The Simpsons Predicted One Of Cinema’s Darkest Controversies

Back in the 1990s, The Simpsons subtly predicted what has become one of modern cinema’s darkest debates. The Simpsons‘ uncanny ability to seemingly predict the future has become something of a running joke. The show’s subtle and cultural and societal satire has seen a number of The Simpsons‘ jokes prove particularly prescient, and it’s a consistently bizarre phenomenon that has even prompted The Simpsons‘ creators to reveal how it is achieved in season 34.


Despite The Simpsons‘ impressive longevity, its early years remain the show’s most popular. One beloved episode from this era, season 7, episode 2, “Radioactive Man”, saw The Simpsons tackle superhero movies – Hollywood decides to bring Bart’s favorite superhero to Springfield, with an open casting call for the part of his sidekick, Fallout Boy. The episode pokes fun at Hollywood’s blockbuster culture, as well as the movie industry itself.

Related: The Simpsons Season 34 Could End The Show’s Worst Trend

Despite airing in 1995, “Radioactive Man” also eerily predicted a modern movie trend in what was little more than a throwaway joke. While pitching ideas, one studio executive suggests bringing back the original Radioactive Man actor, Dirk Richter, prompting another to counter: “I keep telling you, he’s 73 years old… and he’s dead.” Though at the time it was simply a piece of morbid humor, it accurately predicted one of the most bizarre debates in modern cinema about whether it’s appropriate to use CGI to recreate the likenesses of deceased actors. Hollywood has employed the technique in two particularly notable instances in recent years: with Carrie Fisher in the Star Wars franchise, and Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

As well as seemingly predicting the very specific and morbid issue of resurrecting actors to have them return as iconic characters, The Simpsons‘ “Radioactive Man” could even be considered as an accurate prediction of the rise of superhero cinema itself. The episode aired in 1995, meaning that it predates the massive boom in superhero movies of the early ’00s when the genre was established as a legitimate box office draw. This adds a second layer to the predictive nature of the episode, because “Radioactive Man” seems to have also predicted the trajectory of popular cinema.

It’s also important to note that the executives aren’t in agreement over the idea, which eerily echoes the modern debate. Though there are high-profile examples of the technique’s usage, there are also studios who have balked at the idea: Black Panther 2 honors the late Chadwick Boseman by not using CGI to fill the actor’s role. This means that “Radioactive Man” predicted not just the idea, but the debate about its merits and potential for disrespect to the stars whose likenesses are used.

Although it’s largely unclear exactly how The Simpsons has accurately predicted so many things, “Radioactive Man” predicting the future was a tragic coincidence. The joke was clearly intended as a barb at the corporate greed of Hollywood and its will to exploit its stars even after their death, and it was so accurate that it later came true. Though it’s one of The Simpsons‘ darkest predictions to date, it’s yet another example of the show’s uncanny ability to foreshadow real events.

Source link