Matt Groening is known the world over as the genius behind The Simpsons, Futurama, and Disenchanted. In 1989 "The Simpsons" seemingly came out of nowhere to capture the imagination and sometimes ire of the television viewing public.
Starting as an afterthought of a very anticipated but failed variety show named for and staring Tracy Ullman. The Simpsons would go on to Become the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes. During the 30 plus years that Matt has been creating television a funny trend has been noticed by the more devoted fans of his work. Some episodes and scenes from all of his "fictional" work have an almost Nostradamus tendency to actually happen. Groening's work is so successful at mimicking future events that even "mainstream media" articles have been written about his "writers" ability to "coincidently" predict the future. Groening's work has been so prescient that many have begun to ponder how he does it. To give you a clean slate for speculation I will list off a few notable depictions from Matt's first show "The Simpsons" that seem almost prophecy now. Keep in mind these are just a couple that I found interesting. There are hundreds of articles written by short sighted "journalists" who never bothered to look deeper into the phenomenon. It is interesting to note that a large amount of them happened early in the shows run when Matt was still very active in the writing.
Censorship of Michelangelo"s David - Season 2, Episode 9 Came true in July 2016, when Russian campaigners voted on whether to clothe a copy of the statue.
The Beatles sending belated fan mail Season 2, Episode 18 Came true in 2013, two women from Essex received a reply from Sir Paul McCartney after sending him a mixtape 50 years earlier.
Baby translator (Season 3, Episode 24: "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?") Came true somewhere around 2013 there are several on the market as of 2020.
Correctly predicting Super Bowls (Season 3, Episode 14: "Lisa the Greek") Came true according to Hollywood reporter "The initial airing of the football-centric episode came only a few days before Super Bowl XXVI, where Lisa correctly predicted the Washington Redskins would win. The next year, the staff decided to dub in the names of that year's competing teams, and they were once again correct with their call of the Dallas Cowboys as victors. The redubbing's continued with moderate success over the next few years, finishing with another accurate prediction of the San Francisco 49ers over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX." Three-eyed fish (Season 2, Episode 4: "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish") Came true in 2011, when fishermen caught a three-eyed wolf fish in a reservoir that feeds near a nuclear plant in Argentina.
Siegfried and Roy tiger attack (Season 5, Episode 10: "$pringfield") Came true in 2003.
Autocorrect (Season 6, Episode 8: "Lisa on Ice") Came true 2005.
Ebola outbreak (Season 9, Episode 3: "Lisa's Sax") Came true in 2014, and 2015.
Disney buys 20th Century Fox (Season 10, Episode 5: "When You Dish Upon a Star") Came true in July 2018, ALL HAIL THE MOUSE! MAY HE LIVE A BILLION YEARS!
FIFA's corruption scandal and World Cup results (Season 25, Episode 16: "You Don't Have to Live Like a Referee") Came true in 2015 as FIFA employees underwent a slew of arrests following accusations of bribery, fraud, and money laundering.
Keep in mind this is a VERY short list leaving out many "Coincidences" that Matts long body of work seemingly conjures out of nowhere.
All of the above evidence is fascinating and relatively convincing on its own. But during the lengthy research that went into what I thought would be a fun and unverifiable story I came across an article from The "Kitsap Sun" a newspaper based out of a small naval community in Washington State. On October 19th 2015 they published a "Puff Piece" about a woman named Gwendolyn Atwood who on a trip to her local thrift store with a friend bought four watercolour paintings that featured characters from her favorite Television show "The Simpsons" The next day she started looking at them and thinking, "What if they're originals?" Convinced that they were in fact drawn by Matt she and her daughter took them to The Evergreen College who confirmed that they did appear to be a class project made by Mr. Groening during his tenure at the prestigious institution. The pictures even feature places around Olympia WA. The faculty were so convinced of authenticity that they asked Gwendolyn if she would donate them to the school. Being a good capitalist she refused the request and put them at auction for several thousands of dollars each.
This all seems like a nice story about a savvy, sweet old woman who had an incredibly lucky day at the thrift store until you consider a few things. The first problem with Gwendolyn's lucky find is that Matt went to the Evergreen school from 1972-1977 and according to his own version of the "Simpsons" origin story he first imagined the Simpsons in 1985. When the Fox network first approached him to take his mildly successful comic strip "Life in hell" and develop a television show out of it. Fearing the show could fail and Fox would own his characters he conceived the "Simpsons" to save his intellectual property rights.
