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Did The Simpsons Actually Predict The 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak?

It's long been a joke that "The Simpsons" can predict the future. Part of this might be attributed to the show's incredible longevity, or you might also attribute it to the show's tendency to suggest that the most outlandish things in the world will happen, only to be proven correct by the hubris of human nature. The show's writers have been credited with predicting everything from the presidency of Donald Trump to Disney's purchasing of 20th Century Fox. Per Business Insider, there are nearly 20 proven examples of the show doing this over the years, including predicting the 2022 UK energy crisis

With the monkeypox outbreak capturing worldwide attention, memes have been circulating that suggest that "The Simpsons" managed to get ahead of this world event by a few decades too. But are these viral images proof that "The Simpsons" predicted the virus' spread? Or is it another media hoax put into effect by some hucksters looking for some attention from the internet? 

This time, the Simpsons didn't do it

Apologies to the thousands of people who have retweeted and reshared those images across various social media platforms this summer. According to a Reuters fact-check article, this time the show definitely didn't manage to peek into the future. The images used in these popular Facebook and Twitter posts have actually been composited from two different episodes that have absolutely nothing to do with the current public health emergency.

The image of Homer covered in blisters actually comes from "The Simpsons" Season 17, Episode 3 ("Milhouse of Sand and Fog"). In that episode, Homer ends up with chicken pox after Maggie comes down with the illness. Additionally, the image that features Homer hanging out with a diaper-clad monkey originates from Season 9, Episode 21 ("Girly Edition"), an episode in which Homer gains access to a helper monkey named Mojo. In typical Homer fashion, he proceeds to exploit Mojo for cheap labor and amusement and then fails to feed him properly. The end result is an ill and overweight monkey who is near death by the time Homer returns him to his trainers.

In the past, "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has admitted to being amused about the show's general tendency to gaze into the future. "We take the most unlikely, ridiculous, stupid, impossible, never-will-happen joke, and then it turns out that our imaginations aren't that imaginative," he told LAD Bible in 2021.