In just over week, The Simpsons will offer ... the final three minutes of an episode that will feature Dan Castellaneta, who voices Homer Simpson, improvising dialog as he takes questions from fans. Motion capture technology will allow the show to animate the interaction in real time.
Jean revealed that the show's creators had been talking about doing a live Homer bit since 2007, when they considered it for a Tonight Show promotion of The Simpsons Movie. But he said that motion capture technology wasn't up to the task at the time. When the improv-themed episode came along, they looked into the technology again and found that it had advanced well enough to meet their needs.
"[Motion capture technology] used to have electrodes wired into the person," he said. "Now they don’t. 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." ...
It's unlikely that television animation will be turning into "improv theater" anytime soon.
The technology is restricting, and unless you're superior at unscripted verbal riffs (Robin Williams is, unfortunately, dead) then I think the only thing gained is an opportunity to create stilted animation that teeters on being an incoherent mess.
However. For a three-minute tag on a long-running comedy show, it might work.