s Sax” was originally produced to be included in season 7, but didn’t run until season 9. During the episode, which is about Lisa’s broken sax and its origins, Bart gets sick, and Marge tells him to read a book called “Curious Gorge and the Ebola Virus.” The disease was first discovered in 1976, but didn’t make international headlines until the 2000 outbreak which killed 254 people in the Republic of Congo, and 224 people in Uganda.
An Uncanny 9/11 Reference
Predicted in 1997
In the episode “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson,” Lisa holds up a coupon for a discount New York bus tour with the Twin Towers in the background. The tourist ad reads “New York on $9 a day,” behind the discount price, the World Trade Towers’ placement looks like an 11, which makes the overall image frighteningly close to a subconscious warning about the events of 9/11. The episode aired four years before the attack.
Disney Buys 20th Century Fox
Predicted in 1998
In season 10 episode 5 “When You Dish Upon a Star,” Brian Grazer and Ron Howard pitch Homer’s movie screenplay idea to film executives at 20th Century. During the meeting the camera freezes on the sign outside the studio’s main office, which has an addendum: “A division of Walt Disney Co.” The Mouse gobbled up 20th Century Fox 20 years later, when Disney purchased 21st Century Fox Studios for over $52.4 billion.
Homer Hammers Out the God Particle
Predicted in 1998
In season 10 episode 2: “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer becomes an inventor. Among his creations is the automatic hammer, an everything’s-okay alarm, a make-up gun, and a lazy man reclining toilet chair. In the preparatory sequence, Homer is shown working out a complicated equation on a blackboard. Some sources say the equation predicted the mass of the Higgs Boson particle, which is sometimes called the “God particle.”
In quantum physics, a Higgs particle touched off the Big Bang. The Higgs Boson was first predicted in 1964, but there was no direct evidence that the Higgs Field existed. Physicists spent $13 billion looking for it, building the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, which could theoretically recreate the Big Bang, only smaller. On July 4, 2012, the discovery of a new particle with a mass between 125 and 127 GeV/c2 was announced and by March 2013, the existence of the Higgs Boson was confirmed. Depending on which interpretation of the intricate formula cited, Homer’s prediction for the mass of the Higgs boson particle might not have been that far off. Someone was gifted with a lazy man recliner.
Grease Theft Crime Wave
Predicted in 1998
In “Lard of the Dance,” the first episode of the 10th season, Homer learns Apu sells off the putrid used grease which covered the flavor of hog anus, and realizes his arteries are clogged with yellow gold. Homer and Bart siphon refuse from Krusty Burger and Springfield Elementary to sell off on the black market.
Grease-related thefts in restaurants rose during the 2008 financial downturn. The New York Times ran an article about the theft of 300 gallons of grease from Burger King. Yellow grease from cooking oils can be used to make biodiesel. By 2013, cooking grease from city restaurants were selling for $1 a gallon on the streets.
A Doughnut-Shaped Universe
Predicted on May 9, 1999
In season 10 episode 22 “They Saved Lisa’s Brain,” Stephen Hawking finds Homer’s theory about a doughnut-shaped universe “so intriguing, I may have to steal it.” This may not be a prediction as much as a disclosure.
Years after the episode aired, in July 2021, a team of astrophysicists put forward a genuine scientific theory suggesting the universe is shaped like a three-dimensional ring that loops back on itself. There is no known hypothesis on whether it has a creamy middle.
Las Vegas Wins the Stanley Cup
Predicted in 1999
The Simpsons were 10 for 10, after the 10th episode of the 10th season, “Viva Ned Flanders.” Homer tries to show his god-fearing neighbor Ned a good time in Las Vegas, when the holy roller picks some winning numbers, and loses everything to a white wine spritzer bender. Ned wakes up, his hand dangling from the arm of a couch after the night of sin. The Stanley Cup is nestled in the bosom of a tapped beer keg left in the debris of the debauchery of the trashed Vegas Cup hotel room.
The Golden Knights were the first expansion team to make the finals in an inaugural season since the 1967–68 St. Louis Blues, and the new Vegas players were long shots to even make the postseason. Maybe it was Ned’s karma that led the Golden Knights to beat the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final, bringing the trophy to Las Vegas.
