23
Feb
2012
30 Rock: Season 6, Episode 8
Leap Day
Jordan
I think we all learned an important Leap Day lesson this week on 30 Rock: Creating a fake holiday with an elaborate mythology is a never not funny. The gang at NBC was celebrating the rare and wondrous holiday of Leap Day this week, and all of the hysterical weirdness that day implies. This episode managed to parody Liar Liar, A Christmas Carol, and every special Christmas episode of television ever, all while telling jokes about a mystical old man with gills who emerges from the Mariano trench in his blue and yellow suit once every four years to exchange children's tears for candy. It was that kind of week, which means I was a happy camper.

In the A-plot, Liz considers an Indecent Proposal from a geek she knew in college who is now an internet billionaire ("How much internet did he do?" she asks hilariously upon discovering this). This forces her into a slut off with Jenna, who is on her sexual walkabout and is curious whether billions of dolalrs might make her happier than Paul. While "Jenna Maroni being shameless in her attempts to seduce a geeky billionaire" was less rewarding than it sounds on paper, I did enjoy Liz' attempts to seduce Thad, only to be upstaged by a Victoria's Secret model. I also loved the ending, where Criss is incredulous she didn't take the opportunity to earn them $20 million (only to be relieved to discover she did). What's true love, after all, if not a willingness to sacrifice monogamy for a large sum of money?

In the B-plot, Jack learns to stop worrying and love Leap Day, Ebenezer Scrooge style. I actually enjoyed his plot line more before the mid-point turn, when it was about an age-old competition with his Princeton alum about who could make more money every Leap Day, but I can't begrudge the show a few Dickens jokes every once in a while, and Kenneth side-kicking for him was pretty fun stuff. Also, any episode that has Alec Baldwin gasping in shock at a future in which his daughter builds houses as part of Habitat for Humanity has a fair amount going for it I think. Add on Jack's disgust at having seen Newt Gingrich eat a plate of ribs, and I'll let a lot of missed opportunities slide.

Tracy's plot line is probably the sharpest, here though, mixing a very funny idea with a lot of Tracy's patent absurdity and then simmering for 22 minutes. Tracy discovers he has a $50,000 gift card to Beni Hana's due to a commercial he did, and it expires the next day. Hoping for a Leap Day miracle, he attempts to spend it all. Along the way, he reveals that he thinks Dot Com is an imaginary friend, meets the actual Leap Day William, and goes through an absurdly long stream of consciousness chain that ends with his realization that he should let the homesless help him spend his gift card. Its all heart warming in that deranged way 30 Rock does best.

Ultimately, "Leap Day" is everything that this year's Valentine's Day episode, "Hey Baby, What's Wrong?" should have been: an absurd spin on a silly holiday that brings the laughs nonstop and offers pathos, but only when viewed through a lens of madness and surreality. It isn't a perfect half hour of television, but it has obscure references to A Song of Ice and Fire (all good geeks know that Xaro is from A Clash of Kings, not Game of Thrones, though I guess that makes the joke slightly more palatable to the normal audience), a nanny using Voodoo to make her eyes Baldwin Blue, and an old man with gills and a scary fish face, so its hard for me not to rank it as one of the finest episode 30 Rock has turned in yet this season.

Grade: A-

Notes:

-"He's Mormon. You know how they are about Leap Day."

-"It'll be like those Bible quotes are right in your face!"

-"Of course. Take off my bald cap. Not put on my wig..."

-"It's like I said in my cameo appearance in Leap Dave Williams, 'Give me your wallet, old man!'"

-"Would you watch a television show, and I'm just spitballing here, called Spitball?"

-"You should. It's Leap Day. Real life is for March!"

-"Tray, I'm real. I moved your furniture!"

-"No one can hear you, Dot Com."

-"Please get better, sir. I've dug too many graves..."

-"I am always coughing up blood. Could that be Leap Day William trying to get out?"

-Loved the Leap Day Baby poster.

-"How did I forget this part? And when did we stop giving children cigarettes?its the liberal war on Leap Day..."

-"I assume this is her stable, and she's hammering that nail as a joke."

-"Feast, homeless, feast!"
Tags: 30 Rock
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