FXX network's gargantuan marathon of every Simpsons episode ever made the internet swoon. That sweet Simpsons nectar has turned a little sour, though: Some of the greatest sight gags from the show's golden era are being ruined by braindead HD cropping. Won't someone think of the ratios?
Yes, instead of running early Simpsons episodes in their native 4:3 ratio, FXX is cropping, stretching, zooming, and noise-reducing the frames to fit modern HD 16:9 televisions. Not only does that make these classic episodes look like ass, it ruins some of the most artful and subtle visual jokes that made The Simpsons the phenomenon it is today. Just look at the frame above: You'll never put together why "Formerly Chuck's" is so funny if you can't see "Sneed's Feed and Seed" to begin with.
After-the-fact cropping always makes old movies and TV shows look crappy. When Netflix does it, it ruins some of the greatest scenes that made enduring classics out of legendary movies. When FXX does it, it yanks some of the magic out of the episodes that made us fall in love with The Simpsons to begin with.
Matt Groening's animated masterpiece didn't transition to today's 16:9 widescreen format until 2009. That means the bulk of The Simpsons' 25 seasons will suffer the indignity of un-artful hacking to fit today's wider screens. It's hard to estimate just how badly this will gut some of the show's best visual jokes.
As for that digital noise reduction: YUCK.
Still, I guess we should't complain that much. We're still getting an unprecedented marathon of precisely every Simpsons episode that ever aired. And, blessedly, aside from the widescreen hatchet job, FXX is airing the episodes in original full-length form—not the chopped-down syndication versions that lost crucial jokes and gags to make time for more commercials.
On balance, the (groan) #EverySimpsonsEver marathon is great. But sharp-eyed Simpsons fans will definitely notice something missing. D'oh! [Indiewire]