OK, so like most of the famous Simpsons predictions, it isn’t exactly a prediction of 2020, but it is pretty damn close.
Twitter user @didgeridougrou posted a viral tweet on Tuesday, in which they surfaced an old clip from the animated series that sure seems a lot like our plight in 2020.
In the clip, Springfield townsfolk clamor and shout at Dr. Hibbert for a cure for a disease, but the doctor tells them bedrest is all he can prescribe. And despite the Gilead drug Remdesivir getting FDA approval to help treat COVID-19 patients, Hibbert’s proclamation that there is no cure sure sounds a lot like coronavirus.
Next in the clip, the panicked townsfolk accidentally unleash killer bees in a truck, which, yep, sounds a lot like murder hornets. It’s all pretty eerie.
Of course, given more context, the 1993 episode didn’t really predict 2020. The clip comes from the 1993 episode “Marge in Chains,” during which the town is hit with an epidemic of the fictional Osaka Flu. The sickness is played off in a cartoonish, funny way, with clouds of the illness strutting around town.
Memes replacing the Osaka Flu with coronavirus actually first began going around in February, well before the added bit of “killer bee” coincidence. Unfortunately, some trolls also used the ’93 episode to spread racist imagery, unlike the more recent viral tweet.
“I don’t like it being used for nefarious purposes,” episode co-writer Bill Oakley told The Hollywood Reporter in March. “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.”