How is ‘The Simpsons’ doing a (partially) live episode?

The Simpsons -

When we first heard that the upcoming May 15 episode of “The Simpsons” was going to be doing something live, we really had no clue how in the world that would be possible. This is a show that tends to animate their episodes months in advance, so we wondered how in the world it would be possible. Our guess is that Fox would take questions for Homer to answer (which was always the main game of the concept), and the show would animate out answers that would be read out live.

As it turns out, the answer is at least close to that. The reality is that things will be a little more live than we anticipated courtesy of some motion-capture technology that has been created so that Dan Castellaneta can “take calls” as Homer and answer out questions live. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Al Jean explains that there are some limitations to the motion that can be portrayed with the technology, which is why in turn there are only so many minutes of this that you will see in the episode:

“There is less of a variety of motion, and after awhile, it might start to look a little repetitive … That’s why we’re not doing any more than three minutes. You have a limited number of lip assignments and motions that Homer can make, and you see him run through those in the course of the three minutes. The reason I don’t think they’re going to be doing half-hour motion capture shows in the near future is because although it is much cheaper and you can just film it live, you can’t do the complicated set pieces that people want from animation.”

We’re ultimately not quite sure how entertaining this will end up being, but we admire Fox and the show at least trying to do something new this far into the show’s run.

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