Earlier this week, Disney finally launched its much-anticipated streaming platform Disney+, much to the excitement of many long-time Disney fans. However, the platform’s launch was not without its technical issues. A few hours after going live, the Disney+ site crashed for many viewers, leaving them unable to watch their favorite shows. Though the issues with the site appear to now be resolved, one show’s fans are still not fully satisfied with the way the show is being streamed. For many, something about The Simpsons on Disney+ doesn’t look quite right.
In her recent article explaining the issue, Vox critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff explains that on Disney+, episodes of The Simpsons appear “zoomed in” due to the adjusted aspect ratio of the show. When The Simpsons was initially developed, it was drawn for a 4:3 aspect ratio, meant to fit the more square television screens of the time, which differs from the 16:9 aspect ratio that is the current standard. 4:3 images aren’t large enough to fill a 16:9 screen, leaving black bars on either side of the picture. But, and VanDerWerff explains, “Many viewers feel like they’re not getting “the full picture” if they see those black bars, so most networks that rebroadcast old 4:3 programs in 16:9 zoom in on the center of the image. This process ends up cutting off visual information at the top and bottom of the screen.” You can see an example of this in the tweet below, also cited by VanDerWerff in her article.
🎥 1999 vs 2019 📷
dug real deep into the archives for this one! 📖🤔❗ lost a little weight 🏃, lost a little off the top👴, but same old me! 😂😂😂💕 pic.twitter.com/fojzOXTpTh
— allegra frank (@LegsFrank) January 13, 2019
Throughout the past week, many fans of The Simpsons have expressed their frustration with the changed aspect ratio, claiming that it ruins some of the jokes in the series:
— Daily Simpsons (@dailysimpsons) November 13, 2019
Hey @DisneyPlusHelp. I remember hearing that older Simpsons seasons were going to maintain their original 4:3 aspect ratio, but upon launch all of the episodes are in 16:9. Are there still plans to have the 4:3 option? pic.twitter.com/qftRlem9h4
— Adam Lemuz (@The_acz) November 12, 2019
RIP classic Simpsons episodes in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. Those episodes will forever be in the Disney vault along with the unaltered Star Wars trilogy and Song of the South. #DisneyPlus #Simpsons pic.twitter.com/VFB4zdlbhy
— Mark (@MarvelScorsese) November 12, 2019
Disney+ has not yet stated whether they will be fixing the aspect ratios of these episodes in the future. The first 30 seasons of The Simpsons are currently available on the platform, with the most recent season on Hulu. New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays on Fox at 8pm EST.