The Simpsons has had plenty of chances to experiment in its 27+ years, but will venture surprisingly modern (as in to the second) with an upcoming “live” segment animated by motion-capture. A first look at the new clip has arrived, but will The Simpsons ever stage an entirely live episode?

Entertainment Weekly revealed the first official photo of the May 15 “Simprovised” segment, not much more than Homer sitting in front of a generic background, though the limited movement keeps Dan Castellaneta’s motion-capture performance easier to render. The segment in question will see Homer answering questions phoned in by fans, but don’t expect much variety, or a full episode in the near future. Says EP Al Jean:

There is less of a variety of motion, and after awhile, it might start to look a little repetitive. 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.

You can see for yourself on Sunday, May 15, but if not full episodes how else might The Simpsons use its motion-capture technology in the future? Could episode production itself get any shorter?

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