30 Rock recap – 6×08: ‘Leap Day’

Courtesy of NBC

Since real life is for March, let’s indulge in a little bit of “Leap Day” celebration.: Put on your blue and yellow accoutrements, find some nerdy billionaires and seduce them with your Nazi boy dance moves.

And this week’s 30 Rock-Does-Things award winners are…

Most Enviable (albeit Least Developed) Holiday: Leap Day, in which Leap Day William replaces kids’ tears with candy, and everyone gets a free day to do what they normally wouldn’t do. The premise is interesting, that Leap Day is actually a real holiday that gets celebrated, and that Liz (Tina Fey) has been completely oblivious to it her whole life. It also brings out some funny character beats, like Pete’s (Scott Adsit) indulgence in a shark tooth necklace and Toofer’s (Keith Powell) trying out rap music for the first time – it turns out he’s “not a fan.” My favorite? Jack’s (Alec Baldwin) gleeful teasing of Liz’s lack of holiday blue and yellow attire: “We just stomp you on the foot, kick you in the knee. Yankees suck, go Pats.” It isn’t often that we get to see Jack so eager and excited to be involved, so when we do, it’s a lot of fun.

The problem with the holiday that it isn’t executed well plot-wise – it winds up feeling like a cross between Christmas and Mardi Gras without a real identity or purpose of its own, leaning towards one or the other depending on the characters involved: It becomes a Dickensian holiday 2.0 through which Jack and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) are supposed to remember the value of family and the spirit of giving; and it becomes a Fat Tuesday free-for-all that excuses Liz and Jenna’s (Jane Krakowski) face off over the affections of Thad (Steve Little), multi-billionaire and Liz’s college classmate. It could have worked a lot better if it had been given its own unique message to match its original festivities, instead of being an excuse for a belated Christmas episode.

Clearest Depiction of the Rise of a Financial Juggernaut: Jenna’s explains to Liz that according to her gold digger’s forum, Thad “did an internet, and now the computers like him, and Wall Street is Google.” Count on Jenna Maroney, graduate of the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks, to bring the astute exposition on 30 Rock.

Courtesy of NBC

Biggest Tease of Character Advancement Before Calling “Psych!”: Jack calls on Kenneth to act as his new assistant for the week while his assistant Gabe is on leave. He even calls on Kenneth to try to help him sort out the mess he made with his unintentionally racist 3-D internet announcement. Praise William, it’s a Leap Day miracle! Kenneth might actually get real responsibility! But it wouldn’t be 30 Rock if Kenneth doesn’t get shat on in a narrative sense: Kenneth’s new work involves… delivering a message about withholding Leap Day bonuses to the staff. Which is exactly the kind of work he’s been doing all this time as a page. Is this all Kenneth’s character can amount to? He really can’t do anything else?

Least Annoying (and therefore Best) Cameo by Jim Carrey: Jim Carrey appears as the titular character in Leap Dave Williams, the Santa Clause-esque parody within the episode. Jim Carrey’s shtick could have so easily overwhelmed this episode, and NBC’s promos for it indicated that that might have been the case. Yet Carrey is appropriately limited to only a few minutes of air time, which is the exact limit Carrey should be allowed to be on screen when at his most obnoxious. And Carrey’s usual bits are used to actually make a point, about how schlocky and pandering our holiday movies have become – only Carrey can leap through the streets with such aplomb as he undresses and shout, “I connected with my son! And I solved the big case from earlier!”

What did you think viewers? Did this episode tap in to the true meaning of Leap Day? (And did that ending scare the bejesus out of anyone else?) Let us know in the comments section!

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