Fans of The Simpsons are convinced the cartoon foreshadowed the coronavirus outbreak 27 years ago, solidifying beliefs of some loyal fans the popular show can predict the future.
In the fourth season episode, ‘Marge in Chains’, Springfield residents mail order ‘Juice Looseners’, which are shipped from Osaka in Japan.
The Juice Loosener, invented by Springfield’s own Doctor Nick Riviera, promises an ‘easier’ way to make juice, and prompts Homer to order one after seeing a segment on TV.
But while his order is packed, one of the workers in the Japan-based factory says “please don’t tell the supervisor I have the flu”.
“I have been working with a shattered pelvis for three weeks,” the other worker on the production line says as the sick worker coughs into the box.
— Jordan (@SureJordie95) January 31, 2020
The next scene shows Homer “Six to eight weeks later”, receiving his juicer in the mail.
When he opens the box he becomes infected. Principal Skinner also buys a juicer and gets infected with the flu, and Marge’s sisters Patty and Selma gift each other with juicers for their birthday.
“The dreaded Osaka flu has hit Springfield with over 300 cases now reported,” local news anchor Kent Brockman announces on the news.
Bart of course takes advantage of the illness, and watches an episode of Itchy and Scratchy titled ‘Germs of Endearment’ while getting the day off school.
Mayor Quimby makes an announcement to the people of Springfield, from Barbados, claiming he cancelled his holiday to Barbados due to the infection and Mr Burns has a germ-free chamber made to protect himself, which Homer somehow ends up in.
As the death toll of coronavirus climbs, and more cases confirmed around the globe, people drew comparisons from the 1993 Simpsons episode to the deadly virus which has been dominating headlines.
“The Simpsons scares me. This episode aired 27 years ago in 1993,” one fan tweeted.
“One thing they didn't call it coronavirus but Osaka virus but it's basically the same thing.”
Of course this isn’t the first time people have claimed The Simpsons has predicted the future.
so the simpsons predicted trump and now they predicted this coronavirus?
Ima have to start watching the Simpson’s again
— itskeekz_ (@KikiTooTurnt) January 28, 2020
In an episode which aired in 2000, ‘Bart to the Future’, it is mentioned Donald Trump became president of the United States – 16 years later, Trump went on to win the presidency.
The Simpsons also seemingly predicted the 9/11 attacks in 1997, with Lisa holding up a magazine showing an ad for $9 tickets to New York.
The Twin Towers in seen in the background, quite literally spelling out ‘911’.
From the US beating Sweden in Olympic curling, to Lady Gaga’s half-time Super Bowl show, the ‘predictions’ are sometimes eerily accurate.
Some people have proposed the show’s writers can predict the future, while others have suggested they are time-travellers.
— 𝔻𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕪𝕖𝕣 𝕆𝕗 𝕀𝕝𝕝𝕦𝕤𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤 (@vajragodking) December 24, 2015
The most glaringly obvious difference between the 1993 Simpsons episode and reality is the origin of the virus.
The epicentre of the coronavirus is Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, while the flu virus in the cartoon originated in Osaka, a large Japanese port city.
“Talk about racism. Japanese and Chinese are completely different,” one person tweeted in response to someone drawing comparisons.
Coronavirus has now been declared a public health emergency of international concern, by the World Health Organisation.
In The Simpsons, the Osaka flu is seen quite literally floating around Springfield, insinuating the fictitious virus is airborne.
While it is not yet understood how easily the coronavirus is spread, it is transmitted person to person, according to NSW Health, through contaminated droplets from a person who is sick with the illness or close contact with someone who has the virus.
NSW Health says the novel coronavirus does not appear to last long on surfaces.
“The risk of this virus being present on imported packages or products is negligible,” the state health authority said.
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