The episode’s co-writer calls the use of the meme “gross.”
On a regular basis, Internet users have taken clips from old The Simpsons episodes, eerily “predicting” current events. This latest example, however, has rubbed one of the episode’s writers the wrong way.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bill Oakley spoke about the “nefarious” recent case. In the 1993 episode “Marge In Chains,” the family is struck by the “Osaka Flu.” In the episode, the pandemic begins with a sick Japanese factory worker. The worker is packing boxes for a popular juicer that eventually makes its way to Springfield. Many citizens in town immediately fall ill.
Oakley tells THR he hadn’t thought about the episode in years before seeing the memes. He and Josh Weinstein wrote the episode for The Simpsons‘ fourth season.
“I don’t like it being used for nefarious purposes,” Oakley said. “The idea that anyone appropriates it to make coronavirus seem like an Asian plot is terrible. In terms of trying to place blame on Asia – that is gross.”
The show most recently went viral for predicting Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox.
“There are very few cases where The Simpsons predicted something,” Oakley said. “It’s mainly just coincidence because the episodes are so old that history repeats itself. Most of these episodes are based on things that happened in the ’60s, ’70s, or ’80s that we knew about.”
Oakley said the “Osaka Flu” epidemic in “Marge on Fire” was an absurdist reference to the Hong Kong flu of 1968.