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Everything that happens in the future on The Simpsons explained

With nearly 700 episodes produced over a span of more than 30 years, The Simpsons occupies a vast and extraordinarily detailed universe. Home to hundreds of named characters, the town of Springfield has served to satirize most every major element of modern life, from politics and sports to religion and family life. However, the Simpson family remains the center of all the hilarious action, and although they're the creation of writers and animators, they're so fleshed out that they seem as real as flesh-and-blood people. 

Viewers truly care about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, so when the show has an occasional episode set in the future, well, that's certainly a treat for fans. It's both fascinating and fun to see what becomes of the Simpsons, along with all of their friends, family members, schoolmates, coworkers, and fellow Springfieldians. (And in addition to the trials and triumphs of work and family, The Simpsons' writers also envision a dystopian future overrun by technology, so there's that to look forward to, as well.) So if you're curious about their fates, here's what will happen to the characters of The Simpsons ... eventually.

Everybody loves Lisa

In "Future-Drama," a smart and motivated Lisa unsurprisingly plans to attend Yale — still a great school despite McDonald's acquiring it — after winning the Montgomery Burns Scholarship (which is the evil old man's punishment after stealing Christmas). However, in "Mr. Lisa's Opus," the smartest Simpson has changed plans. After all, other elite schools — including MIT, Oberlin, Tufts, and Boston College — all send acceptance drones, only for a mightier flying robot from Harvard to destroy them all. 

At the Ivy League school, Lisa meets Valerie, who becomes her best and closest friend, and, as is strongly implied, a romantic partner. Nevertheless, it doesn't last because by the time of "Lisa's Wedding," student Lisa is single and gets engaged to a wealthy English fellow named Hugh. However, their wedding is called off when he requires Lisa to break off all contact with what he perceives as her low-class family. 

It would seem Lisa gets her happily ever after with, of all people, Milhouse. Following a dalliance with one-time crush Nelson Muntz in "Barthood," by the events of "Days of Future Future," she and Milhouse are married, but she's considering leaving the dud ... until he gets zombified (Lisa does a lot of zombie outreach work), which makes him much more assertive and fun. They're also parents to a headstrong teenager named Zia, who spends most of her time plugging into the Ultranet, an addictive virtual reality world.

All hail President Lisa

A successful businesswoman, Lisa eventually follows another titan of industry into the White House. In "Bart to the Future," 38-year-old Lisa Simpson is inaugurated as the "first straight female president" of the United States, and she's also among the youngest in history. Among her cabinet are some familiar faces, such as Milhouse, while Springfield bully Kearney serves as Lisa's primary Secret Service detail. 

The job is not without its challenges, of course. President Simpson has inherited "quite a budget crunch" from President Trump, and interestingly, this episode aired in 2000, long before a Donald Trump presidency was a reality. Also, a previous, unnamed president unwisely invested in the social programs that benefited children, with subsidized healthy breakfasts and midnight basketball programs creating a generation of super-strong Americans who've evolved past the need for sleep. The federal government itself is bankrupt, and President Lisa agrees to a tax hike to supplement aid programs from China and Europe.

Bart Simpson struggles to find love

The big love of Bart Simpson's life is his high school sweetheart, a young woman named Jenda. All seems well at the prom in "Future-Drama," with the two planning to "go all the way" at the most romantic spot in Springfield — Contraception Overlook. Bart attempts to make the moment even more romantic, producing a ring and proposing to Jenda. He also suggests how they'll support themselves. She'll waitress, he'll be a meat-cutter, and they'll live in an RV and take turns driving while the other person sleeps, never stopping so as to avoid paying for parking. 

