The Simpsons’ Christmas Joke: Did the Show Predict ‘The Matrix 4’?

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“The Simpsons” has gained attention for seemingly predicting real-life events, earning a reputation for foreseeing the future. Fans have amusingly linked the animated series to “The Matrix 4” after spotting a poster for ‘A Matrix Christmas’ in the background of a Season 15 episode, leading to playful speculation about the show’s prophecy abilities. However, the truth lies in a far more grounded explanation.

This particular episode aired in March 2004, following the release of “The Matrix Revolutions” in November 2003 and “Reloaded” in May of the same year. Typically, it takes around nine to twelve months for a Simpsons episode to go from conception to airing. It’s more plausible that a writer saw “Reloaded,” pitched a background gag about the action movie soon after, and it ended up incorporated into an episode roughly ten months later. It’s a dated pop culture reference rather than a display of clairvoyance.

Al Jean, former showrunner and longstanding writer for “The Simpsons,” addressed the show’s knack for ‘predicting’ future events in an interview with NME. He highlighted the statistical aspect, mentioning that with over 700 episodes, the show has covered a vast array of topics, and by sheer volume, some coincidences may align with real-world events.

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Jean acknowledged the series’ most notable alleged prediction—the World Trade Center attack. In an episode from ’96, there was a brochure displaying “$9 a day” with the ’11’ stylized to resemble the Twin Towers. While seen as an uncanny coincidence, Jean explained it as just that—a coincidence.

He emphasized that many of the show’s ‘predictions’ are actually just well-informed guesses. Drawing a parallel, he referenced Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” made in 1968, which featured technologies like Zoom and iPads. This foresight wasn’t magical; rather, it was rooted in Kubrick’s consultation with futurologists to envision what the future might hold.

In essence, while “The Simpsons” has had its fair share of coincidental moments that seemingly align with reality, attributing these to prophecy is more a result of broad storytelling and educated estimations rather than any supernatural abilities to foresee the future.