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Of Course ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Twin Plagues of 2020

The show predicted COVID-19 and murder hornets all the way back in 1993.

Asian giant hornets have arrived on this continent, but you probably know them as murder hornets, a moniker inspired by their proclivity to enter beehives and rip the heads off of honeybees. Yikes.

Arriving as they have during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel like the Bibilical plagues keep coming — one massive, intractable problem after another. But it’s not the Bible that predicted mankind’s current predicament. It’s another holy text: The Simpsons.

Improve comedian Eddie D’ohgrou tweeted out a brief clip from “Marge in Chains,” a 1993 episode in which the “Osaka flu” hits Springfield. A panicked crowd appears outside Dr. Hibbert’s office, demanding a cure. Hibbert recommends bed rest because “anything I give you would only be a placebo.”

Unaware of what a placebo is, the crazed masses tip over a truck searching for one, inadverantly cracking open a crate labeled “DANGER: KILLER BEES.”

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In other words, a communicable disease with Asian origins hits Springfield at the same time a swarm of flying insects with a homicidal nickname does. Sound familiar?

You can add coronavirus and murder hornets to the long list of phenomena the show seems to have seen coming long before they happened—Trump as president, Disney’s acquisition of Fox, and a Game of Thrones plot twist among them. When you’ve made hundreds of episodes, perhaps it’s inevitable that these sorts of coincidences happen.

Of course, the clip’s real genius is in how it portrays an ignorant, irrational crowd misunderstanding science and acting rashly counter to the common good. It’s a dynamic that’s been repeated many times on the show; mobs also bring a shoddy monorail to Springfield, march on the town brothel, and oust the longtime Sanitation Commissioner after hearing escalatingly impossible campaign promises.

Depressingly, it’s the formation and misguided actions of these misinformed mobs that’s actually the show’s greatest prediction come true.

You can watch “Marge in Chains” along with nearly every other episode from the show’s first 30 seasons on Disney+.