Disney+ plans to fix The Simpsons ratio issues by the end of next month

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you no doubt know the entire catalog of the show is streaming on Disney+. But if you’ve revisited some of your favorite episodes, you may have noticed something seemed a little off.

When the episodes were originally created and aired, 4:3 was the standard television ratio – think the “boxy” televisions of old. But as technology advanced, a widescreen 16:9 ratio became the standard some 20 years later. To keep the first two decades from having any unsightly boxes on the screen (since it’s a 4:3 ratio on a 16:9 screen), Disney+ presented old episodes of The Simpsons in a reformatted size.

This was simply a move to “guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons” Disney said, but it didn’t sit well with many fans.

On the surface, this might seem like a fairly nit-picky thing, but it’s actually somewhat important. The Simpsons is packed with visual gags, many of which only last for a few seconds and aren’t acknowledged in any way. So if they’re not seen, the joke is missed. And in the re-formatted ratio, many of the subtle jokes are indeed totally cut out.

Shortly after the Disney+ debut, fans noticed the chance and were quick to call Disney out. Disney acknowledged the change had been made, but only promised to address the issue at a later time.

That time is here, according to a Tweet from the company. “We appreciate our fans’ patience and are working to make the first 19 Seasons (and part of 20) of The Simpsons available in 4:3 versions on Disney Plus,” they said on April 2. “We expect to accomplish this by the end of May.”

So if you already binged the first few seasons, you might want to wait a little bit to continue.

Artie Beaty