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Hilarious In Hindsight / The Simpsons

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  • "Flaming Moe's" centers around a mixed-drink spiked with cough syrup. Flash forward a few years and we have Purple Drank.
  • The season 11 premiere "Beyond Blunderdome" had Mel Gibson (voicing himself) and plays on the idea that he is so admired by the public that it makes him uncomfortable. With The Passion of the Christ and news about his alcoholism and his anti-Semitic and sexist remarks, it looks as if Mel's got his wish. It's both funny and depressing.
  • Similarly, a throwaway gag in "Homer Loves Flanders" in which Homer dreams of having a wig like Marge, proclaiming that he doesn't need her anymore, turns up being funny and depressing at the same time considering that "Secrets from a Successful Marriage" establishes that Homer would not survive without Marge for he is totally unable to take care of himself.
  • In the "Treehouse of Horror III" short "Clown Without Pity", a naked Homer runs screaming from his bathtub to escape a harpoon-wielding demonic Krusty the Clown doll and passes by Patty, Selma, and Marge as they have lunch together. Patty puts down her fork and says, "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality." Years after this throwaway joke in a non-canonical Halloween episode, Patty came out of the closet and revealed that she was a lesbian all along, rather than being heterosexual, but celibate since she thinks all men are as stupid and crass as Homer and will never have a real man like the actor who plays MacGyver.
    • Similarly, in "Homer's Phobia", once Homer learns of John's sexuality he says "Now we can never say only straight people have been in this house". Patty had been visiting for years by that point (also Smithers, as seen in "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish").
  • "They Saved Lisa's Brain", Stephen Hawking mentions he may steal the idea of a "donut-shaped universe" that Homer has explained to him off-screen. In modern physics, the Three-torus model is a real theory of the shape of the universe, and makes more sense than you may think.note 
  • A similar situation happened in "Itchy & Scratchy Land" where John Travolta is shown reduced to working as a bartender in a 70s themed bar. The episode was released in the same year that Pulp Fiction came out, which single-handedly resurrected Travolta's career with a scene set in a retro-themed diner.
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  • Despite the touching undertones and Bart earning his happy ending, the fact that Bart is still in the fourth grade after all these years makes the events from "Bart Gets an F" seem senseless.
  • In "You Only Move Twice" Homer is disappointed when his Benevolent Boss, Hank Scorpio, gives him the Denver Broncos as a gift instead of the Dallas Cowboys. The Denver Broncos are seen practicing on the Simpsons' front lawn, and are portrayed as bumbling and laughably bad at football. Since this episode aired, the Broncos have had 4 Super Bowl appearances and won 3 of them, one of which, Super Bowl XXXIII, was the subject of season 10's "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday". In fact, the Broncos' would win their first championship only a little over a year after "You Only Move Twice" aired (and their second a year after that). Meanwhile, the Cowboys haven't reached their conference championship.
    • After the 2014 Super Bowl where the Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks by an embarrassing score of 43-8, the clip of Homer bemoaning owning the team received renewed interest online.
  • In "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", Bart watches a trailer for the fictitious Star Trek film Star Trek XII: So Very Tired, which lampoons the increasing age of the original series cast. May 2013 saw the release of the 12th Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, which featured much younger actors, though did include Leonard Nimoy in his final appearance as Spock.
  • "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is a lot funnier when you realize that (a) Matt Groening originally had a Simpsons spin-off planned called Tales of Springfield (it was rejected and reworked as the season seven episode "22 Short Films About Springfield"), and (b) Seth MacFarlane (Matt Groening's friend and professional rival) created a spin-off of his Simpsons knock-off animated sitcom: The Cleveland Show.
    • The Chief Wiggum, PI segment is based on the premise of a successful TV show creating a spinoff featuring "exciting, sexy adventures" amid the "colorful backdrop" of The Big Easy. 17 years later, cue the debut of NCIS: New Orleans.
  • In the Season 2 episode "Three Men and a Comic Book", Homer and Bart discuss how The Cosby Show was being taken off the air to keep it from becoming stale, and joke about how they would "run that sucker into the ground" if they were in Cosby's position. More than 20 seasons later, The Simpsons is still on the air.
