The Simpsons 'predicted' Austin mayor's embarrassing COVID-19 restrictions scandal
The Simpsons, once again, did it first.
Fox's uncannily predictive animated classic has yet again proved unintentionally prescient after Austin's mayor was caught in an embarrassingly hypocritical situation.
Mayor Steve Adler has come under fire for posting a video in November stressing to residents they "need to stay home" during the COVID-19 pandemic surge – while he was secretly vacationing in Cabo San Lucas.
“We need to stay home if you can," Adler said in a Facebook video filmed after the mayor took a private jet to Mexico along with seven others for a weeklong trip following his daughter's wedding. "This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely. ... We may have to close things down if we are not careful."
Yet The Simpsons' ethically compromised Mayor Quimby already hit this beat in season 4 – during an episode that involved a flu outbreak, no less.
Adler apologized on Wednesday after The Austin American-Statesman broke the story of the mayor's location during his video.
“I regret this travel,” Adler wrote in a statement. “My fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize.”
The Simpsons episode, "Marge in Chains," was previously cited early in the pandemic for seeming to predict the outbreak itself – as well the wave of stories about Murder Hornets that followed.
The Simpsons team pushed back on that a bit, worrying that online trolls were using elements in the episode for "nefarious purposes" and that Simpsons prediction stories, in general, are "mainly just coincidence because the episodes are so old that history repeats itself," said the episode's writer, Bill Oakley.
The Adler story comes amid a series of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do scandals of civic leaders scolding the public to follow pandemic rules and then doing something entirely different in their private lives – such as a Los Angeles County Supervisor who dined at a restaurant in Santa Monica hours after voting to ban outdoor dining, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting a salon in San Francisco after her city restricted indoor hair-care appointments.