They say that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Disney+ proved that bit of wisdom when it was launched some months ago with broken episodes of The Simpsons. Like FXX before it, it chose to crop the classic 4:3 episodes and ruined sight gags along the way.
The Simpsons has been around nearly forever. It debuted in 1989, which means it’s so old that my parents refused to let me watch that “horrible show that will warp your mind.” Compared to the shows that would follow like South Park, that’s a quaint thought.
But that also means the 31-year-old show predates modern widescreen TVs, and initially, it featured a 4:3 aspect ratio. That can look odd on today’s TVs unless you something to adjust the visuals. But what you shouldn’t do is crop it without thought, or you’ll end up ruining sight gags as Twitter user Tristen Cooper demonstrates.
All the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ are in cropped widescreen format — this means you miss out on tons of great visual jokes, like how Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same tube. pic.twitter.com/cTy9adulFl
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019
That’s what happened to FXX when it launched Simpsons World in 2015, and it happened again with Disney+. The good news is that Simpsons writer and producer Al Jean says Disney+ will fix the problem on May 28th.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) May 20, 2020
Disney+ confirmed the news not long after. So if you want to watch old episodes of Simpson for nostalgia’s sake (because let’s be honest, the early seasons’ animation was rough), at least now you’ll see it as the original artists intended.