Our long national nightmare is nearly over: “The Simpsons” episodes will soon be available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio on Disney+.
“The even more important most important tweet I can make! As always you have been heard! @theSimpsons episodes will be available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio on #DisneyPlus beginning 5/28,” series showrunner Al Jean said on Twitter in a cheeky reply to a tweet he posted five years ago.
Disney+ has been an enormous success for Disney, but the service drew the ire of “Simpsons” fans due to the show only being available in the widescreen 16:9 format used by most modern televisions. Though the 16:9 format meant that “The Simpsons” wouldn’t stream with unsightly black bars on the edges of the screen, it caused a multitude of issues for longtime fans who took issue with the distorted images.
While the 16:9 aspect ratio caused many of “The Simpsons” episodes streaming on Disney+ to appear awkwardly cropped or stretched out, the modern aspect ratio’s most egregious issue was that it ruined many of the show’s beloved visual gags. A viral tweet in November 2019 highlighted the problem by showcasing a side-by-side where a joke showing Duff, Duff Lite, and Duff Dry all coming from the same factory tube was ruined by the 16:9 aspect ratio.
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
Thankfully, Duff aficionados will get justice soon. “The Simpsons” caused a similar outcry when the show’s first seven seasons were streaming on FXX without their original aspect ratio several years ago, and now Fox’s Disney overlords have intervened to make both options available.
The show’s impending 4:3 streaming isn’t unexpected; Disney announced that it would begin offering classic episodes in their original aspect ratio shortly after the fan outcry began last November. The company promised to make the show available in its original aspect ratio sometime in early 2020.
Disney+ is the exclusive streaming home of “The Simpsons,” which has recently crossed over with some of the company’s other properties. Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige made his acting debut as Thanos parody “Chinnos” in a recent “The Simpsons” episode titled “Bart the Bad Guy,” which also guest starred “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and Cobie Smulders, who portrays Mariah Hill in the MCU.