In the final three minutes of last week's episode of The Simpsons, we saw the first ever live performance of an animated character. Using the latest motion-capture technology from Adobe, Dan Castellaneta was able to speak as Homer Simpson at the same time as we were watching.
The episode, "Simprovised", aired two nights ago on May 19th and was met with generally positive reviews. The storyline for most of the installment was written by John Frink and revolved around Homer and his friends starting an improv group as Marge helped Bart build a treehouse. The improv comedy plotline was a clever way to connect the story to the last few minutes of the episode.
When they first announced the plan to create a live episode in February, the producers explained that Homer would be answering fan questions from twitter in real time. The innovative software picked up Castellaneta's facial movements as they recorded him over a webcam. The questions could have been better, but Castellaneta improvised the best answers he could as the software brought Homer to life.
Whether they plan to do this more often or leave the gimmick at that has yet to be announced.