Seinfeld Has An Aspect Ratio Problem On Netflix, Just Like The Simpsons Did On Disney+

When are streaming services going to learn? You might remember that back in 2019, fans of "The Simpsons" gave Disney+ some grief because all of the older episodes of the animated series that were presented in the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio for their original broadcast, before the rise of widescreen televisions, were reformatted to a 16:9 aspect ratio. This meant that some key visual gags from throughout the first 19 seasons of the show (and part of the 20th season) were missing completely. Thankfully, Disney+ fixed the issue and fans can choose which aspect ratio they'd like to use for those episodes. Unfortunately, it sounds like Netflix wasn't paying attention when this happened, because they're having the same aspect ratio problem with the arrival of the classic sitcom "Seinfeld" in their streaming library.

Seinfeld Aspect Ratio Problem on Netflix

Much like "The Simpsons," the entire library of "Seinfeld" episodes that arrived on Netflix recently are presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Granted, it doesn't seem to be quite as cumbersome of an issue since the most egregious problem with this switch doesn't roll around until the eighth season (via The AV Club), in the episode entitled, "The Pothole."

In this fan favorite episode, George Costanza (Jason Alexander) thinks that he's lost his keys in a giant pothole in the street. In shots where George and Jerry Seinfeld are observing the pothole, the road flaw in question isn't even visible because of the 16:9 cropping. See for yourself below.

The episode might as well be called "The Nothole" if we can't even see it. Sure, it inadvertently makes the episode about nothing, which is actually a pretty great meta joke for the show that's famously about nothing. But honestly, this is terrible. How have we reached the point where streaming services don't present the series as it was meant to be seen? It's great that the episodes have been remastered, but why choose to ignore the original aspect ratio? 

Even more annoying is that this isn't the first time "Seinfeld" has been presented in the wrong aspect ratio on streaming. Just as "The Simpsons" was initially given the 16:9 aspect ratio treatment when the show's library debuted in their very own section in the FX streaming app, "Seinfeld" also had this issue when it was streaming on Hulu. Again, when are streaming services going to learn? What's the deal with streaming services?

For "Seinfeld" purists out there, this means that the only way to enjoy the original series in the proper aspect ratio is from the DVD versions of the series. Unfortunately, the episodes won't be in high-definition (the series isn't available on Blu-ray yet either), but at least you'll get to see the full frame of every episode. It's another prime example of why physical media is king. 

Netflix has yet to respond to the complaints of fans, but if they're smart, they'll fix the "Seinfeld" aspect ratio problem just as FX and Disney+ did for "The Simpsons." It might take them some time to take care of the issue (Disney+ needed five months), but better late than never.