Simpsons plot about Trump presidency, intended as unthinkable joke, becomes reality 16 years later

Matt Groening (centre), creator of The Simpsons, poses with characters from the show.
Matt Groening (centre), creator of The Simpsons, poses with characters from the show.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sixteen years ago, the creative team behind American satirical cartoon The Simpsons racked their brains for a doomsday scenario in an episode set in the future.

They settled on what they thought was the most ludicrous option - billionaire Donald Trump, President of the United States, responsible for the destruction of the national economy.

But what looked like a throwaway joke when the episode aired in March 2000 has now become reality, with the world awakening to Mr Trump as President-Elect. The 70-year-old real estate tycoon is headed to the White House in two months' time.

Show writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year that at the time, the plot "just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom" and "consistent with the vision of America going insane".

But Greaney also said to the New York Daily News that the show's team only envisioned that Mr Trump would be a narcissistic president, in line with his persona as a "flamboyant, comical real-estate developer".

None of them foresaw the hallmarks of his campaign policy promises.

"There's nothing in the episode about walls or rounding up Mexicans or Islamophobia," Greaney was quoted as saying.

As recently as October, Simpsons creator Matt Groening was saying in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian that he continued to "doubt highly" that the Trump campaign would culminate in victory.

"There's a certain lack of civility and common sense, a complete exaggeration of name calling and triviality (that) is just astounding," said Groening to The Guardian.

"And it may be here to stay. We shall see."

He finished off with one last prediction: "If Trump wins, there will be an exodus of people."