TV

Disney+ Accidentally Cropped Out A Bunch Of ‘The Simpsons’ Jokes, And Fans Are Peeved

They've done extra work to make something worse.

The Simpsons' has been re-ratio'd on Disney+ from 4:3 to 16:9

While Disney+ launches in Australia next week, yesterday it made its highly anticipated debut in the US. Given Disney’s Katamari Damacy acquisition of near-every media company, it boasts a whole lot of decidedly un-Disney titles, including all 30+ seasons of The Simpsons.

Excited die-hard fans have noticed that the a majority of the seasons’ ratio aspect has changed — essentially cropping many of those small background jokes that colour the show. And they’re not happy about it.

UPDATE 16/11/19: In response to fan demand, Disney has assured fans that episodes originally aired in the 4:3 ratio will be available on Disney+ in both 16:9 and the original format in “early 2020”, in a toggle-option (via Verge). 

When The Simpsons debuted in 1989, it was in a 4:3 ratio, which remained in place until the show got an HD and 16:9 upgrade halfway through Season 20 in 2009.

In short, that means the first 20 seasons (aka all the golden era, plus 11-9 more seasons, depending on your mileage) have been stretched out on Disney+ in a choice to release the series in an uniform ratio.

College Humour writer Tristan Cooper was one of the first to point out the difference, tweeting out an example where a visual gag about the three types of Duff Beer all come from the same tube.

While this feels like a small gripe, it’s an odd choice considering the work that would go into transmuting the ratio: Disney+ have essentially done more work to make something less good. Brent Black tweeted out a helpful graphic, if you’re struggling to see the issue.

It’s not just super fans who are upset, with The Simpsons writer and golden era show-runner Bill Oakley tweeting out his own disapproval.

The Simpsons is far from alone in the ratio swap, as most older animated shows appear to be affected too and updated to 16:9., though they aren’t regarded as one of television’s best and most influential comedies.

In addition to cropping out The Simpsons’ visual gags, the whole series feels “claustrophobic” and “unwatchable” according to some users, as we’re now much closer to characters’ faces, which have also been stretched in the process.

The ratio fuss is a particular sore spot for Simpsons aficionados, as they encountered the same issue when FX launched streaming option Simpsons World in 2013, later reinstating a 4:3 option for the affected seasons after criticism. Disney+ has not learnt from FX’s mistake, and has pissed off a lot of fans in the process — especially since they had previously told multiple sources that the 4:3 ratio would remain. Disney+ representatives declined to comment on whether a 4:3 ratio will become available in time (via Verge).

While it was unclear whether The Simpsons would appear on Australian Disney+, it’s been confirmed that all seasons and the film will be available upon launch next week. In the meantime, revisit our list of The Simpsons‘ best 30 episodes here.