  • Matt Groening criticized the episode "A Star is Burns" because he promised his sitcom would be different from others and one of the sitcom conventions he hated is the crossover episode that plays out like a 20-odd minute advertisement for another show, even removing his name from the credits in protest. Since then, The Simpsons has had crossover with The X-Files ("The Springfield Files"), two Jay Sherman cameos ("Hurricane Neddy" and "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner"), a 24 crossover ( "24 Minutes"), a The Terminator parody featuring the characters from Futurama and a special guest appearance on Family Guy where the Simpsons bond with the Griffins.
  • The 1996 episode "Two Bad Neighbors", in which former president George H. W. Bush moves next door to the Simpsons, includes a scene where Homer tries to trick Bush into opening his door by propping up two cardboard cutouts of his sons Jeb and "George Bush, Jr." According to the Season 7 DVD Commentary, the writers (and the mid-90s audience) had no idea at the time that there actually was a George Bush, Jr., and figured that Homer was just being stupid by making up a name on the spot. And yet, they somehow knew who Jeb Bush was.
    • Homer's old jacket was supposed to say "Disco Stud" on the back, but instead, it's printed "Disco Stu" because he ran out of space. In 2017, CBS ordered some T-shirts to promote Star Trek: Discovery, but instead, they were printed as "Star Trek: Disco" because they specified the wrong font size, thereby running out of space on the shirts.
  • "Maximum Homerdrive" has the idea truckers aren't really needed because they all have computer systems that will safely drive for them. We're getting closer and closer to having self-driving cars take over, and it probably will start with semis.
  • Remember that Bonestorm commercial from "Marge Be Not Proud" that started out with a couple kids playing a fighting game where you fight a tank? Enter Akatsuki Blitzkampf, a Japanese doujin fighting game where one of the bosses is literally a tank.
  • Remember "New Kids on the Blecch" with "Yvan Eht Nioj"? Well it seems Katy Perry may or may not have devised a similar plan for the Marines...
  • Back in the very first "Treehouse of Horror", Bart makes a comment on the first Friday the 13th film, saying that "it's pretty tame by today's standards." In wake of much more controversial adult animated shows like Beavis and Butt-Head, South Park, and Family Guy, The Simpsons has often been thought of as "tame" by modern audiences.
    • During "The Raven" segment, Homer throws a paperweight at the raven/Bart who proceeds to dodge it. This causes Homer to exclaim, "D'oh, I missed!", years before The Runaway Guys made the phrase popular.
  • In the old Konami arcade, one of the enemies are donuts in the Dream Land level. Cut to the Season 9 episode "Simpson Tide", it begins with Homer's dream he's on the Planet of the Donuts.
  • In "Homerpalooza", when Homer is worried about being out of touch with the current music scene, he revisits his old favorite record store (Good Vibrations, since renamed to Suicide Notes). When he mentions the Us Festival being sponsored by "That guy from Apple Computers", the Gen X cashier holds up a music CD and sardonically asks "What computers?" When the episode aired in 1996 Apple was at its lowest point and seen as a dying company, but mounted a comeback the next year with iMac, as well as massive success with iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and more, eventually becoming one of the world's most valuable and ubiquitous companies.
  • In "Lisa's Sax", a parody bumper for The WB had Michigan J. Frog lamenting on how nobody watches the network. In 2006, The WB went off the air and merged with UPN to form the CW.
  • "The Trouble with Trillions" had Homer, Burns and Smithers landing in Cuba at the same time Fidel Castro is considering the possibility of abandoning Communism. About fifteen years later, Cuba and the U.S. restored diplomatic ties, with many pointing that socialism in the island may have its days counted once the embargo is lifted.
    • The fact that Castro took the trillion dollar banknote while leaving the trio to their fates contrasts with many Cuban exiles and Tea Party supporters who have decried the detente as the deal was ambiguous regarding any important changes to Cuba's political system.
  • "Bart Star" has the family buying Bart's football gear at a store called Sportacus. This was eight years before LazyTown premiered. In the same episode, the "WHO ARE WE? WILDCATS!" cheer is made funnier by making just a minor switch to "WHAT TEAM?"
  • "That '90s Show", an episode aired in 2008 and set in the early 1990s, has a scene where Homer and Marge divide their belongings. The joke is supposed to be that Homer keeps all the stuff that ends up being worthless by the 2000s: "I'll keep the LPs, and you take the CDs. I'll take the typewriter, you take the computer. I'll take the Enron stock, you take the Microsoft stock." Except that in 2008 vinyl records were already making a comeback among the music cognoscenti, and online streaming was well on its way of replacing CDs as the main form in which people consume digital music. A few years after the episode aired, those LPs would probably sell for a lot more than the CDs.
