The Simpsons is now available to stream on Disney+ in almost all of its entirety, but many longtime fans are disappointed with how the episodes are presented. Specifically, the classic episodes from before 2009 have been cropped from their original 4:3 aspect ratio to fill the 16:9 Similarly, hardcore fans had this reaction when FXX began airing cropped versions of classic episodes, feeling that stretching or cropping the footage ruins integrity of the scenes which are already considered to be perfect as they are. Chopping out some of the picture also means eliminating many hilarious sight gags, and longtime Simpsons fans will know the classic episodes were absolutely filled with them.
Presumably sharing this sense of disappointment is series creator Matt Groening, who first began complaining about resizing The Simpsons 13 years ago. On a DVD commentary track for the show released in 2006, Groening told viewers they better be watching the show in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, suggesting that by stretching the video out to make it fill your widescreen TV would mean missing out on some great gags. "I don't want to see this thing being stretched," Groening says, noting The Simpsons, at the time, wasn't a widescreen show. He adds: "I know you think you're getting your money's worth from your widescreen TV, but, forget it. Watch it in the right aspect ratio!" You can listen to that for yourself below.
Presenting classic episodes in the wrong aspect ratio isn't the only thing bothering longtime fans of The Simpsons. Some fans have noticed that the first episode of season 3, "Stark Raving Dad," is completely absent from the list of available episodes. For those unaware, this decision was made by Simpsons producers following the release of the controversial HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which painted Michael Jackson in a very negative light (to say the least). Because the episode is one of the most memorable of the show's early years, its absence is definitely noticeable. Additionally, episodes from the show's current 31st season are not on the service, but if your Disney+ is bundled with Hulu, you'll be still easily able to check out new episodes of The Simpsons on there.
On the other side of the coin, fans of The Simpsons will now have easy access to almost every episode from the show's three-decade history by subscribing to Disney+. Even for collectors who own every home video release for each of the show's seasons released so far, cycling through the discs can sometimes be a hassle, and it's nice to be able to turn on a streaming service to jump right in to some classic Simpsons episodes. Featuring the show on the service will also help reintroduce the classics to a new generation of fans. Still, if we ever want to ever again hear Leon Kompowsky give us his rendition of Lisa's birthday song, or just watch classic episodes of the show the way they were meant to be seen, we'll apparently have to stick with our DVDs.
Disney+ is now live, and you can watch its content by subscribing to the service for $6.99 per month. In addition to (nearly) every episode of The Simpsons, the service also features plenty of amazing new content such as The Mandalorian and the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp. You can sign up now by heading over to the Disney+ website. The tweet shown above featuring Matt Groening's commentary comes to us from Justin Decloux on Twitter.