Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying
May 23, 2007 8:37 PM   Subscribe

A question for talented lip-readers: What did Homer and Lisa really say at the end of the Simpsons season finale?

There's a great scene at the end of "You Kent Always Say What You Want" (last link, bottom-right, on this page) where Homer and Lisa are supposedly divulging nasty secrets about the Fox network. But they're overdubbed in very obvious fashion. Can anybody discern what they actually said, by their lip movements?

I've talked to some people who think they didn't say anything, that they were just random lip movements, but that doesn't seem very Simpsons-ish - I can't believe the writers would miss such a great chance to embed a hidden joke, even if they use it for nothing more than a Buzz Beer ad or something like that.
posted by jbickers to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wouldn't that be duff rather than buzz? Either way I am curious too.
posted by special-k at 8:48 PM on May 23, 2007

Ummm, how complete would the facial animation have to be for a lip reader to ascertain what was said? It seems like this is a very difficult task, especially since Simpsons characters don't have much facial complexity and lip reading takes cues from the entire face and neck.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 8:58 PM on May 23, 2007

It's Duff Beer and Buzz Cola.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:01 PM on May 23, 2007

Unintentionally hilarious that you think lip-readers can lip-read cartoons. LOL.
posted by unSane at 9:11 PM on May 23, 2007 [3 favorites]

This should clear it up.
posted by pwally at 9:22 PM on May 23, 2007

I so want to believe they were saying something that we could figure out, but I also know that lipreading a cartoon has only been made even vaguely possible with the rise of Pixar (I believe I read something in which a deaf person mentioned being able to figure out a decent bit of what the characters in The Incredibles were saying). I'm sure the Simpsons, being a relatively hand-drawn TV show, can't achieve that level of readability.

What would be pretty awesome is if someone knew someone who worked on the show...they could probably give us a better answer as far as intent than a lipreader could.
posted by crinklebat at 9:23 PM on May 23, 2007

pwally, that bit was from earlier in the episode. The secret at the end of the episode was supposed to be something worse.
posted by teg at 9:39 PM on May 23, 2007

Well, I've worked on the show, but not in the last few years. My guess (since I missed the episode) is that 1) the lip movements were nonsense, purposefully mis-synched to sell the joke, or 2) the line was changed after the animation was completed and therefore looked awkward. I'm assuming, from what I heard of the episode, that it's most likely 1).

I couldn't find a lip synch chart specifically for the Simpsons online (no suprise there), but this (scroll down) is sort of a standard chart, although it has a kind of rubbery Fleischer feel to it. The thing is, most animation lip synch is broad. There are rarely more than eleven mouth positions on a chart. When a 2D character is 'enunciating' clearly, he/she/it often appears to be chewing the hell out of each syllable, and that's incredibly distracting unless you're doing it as a joke. I really doubt that even someone with subtle lip-reading skills would get more than a very general idea of what was being said, even in the most over-animated circumstances. But who knows? Maybe the writers had something in mind... I'll ask around.
posted by maryh at 10:51 PM on May 23, 2007 [6 favorites]

A couple more mouth charts: sorta complicated, and the absolute basics. Not ideal visual reference for a lip reader, but they get the movement across.
posted by maryh at 11:28 PM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

You can't lip-read the simpsons. Its very simple syllable based movements.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:19 AM on May 24, 2007

Indeed, they often change the dialog/jokes to be more 'topical' months after the animation is done. This is possible because the mouths don't accurately reflect the words.

There is no answer.. or "The same thing that was said at the end of Lost in Translation"
posted by Four Flavors at 3:46 PM on May 24, 2007

« Older a shot in the dark?   |   Please help me structure my wiki! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.