Monday, February 29, 2016
Celebrate your Leap Day in the tradition of 30 Rock: blue and yellow and candy to kids
Poor leap day. It only gets to happen once every four years, is best known as a scheduling headache, and has no celebratory traditions to speak of, outside of letting people who were born on February 29 feel like they have a real birthday. While other holidays enjoy their own convenience store aisles, novelty cards, and Very Special Episodes of television, leap day stands patiently on the sidelines, waiting for its turn to briefly disorient us before retreating into hiding for another four years.
So in a way, it's fitting that it took a surreal television series like 30 Rock to actually celebrate leap day.
In the sixth season of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's dearly departed NBC sitcom, "Leap Day" revealed that in 30 Rock's bizarro world, February 29 is a bona fide holiday. Everyone wears yellow and blue or risks getting their eyes poked and/or hair yanked. "Leap Dave Williams" is a beloved folk figure on par with Santa Claus; he supposedly emerges from the Mariana Trench once every four years, to exchange children's tears for candy.
And in a perfect 30 Rock-ian flourish, "Leap Day" features a fake movie about Leap Dave Williams playing repeatedly in the background (naturally, it's airing on a loop on the USA Network). The film-within-the-show stars Jim Carrey as a brusque lawyer who magically becomes Leap Dave Williams after an ice-fishing mishap; Andie MacDowell plays his long-suffering love interest, standing by and shaking her head at his rascal ways.
I dare you to watch Carrey leap through the streets yelling, "I saved Leap Day! And connected with my son! And I solved the big case from earlier!" without breaking into at least the shadow of a grin. Not only is 30 Rock's fake film a sly parody of Carrey's particular brand of feel-good slapstick, it's also silly, hyperbolic, and a pitch-perfect parody of the treacly holiday movies that leap day never gets.
So happy leap day, everyone! Make sure you've got your yellow-and-blue outfit all ready, lest you feel like getting your eyes poked and/or hair yanked.