And in a very early episode ("Bart Gets Hit by a Car"), Satan informs Bart that he isn't due in Hell until the Yankees win the World Series, which, according to the Devil, is in 100 years. The Yankees won in 1996 and several years after, and some viewers are wondering when The Devil is going to collect on Bart's soul (though given how Bart has turned from a cheery, yet mischievous child to a sullen, borderline sociopath, it can be said that maybe The Devil already collected, but the viewers never saw it).
In the episode "Lemon of Troy", Bart mentions the film Rocky VII: Adrian's Revenge. Then came Rocky Balboa (which technically would be Rocky VI).
Homer and Moe have a falling out when Moe steals the recipe for the "Flaming Homer" and markets it himself. The secret ingredient? Krusty brand cough syrup. Flash forward several years, and we now have Sizurp, a cocktail made by mixing cough syrup with alcohol.
In "Bart to the Future," Lisa has become President and comments that she's the first "straight female President of the United States"; later on, after a scandal comes up, Lenny remarks "Don't blame me, I voted for Chastity Bono!" This whole train of thought either becomes hilarious, harsh, or very dated now that Chastity Bono has become Chaz Bono.
The season 11 premiere, "Beyond Blunderdome," featured Mel Gibson being loved and adored by everyone and Gibson hating it, and Gibson creating a bloody, violent controversial movie that ruins him and alienates his fans, which is what most people feel about The Passion of the Christ and news of Gibson making anti-Semitic and sexist remarks. The scene that really drives the Hilarious in Hindsight point home is when he tells Homer he got pulled over by a cop and the cop didn't give him a ticket. Gibson got in trouble for drunk driving in 2006.
Season four's "The Front" had an animator (who resembles then–showrunner Al Jean) tell his partner (who looks like Mike Reiss) that he's going to quit writing cartoons and create a sitcom about a sassy robot. Then, along came Futurama, which has a sassy robot (Bender), but neither Jean nor Reiss had anything to do with that show (it was David X. Cohen and Matt Groening, along with some Simpsons writers who were hired between seasons 7 to 22: Ken Keelernote He's the writer who made the much-maligned "The Principal and the Pauper", Jeff Westbrook, J. Stewart Burns, Dan Vebbernote Vebber is also credited as a producer, Bill Odenkirk, Josh Weinstein, Patric Verronenote Verrone only wrote one Simpsons episode: the season 17 episode "Milhouse of Sand and Fog," where Homer catches chickenpox from Maggie and Milhouse's parents reunite after years of being divorced, and Brian Kelley). In fact, as of 2012, Al Jean is still a showrunner on The Simpsons, a position he's had since the show's 13th (2001-2002) season.
In "Itchy and Scratchy Land", Homer and Marge go to a 70s nostalgia bar, where Marge points out how the bartender looks like John Travolta. The bartender, who is indeed Travolta, mutters "Yeah, 'looks like'." Right around the time the episode originally aired, Travolta made his comeback with Pulp Fiction (but blew it all with Battlefield Earth).
"Holidays of Future Passed" had the fictional assumption of Michigan being under sharia law (with Milhouse forced to wear a full-body burqa because of how ugly he is); now funny since some commentators have claimed Michigan is under sharia law due to its large Muslim population. In fact, officials from Michigan have spoken out against The Simpsons calling attention to this.
In "Bart Star," Homer is depressed over Bart leaving the football team. He asks for beer with Skittles in it from Apu, who tells him that such a product only exists in his dreams (but gives him a six-pack of Duff and a bag of Skittles just because). Fast forward 15 years, and there is now Skittles-flavored vodka available (also, thanks to this episode, people really have tried to put Skittles in beer to make the fabled drink, and in season 10's "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo," there were cases of Skittlebrau at the 33-cent store).
In "Blame It On Lisa", Bart says that the family going to Brazil means that they've been on every continent until Lisa reminds him that there's still Antarctica...which (ten years later) would be where the family ends up (after Bart confesses to his viral pandemic scam) as seen in the episode, "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again."
As a poster (Ondre Lombard) pointed out in SNPP, he once inserted onto a fake Season 8 listing for the Simpsons an episode called "Homer the Hippie". Two seasons later, we have "D'oh-in' in the Wind", which is about Homer becoming a hippie. The reviewer even commented on how eerie it was and jokingly demanded royalties in the event the episode is syndicated.
