The Simpsons Writer Calls Misappropriation of Episode as Coronavirus Meme "Gross"

One of the writers for The Simpsons has called the coronavirus meme around an old episode of the show "gross." Bill Oakley talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the response to "Marge in Chains" over the last week. The episode saw the "Osaka Flu" spread all the way to Springfield with a gag. Fans of the show remembered the clip, (the Internet never forgets), and started running with "The Simpsons predicted it!" Now, this is an almost common occurrence on the web now, but this time it rubbed the show's writer the wrong way.

"I don't like it being used for nefarious purposes," Oakley explained. "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. I believe the most antecedent to (Osaka Flu) was the Hong Kong flu of 1968. It was just supposed to be a quick joke about how the flu got here."

"It was meant to be absurd that someone could cough into box and the virus would survive for six to eight weeks in the box," he added. "It is cartoonish. We intentionally made it cartoonish because we wanted it to be silly and not scary, and not carry any of these bad associations along with it, which is why the virus itself was acting like a cartoon character and behaving in extremely unrealistic ways."

"There are very few cases where The Simpsons predicted something," Oakley concluded. "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."

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