‘The Simpsons’ Seemingly Predicted Russia-Ukraine Crisis 24 Years Ago
The Simpsons has been on television for more than 30 years and 700 episodes, covering seemingly every topic under the sun and a few more than once.
As such, whenever there is a major world crisis — or sometimes just a strange twist of fate — someone dredges a decades-old clip from The Simpsons, claiming the show predicted it would happen years ago. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, for example, social media was filled with screengrabs from an episode where The Simpsons supposedly called Covid.
In fact, the screengrabs were doctored, and the episode in question involved a relatively benign case of the “Osaka flu.” So in that example, The Simpsons was close, but not quite right. This week, with the escalating Russia-Ukraine crisis, there’s a new Simpsons clip making the rounds, which shows the Russian ambassador to the United Nations revealing the return of the Soviet Union, which grows aggressive against its neighbors in increasingly outlandish ways.
The clip in question is from the Season 9 episode “Simpson Tide,” written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, which originally aired on March 29, 1998, nearly 24 years ago. In it, Homer gets fired from his job at the Springfield Power Plant and joints the U.S. Navy. Obviously, The Simpsons version of events is comically heightened. Still, The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean posted an article about the clip going viral with the comment “very sad to say this was not hard to predict.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jean explained that the show has had two kinds of eerie predictions. “The trivial, like Don Mattingly getting in trouble for his hair in “Homer at the Bat.” 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 the prediction. We just figured things were going to go bad.”
If you’re curious about the entire episode, “Simpson Tide” is available for streaming on Disney+, along with the rest of The Simpsons.