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Inside the Upcoming Live Segment of ‘The Simpsons’

On May 15th, The Simpsons is going to attempt something that has never been done with an animated show: a completely live segment.

For three minutes at the end of the episode, Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) will answer questions and interact directly with fans. The animation will be exactly in the style of any other episode of The Simpsons and the entire thing is made possible through advances in motion capture technology.

“[Motion capture technology] used to have electrodes wired into the person. Now they don’t,” producer Al Jean tells Entertainment Weekly. “The actor just speaks into a mic, and the camera records his motions, and transfers it to the character onscreen. However, you can only do that with one or at most two characters. The backgrounds don’t change and the character can’t really interact with somebody in the background. We have background jokes that are pre-set. For three minutes, that’s fine. For 30 minutes, I think people would get pretty tired of it. Anything’s possible in the future, but at the moment, three seemed like the perfect amount…To my knowledge, no animated show has done this before… I think this is going to be really incredible — or incredibly terrible.”