Cartoons Predicting The Future? You Better Believe It!

By Sunday Simmons

What do The Jetsons, The Simpsons, and Futurama have in common? Aside from having a huge fan base and a firm place in pop culture for many years to come, they all successfully predicted the future on more than one occasion.

From the sixties retro/future kitsch of the space age Jetsons to the nineties sarcasm of Bart and Homer, right up to Futurama’s whacky vision of things to come, these iconic cartons have been eerily predicting some pretty big things…

We may not be flying around in cars and having instant make-up application as featured in The Jetsons, but this vintage animation certainly came up with a few predictions that have since become our reality.

Created in 1962 by the winning team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (Scooby Doo, The Flintstones), The Jetson family were the All-American apple pie family – in space, and the premise was one that worked very well in an era where space travel had turned from science fiction to science fact.

For a generation transfixed by men walking on the moon, the future was an exciting place, and The Jetson’s accurately predicted some of the technology we take for granted in every day life today.

Every time you video call of FaceTime someone, remember, the creators of The Jetson’s pre-empted that fifty years ago. And personal tanning beds, robot vacuums, entertainment watches, flat screen TV’s, and even a tablet that kept the family up to date with the daily news. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So how do The Simpsons and Family Guy factor into this equation? Away from the light hearted, technology based Jetsons predictions, these two iconic animated series’ have been spookily accurate in alluding to future events.

Unless you spent the entire nineties living under a rock, you can’t help but know The Simpsons and their wise-cracking son Bart. One of the most popular animated series of all time and firmly embedded in the cultural psyche, The Simpsons went from a popular short as part of The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, to having its own prime time slot by 1989. And creator Matt Groening has since been uncannily accurate with his predictions for the future.

From the Rolling Stones still performing into their old age, to infuriating autocorrect (don’t we all hate it?), to Homer’s mutant tomatoes, The Simpsons has a whole bevvy of predictions. But perhaps the most relevant to current events, is the 2000 episode ‘Bart to the Future’, that predicts President Trump’s election to US president.

From Springfield we’re zapping into the world of Futurama. This space age animated sitcom (also spawned from the brain of Simpson’s creator Matt Groening), has managed to come up with a few predictions of its own.

The Futurama world is one where sensationalism and media driven entertainment broadcasts pretty much rule the population. If this sounds scarily familiar, just look around you – tablets, smart phones, social media…instant entertainment is never further than a tap away!

Offering a completely immersive VR experience to the masses, commercial headsets were nothing much more than a pipe dream during the nineties, but Futurama’s pre-emption of personal VR headsets such as Oculus Rift was clearly hinted at way back in 1999.

Fans of Futurama may remember Fry’s dreams being taken over by advertisements, so in a time when we can barely watch an entire video on YouTube without an ad interrupting it, who knows where the advert invasion may get to next!

And with commercial space travel being a very real possibility somewhere down the line, perhaps one day the Moon will become one big theme park and we can add a couple more Futurama predictions to the list…

Taken from the May 2017 issue of Geek Parenting, out now!

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