Fans of “The Simpsons” suspect the show foretold the future yet again — but the animated classic’s submersible episode was actually inspired by the movie “Crimson Tide,” The Post has learned.
Speculation that the TV series somehow predicted the missing Titan submersible in its 1998 “Simpson Tide” episode was debunked Thursday by veteran show writer-producer Mike Reiss — who himself descended 13,000 feet in the vessel to see the wreckage of the Titanic last July.
“That’s my show,” Reiss, 63, told The Post. “Even I forgot about that.”
The Emmy-winning Reiss said he led a small team of writers to create the March 1998 episode featuring Homer — recently fired as a nuclear safety inspector after putting a donut in a reactor — in the Naval Reserve.
At one point, Homer is joined by his long-lost father, a treasure hunter named Mason Fairbanks, and the pair get into two deep-sea submersibles.
“The Simpsons ahead of the curve — as usual — 25 yrs ago,” one Thursday tweet read.
But “The Simpsons” didn’t have the missing OceanGate submersible on its radars, Reiss said.
“We did that episode because the movie ‘Crimson Tide’ had just come out,” he said of the 1995 film starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. “We didn’t predict the future, we just did it off that movie and 20 years later, something like that happened.”
In Season 9’s episode 19, Homer and Faribanks come upon the wreckage of a huge sunken ship packed with treasure, some of which they salvage utilizing robotic arms. But the advantageous exploration turns conceivably tragic when Homer gets lost and trapped in a coral reef.
Homer attmpts to free himself as an “oxygen slightly higher” light comically shines, but passes out while calling for his father, only to wake up from a coma days later.
The unlikely ties between “The Simpsons” and the submersible search gripping the world goes even further, according to Reiss’ wife, Denise.
“It’s uncanny because ‘The Simpsons’ character even falls asleep on the sub, just as Mike did on the way down,” Denise Reiss told The Post.
The odyssey inside the “very simple” 22-foot submersible powered by “desktop fans” was so peaceful that Mike managed to take a nap, the veteran television writer told The Post.
“People talk about the excitement, the thrills, and ‘Were you scared?’” Reiss continued. “And it’s like, ‘I feel asleep.’”
Reiss, who signed a waiver cautioning multiple times of possible death, understood the risks and even took extra paper with him to write his last jokes in case something went terribly wrong, the couple told The Post earlier this week.
“He knew this was very dangerous,” Denise said. “Even in the most dire situations, he has a joke.”
Reiss, who is currently impacted by the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, paid more than $100,000 to take the trip. He and Denise flew from New York to St. John’s, Newfoundland, before getting aboard the MV Polar Prince en route to the wreckage site 400 miles away.
“Death is always lurking, it’s always in the back of your mind,” Mike Reiss said of the experience. “Before you even get on the boat, there’s a long, long waiver that mentions death three times on page one.”
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) June 22, 2023
A 2006 episode of The Simpsons featured Homer in a submarine visiting a shipwreck before his submersible gets stuck and runs out of oxygen.
The episode was produced by Mike Reiss who himself visited the Titanic shipwreck in the exact same Titan submersible. pic.twitter.com/tjmsjh7oaV
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) June 22, 2023