Disney+: ‘Simpsons’ Fans Are Really Not Happy With the New Streaming Service
Disney+ is off to a rocky start. The new streaming service launched with much fanfare on November 12, but some subscribers encountered glitches when attempting to log in to watch the new live-action version of Lady and the Tramp or the Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
Disney attributed the problems to the number of people trying to access the service. “The demand for #DisneyPlus has exceeded our highest expectations,” tweeted the Disney+ Twitter account. “We are so pleased you’re excited to watch all your favorites and are working quickly to resolve any current issues. We appreciate your patience.”
Once people were able to login to Disney+, a few noticed a problem with one of their favorite shows.
Fans of ‘The Simpsons’ says the show doesn’t look right
Among the many things ready to stream at launch on Disney+ are all 30 seasons of The Simpsons. But fans of the long-running animated series soon realized that there was something off about older episodes.
All episodes of The Simpsons are currently streaming with a 16:9 aspect ratio. But the first 20 seasons of the show were broadcast with a 4:3 aspect ratio. That means that when you hit play on classic episodes like “Mr. Plow,” “Homerpalooza,” and “Marge vs. the Monorail,” what you see on the screen has been cropped or stretched to fit the widescreen format.
Why fans are upset
While a change in the aspect ratio might not sound like a huge deal, fans of the show have pointed out for years that the adjustment means that viewers miss out on some funny visual gags.
“Watching classic Simpsons on Disney+ doesn’t feel very good with the 16:9 aspect ratio. Everything looks extremely zoomed in, like I’m pressing my face right at the TV screen,” tweeted one person.
“Oh hey, The Simpsons on Disney+ is cropped to 16:9 and so everything is super zoomed in cut off strangely. At least it’s only 20 seasons before it went widescreen,” another complained.
Adding insult to injury, serious fans of the show say that Disney+ is actually making the experience of streaming The Simpsons worse. People who get FX through their TV subscription can watch all episodes of the show at Simpsons World.com in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Plus, they also get extras like audio commentary. Those options aren’t available on Disney+.
Right now, Simpsons World is still live. But the site will reportedly shut down now that Disney+ has launched.
A controversial episode of the show is missing
Aside from the aspect ratio issues, some fans were also quick to note that an early — and controversial — episode of the show was missing from Disney+.
“Stark Raving Dad,” which aired in 1991, sees Homer being sent to a mental institution, where his roommate is a man named Leon Kompowsky who believes that he’s Michael Jackson. Later, the fake Michael Jackson pays a visit to the Simpsons home, where he sings a birthday song for Lisa.
The King of Pop was a fan of the show and actually suggested to Matt Groening that he make a cameo. He provided the voice for Kompowsky and wrote the song (though it was actually sung by an impersonator since Jackson couldn’t perform it for contractual reasons). Jackson wasn’t even credited in the episode, though many fans suspected it was him.
When allegations of sexual assault against Jackson resurfaced after the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland aired, “Stark Raving Dad” was pulled from circulation. Unsurprisingly, it’s not included in the Disney+ app.