Iconic cartoon The Simpsons predicted the political rise of reality TV star Donald Trump 16 years ago, in what was then described as "a comedy of improbability".

In the flash-forward Season 11 episode Bart To The Future in 2000, an adult Lisa becomes president after a disastrous Trump administration.

"As you know, we've inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump," President Simpson says.

"How bad is it, Secretary Van Houten?""We're broke," is the response from a grown-up Millhouse.

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Harry Shearer, who voices billionaire Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and many other characters, told TMZ the plot twist was "a comedy of improbability".

"He was a TV star who was being depicted in this throne-room, regal, pharaonic way," Shearer said on Tuesday.

"It was seen as a logically goofy thing to do."

Yet despite Trump's soaring poll numbers and Republican primary wins, Shearer thinks Homer would come out on top in a mano-a-mano presidential showdown.

"Because he's yellower!" Shearer laughed.Bart To The Future writer Dan Greaney told The Daily Beast in 2015 that a Trump presidency was "the sort of thing America would kind of do".

Yet "The Donald" in Washington DC isn't the only Simpsons joke with an eerie familiarity.

Over the show's 27 years, The Simpsons' producers have successfully predicted a number of phenomena, from Ebola to autocorrect.

The Simpsons' Best Throw-Forwards: Getting it Right

Donald Trump as a politician (Bart to the Future, 2000):Lisa succeeds a disastrous Donald Trump as US President.

Election voting glitches (Treehouse of Horror XIX, 2008): Homer attempts to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 but the voting machine registers six votes for John McCain. The machine then chews Homer up.

Farmville (Bart Carny, 1998): Children are seen playing a Yard Work Simulator game unusually similar to the Facebook game Farmville.

Alan Rickman and David Bowie (Love Is A Many-Splintered Thing, 2013): Rickman's Professor Snape appears in a scene with a David Bowie song in the background. Rickman and Bowie died within a week of each other in January 2016.

• Autocorrect (Lisa On Ice, 1994): School bully Dolph writes a memo to "beat up Martin". His tablet changes the words to "eat up Martha".

Ebola outbreak (Lisa's Sax, 1997): Marge encourages Bart to read a book entitled "Curious George and the Ebola Virus".

The Rolling Stones' longevity (Lisa's Wedding, 1995): Lisa sees 15 years into the future and The Rolling Stones are on a "Steel Wheelchair Tour".

- AAP