How do you keep things fresh after 27 years on television, especially when your characters never age? You try something totally new (that you just did to huge acclaim and success) and you put on a live episode. Only, when the show you’re going to attempt that with is an animated show it’s a dramatically different endeavor.
Following the huge ratings that Fox got for Grease: Live, the network is going to go a similar route with The Simpsons. But what in the dickens does a “live” cartoon even entail? This is how Fox described it.
“During the episode, Marge, Lisa and Bart will turn the show over to Homer 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 will use motion capture to animate Dan Castellaneta, the actor that voices Homer, as he answers fan-submitted questions and discusses current events. This unique episode will air Sunday, May 15, but “fans can tweet their questions using #HomerLive beginning on Sunday, May 1 until Wednesday, May 4.”
In short, this is clearly a gimmick… a gimmick and that is clearly going to work. I’m excited to see how well it actually lives up to the “live” sensation. My big fear, though, is that the format will demand that the writers and Castellaneta to treat Homer less like his canonical character and more like an actor on a show. (I never liked that Behind the Music episode that treated everyone like they were just actors. These characters are still real to me, dammit!) Maybe to avoid that, they’ll present the whole ordeal as Homer doing a webcam-type event.
At any rate, kudos to Fox for finding something fun to invigorate interest in the series. Plus, I already know my question for Homer: Was that really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart?
What’s your best question for Homer? Tell us below.