In wake of the industry-shaking news on Tuesday that The Walt Disney Co. has completed a $52.4 billion stock deal to purchase most of the key assets of 21st Century Fox, people were left with many questions about the deal. What does it mean for the future of X-Men movies? What does it mean for the cable networks that Disney acquired, like FX and National Geographic? What does it mean for the future of movie-making period? And, of course, did The Simpsons really predict that it would happen almost 20 years ago? We don’t know the answers yet to the first group of questions, but for the last one, the answer is a surprising yes!
The Simpsons has done a number of episodes set in the future over the years, and as a result, they have successfully predicted a few actual future events (like, most famously, Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States in an episode called “Bart to the Future” in 2000). However, what makes this prediction stand out a bit is that it actually did not occur in one of the future episodes of The Simpsons!
No, this one was actually set in the present when it was released in 1998, during November sweeps! Written by Richard Appel (the last episode he wrote of the series), “When You Dish Upon a Star” (itself a Disney-inspired pun) involved Homer Simpson becoming the personal assistant to Alec Baldwin and Baldwin’s then-wife, Academy Award-winning actress, Kim Basinger (she had just recently won her first Oscar for L.A. Confidential earlier that year). Baldwin and Basinger had moved to Springfield to get away from the limelight of Hollywood. Their friend, Director Ron Howard, visited them at their home.
Homer kept trying to pitch an inane screenplay to Howard about a “killer robot driving instructor that travels back in time for some reason” (also for some reason, the robot’s best friend is a talking pie).
Homer and Ron Howard become adversaries.
Eventually, though, Homer betrays the trust of Baldwin and Basinger and soon they find themselves besieged by fans. They fire Homer and he takes it out on them by creating a museum to embarrass them called “Museum of Hollywood Jerks” (naturally, it was a mobile museum because, hey, why not?). After getting into a car chase with Baldwin and Basinger, Homer accidentally seriously injures Howard. Baldwin and Basinger move back to Hollywood and Homer is forced to keep away from all celebrities from that point forward.
Of course, for the kicker, we see that one month later, Ron Howard is pitching Homer’s screenplay idea to 20th Century Fox! But Fox is shown to be a division of Walt Disney Co.
Like so many times in the past, The Simpsons turned out to be exactly correct. Now, let us all hope that they will at least prove to be wrong about Kang and Kodos running for President!
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