Very few cartoons are broadcast live. It puts a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists, but you’re not on for 27 seasons (and counting!) without defying a few expectations. On May 15, The Simpsons will air its first live segment in which Homer answers phone calls from fans. Now, that sounds as implausible as a talking dog — how can a four-fingered animated character respond to five-fingered actual humans on live TV? I dunno, Internet?
The segment will rely on motion-capture technology, and the animation should look highly similar to what you normally see in Springfield. “There is less of a variety of motion, and after awhile, it might start to look a little repetitive,” explains [showrunner Al] Jean. “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 do everything we can in the three minutes that’s possible.” (Via)
In “Simprovised,” Homer begins taking improv comedy classes to regain his confidence after he flubs a speech in front of his co-workers. The live segment will occur during the final three minutes of the episode, at which point you’ll finally be able to ask Homer the question that’s been on your mind for years: How come I can’t get no Tang around here?
By Josh Kurp