The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean responds to viewers saying episode predicted Russia-Ukraine crisis

‘To me, this is sadly more the norm than it is the prediction,’ says showrunner Al Jean

Peony Hirwani
Friday 25 February 2022 15:01
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The Simpsons 1998 episode brings Lenin back to life, Berlin Wall being resurrected

Many social media users are claiming that The Simpsons had predicted the Russia-Ukraine conflict back in March 1998.

One of the show’s episodes showed the Soviet Union had not really broken up.

An episode named “Simpson Tide”, which aired more than three decades ago, showed Homer Simpson joining the US Navy and accidentally firing a sub captain out of a vessel into Russian waters.

Later, Russia reveals that the Soviet Union had never really dissolved as troops and tanks descend upon the streets, followed by the Berlin Wall being resurrected. The episode also brings Lenin back to life. The Soviet Union premier breaks out of his glass coffin in the episode and says: “We must crush capitalism”.

The episode aired when Boris Yeltsin was Russia’s president.

In the most recent update from Ukraine, explosions have been heard in Kiev in the early hours of Friday (25 February), with a Ukrainian official saying the “attack” on the capital has “resumed” with cruise or ballistic missiles.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s military said Russia has already moved more than 60 battalion tactical groups across the border – each with roughly 700-900 troops.

A view shows the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service site damaged by shelling in Kyiv region, Ukraine

The Simpons clip, which is making rounds on the internet, didn’t go unnoticed by Al Jean, the showrunner of the series.

He told The Hollywood Reporter that The Simpsons’ long-running history of “predicting” such events is “sadly more the norm than it is the prediction”.

“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. And then there are predictions like this,” Jean said. “I hate to say it, but I was born in 1961, so 30 years of my life were lived with the spectre 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.”

“Historical aggression never really goes away, and you have to be super vigilant,” Jean added. “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.”

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

To know why Russia has invaded Ukraine, click here.

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