First President Donald Trump, then the Disney-Fox merger, and now the coronavirus outbreak?
It looks like the prophetic writers of The Simpsons have done it again, predicting yet another major world event – or have they?
A series of stills from old episodes of the long-running animated comedy that have been circulating online this week seem to suggest the Simpsons somehow knew about the spread of the illness more than a decade ago.
The collection of images, believed to be taken from a 1993 episode, show different characters spreading and catching a cloud of germs. In one snapshot, a newsreader delivers a report on a “corona virus”, as shown by a title over his shoulder. Pieced together, the evidence seems to prove the Simpsons’ powers of seeing the future.
This time, however, it’s too good to be true. The stills in question come from an episode in which packagers working in Japan accidentally ship the “Osaka flu” to the US. The 2020 coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China.
“Please don’t tell the supervisor I have the flu,” one of the workers tells his colleague in the episode before coughing into a box addressed to Homer Simpson.
Though three of the images do come from the same 1993 episode, the one of the newsreader is from a different episode entirely. And the title over his shoulder really says “Apocalypse Meow”, not “corona virus”.
In 2016, an episode that refers to Trump as “President Trump” gained attention for obvious reasons after he won the US election. Later, fans pointed to an episode from Season 10 that listed 20th Century Fox as a “division of Walt Disney” years before Disney bought 20th Century Fox in real life.