The season 4 episode titled 'Marge in Chains' featured both a virus outbreak and killer bees.
The Simpsons fans have spotted yet another eerily accurate prediction made by the popular show and like always, it hits quite close to home. Reaffirming its long-standing reputation of pop culture Nostradamus, the longest-running animated series in history seems to have foreshadowed the pandemic and "murder hornets" way back in 1993. That is, almost three decades before the novel coronavirus set off on its rampant joy ride across the globe and experts spotted Asian giant hornets in Washington state—because 2020 apparently hasn't screwed with us enough—residents of Springfield had already lived our current reality.
According to CNN, the episode titled Marge in Chains features an assembly-line worker in Japan who falls ill and sneezes on a shipment of juicers that many of the residents of Springfield, including Homer Simpson, wish to purchase. The season 4 episode then follows an "Osaka Flu" outbreak that—much like the current pandemic—sets off mass hysteria and panic in Springfield, leading to an angry mob of people standing outside Dr. Hibbert's medical clinic demanding a vaccine. When he informs the frantic crowd that he can only provide placebos at the time, they tip over a nearby truck, thinking that the placebos are inside the vehicle.
Instead, a box filled with killer bees breaks open, adding to the climate of fear and panic. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in March, Bill Oakley—one of the episode's writers—rejected the notion that the episode predicted the coronavirus pandemic. "I don't like it being used for nefarious purposes. The idea that anyone misappropriates it to make coronavirus seem like an Asian plot is terrible. In terms of trying to place blame on Asia — I think that is gross," he said. Oakley claimed the "Osaka flu" was meant to be a "quick joke" referencing the Hong Kong flu of 1968.
"I believe the most antecedent to [Osaka Flu] was the Hong Kong flu of 1968. It was just supposed to be a quick joke about how the flu got here," he said. "It was meant to be absurd that someone could cough into a box and the virus would survive for six to eight weeks in the box. It is cartoonish. We intentionally made it cartoonish because we wanted it to be silly and not scary, and not carry any of these bad associations along with it, which is why the virus itself was acting like a cartoon character and behaving in extremely unrealistic ways."
"I sure hope our writing will aways be funny and relevant satire."— Troy (@DampWetStew) May 6, 2020
However, earlier this week, Oakley conceded the similarities between the episode and the dumpster fire that is 2020 after scientists said they had spotted Asian giant hornets aka murder hornets in Washington state. Responding to a Twitter user pointing out that The Simpsons were spot on about this year, Oakley tweeted: ok fine i guess we did. The 54-year-old also agreed to another Twitter user's bleak prediction that "just like the Simpsons we move on once this episode is over, learn almost nothing from it, and then go on to do something even more stupid."
During the March interview, however, Oakley argued that The Simpsons gets too much credit for predicting the future. "There are very few cases where The Simpsons predicted something," he said. "It's mainly just coincidence because the episodes are so old that history repeats itself. Most of these episodes are based on things that happened in the '60s, '70s, or '80s that we knew about."
The Simpsons' writer Bill Oakley stated that he doesn't want an episode about a pandemic attached to the current #coronavirus outbreak after people start sharing an edited meme: https://t.co/5JsswKlgKo— Complex (@Complex) March 16, 2020
"Trying to place blame on Asia — I think that is gross." pic.twitter.com/pSDT0i7cZK