This Sunday The Simpsons will reach another milestone, airing its 600th episode—“Treehouse Of Horror XXVII,” debuting this Sunday, October 16—complete with a virtual-reality couch gag made in collaboration with Google. Though news of the VR twist broke last week, The A.V. Club first learned about it at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival while interviewing Simpsons co-creator James L. Brooks. Breaking from discussion of his upcoming film The Edge Of Seventeen, Brooks teased the couch gag, explaining how the show’s longevity keeps yielding opportunities for innovation. “The Simpsons keeps on getting us into new areas where we’re dumb, and we get to be a little innocent again,” he said. To Brooks, director of such films like Broadcast News and As Good As It Gets, the Fox animated series is still his “active day job.”
Since we spoke with Brooks, Fox has announced that the bit will be called “Planet Of The Couches” and that it was produced with Google Spotlight Stories. Those in possession of Google Cardboard can get the full experience, in which “the world of The Simpsons is extended 360 degrees.” Brooks acknowledged there was a learning curve to working with the massive tech company’s teams. “The first meetings, we didn’t understand a word anybody was saying, and now we’re getting it,” he said. He added, “and there’s new techniques they’re doing that sort of lend themselves to a 15-second joke,” the perfect amount of time for a couch gag.