The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has discussed an episode which viewers have claimed predicted the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The episode, titled ‘Simpson Tide’ which aired in March 1998, saw Homer Simpson join the US Navy and accidentally fire his captain into Russian waters.
This is followed by a sequence where Russia reveals the Soviet Union never actually dissolved: as troops descend on the streets, the Berlin Wall is resurrected and Lenin is brought back to life from his glass coffin.
After the clip was shared widely on social media following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders to attack Ukraine on Thursday (February 24), Al Jean responded to The Hollywood Reporter, describing the prediction as “sadly more the norm”.
— Matthew Walton (@Waltonamo) February 22, 2022
“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’,” Jean said. “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 be bad.”
He added: “Historical aggression never really goes away, and you have to be super vigilant. In 1998, when this clip aired, it was maybe the zenith of US-Russia relations. But ever since [Russian President Vladimir] Putin got in, almost everybody has made it clear that he’s a bad guy and bad things are going to happen.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) February 24, 2022
“This is the kind of prediction, where we reference something that has happened, happening again – we hope it wouldn’t, but sadly, it does.”
The Simpsons has consistently made headlines for seemingly predicting the future, including Donald Trump becoming US president and Disney’s takeover of 21st Century Fox.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday night 137 people had been killed in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 316 more wounded.