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The episode in question is “Marge in Chains” from season four, which aired in 1993. The claim is that the news cycle depicted in the episode has uncanny similarities to the news surrounding Bryant’s death and the coronavirus.
The Simpsons broadcast first discusses a Chinese flu spreading around Springfield and then shows a perilous helicopter ride.
In a helicopter scene, the repetition of the phrase “going around and around” in the clip is allegedly what links the episode to Bryant’s death. Theorists believe the phrase is a reference to how Bryant’s helicopter circled before crashing.
Furthermore, theorists claim an episode of the Comedy Central cartoon Legends of Chamberlain Heights more directly predicted Bryant’s death. Some on Twitter have mistakenly named it as a Simpsons clip. In one episode of Chamberlain Heights, Bryant crashes to the ground in a helicopter and eventually dies in an explosion. Comedy Central has since pulled the clip from its programming.
“Out of respect for Kobe and his family we have removed the clip of him and ask that you please don’t share it,” the show’s Twitter account wrote.
Out of respect for Kobe and his family we have removed the clip of him and ask that you please don’t share it.— Legends (@LegendsofCH) January 26, 2020
RIP Kobe and Gigi Bryant and everyone else who died in the helicopter crash today
Conspiracy theorists believe both of these events to be examples of “predictive programming,” which RationalWiki defines as such:
“The claim is that when conspirators plan a false flag operation, they hide references to it in the popular media before the atrocity takes place,” the wiki reads. “When the event occurs, the public has softened up, and therefore passively accepts it rather than offering resistance or opposition.”
The premise has a history in conspiracy circles. Some, like conspiracy theorist David Icke, believe that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was predicted by The Dark Knight Rises. Furthermore, in more popular circles, YouTuber Shane Dawson has given nods to the idea in his popular conspiracy theory videos.
It’s often seen as a means to an end, and conspiracy theorists tend to believe they’re the only ones who can unfurl the grand design of the government, the Illuminati, Satan himself, or whoever they believe to be behind the coronavirus and the death of Bryant. However, the problem with this idea is that it’s virtually impossible to argue with, which doesn’t make it logical. It makes it illogically inane.
“The…problem is the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose nature of the claims,” RationalWiki reads. “The less plausible the claims, and the more contrived the link, the more powerful it must be.”
Felix Kalvesmaki is a second-year student at the University of Texas at Austin and an intern for the Daily Dot. His work has appeared in Input magazine, Teen Vogue, and on Texas NPR station KERA.