With the launch of Disney+ this week, many fans were excited to have easy access to all 30 seasons of The Simpsons — only to find to their chagrin that their original 4:3 aspect ratio had been discarded for a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, cropping out many visual gags entirely. But now, Disney says that it will be fixing this in “early 2020” by making an additional version of the first 19 seasons in 4:3, the way they were intended to be viewed.
Here’s Disney’s statement:
“We presented “The Simpsons” in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons. Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options. As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of “The Simpsons” available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series.”
To give you an idea of what you might be missing with the widescreen format, here’s an example:
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
Why 19 seasons, instead of all 30? From 2009 on, partway through The Simpsons’ 20th season, the show had already switched to the 16:9 aspect ratio — so those episodes should be fine already.