Simpsons episodes are typically animated months before they air but on May 15 the show will close with a 3-minute live Q&A with Homer Simpson. Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #HomerLive from May 1st to 4th. The Q&A will be live for both East and West coast.
Hopefully, he’ll finally reveal the location of Springfield. The show is unlikely to knowingly divulge this closely guarded secret but perhaps we can surreptitiously get the answer by asking “How’s the weather where you are?”
To prove it’s live Homer will also talk about topical events like a certain presidential candidate who consistently manages to find himself in the news.
“He’ll be saying something current like, ‘can you believe Donald Trump shot a man today’ or whatever is going on,” Executive Producer Al Jean told CNN.
The difficulties of live animation were addressed in the prophetic episode “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show.” Homer was cast as the voice of Poochie, a new character in the show within a show The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Homer asks if the episode will air live.
“No, Homer, very few cartoons go to air live. It’s a tremendous strain on the animator’s wrist,” explains his co-star.
The feat will be accomplished using new markerless motion capture technology from Fox Sports capable of facial recognition unlike Planet of the Apes, which covered actor Andy Serkis in markers to track his facial movements.
“Instead of using electrodes attached to the body to track movement, they’re now able to do it by translating an image that they see,” Jean told HLN. “So Dan Castellaneta (Simpson’s voice actor) will be moving, and so will Homer. As far as we know, we’re the first animated series to do it.”
Jean calls Castellaneta a “great improviser” but if anything goes wrong, he can always use his trademark “Doh!”