The Simpsons have been going strong for 30 years and are not going to be going anywhere soon. The Fox TV show has been one of TV’s most iconic series and recently moved over to Disney +. It was hoped that fans would head over to the channel and stream the show but their reaction has been less than enthusiastic.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of The Simpsons was its ability to deal proactively with and even predict some key events in real life. It is also well known for its clever jokes and visual humor. The problem is that the show was not designed to be shown on the huge screens that we find on modern TV sets.
Until series 20 the show was produced to be viewed on older style screens at an aspect ration of 4:3. In the 1990s, this was the standard TV screen size, but Disney+, when it streamed the show, used the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
This might be sounding a bit technical but the upshot of it all was that many of the key visual gags got cropped out and fans were not best pleased, to say the least. There was a furious backlash online and now Disney has responded positively to address the situation.
In a recent statement, Disney+ confirmed that they had changed the aspect ratio to achieve consistency in quality across all seasons. However, in early 2020 the company will return the first 20 seasons of the show to the original aspect ratio and give fans the choice as to how they wish to view the show.
Although the decision by Disney to change the aspect ratio is understandable this latest move is great for the fans who just want to see their favorite show as it was originally intended. Disney made a good call when it took complaints seriously and went straight in to rectify the problem.
Alongside the drama surrounding The Simpsons, Disney has also come under fire for some of its marketing of other programs including The Mandalorian. The series, part of the Star Wars canon has also received criticism.
The Disney team has also been criticized for refusing to include some of the older content like Song of the South, made in 1946, and some of its shorter animated films. There has also been some censorship of jokes in Toy Story 2 and the “Maclunkey” change to Star Wars: A New Hope has received widespread derision from fans.
It seems that Disney is fast becoming a monopoly when it comes to modern popular culture and while it could be argued that omitting potentially controversial movies like Song of the South is a good call, it does mean that Disney can now change just about anything in the offerings that it controls including Fox, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic and now Marvel.
It should be of some concern that control rests in the hands of just one company who will decide what we can see and what will no longer be available.