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The Simpsons has shifted away from FXX’s Simpsons World on to Disney+. This is likely convenient if you are a recent subscriber to the new Disney-owned streaming service, as lots of different type of content is housed in one place. Yet, it may be annoying for some longtime The Simpsons fans, as the aspect ratio has led to viewers missing some unique gags. Now, Disney has finally responded about the problem.
After complaints popped up on the interwebs detailing cut jokes and a weird stretching in certain scenes, Disney spoke out in a statement regarding the aspect ratio stuff.
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.
Basically, Disney has heard the fanbase and within the first few months of Disney+, this cropping issue will be fixed so that episodes are available in the original aspect ratio. The company also notes the change was made for consistency, presumably given TV’s used to be more square but are now wider and more rectangular.
The aspect ratio issue made itself known very early on in The Simpsons’ appearance on Disney+. Although you’d have to already sort of know what gags you are missing ahead of watching on Disney+, some social media users have avidly documented examples of the issue, through posts such as these:
As you can see, the Disney+ version on the right cuts out a great Duff beer gag. It’s not the only visual gag that has been left on the cutting room floor thanks to the Disney+ ratio aspect. Another cut out this “Clumsy Student Movers” gag.
The Verge’s report calls the 16:9 ration aspect “joke-destroying,” which is an aggressive-yet-accurate description of what is happening for fans of the show. While it might seem like a minor complaint or not super noticeable to some, for others, I’m sure the issues have felt glaring.
The good news is that Disney isn’t looking to make anyone mad with Disney+. In fact, the company has gone out of its way to make everything related to subscribing easy. The service is super cheap, there’s a bundle if you want any of the company’s other streaming products like ESPN+ and the company is even offering a free 7-day trial to get people started. The service has also worked to be transparent about when some other pieces of Disney content will finally hit the service. There's even a feature to help new users request content they may want to see.
All of this has led the Netflix competitor to sign on 10 million households in its first few days. You just may have to wait a couple of months to see The Simpsons episodes the way they were initially intended.