  • In "Homie the Clown", Homer (dressed as Krusty) presents an award for "Cable's Most Promising New Series", which goes to reruns of Starsky & Hutch. During the late 1990s, pay TV became increasingly prominent in American homes and "premium" cable networks like HBO and AMC began producing high-profile series at the same time these became more affordable, eventually becoming as big as the over-the-air networks.
  • Similarly, in "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" has Homer blaming his not visiting museum on "those TV networks pushing one good show after another". The joke when this first aired was that the first half of the 1990s were a low point for TV. Nowadays, it is about an overload of acclaimed shows, to the point one can barely keep up.
  • "Bart to the Future" didn’t slouch in predicting Donald Trump's presidency, either. This could easily fall into Harsher in Hindsight or "Funny Aneurysm" Moment if you dislike Trump, however.
    • The episode also features Lenny saying he didn't vote for Lisa, but Chastity Bono. Who we know better now as Chaz Bono. Retroactively, this means Lenny might be starting to forget some things at his age.
  • In the 2011 episode "A Midsummer's Nice Dream" Bart doesn't know who Beavis and Butt-Head are. Their show was revived that same year.
  • The announcement that Harry Shearer leaving the show in 2015 (actually, he returned for two more seasons) became quite ironically hilarious considering they did a gag about the subject, with another VA replacing Shearer as Ned Flanders, over a decade prior in "Homer to the Max". The comment "they don't have to pay the actors squat" is just the icing on the cake, as there is speculation that money had something to do with Shearer deciding to leave. note 
  • In "When Flanders Failed" Flanders accounts having his house and assets repossessed by "nice" people who were only doing their job. This seems like a standard Extreme Doormat disposition from the character, until "I Married Marge" features the Simpsons couple having a visit from a repo man who genuinely is cheerful, affable and apologetic about collecting their possessions ("Repossessing is the hardest part of my job").
  • In "Homer Goes To College", when Homer is told he has to go to college to keep his job, Bart sarcastically asks "Barber or clown?", angering Homer. Later, in "Homie the Clown", Homer actually goes to clown college and becomes a Krusty the Clown impersonator, and he would later become a barber in "Homer Scissorhands."
  • Toward the end of "The Great Louse Detective", Sideshow Bob resorts to killing Bart, but can't do it, because he's grown accustomed to the boy's face, and because he feels that Victory Will Be Boring if he kills Bart, as described in his Villain Song. Nearly 13 years later, in the Treehouse of Horror XXVI segment "Wanted: Dead, then Alive", Bob finally seems to have gotten over the epiphany by killing Bart; but after a few days, he recalls the notion that Victory Is Still Boring without Bart around, so he decides to prolong his victory by creating a Reanimator machine and bringing his Arch-Enemy Back from the Dead before going all Emperor Joker on Bart in a Death Montage.
  • The final segment of "Treehouse of Horror XVII" called "The Day the Earth Looked Stupid" was set in the 1930s. The ending shot showed a ruined Springfield set to "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire". Two years later, Fallout 3 (set in a futuristic world if it was imagined by people in the 1930s) was released and used the same song for the intro and slowly pans out to show a ruined Washington D.C. similar to the former.
  • In 2005's "Don't Fear the Roofer", while Homer is describing why he likes hanging around Ray Magini, he states that they finish each other's sandwiches.
  • In a pivotal scene of "Bart Gets Hit by a Car", Marge is called to testify before court by the name "Mrs. Homer J. Simpson" (rendered in some dubs as "Mrs. H. J. Simpson", even). Amazingly, the scene predates the O.J. Simpson trial, which happened in 1994/1995, while the episode aired in 1991.
  • In the 1992 episode, "New Kid on the Block", Homer sues seafood restaurant, The Frying Dutchman, for false advertising after getting kicked out for eating too much at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Ten years later, a man named Bill Wisth pickets a seafood restaurant for kicking him out when takes advantage of their all-you-can-eat policy. Many comments on youtube and news websites made comparisons to the episode.
  • The plot of "The Principal and the Pauper" is this in light of Don Draper's backstory on Mad Men.
