Fact Check

No, 'The Simpsons' Didn't Predict the Silicon Valley Bank Crash

The writers of "The Simpsons" are brilliant, but they did not foresee the March 2023 Silicon Valley Bank crash.

Published Mar 12, 2023

 (Twitter)
Image Via Twitter
Claim:
An old episode of "The Simpsons" featured a plot line about a run on a bank called the Silicon Valley Bank.

On March 10, 2023, the Silicon Valley Bank in Northern California failed after its stock value collapsed, causing a run on its holdings. Federal regulators assumed control of the company in was reportedly the largest failure of a U.S. bank since 2008. The incident sparked worries about the stability of the banking system overall. 

Naturally, the internet exploded with rumor and speculation about the incident, including, literally within hours of the bank announcement, the claim that a years-old episode of the animated TV series "The Simpsons" contained a scene that "predicted" the Silicon Valley Bank crash. But despite the circulation of a viral video clip that appears to reference Silicon Valley Bank by name, the claim is false, and the video clip was manipulated. 

This is the doctored clip in question:

The clip was made using actual footage from a 1995 episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "The PTA Disbands." The scene in question, which is largely unchanged in the altered clip, was conceived a parody of the bank failure scene in the classic Jimmy Stewart film, "It's a Wonderful Life." In the manipulated version, the name "First Bank of Springfield," which appeared in the original episode, was replaced with "Silicon Valley Bank." 

the simpsons silicon valley bank

Here is the original, unaltered scene: 

While there have been a few interesting, authentic coincidences between jokes on "The Simpsons" and real-world incidents over the series' decades-long run, most of these "predictions" have rather simple and mundane explanations. The rest are hoaxes.

Sources

Morrow, Ramishah Maruf, Allison. "How Does a Bank Collapse in 48 Hours? A Timeline of the SVB Fall | CNN Business." CNN, 11 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/11/business/svb-bank-collapse-explainer-timeline/index.html.

Sorkin, Andrew Ross, et al. "Troubles at Silicon Valley Bank Rock the Global Market." The New York Times, 10 Mar. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/10/business/dealbook/silicon-valley-bank-stock-market.html.

Staff, Snopes. "'The Simpsons' Didn't Predict That." Snopes, 22 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/collections/the-simpsons-didnt-predict-that/.

"The Simpsons" The PTA Disbands (TV Episode 1995) - IMDb. www.imdb.com, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0778454/characters/nm0000279. Accessed 12 Mar. 2023.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.