In 1995, a Simpsons episode made a lot of predictions about 2010. Here are the ones they got wrong.
On Monday, I published a list of the 11 Predictions About 2010 The Simpsons Got Right. I felt it was appropriate — in the 1995 episode “Lisa’s Wedding”, Lisa’s future wedding takes place on August 1st, 2010. So, in honor of that day finally arriving, it was time to give the 15-year-old Simpsons predictions an audit.
Here’s the inevitable after burst — the 11 predictions they made about 2010 that missed the mark.
1 | Cryogenic in-and-out
I don’t know all the nuances of where the cryogenic freezing industry currently stands — but I do know that we’re not yet at the point where we can freeze and unfreeze people on a whim. They’re people, not bottles of Jagermeister. Especially if, like Mr. Burns, they’re recovering from 17 stab wounds to the back.
2 | Fox transitioning to a hardcore sex channel
Instead of gradually transitioning to a hardcore sex channel, Fox spawned Fox News, which led the charge to levy enormous fines against channels like Fox… for trying to transition to hardcore sex channels.
3 | Jim Carrey’s 40 classic films
I was a massive Jim Carrey fan during the Ace Ventura era. He has not made 40 classic films. He’s barely made four. (My personal Jim Carrey pantheon starts with Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber and Truman Show and ends with a three-way tie between The Majestic, Bruce Almighty and Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls. And no, I didn’t forget Eternal Sunshine.)
When this episode came out, they didn’t anticipate Jim Carrey’s future efforts to be taken seriously as an actor… and then his awkward return to rubber-faced comedy when things didn’t work out that well.
4 | News channel consolodation
Instead of forming one mega news network, each network decided to tackle the 24-hour news cycle head-on. Which provides us with the same amount of actual news as we got in 1995 — maybe 90 minutes or so — now supplemented with 22-and-a-half extra hours of people screaming at us.
5 | Redesigned planes
The only thing that airlines have redesigned is the “how to turn the passengers upside-down and shake all of the change out of their pockets like a ’50s-era bully” handbook. Now available in paperback and Kindle formats too!
6 | Robot librarians, British servants and inanimate carbon rod handlers
We’re still at the point where the old Nintendo R.O.B.’s block-stacking ability looks pretty sophisticated. It’s becoming less and less likely that our lifetimes will include robot butlers packing our suitcases for a vacation to the Moon.
7 | Fully sponsored education
While I’m sure The Man finds ways to sneak into the education system and imprint himself in the brains of the children… we’re not quite at the point where the answer to every arithmetic problem is “Pepsi”. As for classrooms being networked like they are in this clip, I think that does happen some… at least according to the Ellen Page commercial where she sees an elementary school class conferencing with another class in China. That information was implanted in my brain by Cisco.
8 | (Sigh) ubiquitous video phones
No peek at the future would be complete without the requisite video phones. Even The Simpsons fell into the trap. Video conferencing sucks. Even yours, iPhone people.
So, to send this message loudly to the past: Video phones flopped. We have the technology but, like one of the eight billion home runs hit by Cubs opponents this season at Wrigley Field, we’re taking it and throwing it back. In fact, here in The Future, we spend a ton of effort to do as little face-to-face connecting as possible.
9 | World War III
In this exchange, Hugh reminds Moe that the British saved America’s ass in World War III. And while the British are among the candidates to win the ongoing reality show Last Ally Standing… if WW3 ever does come, I’m betting on a dark horse to help us out. Prove me right, Canada. Prove me right.
10 | Big Ben going digital
Apparently, they didn’t just see Big Ben going digital… but being replaced by a VCR clock. Give the British a little more credit than that. I’m sure they’d go laserdisc or better.
11 | Virtual trees
We still haven’t reached the point of virtual trees. In fact, according to Glenn Beck, new socialist trees are springing up every day. (Socialists love trees. Because they’re shady. It’s the same reason that communists always publish newsletters. Because they’re read. Keep going? OK! It’s why liberals boycott C&C Music Factory. Because they hate freedom. Dammit. Went to the well one too many times.)