Aside from this first discrepancy some of the pictures also have elements from the show that were developed after the shows initial conception and some allegedly not necessarily concepts made by Matt at all. For instance the version of Bart in the pictures is a far contrast from the original sketch that Matt showed television executives when he pitched the show back in 85. The version depicted in Gwendolyn's pictures are a makeover of Matt's drawings by David Silverman and the yellow skin colouring is closer to the one dreamed up by colourist Gyorgyi Peluce. One could even argue that the version depicted in the illustrations is the third version of Bart that appears starting in 1996. Also the Bowlarama wouldn't appear in the Simpsons until Season 1 episode six in 1989 when it was supposedly designed by Eric Stefani an early animator for the show. Even more damning is the Butterfinger logo in the background an affiliation young Bart wouldn't make until late 1989. If you look closely you will also notice a possible depiction of Krusty the clown who definitely wasn't in Matt's first concept drawing of the characters for Fox. So how did all of this end up in a school assignment from the 1970s some 15 years or so before Matt "invented" the Simpsons? Before we go down that rabbit hole I will introduce a new character to our strange narrative.
Lynda Barry is a cartoonist best known for her weekly comic strip Ernie "Pook's Comeek". She garnered attention with her 1988 illustrated novel "The Good Times are Killing Me" and has been lecturin, writing and publishing since about 1981. Matt and Lynda supposedly met at The Evergreen State College and started a fast friendship based on a healthy sense of competition. If you look into their shared history of interviews, panels and podcasts, Matt always comes off as the devoted disciple paying worship through imitation. It is odd that he never brought her into any of his creative endeavors. While he was in Los Angeles becoming an animation Wunderkind Lynda went to Seattle and clawed her way to a respectable living. Matt clings to her personally but also keeps her at a safe distance artistically while worshiping her like a fan boy meeting Frank Miller at Comicon. If all of this is true and the creation of the Simpsons took place exactly the way Matt claims why would these paintings that are confirmed to be Matts work by his instructors from the 1970's have so many inconsistencies?
The reason for this is that in an alternate time line Lynda Barry created the Simpsons. In that timeline Matt made his money some other way likely as a finance prodigy or perhaps he was a Ted Kaczynski level genius minus the social detachment which allowed Matt the ability to not only access time travel but likely break every rule that his time line had to avoid exactly what Matt has done. Either way Matt was, successful enough to acquire or invent a time machine. In this scenario Matt was forced to turn his back on his time line and decided to live out the life of the person he most wanted to be. Gwendoly's paintings were likely assignments that Matt drew when he decided to attended the same school as Lynda to not only be close to his hero but railroad her future for his own gain. It is also very possible the paintings were made by a young Lynda in Matt's original timeline. Matt may have also skipped time through accident and just happened to have them with him when he jumped. Either way they ended up here and are likely a coal mine canary as far as Matts back "story" goes.
You might also wonder how the paintings ended up in a Thrift store in the wilds of Washington State. One possible explanation is that on April 15th 2015 a couple of months before Gwendolyn made her lucky find there was a break in/theft at the L.A. home of former Simpson's producer Sam Simons. Perhaps Matt had given those works to a close friend assuming they would stay in Sam's home and never be seen again. It is one of many strange "coincidences" surrounding Gwendolyn's story.
It is also suspicious that a follow up story was never written about Gwendolyn's thrift store find or the outcome of the auction payout she anticipated. Her story at face value is intriguing, taken further it is riveting. An elderly woman from a small town finds college drawings of characters made by the most successful animator since Walt Disney. She gets the pictures authenticated and puts them to auction…then nothing. What could railroad a fluff piece as good as this?
Imagine you were a time traveler of UNIMAGINABLE wealth and one day you wake up and find out an old lady in the outback of America has come across some objects you gifted to a friend to cover your tracks that could implicate that you're a sham. What would you do? Would you buy the artifacts and use your wealth to Squash any images of those paintings and the story as best as you could? Gwendolyn's story is interesting and has a lot of facets. But when you search additional information you will find page after page of the same condensed, ABC local news, cookie cutter images, from their mandatorily identical story lacking any follow up. It's curiouse to note that most of the photos from the story are gone and the few that remain are very low resolution. Almost as if someone tried to stamp out the story.
In the end one has to ask themselves where did you hide the time machine Matt?