‘Simpsons’ Writer Recalls 2000 ‘President Trump’ Joke as ‘Vision of America Going Insane’
The Simpsons obliquely anticipating future events has become a common phenomenon, though never quite so regrettably as a 2000 episode that referenced “President Trump” in our future. Now, writer Dan Greaney looks back on the unfortunate premonition, noting the line was intended to envision an America that “went as bad as it possibly could.”
The 2000 flash-forward outing saw Bart granted a vision of his bleak, shiftless future 30 years down the line, the same one in which Lisa had incidentally become President of the United States. Lisa even specifically references “a budget crunch from President Trump,” then a harmless absurdity, but now a line Greaney tells The Hollywood Reporter somewhat haunts him:
It was a warning to America … and that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane. […]
The important thing is that Lisa comes into the presidency when America is on the ropes and that is the condition left by the Trump presidency. What we needed was for Lisa to have problems that were beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that’s why we had Trump be president before her.
Greaney noted that he couldn’t recall who precisely pitched the line, which itself arrived four years before Trump’s reality persona fermented on The Celebrity Apprentice. Still, the hindsight accuracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be:
I am tickled we are getting all this attention, but I don’t think it’s going to trigger this well-awaited reevaluation of my episode that I was hoping for. The Simpsons has always kind of embraced the over the top side of American culture … and [Trump] is just the fulfillment of that.
No doubt The Simpsons will prove as eerily omniscient today as another sixteen years down the line, assuming we’re still here to enjoy it. In the meantime, you can watch the line for yourself at 2:21 below.
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