By Nafisa Hossain
Fans of the long running and popular animated sitcom, “The Simpsons,” are sure to say “Ay Caramba” when they hear that the show will air a live episode on May 15.
With the success of “Grease Live,” FOX has decided to make another broadcast that will draw in the same level of excitement and energy that a live audience provides. The network singled in on the longest running American sitcom, “The Simpsons,” in order to bring more viewers to FOX and boost ratings.
The term “live episode” may bring to mind opening sequences in which the characters are no longer animated cartoons but instead are in claymation form like the “Tree-house of Horror” episode where they adapted Adam Wingard’s film “You’re Next” or in puppet form like in the episode “The Fight Before Christmas,” which also featured Katy Perry alongside with the puppets.
However, the episode airing in May offers a new interesting spin to the Simpsons family.
The live content of the show will only last for about three minutes of the sitcom and will only feature one of the famed Simpsons: the patriarch Homer. For this short performance, the other members of Homer’s family will be occupied with activities while Homer reads tweets from viewers of the show and answers them.
Since animating cartoons is already difficult, FOX is going to show this feature by using complex motion capture technology that will actually animate Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) and sync Castellaneta’s voice to Homer’s mouth in real time as the viewers at home are watching the episode.
“[Homer’s character] will be depicted in an animated scene talking about things he could only be saying live on that day,” producer Al Jean said to British Broadcasting Company (BBC).
Jean suggests that Homer will be discussing relevant news events and important current events or maybe speaking of some of the trending hashtags on Twitter as he reads the incoming tweets from fans of the show.
In order for people’s tweets to appear on the show, viewers will have to tweet their questions or concerns to Homer by using the hashtag “#HomerLive” anytime from May 1 to May 5. The deadline takes place a week before the show is set to premiere is so that FOX can get permission from the twitter users to use their tweets beforehand and also so that they can sort through all the jokes and inappropriate messages that fans could potentially flood the hashtag with.
The probable boost in viewing figures for the show would come when networks are making decisions about the lineup of television shows for the next year. Therefore enabling “The Simpsons,” which already has 27 seasons under its belt, to secure a couple of another season with FOX.
Jean believes that the segment set to air on May 15 would be the “first of its kind for animation,” and believes that it will be revolutionary for animated shows everywhere. \
Although the segment isn’t the length of the average episode, fans are excited for the interactive component to the new episode and are looking forward to tweet some interesting questions to Homer about never before addressed key plot points.