This website shows correct predictions made by the year 2010 from the 1995 episode "Lisa's Wedding," including: the appearance of a Kindle-like device (it's actually an Apple Newton Message Pad on the show), public school classrooms being overcrowded (and most public schools using corporate sponsorship from junk food companies to get fundingnote On the show, the class is being taught by a film sponsored by Pepsi), soy-based snacks being popular, The Rolling Stones still together and playing music, Jim Carrey still acting in movies (Hugh and Lisa go to a classic showing of Jim Carrey films), picture phones (these days, it's in the form of webcams and Internet connection), and video games in which the players use their bodies to move their avatars (Nintendo's Wii and Wii U consoles and Microsoft's Kinnect).
"The Ziff Who Came To Dinner" opens with the Simpsons at a movie theater and Lisa says that The Wild Dingleberries Movie is a movie version of something you get on TV for free (but they stretched out the plot and added a wildebeest from the 'hood). The Simpsons Movie is not only the same thing (a movie version of a cartoon you can see for free on television at home with a stretched-out plot, only instead of a wildebeest from the 'hood, it's a pet pig Homer keeps named Spider Pig and then renamed Harry Plopper), but also has a similar complaint by Homer.
Near the end of "Black Widower", Sideshow Bob vows he'll be out of prison "as soon as the Democrats are back in power". A mere nine months after this episode first aired, Bill Clinton (running as a Democratnote Many more liberal Americans, especially visible figures working in media, would accuse him of acting too much like a Republican for them.) assumed the presidency, and nine months after that, Bob would be paroled from jail in the episode "Cape Feare."
In "Treehouse of Horror XIX", the last episode aired before the United States presidential election of 2008, Homer tries to vote (six times in all) for Barack Obama and his votes are instead counted for John McCain (and in "Adventures in Baby-Getting," the last episode aired before the 2012 contest, there's a special opening where Homer tries to vote for Mitt Romney, but the vote is placed for Obama). Then, along came news reports of voting machines doing the same for bothcandidates for the 2012 election.
In the episode with the Radioactive Man movie, the director tells his crew that he wants to stay as far away from the campy 1970s version of Radioactive Man (which is similar to the campy 1960s Batman with Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, even though the only TV version of Radioactive Man that aired was the 1950s serial that shamelessly plugged Laramie Cigarettesnote Similar to the 1960s ads for The Flintstones that plugged Winston Cigarettes, back when advertising cigarettes on TV was legal). Two years later, we got Batman & Robin (though considering how crappy it was, this is more of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment).
In "Homer the Whopper", a poster in the background reads Star Wars Episode VII: The Apology. In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and plans have been announced for the sequel trilogy, with Episode VII targeted for release in 2015.
As discussed in the DVD commentary, the students striking because of budget cuts in the school on the season 15 episode "The President Wore Pearls" is similar to the Occupy Movement. Bonus points for a cameo by Occupy booster Michael Moore.
In "The Trouble with Trillions" Homer has to get a trillion-dollar bill back from Mr. Burns for the IRS. In January 2013, President Obama said he would authorize the minting of a one-trillion-dollar coin to bypass the debt ceiling.
"Angry Dad: The Movie" is about Bart's animated short winning an Oscar. Two years later, the Simpsons theatrical short The Longest Daycare would be nominated for an Oscar.
''Who Shot Mr. Burns? - Part 1": Abe Simpson moved into the Simpson household because of the damages the retirement home suffered from Burns' actions. Upon seeing his gun, Marge said he didn't want weapons in the house. Abe then asked what they'd do if a bear showed up. Springfield faced that exact problem in "Much Apu About Nothing", and fortunately somebody had tranquilizer darts.
When Homer and Mindy went together in a business travel in "The Last Temptation Of Homer", they ordered room service on the plant's expenses. In retaliation, Mr. Burns sent an army of flying monkeys after them. However, the monkeys still didn't get the flying part and fell down the window. Mr. Burns then told Smithers to continue the research. Almost twenty years later, in "The Blue And The Gray", Marge decided to remove her hair dye. That and a series of mishaps made her look like a wicked witch. A monkey was seen flying on the background. Perhaps the research paid off and one of the monkeys escaped?
A season two episode of South Park had Stan complaining that independent movies were all about "Gay cowboys eating pudding." Less than a decade later, Brokeback Mountain depicted the "gay cowboy" part of it, but sadly not the pudding part. When Parker and Stone heard about it, Parker said, "If there's any pudding eating in it, maybe we'll sue."
