Future Tense

A Roundup of Every Apple Reference from Futurama and The Simpsons

Matt Groening made a series of ads for Apple targeted at college students as The Simpsons was picking up speed in 1989.

Photo from VintageZen.

Sometimes you find yourself wishing for specific information compiled in a particular way, but you’re far too lazy to put it together yourself. Or you don’t even realize that you would want that information until it appears before you. This is the beauty of the Internet, people. Last week Yoni Heisler took the time to gather every reference to Apple that has ever been in The Simpsons or Futurama and posted the list on the Unofficial Apple Weblog. It’s amazing.

Early references include characters using classic Macs or joking about the Mac/PC debate. For example, Smithers uses a Mac in season 7 (1996-1997) of The Simpsons, because he’s “the type of progressive young fellow who would have a Mac rather than a PC,” according to Bill Oakley, who was the showrunner that season and spoke to Heisler. Even as late as season 23 (2011-2012), there are throwbacks to early Macs, like when Lisa uses a LISA 2 to build a social network. Heisler points out that most animators preferred Macs during the ‘90s and beyond, and therefore would have known intimate details about classic Macs.

iPhones and iPods come up a lot in both shows, often playing a central role in episode plots. In season 6 (2010-2011) of Futurama the crew decides to all get eyePhones while at an e-waste event after hearing an ad promising that, “you can watch, listen, ignore your friends, stalk your ex, download p*rno on a crowded bus, even check your email while getting hit by a train.”

From Moe’s original turquoise iMac to Lisa using Safari on an all-in-one aluminum iMac, it’s awesome to have every Apple mention all in one place. You might not have known you wanted it, but now you’ll spend the rest of the day on it. You’re welcome.

Moe has a pristine condition original iMac even though this shot from Season 23 aired in 2012. Maybe Moe takes such good care of it because it’s his one true love.

Image by TUAW.