Keeping true to its word, Disney+ has updated The Simpsons fans on how soon to expect episodes of the classic animated series be made available in its original aspect ratio. The fledgling streaming service had promised a fix by 2020, and according to a latest tweet, fans should be good to go by the end of May.
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
When Disney+ launched in November, Simpsons fans were quick to notice that older episodes looked noticeably off. Like most television series before the advent of flatscreen TVs, the show originally aired in a 4:3 ratio. To avoid showing black bars on each side of the picture, Disney+ used versions of the show that were cropped into 16:9 format, which cut off visual gags and led to characters looking stretched and distorted in certain scenes as shown below:
Not only are the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ awkwardly cropped, but they’re stretched in a lot of places too. Bart’s head looks 4 inches wider here: pic.twitter.com/fCpmTPasGj
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019
In Disney+’s defense, the cropping issue also occurred when FXX started airing The Simpsons marathons, and it’s believed the streaming service simply imported those versions after acquiring Fox. However, Disney was quick to respond to fan reactions, and within days of launch, it promised to offer viewers a choice of aspect ratios in a statement to The LA Times:
“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.”
While May pushes the limit of “early 2020,” it’s understandable that Disney has had its hands full, as the pandemic has forced the company to scuttle release dates for major blockbusters like Black Widow and Mulan while halting production on a variety of upcoming projects headed for theaters and Disney+.
(Via Disney+ on Twitter)