The episode "The Tale of Scrotie Mc Boogerballs" (where Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny write what's in essence intentionally awful vulgarly erotic book after finding Catcher in the Rye boring and being angry that it's not the controversial book they thought it was, then pin the blame on Butters to avoid being disciplined) doesn't seem so absurd now thanks to the popularity of Fifty Shades Of Grey (and its sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Free).
In "The Passion of the Jew", Mel Gibson is portrayed as an insane lunatic that loves torture. The tapes to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva makes this exaggeration even funnier (or more disturbing).
In said episode, the main issue was Family Guy planned to show Mohammed uncensored in the face of Islamic death threats and everyone in town burying their heads in the sand rather than deal with the problem. Years later, a similar incident happened on the South Park two-part episode "200" and "201."
And even later, Family Guy did an episode called "Turban Cowboy." While it didn't have Muhammad physically depicted, it did center on Peter converting to Islam and it was criticized on Wikipedia for mocking the Islamic faith.
The two episodes in which Osama bin Laden gets shot in the head by a U.S. soldier ("Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants" and "It's a Jersey Thing") became a lot funnier now that that has become a reality. Normally this would be Harsher in Hindsight, but it's okay because of the target. To further add much deserved insult to injury, Comedy Central ran an Osama mini-marathon before the May 4th episode.
In the Season 2 episode "City on the Edge of Forever" (which spoofs Clip Show episodes by twisting events of previous episodes — and even one scene of the episode itself — and ending each clip with at least one character eating ice cream), the last clip shown was the scene from "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" where Cartman's father was revealed, only instead of the father being revealed to be Cartman's mom (who is revealed to be a hermaphrodite), it was instead John Elway of the Denver Broncos. Then came Season 14, where Cartman's biological father was retconned into being a Denver Bronco.
"Medicinal Fried Chicken"'s plot about medical marijuana being legalized (while fast-food places like Kentucky Fried Chicken are being outlawed in low-income areasnote despite that Colorado has no low-income areas) becomes this after marijuana became legalized in Colorado on November 6, 2012.
All the times Kyle told Cartman not to call his mom a bitch become funnier once he actually did it himself in "Fun with Veal".
At the beginning of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Sheila is seen singing about the world being a dark, cruel place and that she came to South Park go get away from city life. "It's a Jersey Thing" revealed she was from New Jersey and that she moved to South Park to raise Kyle in a safe environment.
"Follow That Egg!" becomes weird to watch after Colorado legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.
In "Peterotica", one of Peter's many erotic stories is, in the tradition of porn parodies, "Harry Potter and the Half-Black Chick". Three years later, the film version of Half-Blood Prince featured a scene not from the book in which Harry flirts with a light-skinned African girl.
Then there's the fact that the episode centered on Peter writing erotica in his style (with very clunky and unsubtle prose) and becoming popular for it, despite the quality. Like the South Park example above, this is funnier thanks to the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy (and all the praise and criticism attached to the series).
The first banned episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" (the episode where Peter takes in a Jewish man who helps him manage the family's money, and Peter taking Chris to Vegas to get a quickie bar mitzvah) becomes laden in Fridge Logic now that "Family Goy" revealed that Lois' mother was Jewish, not Protestant, and had to hide her true religion so Carter could join a country club that doesn't allow Jewish people.
The Thanksgiving episode in which Joe's long-lost son comes back from the Iraq War (and most of the episode consists of the characters arguing about the moral and ethical stance of why America had any business in the country) goes from being "We're Still Relevant, Dammit" to an Unintentional Period Piece thanks to the Iraq War ending a month after the episode's premiere.
"Don't Make Me Over" is a double whammy. Not only did the show predict that Jimmy Fallon would come back and host an episode of Saturday Night Live, but Seth MacFarlane, for all the times he's made fun of Saturday Night Live and the stars who became famous because of SNL, hosted an episode (the first episode of season 38) and showed off his vocal and musical talents in the monologue (doing an entire conversation with himself as Peter, Stewie, Brian, and Quagmire, and singing about his many voices).
