“Live every day as if it’s Leap Day.” For most people that probably means live every day as if it’s any other day, but in this week’s unusually far-reaching episode of “30 Rock,” that mantra carried a lot of meaning. The plot of this consistently funny episode focused enough on Leap Year to last well past to the next one, with each character celebrating in their own way.
The most realistically cynical, of course, was Liz, who blamed her White Haven, Pennsylvania upbringing for her confusion over the complex traditions surrounding Leap Day. Although, I’ve never heard of Leap Day Williams, the Leap Day parade, or been told to wear the traditional blue and yellow either, so maybe for tonight, we were all from White Haven.
There was less Liz than usual this time, but that wound up being for the best. Though her “slut-off” with Jenna, over sleeping with a former nerdy classmate-turned Internet billionaire for $20 million was entertaining, the storylines of Jack and Tracy were even funnier and featured some of the episode’s best moments.
Sometimes it seems that “30 Rock” regrets having given Jack a daughter. His life has barely changed since, and sometimes mentions of her seem like an afterthought. However this episode integrated Liddy very well. With Kenneth serving as the “spirit of Leap Day,” we were treated to allusions of “A Christmas Carol”-style Leap Days of past and future. It was only the sight of Liddy building houses for Habitat for Humanity (gasp!) as a liberal that helped Jack prioritize his life and leave work to spend time with her. Hopefully the “30 Rock” writers have the same guilt and will remember to include more about Jack’s role as a father as the season continues.
There are rarely any scenes focused on Tracy that warrant complaint, and this week was definitely not an exception. As Tracy and the TGS writers tried to use the $20,000 Benihana giftcard he received, Tracy had great lines and overall hilarious moments while showcasing his foolish persona. Memories from Tracy’s troubled yet outrageously funny past always offer big laughs, and thanks to the great Leap Day Williams’ encouragement, this episode managed to sneak in a few.
While the actual Leap Day may not be very exciting, “30 Rock’s” version certainly was, as it gave all of the show’s leading characters opportunities to shine. They only downside was the briefness of Jim Carrey’s appearance as the title character in the movie-within-show “Leap Dave Williams.” The few scenes we saw were funny, mostly because of the recent “30 Rock”-invented movie, “Martin Luther King Day,” and so it seemed like the kind of movie that could actually exist. While recently the show has been less impressive than this season’s first few episodes, this week put “30 Rock” back on the path towards its own high standards.
Samantha Rullo is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.