“The Simpsons” Goes Hi-Def

SPRINGFIELD: Marge, Homer, Maggie, Bart and Lisa are making their hi-def debut after nearly 20 years on the air. The venerable and sardonic cartoon sitcom will appear in HD on Fox Feb. 15 8 p.m. EST, with Homer contemplating what would have occurred had he been class president in “Take My Life, Please.” The episode will feature a new opening sequence, this one showing Bart scribbling "HDTV is worth every cent."

Synopsis from the Fox press release: “When Mayor Quimby inducts Vance Connor into the Springfield Walk of Fame, Homer recounts how he ran against Vance for class president in high school and lost. After a little digging, Homer learns that the election had been rigged, and he wonders what course his life would have taken if only fate had smiled on him. Homer soon meets an old Italian cook at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant whose magical tomato sauce, when stirred in just the right way, reveals what Homer’s life would have been like had he won the election.”

The show will appear in 16:9 on U.S. TV, and in the United Kingdom on Sky One HD. The episode will repeat there on Feb. 27; subsequent episodes will be in standard-def. AVS Science Forum participants gave the news an interesting going-over, eventually debating the impact of 16:9 on the quality of the show’s humor.

“The Simpsons Movie,” which came out in 2007, was carried in hi-def on HBO and rendered in 1080p on Blu-ray. The series is now the longest-running sitcom on TV.