How The Simpsons predicted 'murder hornets' and the coronavirus pandemic

The citizens of Springfield battled a killer virus and murder hornets in the same 1993 episode.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

The Simpsons predicted a kind of coronavirus way back in 1993.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Whether or not you believe The Simpsons animated TV series is still funny, during its 30 years on air, one thing is for certain: The show is really good at predicting the future. 

Not only did The Simpsons predict our current coronavirus pandemic, it also somehow knew we would be invaded by murder hornets, in the same year.

In 1993, The Simpsons episode "Marge in Chains" (season 4, episode 21) shows a mysterious virus from Asia invading the town of Springfield. A sick factory employee in Japan sneezes into numerous packages containing juicers that everyone from Homer Simpson to Principal Skinner orders. 

When the Springfield residents open their boxes from Japan they get their products -- and a whole lot of germs. The disease called The Osaka Flu spreads like wildfire and the small town must endure a scary pandemic that feels a bit too much like what the world is going through now. 

As expected, the citizens of Springfield storm the hospital as an angry mob demanding a cure, even if it's just a placebo. 

When they knock over a truck thinking it contains a cure, a crate labeled "Killer Bees" crashes to the ground, opening and unleashing a large swarm of the deadly insects into the horrified crowd. 

While these killer bees aren't the same as our new threat of Asian giant hornets (nicknamed "murder hornets") recently spotted for the first time in the state of Washington, it's eerily close to reality. 

One Springfield resident even grabs the deadly insect from the air and eats it, which predicts that murder hornets also make a great snack. How did they know?!

Other uncanny moments in the episode include Springfield's mayor not taking the virus seriously, a riot over a political monument and Marge feeling frazzled over having to play nursemaid to her sick family stuck at home.

Maybe we should all be paying closer attention to The Simpsons for more clues on how 2020 will eventually pan out. After all, The Simpsons also foresaw Disney buying Fox nearly 20 years ago, as well as predicting Donald Trump would one day be the US president

The Simpsons creator Nostradamus (er, rather Matt Groening) and Fox didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.