The Simpsons Are Still Predicting the Future, and It’s Plant-Based
It is well known in the world of The Simpsons that fans of the iconic show believe it predicts the future. There was one episode that predicted a President Donald Trump, and there is even a brand new rumor that the show presaged Trump getting COVID-19, although an article in Newsweek found the picture in question to be doctored, and not from any Simpsons episode. But more broadly the show predicted a plant-based world.
Creator Matt Groening could be accused of sorcery, having transversed the decades in a time travel machine, and enjoying a laugh as he duped us, unsuspecting viewers, with his tickling tease of what is coming down the pike from the future, which only he has visited. But instead of winning the lottery or the Super Bowl pool, he has used this seeing eye to show us ways that the world is changing, evolving, as if we are pawns in a game only he can see.
A most recent example: the growth of plant-based eating, which his character Lisa, lived out in her episodes that started with a guest visit from Paul and Linda McCartney, way back in 1995. Sir Paul, now knighted, is the founder of Meatless Mondays, which he started in England (as No Meat Mondays) when beloved Linda died of breast cancer, with daughters Stella (the designer) and Mary (the photographer) to honor their late wife and mom.
The Simpson visit from Paul and Linda, two dedicated vegetarians, was a meaningful episode since as they were asked to guest-star they had an ask in return. They would come on the show as long as the creators adhered to one important stipulation: that Lisa would remain vegetarian for the rest of the series. Groening and the showrunners agreed, in part because one of the creators, David Mirkin, recently had become a vegetarian himself. The episode was a hit, receiving accolades from the press, with the writer John Serba of the Grand Rapids Press calling it his favorite episode, "because the tale of Lisa's conversion to vegetarianism has more humorous scenes per square inch than any other episode."
We loved this episode and Paul and Linda's real voices. Plus, watch to the end for a quick snip of "Maybe I'm Amazed..." Watch the remastered version with an ode to Linda here.
Rumor has it that over the years, writing and creating the much-loved animated characters, Matt Groening was so influenced by Lisa's lifelong conversion and commitment to vegetarianism that he himself ditched meat, a classic tale of art imitating life, imitating art. The episode has continued to inspire vegetarians everywhere and is still one of the most “meme-ified” on social channels. Vegans begged Groening to make Lisa convert to veganism. She kept her stalwart commitment to no meat, and one wonders: Did the Simpsons yet again predict the future, and it's plant-based!
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