It’s almost time for Homer to be seen in real time.
On May 15, The Simpsons will feature a live segment with the family’s slothful patriarch in which he — or rather, Dan Castellaneta, in character — interacts with fans who call in and answer all sorts of questions. Lasting approximately three minutes, the segment will air at the tail end of an episode that deals with Homer attempting to rebuild his confidence through the magic of improv comedy after he mangles a speech at work.
Your first peek at this bit at the end of “Simprovised” can be achieved right now — live! — by looking at the photo above. As you can see, Homer will be chatting with you via speakerphone while tucked away in a Fox Studios Secret Bunker, a place where clearly some expenses were spared.
How nervous are the Simpsons producers about pulling off this stunt? “Well, it’s certainly us making it a lot harder on ourselves than we have to, but the interest in it has been so enormous, it’s definitely worth it,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. “When you have a show like this that has so many things going for it, you gotta use that capital and do interesting things because you can.”
The segment will rely on new-and-improved motion-capture technology, and the animation should look highly similar to what you normally see in Springfield. With a catch. “There is less of a variety of motion, and after awhile, it might start to look a little repetitive,” explains 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.”
To see exactly what that entails, tune into “Simprovised,” which airs a week from Sunday at 8 p.m. on Fox.