A pre-9/11 episode of Family Guy had one scene where Osama bin Laden attempts to board an airplane by distracting security by singing "I Hope I Get It" from A Chorus Line. This one's kind of a cross between a Hilarious in Hindsight moment and a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment. On the one hand, the scene isn't all that funny thanks to 9/11, the fact that security is tighter because of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks at airports (the shoe-bomber incident), and the fact that Seth MacFarlane would have died on the plane that crashed into the Twin Towers had he not missed the flight entirely due to a hangover and bad information he got from his travel agent. On the other hand, Osama bin Laden singing "God, I Hope I Get It" takes on a new, more darkly hilarious context now that bin Laden has been caught and killed.
Batman Beyond had a scene in which Terry tried to remember all of the U.S. presidents. He recites them up until Clinton (the current president at the time of the show's production), and then draws a blank. All he can remember is that the president after Clinton was "the boring one" (implying that Al Gore was supposed to be President after him). Depending on political leanings, this is either very funny or very depressing, since Gore never did become President as expected.
An episode of Justice League begins with Wonder Woman walking into the cosmetics section of a department store, and questioned a woman for wanting to cover up her "natural beauty" with makeup. Now, MAC cosmetics has a Wonder Woman collection, complete with large promotional displays of Wonder Woman fighting "Medusa's drab rays".
The 1943 Looney Tunes short "Tortoise Wins by a Hare" features the news headline "Adolph Hitler Commits Suicide" (which would be a reality a mere two years later). Now, generally something like this would be a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, but considering how Hitler was, it's safe to put it here.
In the 1943 short "Porky Pig's Feat", Daffy and Porky are imprisoned in their hotel room (for not paying their bill), and Porky wonders aloud what Bugs Bunny would do in a situation like this. Daffy eagerly chimes in, "Yeah, Bugs Bunny—my hero!" Later on, Daffy would be rewritten by Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng into being jealous of Bugs' success, so YMMV on whether this is funnier in hindsight or Harsher in Hindsight.
Consider the lyrics of "The Presidents Song" from Animaniacs, the version on the Variety Pack album:
"Now in Washington, D.C. There's Democrats and the GOP "But the one in charge is plain to see It's Clinton, first name Hillary!"
These lyrics were revised from the version of the song used in the show; as clearly audible (and visible) here, the lyrics are "But the ones in charge are plain to see/The Clintons, Bill and Hillary!" It still works, more or less.
There was also a MAD cover with the Clintons dressed up as The Flintstones, and these lyrics:
"Clinstones! Meet the Clinstones! They're America's First Family! From the town of Li'l Rock - And the one in charge is Hillary!"
An episode of Animaniacs opened with Saddam Hussein speaking out to his subjects (who are all shown in silhouettes, waving plungers in the air) just before falling through a trap door and ending up in Hell. Well, they got the falling-through-a-trap-door-to-his-death part right. All they were missing was the noose.
Another Animaniacs episode opened with the Warners running away from their watertower, which was about to explode. Yakko then says that he and his siblings would be back, rebuild, and make a brand new water tower that would be exactly like the old one. They are, they have, and they did!
"Till All Are One": In Transformers Animated, Elita-1 has the power to download every Cybertronian's special ability, indeed.
In a later episode, the oil-guzzling Constructicons actually do ingest a bit of Bumblebee's motor oil after they find a trail made by his leaking tank. Apparently he tastes even better than their usual fare, so it's possible that Bumblebee just settled on the first blood-analogue he could find for his dramatic statement.
It also serves as a sort of retroactive Reverse Funny Aneurysm moment when you consider two things:
1. Before this episode, Beast Wars introduced Tarantulas, who at least once tried to drain the mech fluids of a Maximal in a vampiric manner. and 2. During that same time, a cartoon called Vanpires aired, about - you guessed it - mechanoid vampire cars that drained the motor oil from helpless vehicles.
From Beast Wars: During the episode "Call of the Wild", the Maximals have been taken over by the primal instinct of their beast modes, and the Predacons are hunting them down. Now look at the following quote and try to not think about Sarah Palin. However, not all will find this as amusing, given that it involves "hunting/poaching" animals, shooting wild wolves from helicopters with rifles.
Terrorsaur: Huntin' from the air with automatic weapons! Now that's a sport!
Also from Beast Wars, Blackarachnia once made an annoyed off-handed remark that almost seems to foreshadow a certain infamous director.
Blackarachnia: What is it with guys and high explosives?