Donald Trump Becomes President
Predicted March, 2000
The most prominent example usually cited for the veracity of The Simpsons’ predictions is Donald Trump winning the presidency. Season 11 episode 17 “Bart to the Future,” begins at a Native American Casino where Bart is shown a vision of his potential future. He sees Lisa as a future American president who inherited “quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” That is quite a lenient assessment of her then-future predecessor. But did we ever think Trump may have become president because of The Simpsons?
The episode aired more than 15 years before Trump announced his 2016 candidacy, but was commenting on a more current event. Trump announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee during a Larry King Live interview on Oct. 7, 1999. A more subliminal prediction that the electoral college would choo-choo-choose a Trump-like candidate came in “E Pluribus Wiggum, the tenth episode of season 19, aired on Jan. 6, 2008 The Republicans fall for a Homer gag, and see Ralph Wiggum as the kind of elastic dark horse who be formed into a winning ticket. This kid can tell a cat’s breath from cat food, and says he wants to make this country great again.
Kamala Harris’s Outfit
Predicted March 2000
When Lisa Simpson becomes president in “Bart to the Future,” she wears a chief executive officer’s purple suit with a necklace. The design is very close to one of the picturesque suits chosen by Kamala Harris, just days after being elected first woman Vice President.
Pot Legalized in America and Canada
Predicted in 2000 and 2005
In “Bart to the Future,” President Lisa Simpsons legalizes pot at the behest of the future Bart. This has become increasingly true across the country. In “Midnight Rx,” the sixth episode of the 16th season, Homer and Grandpa, along with Ned Flanders and Apu, travel to Canada for affordable drugs. They discover pot is legal, but it wasn’t yet when the episode first aired. Marijuana was not legalized in Canada until 2018.
Tom Hanks Shoots a PSA for the USA
Predicted in 2007
Trustworthy, accredited actor Tom Hanks makes a cameo appearance in The Simpsons Movie (2007), voicing a commercial for America, saying “The U.S. government lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine.” He then shows a very unimpressive alternative landmark for the Grand Canyon. Hanks hawked America’s determination in 2022, a year after Joe Biden’s election, in a commercial about overcoming the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explaining that the economy was being rebuilt.
NSA Spying on American Citizens
Predicted in 2007
In the 2007 feature film, The Simpsons Movie, the Simpson family makes a break from their domed existence, is on the run, and ever-vigilant. Lisa’s concern with new forms of technological surveillance appears to border on sleep-deprived paranoia. “It’s not like the government is listening to everybody’s conversation,” Marge assures her, as the frame expands to show the NSA listening to the conversation, and expanding further to show eavesdroppers on everyone’s line.
Former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance access in 2013, dropping classified information on just how widespread it is in reality. You didn’t read that here.
2016 Nobel Prize
Predicted in 2010
Season 22 episode 1 “Elementary School Musical,” features a side gag where Martin, Lisa, Database, and Milhouse bet on potential Nobel Prize winners, or as Homer calls them “Nobies.” Milhouse picks one who is even a bigger longshot than Krusty the Clown: MIT Professor Bengt R. Holmström, who loses to Jagdish Bhagwati in the episode.
Milhouse’s notable choice became one of the Nobies six years later when Holmström won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2016.
USA Wins the Curling Olympic Prize
Predicted in 2010
Homer and Marge were made for curling. The sport combines the throw of bowling, which thrills Homer, and the art of sweeping, something Marge excels at. But, when they lead the American team from the Vancouver Olympics to Olympic victory, it is still a shock that they can beat Sweden.
Eight years after “Boy Meets Curl” ran as episode season 21, episode 12, America scored its first curling win, beating odds-on favorite Sweden at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Lady Gaga’s 2017 Superbowl Show
Predicted in 2012
In season 23 episode 22 “Lisa Goes Gaga,” Lady Gaga makes an emergency stop at Springfield because of one misunderstood monster, and winds up adding a stop to that leg of her tour. During the concert, Lady Gaga flies over the audience, and the show includes a solo piano performance.
When Lady Gaga tackled all her biggest hits at the Halftime Show of 2017’s Superbowl LI, she was lifted above the audience, and sang “Million Reasons,” accompanying herself solo on the piano.
