Everyone’s favourite yellow-bellied family has something pretty special in store. Fox Broadcasting, the television company behind the Simpsons, recently announced that the May 15 episode of the sitcom will feature something unheard of in the world of cartoons: a live show.
So…what’s the deal? How can you have a live cartoon? Well, the entire episode isn’t going to be live. Rather, the last three minutes of the episode will feature a motion capture Homer, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, answering fan questions submitted through Twitter with the hashtag #HomerLive. Tweet submissions can be made two weeks prior to the episode’s airing, from Sunday May 1 to Wednesday May 4. It is also likely that Homer will reference current events to reinforce the segment’s live aspect, with showrunner Al Jean saying that Homer will say things he “could only be saying live on that day.” The segment will reflect the plot of the episode, which focuses on improv.
Al Jean believes this to be a first time that such a task has been undertaken for a cartoon. While live-action shows are very often broadcast live or filmed in front of an audience, this has never been a choice in the past for cartoons. Most episodes of a cartoon take multiple months or even a year to produce. New technology however, is changing that. Advances in motion capture and CGI technology are making live cartoons possible, with a cartoon representation of the actions of a real person being broadcast. Whilst it is probably not likely that we will see an entire cartoon program live, shows may very well turn to small segments like this to try getting a piece of the dwindling television population.
What do you think of the Simpsons going live? Will you ask Homer a question?
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