Jenda realizes in that moment that she's outgrown Bart, and she not only rejects his proposal but dumps him. The good news for Bart? Jenda comes back, and they get married. The bad news? As of "Holidays of Future Passed," set 30 years in the future, they've been divorced for a while, and Bart lives alone in an apartment in the converted Springfield Elementary School and barely sees his two sons, clean-cut nerds Skippy and Jeff. As Jenda remarries to an alien named Jerry, Bart resorts first to promiscuity and then mental erasure therapy to get over Jenda, all before they try and fail to give their relationship another go. But Bart does eventually find true love. According to Professor Frink, it happens one second before he dies at the age of 83.

Maggie Simpson doesn't lead a quiet life in the future

Throughout the many future-set episodes of The Simpsons, the goings-on in Maggie Simpson's life are a bit of an afterthought, which is a running joke expanding on her usual status as a nonverbal baby. In "Future-Drama," she isn't at home when Bart and Lisa leave for the prom, and Marge shows off a futuristic, moving photograph of Maggie waving. So where is she? Well, she's off in Alaska (by herself, at the age of approximately nine), sitting on a beach with an emaciated polar bear. Such are the effects of global warming. 

By the time of "Lisa's Wedding," Maggie is a teenager, and like a lot of teens then and now, she spends all of her time on the phone, to where no one else in the house can use it. (It's a gag — forever silent Maggie apparently never shuts up in the future.) And Maggie's voice is certainly something special because by the time she's 31, per "Holidays of Future Passed," she's a world-famous rock star. That's when she delivers her first child, a baby girl, presumably the same baby Marge is watching in "Bart to the Future." Her name? Maggie Junior, of course, and she looks exactly like her mother did as a baby.

The many jobs of Bart Simpson

Lisa Simpson is elected president, Maggie Simpson becomes a rock star, and Bart Simpson, well, Bart doesn't wind up in prison, as his childhood path of petty crime and wanton property destruction might suggest. Instead, he finds gainful employment here and there, although some jobs prove more fulfilling than others. In "Future-Drama," he takes a job while still in high school. As his father once worked at the Kwik-E-Mart to pay for Lisa's pony, Bart also works at the convenience store for some fast cash, reporting to longtime proprietor Apu, as well as his eight children, all working as assistant managers and all flying around the store on jetpacks. 

At the time of Lisa's first (but ill-fated) wedding to Hugh in "Lisa's Wedding," Bart gets the news at work, having found a good outlet for his destructive tendencies at Down with Buildings Demolition Co. However, the episode "Barthood" shows that Bart, having become an expert BMX trick rider after Grampa bought him a bike to discourage his juvenile delinquent activities, opens up a customization shop. By the time he's 40, dinosaurs have been successfully cloned, and Bart works at a Jurassic Park-like zoo where they're kept. Notably, he also spends a period as a lousy bar musician, playing copyright-skirting pseudo-covers of Jimmy Buffett songs with his roommate, Ralph Wiggum. Eventually, Ralph kicks Bart out, forcing him to go mooch off of his sister, President Lisa Simpson.

The future doesn't look good for Homer and Marge

"Mr. Lisa's Opus" depicts Bart and Lisa as teenagers and Marge as a woman at her wit's end with her husband. In her mother's closet, Lisa discovers a letter addressed to Homer, announcing that Marge is finally tired of his outrageous, selfish, and dangerous behavior, and she's left him to open a bed and breakfast. Homer then agrees to quit drinking to save the marriage, and the couple is back on good terms ... but apparently not for long. 

During "Future-Drama," Marge and Homer have separated, seeing as how he spent all their money on a terrible underwater house (as well as one of the first, and very clunky, hover-cars). Following a very brief (and horrifying to Bart) relationship with Krusty the Clown, Homer and Marge reunite again. And once again, in "Days of Future Future," the marriage is on shaky ground because of Homer's eating habits. Marge asks him to at least stop eating after 3 AM, only for him to have a fatal heart attack after falling down the stairs. 

But Homer lives again, as Professor Frink makes dozens of Homer clones, all of which off themselves in different, stupid ways. Eventually, he's reduced to a consciousness uploaded to a thumb drive, his face displayed on monitors around the Simpsons house. Soon after, Marge downloads it into a robotic body — with some tweaks to his personality.

