Season 4′s “Marge in Chains,” an episode from the early ’90s, features a disease called the “Osaka Flu” making its way to Springfield in a box for a juicer and rapidly infecting residents. Recently, images from the episode have resurfaced online, with some manipulated to look like the episode predicted the coronavirus outbreak. According to The Hollywood Reporter, internet trolls have also used the episode to spread racist propaganda.
The episode’s co-writer, Bill Oakley, recently spoke with THR, swiftly denouncing the memes.
“I don’t like it being used for nefarious purposes,” Oakley said. “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.”
Oakley explained the idea for the episode came from the 1968 Hong Kong influenza and was “just supposed to be a quick joke about how the flu got here.”
The writer said the situation was meant to be “absurd” and “cartoonish,” with the disease behaving in unrealistic ways. In the episode, the virus lasts six to eight weeks in the juicer box during shipping. It also flew around in clouds and stopped at a red light.
Trolling memes aside, “The Simpsons” often gets credit for predicting events, with everything from the end of “Game of Thrones” to Disney purchasing Fox to Donald Trump’s presidency apparently showing up in episodes.
Oakley told THR the show gets too much credit for its supposed premonitions. Any predictions are mainly coincidence, he said, because most of the episodes were based on things that actually happened and “history repeats itself.”
Though, specifically in the case of “Game of Thrones,” we wouldn’t doubt if the show secretly had Bran and his Three-Eyed Raven abilities in the writers room.
See the full story at THR.