With the launch of Disney+ early last week, many fans of the animated sitcom The Simpsons had expressed their frustration that Disney’s new streaming platform would not be showing The Simpsons episodes in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. Additionally, last week Disney took down The Simpsons episodes hosted on the website Simpsons World, leaving Disney+ as the only place to stream Simpsons episodes. With no other place to watch the show, many fans expressed their frustration that they had no way to watch the show in its original format, as seen in this parody tweet below.
ATTENTION fans of The Simpsons (Series – 1989).
We have heard your concerns about the 16:9 aspect ratio cutting off notable visual gags and have taken action. Henceforth all episodes are fitted with MANDATORY descriptive video to make sure you never miss ANYTHING. pic.twitter.com/vNxSIBYUSg
— Disney Prime Video (@GetDisneyPrime) November 16, 2019
However, in response to the criticism, Disney+ has made a statement that it will be providing a way for fans to watch the show in its original 4:3 format. The change will come in early 2020, and Disney+ states that “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.” Additionally, Disney+ explained their rationale behind originally only offering the 16:9 versions: “We presented ‘The Simpsons’ in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons.”
Despite this aim for “visual quality and consistency,” it seems most fans of The Simpsons agree that they would rather watch the show in its original format. Vox Critic-at-Large Emily VanDerWerff states that she “will have the distinct pleasure of watching these episodes as they were intended: in a strange, boxy shape that doesn’t fill the entirety of our modern TV screens.” It seems as though with this news, everything has been resolved for The Simpsons. Well, almost everything:
@disneyplus while you’re fixing your Simpsons aspect ratio problem can you also make it so the “skip intro” button cuts to the couch gag instead of right after?
— gorgrumple (@sgorgrim) November 17, 2019
The first 30 seasons of The Simpsons are currently available on Disney+, with the most recent season on Hulu. New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays on Fox at 8pm EST.