Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Disney Plus Crops the 4:3 Aspect Ratio of Classic Episodes of the Simpsons to 16:9, Thereby Ruining Them

Matthew Gault, Vice:

Unfortunately, Disney fucked it up, and The Simpsons I knew from my childhood isn’t the The Simpsons that Disney+ is showing. The classic episodes originally aired in a 4:3 format, which fit televisions in the pre-HD era. Disney+ is showing reformatted HD episodes in a widescreen 16:9 ratio. The images fill up a modern TV screen, but they’re cropped and stretched. As fans have noticed, the crop can cut sight gags from the Disney+ release.

For example, the Duff Brewery gag about all Duff being the same is completely lost in the crop. Besides missing gags, the crop is generally annoying and bad. When I watched “Marge Versus the Monorail,” for example, Lyle Lanley sang about the a town with money in extreme close up. Characters’ faces are often as stretched and distorted as Marge’s smeared face on a novelty T-Shirt.

Legal, full-quality access to episodes of the Simpsons is pretty much the only reason I was thinking about getting a Disney Plus subscription, so this is hugely disappointing.