FIFA Corruption Arrests
Predicted on May 26, 2015
In season 25 episode 16, “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee,” Homer is picked to referee the World Cup in Brazil after Lisa gives a viral speech on the sport. When a FIFA-hired gangster tries to bribe Homer, he turns him down both because he doesn’t want to lose his daughter’s respect, and really has no interest in soccer.
A year after the episode aired, FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on federal corruption charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, and racketeering.
Selling Ferrets as Toy Poodles
Predicted on May 22, 2002
In season 13 episode 22, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge,” Springfield’s local mafia boss Fat Tony (Joe Mantegna) glues cotton balls onto ferrets, and pulls in a big profit selling them as toy poodles. In 2013, a retired Argentine man plunked down a small fortune for a pair of toy poodles at an outdoor market in Buenos Aires. Further veterinary inspection found the cuddly pet was a ferret which had been groomed and given steroids to look like a toy poodle.
Matrix Christmas Movie
Predicted in 2004
At the beginning of season 15 episode 14, “The Ziff Who Came to Dinner,” Homer is standing in a movie theater line under a poster of 20th Century Fox announcing “’A Matrix Christmas’ Coming Soon.” We plainly see Keanu Reeves’ Neo wearing a Santa hat.
The franchise that started with The Matrix in 1999 had released their third installment, Matrix Revolutions in 2003, so this seasonal cheer was a promise for the future. The Matrix Resurrections, as even its title vaguely hints, was released for Christmas, hitting theaters on Dec. 22, 2021.
Faulty Voting Machines
Predicted in 2008
One of the scariest gags of season 20’s “Treehouse of Horror XIX,” is the high-tech diverted vote prediction. The sequence shows Homer casting his vote for Barack Obama in the general election, and a faulty tech-savvy tallying machine repeatedly ringing it up on the John McCain column.
Four years later, during the 2012 election, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed from the location because it kept changing votes meant for Obama to his rival Mitt Romney. Though the names had been changed, the incident was so accurate that people began to take the idea of The Simpsons as a political forecaster a little more seriously, becoming a mandate for the general public.
Predicted in 2012
When Homer appears as a guest on local cable news program in season 23 episode 10 “Politically Inept,” a bulletin running at the bottom of the scroll shows the news alert: “Europe puts Greece on eBay.” It is a short sight gag, and never referenced again, much like the country involved in the real event which followed it would have preferred.
Greece was zero for three on bail-out loans from the International Monetary Fund in 2015, leading to a stock tumble, and was nearly dumped on a going-out-business-sale by the Eurozone. Luckily, at the last minute, Greece had an economic collapse, failed to pay back the loan, and proved The Simpsons right.
Game of Thrones Ending
Predicted in 2017
In season 29’s opener, “The Serfsons,” The Simpsons spoiler-alerted HBO’s Game of Thrones ending by two years, putting a whoopie cushion on the Iron Throne in full collusion with guest star and known Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. In one sequence Homer revives a dragon, which lays waste to an entire village in a fiery aerial shot.
In the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, run on May 12, 2019, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) rides her dragon like a flying flamethrower to incinerate King’s Landing. The village had already surrendered, the soldiers threw down their weapons, and thousands of innocent people went up in flames. Of course, considering how slowly the writing was reportedly going for George R.R. Martin at the time, the series may very well have borrowed the closing from The Simpsons.
Underwater Submersible Emergency
Predicted in 2006
In season 17 episode 10 “Homer’s Paternity Coot,” Homer hears the lilting voice of Michael York’s Mason Fairbanks, and finds a father figure. The long-lost paternal possibility comes with the weight of a sunken treasure chest waiting to be lifted. The pair squeeze into individual submersibles to salvage an ancient Spanish Galleon ship named “Piso Mojado.” Upon reaching the shipwreck, Homer’s gets stuck, and he runs out of oxygen. He wakes up in a hospital after a three-day coma, a far better outcome than the most recently fulfilled prediction.
In June 2023, an OceanGate submersible carrying five passengers disappeared while surveying the ruins of the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel imploded, and there were no survivors. Simpsons writer and producer Mike Reiss coincidentally also rented the sub to explore the Titanic wreck.