30 Rock: "Leap Year"


    Photo courtesy of NBC.

    “Nothing’s impossible on leap day,” assert a host of characters in this week’s 30 Rock. There are variations on the theme: “Nothing that happens on leap day counts,” proclaims guest star Jim Carrey, who plays the titular character in a film called Leap Dave Williams – fragments of which appear throughout the episode on various television screens. To Carrey’s claim, Liz’s boyfriend Criss adds a corollary, “Real life is for March,” unwittingly unleashing Liz to pursue an Indecent Proposal-type offer she has received from an awkward billionaire apparently in love with her since college.

    She and Jenna compete for his affections (or as they call it, engage in a “slutoff”), but are eventually out-classed and out-sassed by a group of “hot bitches” (says Liz). This episode effectively spun a language and belief system out of a day that usually gets short shrift. The leap day conventions they invented were both witty and surprising and felt true to the context of this illusory day.

    Meanwhile, Tracy sets out to consume $50,000 worth of sushi in one night and along the way loses faith in leap day. He must go through a hilarious word train of associations to recover the holiday’s meaning – which to him turns out to be “soup kitchen,” i.e., reaching out and helping others, or something like that. There’s an amusing gag where Tracy repeatedly insists that Dotcom is an imaginary friend, despite Dotcom being in the room and elaborating an event in which he saved Tracy’s life.

    For his part, Jackie Boy Donaghy learns through Kenneth’s seer-like intervention that if he doesn’t spend this leap day with his infant daughter Liddy, she will turn to liberalism in her teenage years. Jack can determine this because, in the future that Kenneth shows him, Liddy is working with Habitat For Humanity.

    The episode marked Steve Buscemi’s second episode as a director – his first being 2009’s “Retreat to Move Forward.” All together, it delivers an abundance of funny lines and moments and hangs together as one of the most enjoyable yet of season six.


    Frank’s hat reads: “Thick”

    “Liz, I’m on a sexual walkabout” – Jenna. This line made me laugh surprisingly hard. Upon moderate reflection, I realize that 30 Rock often amuses me when it adds an overtly sexual or otherwise uncomfortable element to a behavior not usually thought of as sexual. Over the years, the show has worked up a repertoire of nearly-but-not-quite-anthropological terms that classify the character’s various erotic exploits (another favorite: “sexy one-upmanship”). Anyway, Jenna’s line inspired me to look up “walkabout,” which has a legit meaning.


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