Speaking of the Movie, one of the salutes said by the Decepticons is "All Hail Megatron!" (also used as the title for an IDW miniseries). Years later, Megatron in the Japanese dub of Animated is voiced by Norio Wakamoto...
YMMV, but Rotorstorm's "Wreckers, COMBINE!" CMoF in Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers. Now, two years later, there's been a Wreckers combiner announced (a redeco/retool of the Fall of Cybertron Combaticons/Bruticus). If only he were alive to see it...
In The Fairly OddParents, at the end of an episode, a button is pressed that would blow up the planet. It ends up blowing up Pluto, but it's okay because "no one cares about Pluto." In 2006, Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet, much to the shock and disappointment of people who grew up being taught that Pluto is a planet just like Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
The Grand Finale for Avatar The Last Airbender premiered a day after The Dark Knight. In The Dark Knight, Alfred tells Bruce "Some men just want to watch the world burn." (though this line featured prominently in a teaser trailer a year prior). The very next day audiences got to see Fire Lord Ozai trying to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground. It was like they knew the movie would be premiering on the same weekend!
Yet another, more in the vein of the Star Wars fandom: Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, plays the evil overlord father of one of the main characters. Role reversal much? He even shoots lightning!
Zuko: That wasn't a good play. Sokka: But the effects were decent!
Amusingly, many people found the effects to be decisively lacking.
Yes, lacking giant fish monsters.
Way back in the early 1990s, Dante Basco played Peter Pan's replacement Rufio in Hook. In 2003, Jason Isaacs played Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Years later, Rufio and Hook became rivals again as Prince Zuko and Admiral Zhao. Although Basco's character lived this time, while Isaac's bit the dust.
In the same vein of the first post, The Boiling Rock was leaked in the last week of April, for people in Latin America, that meant to see Azula using the Repulsive Fire to fly THE VERY SAME day that Tony Stark did it with repulsive rays in the Iron Man movie.
In "The Warriors of Kyoshi", Sokka has to wear the Kyoshi Warriors' usual apparel to get training from them, and Aang mocks him for it ("nice dress"). About a season later Aang himself has to wear almost the same thing as part when he's trying to channel Kyoshi's spirit.
For those of you who succeeded in repressing all memory of How I Became Yours (or just have never seen it), remember how Katara bloodbends in broad daylight, something supposedly impossible in-universe? Two (actually 3)of Korra's villains do the exact same thing.
For much of the series we were told that Earthbenders are useless around metal, then Toph comes around and proves us all wrong by bending metal.
Not entirely unexpected. The show is based on Chinese culture, which actually has five elements, the ones mentioned in the beinning: water, earth, fire, air. and metal
An episode of The Backyardigans had Uniqua as a flower seller who turned into a pink-clad superheroine with flower-themed powers. Later, Heartcatch Pretty Cure comes along with a protagonist who had those exact traits.
A truly epic example happened on October 9, 2010. An episode of The Penguinsof Madagascar had Private be offended that Kowalski would mock his favorite show about unicorns. It was meant to be a joke that Private was weird in the fact he liked something for girls. ONE DAY LATER, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic happened.
DoorMouse from Team Umizoomi always wears pants that don't have a hole for his tail to stick out. It's not until the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Cold Fish" that Dudley complains about these pants.
Cartoon Network's In-House Programming (including shows on its Adult Swim line-up)
In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From The Future", at one point, Shake mentions, "Have you seen that the interest rates for mortgages are really low right now?" This was in 2002, years before "Credit Default Swap" became a household name (and later, one of the reasons why the current economy is in the tank).
The Ed Edd N Eddy episode "It's Way Ed, in which the Eds try to come up with some wacky fashion trends with random everyday objects these days wouldn't be out of place in Lady Gaga's wardrobe.
On the Johnny Test episode "Johnny Tube", Johnny's working his ass off to get a Hollywood movie contract for getting a top rated web video. At the end of the episode, the four videos that did get it (Johnny didn't make it in time) ended up starring in a low-rated box office crash. A half-year after that episode aired, Nickelodeon started airing Fred The Show, which failed spectacularly. The jury is out on whether Cartoon Network's The Annoying Orange will end the same way.
