A couple of months after its launch, Disney+ is finally fixing an issue fans have been complaining about since its debut. While, the Simpsons was one of the titles available in the Disney+ catalog at launch, fans who were excited to watch the earlier seasons of the show were met with disappointment when they saw that Disney+ had converted the show’s original 4:3 format into a 16:9 format.
In doing so, the image got cropped and, consequentially, affecting a lot of the visual gags. The move to reformat to a 16:9 ratio was, according to Disney, done to “guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons.”
By the end of May, however, the company has announced that they will finally be streaming The Simpsons in its original aspect ratio. The Disney+ Twitter account says that they are working on correcting the first 19 seasons plus a couple from the 20th season.
We appreciate our fans’ patience and are working to make the first 19 Seasons (and part of 20) of #TheSimpsons available in 4:3 versions on #DisneyPlus. We expect to accomplish this by the end of May.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) April 2, 2020
The Simpsons, being a show that started in 1989, used the original, mandated, 4:3 ratio for TV. It wasn’t until 2009, when the show was in its 20th season, that it adopted the more modern 16:9 aspect ratio which TVs now run natively.
All the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ are in cropped widescreen format — this means you miss out on tons of great visual jokes, like how Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same tube. pic.twitter.com/cTy9adulFl
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019
This issue has long been a problem for Simpsons fans. In 2015, Fox’s FXX network eased the problem by announcing that the earlier episodes of The Simpsons will be streamed in its correct format via the Simpsons World app.
Fans were delighted and praised FXX for this move. With Disney having control over Fox, fans assumed the same fix would be applied for The Simpsons on Disney+. Former Simpsons writer, Bill Oakley, spoke to Digital Trends, saying that the cropped image cut out a lot of the jokes.
“I’ve seen dozens of these online,” Oakley says, “On ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns,’ one of the most important clues as to who shot him was completely cut off by this reformatting.”
Better late than never, right? Even if it has taken Disney+ a couple of months to accomplish, reverting back to the original 4:3 aspect ratio will definitely be appreciated by Simpsons fans.