Why A '90s Simpson's Episode Is Going Viral Amid The Russia-Ukraine Conflict

"The Simpsons" is the longest-running prime-time scripted series in television history, according to CBS News, a distinction the series earned in 2018 after surpassing the western television series "Gunsmoke." Perhaps it's because of that long run and the massive number of episodes the series has produced — over 700 of them — that the series became known for its uncanny ability to seemingly predict the future. Typically The Simpson's "predictions" are light-hearted fare like predicting the Super Bowl matchup or the invention of Facetime, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but the show has successfully called significant events years before they happened. 

The season 11 episode "Bart to the Future," which aired in 1998, takes a look at a future in which Lisa Simpson becomes the president of the United States and features the line, "We inherited quite the budget crunch from President Trump" a decade and a half before the real-estate developer and businessman was elected to office. The most recent bit of fortunate telling by the series, however, is far from lighthearted.

The Simpsons seemed to have predicted the Russia-Ukraine conflict

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the latest Simpsons prediction to come true can be found in another 1998 episode, "Simpsons Tide." In it, Homer joins the Navy and works on a nuclear-powered submarine. Prone to mistakes, he inadvertently fires his submarine commander out of the vessel and into Russian waters. It is then revealed that the Soviet Union never truly disbanded, an invasion occurs, and the Berlin Wall is rebuilt. While many see parallels to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it's important to note that Ukraine is not mentioned at any point in the episode, as HITC pointed out. 

"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,'" the series' showrunner Al Jean told Hollywood Reporter. "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."

The episode aired at a time in which the United States-Russia relationship was much different, but Jean pointed out the importance of always keeping an eye on history. "Historical aggression never really goes away, and you have to be super vigilant," he said.