Cropping Out the Joke

The longest marathon in the history of television is going on right now over on the FXX channel. They’re airing all 552 episodes of “The Simpsons” (as well as “The Simpsons Movie”), and it’s pretty amazing. An episode of the Simpsons ends, and you think “I wonder if anything good is on now”. And then? There’s another episode of “The Simpsons”! And they’re all good, at least for now, while they’re in the lower numbered seasons.

However, there is a problem. Up until season 20, the show aired in a 4:3 ratio. Unfortunately, FXX has cropped, zoomed in and stretched the older episodes into a 16:9 format. At best, this is undesirable, and looks slightly off. However, at times it has a far more negative effect on the comedy. Take a look at this shot from Homer’s tour of the Duff brewery (Season 4, Episode 16: “Duffless”):

A Cut Off Joke
“Here we have, Duff, Duff Light, and our newest flavor, Duff Dry.”

The episode lingers on this shot for several seconds. Looking at the above picture, it would be difficult to understand why. Fans may remember what it should have looked like, in its proper aspect ratio:

The proper joke
Much Better

One hates to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it really is a shame that the episodes are being mangled in this fashion. Fortunately, when the episodes come online via the Simpsons World app, they’ll be in their proper aspect ratio.