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. Now knighted, Sir Paul is the founder of Meatless Mondays, which he started in England when his beloved Linda died of breast cancer. 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 crucial 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.”
Lisa The Vegetarian
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 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!