Things aren't exactly working out for Milhouse

Milhouse Van Houten is rivaled only by his pathetic father for the title of biggest sad-sack in Springfield. Forever a supplicant to his exploitative and mildly abusive best friend, Bart Simpson, and also in love with Lisa Simpson since kindergarten, Milhouse does get to accompany his dream date to the Springfield High School prom, as viewers learn in the 2005 episode "Future-Drama." 

Lisa, finding this out through Professor Frink's future-viewing technology, doesn't understand why she'd agree to this date, as she's very much put off by Milhouse. However, Frink explains that when she's 12 (and he's about 14), Milhouse saves Lisa from a house fire ... which he started so as to play the hero. That's not Milhouse's only problem, though. Seemingly as a way of overcompensating for his many flaws and emotional weaknesses, teenage Milhouse has gotten really into personal fitness. He's totally ripped, hitting the gym way too often, adhering to an all-onion diet, and presumably taking steroids, as evidenced by his rage-filled rampage through downtown Springfield after Lisa breaks up with him just before graduation. Then again, he could harbor a lot of resentment toward the Simpsons. After all, when they're young teens, Bart shoots out a bunch of streetlights and lets Milhouse take the fall, sending him to juvenile detention for a spell.

Major events for minor Simpsons characters

A big part of why The Simpsons is so special is its massive cast of side characters, and the fates of many are touched upon in future-set Simpsons installments. For example, by the time Bart and Lisa graduate high school, elementary school authoritarian Seymour Skinner has moved up to be the principal at Springfield High School. Serving under him, we've got former bully Vice-Principal Kearney (although about 30 years later, he works as a taxi driver). 

While Bart and Lisa are on the verge of adulthood, other characters have experienced personal milestones, too. Ralph Wiggum proudly proclaims that he "can use the potty now," while his father, Police Chief Wiggum, is a RoboCop-like cyborg with a chicken-cooking rotisserie embedded in his chest. Bad bus driver and drug enthusiast Otto presumably dies after jumping off a cliff when he's convinced he can safely glide. And bully Nelson Muntz takes twins Sherri and Terri to the prom, which is only fair since he got both of them pregnant. (He'll wind up owning a nightclub and launching "smell ya later" as the replacement for "goodbye.") 

As for other character, at the time of "Lisa's Wedding," the sinister Mr. Burns is defrosted from cryogenic suspension after a team of scientists led by Professor Frink discover the cure for his cause of death — multiple stab wounds. By "Holidays of Future Passed," Grampa Simpson is frozen, too, his fatal disease cured, but Homer finds it cheaper to keep him under ice than in a retirement home.

The future beyond Springfield

Futuristic episodes of The Simpsons focus on the characters, but they also touch on how the world at large has changed. In "Future-Drama," muscular Milhouse rips his rented prom tuxedo, lamenting the loss of his deposit of "200 Reagans." So, within the next eight years, it would seem there's going to be a new president on the face of the one-dollar bill instead of George Washington. Later in that episode, Principal Skinner discusses Gulf War V, sending good wishes to American troops on their stated mission to find and recover the president's missing, severed head. Obviously a lot has gone on in the Middle East, particularly as it pertains to American involvement, as Bart's girlfriend Jenda announces that coupling up on prom night is "as American as our 51st state, Saudi Israelia." 

And in other coupling news, Jenda hesitates to marry Bart, what with the law that's made marriage a "three-year commitment." Bart and Lisa see all those events transpire on a future-viewing device devised by Professor Frink, and they opt against checking out other parts of the future to come, including a full-on alien invasion (from Kang and Kodos, of course) and the vice presidency of local yokel Cletus. "Holidays of Future Passed" tells viewers that Dearborn, Michigan, comes under restrictive Sharia law sometime in the next 30 years, while presidential candidate Lisa Simpson promises in 2056 that she'll finally end the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by offering the nation statehood.