  • In "Lisa on Ice", Springfield Elementary's auditorium is called the "Butthead Memorial Auditorium", named by Springfield's students, much to Principal Skinner's frustrationnote . This scene became funnier when, in 2016, an online survey to name a new UK research ship led to the winning choice "Boaty McBoatface".
  • In "Like Father, Like Clown", when it's explained that Krusty the Clown is Jewish, Lisa lists many other Jewish celebrities, including Mel Brooks, which surprises Homer. In "Homer vs. Patty and Selma", Homer gets to meet Mel Brooks while working as a chauffeur.
  • In "Deep Space Homer", Homer regrets not going to the mall to meet Mr. T Come LEGO Dimensions, where Homer can finally meet B.A. at long last.
  • In "Helter Shelter", while the Simpsons home is being fumigated, Lisa proposes that they stay at a youth hostel, to which Bart objects with "I do not want another lecture from a German backpacker about how we don't appreciate the national park system." Later, in "The Heartbroke Kid", the Simpson family turn their home into a youth hostel for German backpackers, and they are indeed subjected to nonstop lectures about America's inadequacies. And they did this so they can pay for Bart's therapy at a fat camp.
    German Backpacker: Problem number 35 with America: No universal healthcare. Number 36: No metric system. What is this, the time of Charlemagne? Answer me, answer me now!
  • This show managed to predict what would happen in Lady Gaga's 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
  • In The Simpsons Arcade Game, whenever any family member loses a life, they fly back in wearing their own respective superhero costume. Homer's costume (consisting of bright blue, long-sleeved tights, a red cape and his underwear worn on the outside) looks suspiciously similar to the one he would sport as his alter-ego, The Pie Man, in "Simple Simpson" (only he wears white underwear instead of gold.)
  • In "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood," Martin Prince plays the My Dinner with Andre arcade game, the gameplay of which is limited to watching lengthy conversations and using the joystick to select dialogue choices. Nowadays, such a game doesn't seem so far-fetched.
  • In "The PTA Disbands", Bart discovers that for years, he's actually been drinking "Malk" instead of milk. Malk now actually exists. It's almond milk.
  • In the "Treehouse of Horror VIII" segment "Fly vs. Fly" Bart puts Snowball II and Santa's Little Helper into the teleporter and it comes out with Helper's head on one end and Snowball's head on the other.
  • In "I Am Furious (Yellow)", Stan Lee unsuccessfully attempts to turn into the Hulk, claiming that he actually managed to do it once before. 11 years later, one of his powers in Lego Marvel Super Heroes is to Hulk Out.
  • The season 5 episode "Bart Gets Famous", released in 1994, has Bart earn his 15 Minutes of Fame after embarrassing himself on live TV, with the one-liner "I didn't do it" becoming a Memetic Mutation that even got turned into a hit novelty rap song. Fast-forward to 2016, and a teenage girl named Danielle Bregoli becomes famous after embarrassing herself on Dr. Phil, with the one-liner "catch me outside, how 'bout dah!?" becoming a Memetic Mutation that even got turned into a hit novelty rap song.
  • Possibly Harsher in Hindsight depending on how cynical you are, but in the Season 8 episode "The Springfield Files", Milhouse laboriously inserts 40 quarters into a Waterworld arcade game. As soon as he takes a single step, the screen flashes "Game Over" at him and demands he begin inserting more quarters to continue (Milhouse immediately denounces it as "a rip off!" before sadly starting to insert more quarters). While at the time it was only a joke about how the film cost such an exorbitant amount of money to make before underperforming at the box office, if you fast forward to today and compare it to some of the Allegedly Free Games out there trying to milk your wallet for as much as they can possibly get away with (often by using the same tricks that kept Milhouse inserting quarters), the Waterworld game looks like modern game publisher's wet dream. Bear in mind, though, that American arcade games were (and still are) designed to create unfair, unavoidable Game Over moments precisely to convince kids to put in more money, which is what this joke was also making fun of.note  On this front, the trope is averted, as the majority of arcade game developers have stopped doing that.
  • The picture above comes from near the end of the 1998 episode "When You Dish Upon a Star", showing the exterior of 20th Century Fox Studios with the notice "A Division of Walt Disney Co." on their famous searchlight logo. In 2017, it was announced that Disney would acquire 21st Century Fox (which was completed in early 2019), whose assets include the studio and The Simpsons itself.
