'We figured things were going to go bad': 'Simpsons' writer laments show’s eerie Russia prediction

'We figured things were going to go bad': 'Simpsons' writer laments show’s eerie Russia prediction
Putin/Shutterstock
Putin/Shutterstock

Back in 1998, The Simpsons aired an episode entitled Simpson Tide in which the leader of Russia – who at the time was Boris Yeltsin – revealed to the United Nations that it was still the Soviet Union and secretly pursuing military expansion.

Predictably, with Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, people are convinced that the animated series – as it so often seems to – foresaw the future.

On Thursday, writer Al Jean discussed this conspiracy theory with The Hollywood Reporter, which summed up the episode:

While on a nuclear submarine participating in a military exercise, Homer unintentionally fires the sub captain out of the vessel into Russian waters. Cut to Russia revealing that the Soviet Union never truly dissolved; troops and tanks descend upon the streets as the Berlin Wall is instantly resurrected. Jean notes that the show was able to clear the rights to use 'The Internationale' for the 1998 episode gag, so there was no pushback.

Although he acknowledged the parallels between the show and world events, Jean said that it usually comes down to coincidence – except for this time.

“In terms of predictions, there are two kinds we have: The trivial, like Don Mattingly getting in trouble for his hair in ‘Homer at the Bat,'” said Jean. “And then there are predictions like this. I hate to say it, but I was born in 1961, so 30 years of my life were lived with the specter of the Soviet Union. So, to me, this is sadly more the norm than it is a prediction. We just figured things were going to go bad.”

But Jean had no idea that Putin's incursion into Ukraine would one day mirror his cartoon.

"There is the kind of prediction, where we reference something that has happened, happening again — we hope it wouldn’t, but sadly, it does," he said.

Watch the clips and reactions below:



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