More than 30 years since its debut episode, The Simpsons has perhaps never been more relevant than it is now, having transitioned in the pop culture zeitgeist from cartoon comedy for grown-ups to weekly televised prophecy.
For years, enthusiastic viewers have taken note of coincidences between the Simpsons' world and our everyday reality. The parallels are almost too numerous to be believed. The show has unambiguously satirized true events years before they occurred, including election outcomes, sporting events, technological advancements, consumer goods and even corporate mergers!
Harry Shearer joined The Simpsons cast in 1989, voicing a slew of beloved characters like Ned Flanders, Rev. Lovejoy, Mr. Burns and Principal Skinner. During a Thursday morning appearance with his wife, singer-songwriter Judith Owen, on Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr Rock and Roll Morning Show, Shearer confessed he's as amazed as everyone else.
"I wrote exactly one episode ever, so I don't know what [the writers are] smoking or what other assistance they may or may not have," Shearer opined. "The satirical imagination, if you really let it go, is sort of amazing at getting spot on every once in a while. [After] 700 episodes, you've gotta hit some bull's eyes... It's all about being free enough to make wild guesses..."
Perhaps the most famous Simpsons prediction is that of Donald Trump's presidency, which the show joked about in Season 11 — an episode that aired in 2000. But Shearer cautioned that The Simpsons writers weren't the only group to sense political ambitions from Trump.
"Let's remember, it was 1993 when Time magazine put Trump on the cover," Shearer said. "He was just a New York real-estate loudmouth. Why would he be on the cover of Time magazine at that point? They saw something too."
Owen added, "Is it that [The Simpsons is] seeing into the future or is it just that they're acknowledging what the rest of us are ignoring or choosing to ignore or denying?"
"Or is it that we're so powerful that we say something and the rest of the world just goes, 'Okay!'" Shearer replied.
Both Owen and Shearer have kept busy during the pandemic. Shearer has been busy with multiple projects, including voice acting and doing his radio show from home. Owen wrote and recorded a new album and she's been doing twice-weekly For F--ks Sake livestream performances via Facebook.
"Join me Wednesdays and Sundays, it's a joy and it's become a real community of people who are feeling like there's a reason to wake up and get up and connect with other people," she says.
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