    • Pretty much every single one of the Take That! jokes aimed at Disney that have been on the show over the years are now this because of the purchase, as the acquisition of 21st Century Fox can be seen as karma for the Disney digs and the digs in question can now be seen in the same light as the show's Biting-the-Hand Humor jokes at Fox.
  • In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy," one of Lisa's friends exclaims that there's something wrong with her talking Malibu Stacy doll, which erroneously says "My Spider Sense is tingling! Anybody call for a web-slinger?" Hank Azaria speaks this line, who went on to voice one of Spider-Man's most popular villains on another Fox animated program not long after.
  • The season 13 episode where Homer and Ned's Vegas wives from "Viva Ned Flanders" returned is named "Brawl in the Family". Also, many have noticed that the plot of the former episode is strikingly similar to what would eventually become the plot of The Hangover which came out ten years later.
  • In "A Star Is Born Again", Marisa Tomei guest-starred as a Hollywood actress who dates Flanders, who at one point leaves characters such as Homer drolling over her when she wears a somewhat revealing outfit. Tomei voicing a character that attracts attention over how stunningly attractive she is now seems like foreshadowing the many complaints and jokes that were thrown when she was cast as an Age Lifted version of Peter Parker's Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for how May as portrayed by her was much more easy to the eyes compared to the character's usual portrayal.
  • In the Season 21 episode "Boy Meets Curl", Homer, Marge, Principal Skinner and his mother Agnes form a mixed curling team that was chosen to play and win the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, putting Sweden at second place and Russia at third place. Eight years later, the U.S. would actually win the gold medal in curling at PyeongChang in South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and while they did put Sweden in second place with the silver medal, the only difference is that Switzerland was put in third place with the bronze medal instead of Russia.
  • A 2003 crossover comic with Futurama made a reference to Steamed Hams years before the scene became a meme.
    • And then a year after "Steamed Hams" became an internet meme, the White House ordered 1000 hamburgers as a banquet.
  • In "'Round Springfield", Bart tells Lisa that he wants to be reincarnated as a butterfly because "nobody ever suspects the butterfly". In Kirby Star Allies, a seemingly insignificant red and yellow butterfly that had been sporadically appearing since Kirby's Return to Dream Land was revealed to be Morpho Knight all along, and nobody paid any attention to its previous appearances until then.
  • In the Season 30 episode "From Russia Without Love", Ksenia Solo plays Anastasia Alekova, a Russian mail-order bride who nearly marries Moe until it's revealed she's actually a con woman. Anyone watching the show who is also a Lost Girl fan will immediately pick up on the similarities to Solo's character Kenzi, who was also a(n actual Russian-American) con woman.
  • "Chief of Hearts" has Chief Wiggum mentions he worries about Superman deciding to kill everybody.
  • The 2007 episode "Husbands and Knives" features a cameo from comic book writer Alan Moore, who gets angry about a Watchmen spinoff called Watchmen Babies, which was apparently produced by DC Comics without his involvement. Starting in 2011, DC actually did bring back the cast of Watchmen for several stories done without Moore's involvement or permission. And in 2019, they released a literal Spinoff Babies version of Swamp Thing (which Moore made famous) called Swamp Kid.
  • In The Movie, Bart puts a large bra on his head and says "Look, I'm the mascot of an evil corporation" as he now resembles Mickey Mouse. As of 2019, Disney now owns Fox, made even funnier as the Disney website has a picture of Bart showing off their many properties. And later in special video, when the show will be added to Disney's streaming service, Bart tries to refuse of putting on the mouse ears.
    Bart: I don't wanna. I'm not gonna. You can't make me!
    Homer: Put on the ears, boy!
  • In "Lisa the Iconoclast", we learn not only that Jebediah Springfield was Evil All Along, but that his real name is Hans. Seventeen years later, we saw another Evil All Along character with the same name, although the latter was known from the beginning.
  • In the Japanese dub, Hiroya Ishimaru is the dub voice of Lionel Hutz. The hilarity comes with the fact he was the Japanese dub voice of the titular MacGyver (1985), and Hutz was briefly married with Selma Bouvier, which, along with her sister Patty, are both fans of the titular hero.
  • In the episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", Bart asked Moe for a Seymour Butts. There is a porn actor/director with the name, Seymore Butts!
  • The basic plot of "Marge Gamer" is Marge entering an MMORPG world and encountering Bart there. And then we have Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?.


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