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The entire Fox cartoon library was available to stream for the first time ever when Disney+ launched in November, but some fans cried foul that the ratio for first 19 seasons and part of 20th was remastered to a 16:9 widescreen format.
Disney said when the streaming service launched that it chose to release the episodes in a 16:9 aspect ratio “in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons.” The series did not move to the format officially until 2009.
Although the early cartoon seasons filled the modern TV screen, portions of any given scene were lopped off, which meant in some cases jokes were lost (such as in 1993 episode “Selma’s Choice” with a gag about the different varieties of Duff Beer all being the exact same brew).
Now, fans have the choice to watch those seasons of the long-running cartoon in 4:3 or 16:9. In the “details” section of the series, there is an option to toggle between the ratios.
The company announced in early April it heard fans loud and clear and was working on the change, which it said would be complete by late May.
The aspect ratio was not the only change Disney made to the series when it launched on Disney+. “Stark Raving Dad,” the 1991 installment that kicked off the Fox cartoon’s third season, was scrubbed from the platform.
It is assumed “Stark Raving Dad” is off Disney+ because Michael Jackson (not officially credited) was the guest star. Jackson voiced Leon Kompowsky, a man Homer meets while in a mental institution who sounds like Jackson.
The episode was considered by fans to be a classic, but in March 2019, “Stark Raving Dad” was pulled from broadcast circulation following the release of the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The late pop singer’s estate has vehemently denied all allegations made in the doc.
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