By now, the message is clear: If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving at all in 2020, you should not be traveling great distances nor meeting up with large groups of people to do so. Sure, these precautions mean missing out on Grandma’s signature flair for suspending frozen fruit in Jell-O mold. But it also means reducing the risk of missing out on Grandma in the immediate future. Traditions endure—COVID-19 means a greater chance that all the people you might come into contact with around the dinner table (and then all the people you come into contact with after you leave, and all the people they come into contact with after you’ve come into contact with them, and the people coming in contact with all those other people around the dinner table, and so on) might not.
And even in this, the strangest and most frightening November of our lifetimes, some beloved Thanksgiving customs will still be there for you. The Macy’s parade will, improbably, march on. The Detroit Lions will, inevitably, lose. And Mystery Science Theater 3000 will roast six hand-picked, robot-carved cinematic turkeys on the live-streaming platform of your choice.
The 2020 MST3K Turkey Day Marathon kicks off at 9 a.m. Eastern/6 a.m. Pacific on Thursday, November 26, following a fan-vote tournament bracket that recently culminated in the matchup between Joel-era heavyweights Pod People and I Accuse My Parents. The lineup will consist of those two episodes, along with the tourney’s top three vote getters and a second-round “wild card” to be named later. (Hope yet for Quest Of The Delta Knights, a season-nine installment whose exile in IP limbo only recently came to an end.) Speaking of exile, this year marks the marathon’s global debut via the MST3K Twitch and YouTube channels, ensuring any American MSTies left stranded by the alternately malevolent and dunderheaded actions of comic villains with bad hair can still enjoy a slice of Turkey Day.
And while we may be reheating the same quarantine/Satellite Of Love analogies we were using back when this whole mess started, surely the MST3K Live crew—human test subject Emily Marsh, Conor McGiffin as Tom Servo, Nate Begle as Crow T. Robot, and Yvonne Freese in the dual role of GPC and MegaSynthia—will bring fresher material to their Turkey Day hosting stint. Joel Hodgson, Jonah Ray, and Rebecca Hanson are set to stop by as well—remotely, safely, and conscientiously.