The Simpsons: Betrayed by the Moon?

Do we now have a better idea of where Springfield, the hometown of The Simpsons is, thanks to Elon Musk and the moon? Maybe.

Over at Slate, Phil Plait has one of those “Waitaminute!” moments while re-watching the recent episode of The Simpsons that guest starred Elon Musk – “The Musk Who Fell to Earth.” You can still catch it here on Hulu.

It was the moon-gazing Musk that did it all in…

Simpsons: Betrayed by the Moon..

Plait’s revelation/realization is the latest made by savvy viewers of popular culture pointing out when the “reality” of the entertainment doesn’t match up with our reality.


(read Plait’s piece for why “But – it’s just a waning crescent in the Northern Hemisphere!” doesn’t work as a defense…)

As for the quick review on the way the moon doesn’t look the same all over the earth (and crescents never go from top to bottom or bottom to top) check out Does the Moon Look the Same in Different Countries?

If you’re looking for other examples of pop culture getting caught by science, you only have to go back to Neil DeGrasse Tyson who, while watching James Cameron’s Titanic, realized that the starfield Rose was looking up at while floating in the chilly North Atlantic was, well, wrong. The exact date, time and location of the Titanic’s sinking is an uncontested fact, and therefore, Tyson pointed out in an e-mail to Cameron, the starfield in the sky above the sinking ship is known as a fact, too.

In a panel discussion at St. Petersburg College in 2009, Tyson told the audience that in the scene, Rose “is looking up and there is only one sky she should have been looking at. The left side of the sky was a mirror of the right side of the sky. It wasn’t only wrong, it was lazy.”

Director James Cameron, known for his attention to detail, changed the starfield for the 10th Anniversary release, as well as the 3D re-release in 2012.

Who knows, The Simpsons’ producers and writers are famous for their love of science and math – maybe it wasn’t a mistake, and maybe Plait is right.

Or maybe it will be fixed for the 3D re-release of “The Musk Who Fell to Earth.”

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