'The Simpsons' Plans a Live Episode

What does that mean? Gimmicks. Gimmicks galore.

A long running gag around L.A. involves tourists asking, “Where do they film The Simpsons?” Well, on May 15, we have to put that old classic to rest. Fox will broadcast a live episode of the animated show, which is now in its 96th or 97th season, depending on whom you ask.

It’s only 27 seasons. Back off nerds, I get it.

In the episode, Marge, Lisa, and Bart will turn the show over to the family’s patriarch, who will take a break from stuffing his face to comment on the events of the day live during both the East Coast and West Coast broadcasts, Fox revealed on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with TheWrap, producer Al Jean revealed how this is coming together:

“The final three minutes of the May 15 show will use motion capture technology to animate actor Dan Castellaneta — the voice of Homer whom Jean called ‘a great improviser’ — in real-time. All the while, Castellaneta will also be providing on-the-fly voiceover. Jean promised TheWrap that producers will find some interesting ways to ‘prove’ the effort is live.”

Ah. So it’s not the whole episode, just the final few minutes.

Bleeding Cool reports:

“Taking the form a Twitter Q&A, the audience will be welcome to ask Homer questions via Twitter in the days before the broadcast using the #HomerLive hashtag.”

Ah. So it’s not the whole episode, and it’s a hashtag game. This is getting less exciting. But whatever: fun new gimmicks are fun new gimmicks.

The show has been leaning on gimmicks to pull in audience in recent seasons, including a cross-over episode with Family Guy that The Simpsons folks seemed … hesitant … to participate in. There was also the production of one of Judd Apatow’s spec scripts that was never made in the show’s earliest seasons. That said, the show has never been shy about trying anything at least once, so I expect this episode to be perfectly cromulent.

Can a real fan of the show let me know if I’m doing that right?