Kim Possible: In the episode where Kim Possible learns how to drive, she is recruited by several Animate Inanimate Objects (or, more accurately, normal appliances/a car modified to contain an autonomous AI) to save their master (an AI developer) from Dr. Drakken. This becomes especially hilarious when Christie Carlson Romano, the voice actress who plays Kim Possible, ends up playing Belle in the Beauty and the Beast broadway stage performance, who has to do something similar for the servants (who are transformed into actual Animate Inanimate Objects).
The looks, voice and mannerisms of Princess Eilonwy from Disney's The Black Cauldron peculiarly resemble those of Evanna Lynch, who was born six years after the film came out.
During the last few years of the now-defunct Toon Disney channel's existence, a frequent source of series material came in the form of shows based on Marvel Comics superheroes (likely coinciding with the film releases of several of the characters). The humor comes in the form of Disney's recent purchase of Marvel.
One episode of The Proud Family had an American Idol-esque competition, and one of the contestants was a homely girl with a fantastic singing voice. She eventually won the competition, and presumably became quite famous. Years later, Susan Boyle appears on Britain's Got Talent and goes on to be famous.
The Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers episode "A Chorus Crime" had a flock of penguins tap-dancing on the ice as a major plot element. 17 years later came the movie Happy Feet, which also included penguins and tap-dancing.
At the start of Pluto's nightmare in Plutos Judgement Day, a demonic cat dressed as a policeman arrests Pluto in his sleep, and takes him to Hell to be put on trial. The police cat takes Pluto out of Mickey's house and through a volcanic landscape full of evil trees shaped like sinister cats, and the entrance to Hell resembles a cave shaped like a cat head. Before the trial starts, several chains leap out of nowhere and pin Pluto to the ground to prevent him from escaping. When the demon cats finally declare Pluto guilty, they start cheering as the poor dog gets dropped into a fire, causing him to wake up from his nightmare. Pluto Is Expendable indeed.
Although both games came out around the same time, the Garfield game "Garfield's Defense" and Disney World's interactive card game, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom have some amusing similarities. In the Garfield and Friends segment "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves", Snow Wade's dress,red bow and black hair was similar to the Disney version. In the now iPod/iPhone/iPad game "Garfield's Defense" the US Acres characters help Garfield fight the enemies. Wade's weapon to fight off the enemies is a broom. In "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom", Snow White has a spell card to attack the enemies, "Snow White’s Housecleaning". What weapon is she holding/using? A broom.
In the Aladdin episode "To Cure a Thief", Iago comes in and shouts that Abu has become "the king of thieves". This came before Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
In the American Dad episode "Daddy Queerest", a drunken Stan mistakes Nelson Mandela for Morgan Freeman. While it is somewhat funny due to Mandela's and Freeman's similarities in appearance, it becomes Hilarious in Hindsight thanks to the movie Invictus and Freeman's role as Nelson Mandela.
In the Futurama pilot, the suicide booth Fry uses is promoted as "America's favorite suicide booth since 2008". At first it was just a silly side comment, but now it's funny (in a dark kinda way) since 2008 was the year the suicide machine was invented, and the year the American economy tanked, which would be reason enough for anyone (particularly stock brokers and those who work with money on the savings and investments scale) to be Driven to Suicide.
In Season 1's "When Aliens Attack," Fry accidentally spills soda on a TV switchboard and scrambles an airing of the Ally McBealExpySingle Female Lawyer. Cut to Omicron Persei 8, where Single Female Lawyer gets cut off due to technical difficulties and an announcer says, "We now bring you eight animated shows in a row" (which would be impossible, if the signal from Earth's FOX station is out), causing an alien to get frustrated and shoot his television. Now that it's over a decade later and FOX now has a Sunday-night lineup called "Animation Domination" (which consists of The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, and three Seth MacFarlane cartoons), this joke still plays quite well today. However, in November 1999, when the episode first aired, this would have counted as more of a joke about FOX airing animated shows because there were just three cartoons total on FOX Sunday nights: Futurama, The Simpsons and King of the Hill.
Avenger Penguins got a fair few of these that are (19-20 years on) now retroactively funny:
Annabelle the Animal, a One Shot Character from the episode "Surprise Fate" seems remarkably similar to Taylor Momsen and her predilection for black. Well, apart from the penguin part, that is.
Meta example: In the Garfield and Friends episode "Garfield Goes Hawaiian", Frank Welker voiced Garfield instead of his normal actor Lorenzo Music because Music was ill. Welker would later become the regular voice actor for him in The Garfield Show due to Music's death.