You can stream every The Simpsons episode on Disney+? Woo-hoo! But Disney+ is only streaming early episodes in poorly-forced widescreen, eliminating important visual jokes and causing a virulent backlash from fans? D’oh! But now Disney+ has listened to the virulent backlash and will be correcting their Aspect-Ratio-Gate as early as next year? Excellent. According to a statement given to The AV Club, Disney+ will be offering the subscribers the decision to stream the first 20 seasons of The Simpsons in either their original 4:3 aspect ratios or the newly cropped 16:9 aspect ratio starting early 2020.
While Disney does have a reputation for being a bit of a — what’s the phrase? — “powerful monopoly that owns everything and does whatever they want,” they seemed to listen to the ruckus fans delivered on social media. A Disney+ spokesperson gave this statement:
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.
Now this, friends, feels like a measured and reasonable plan of action that they absolutely should’ve done from moment one. The idea that consistency coming from the illusion of “widescreen” is more important than presenting works in their intended format is something that has rankled my feathers for quite some time, and Disney’s tendencies to mess with history has torn my feathers clean off. Still, I’m grateful that Disney listened to Simpsons fans and will give them the episodes with all their visual jokes and correct compositions intact. Could this open up the opportunity for a bunch of other ’90s cartoons cropped to 16:9 to be presented in 4:3 instead? Or do we need to raise heck on Twitter every time?
For more on the wild world of The Simpsons, check out their plans to mess with their Disney-mates at Marvel. Also make sure to check out all of our fave Disney+ TV shows. And if you’re looking to stream some more laughs, here’s the best comedies available on Netflix.