The Morning Round-Up: ’30 Rock’ & ‘The Office’

Reviews of last night’s “30 Rock” and “The Office” coming up just as soon as I write lyrics to the song the cantina band plays in “Star Wars”…

“Leap Day” felt like one of the slighter “30 Rock” outings of the season so far. The idea that Leap Day is actually a major national holiday that only Liz is ignorant of is a clever one, but it felt like the script never took a step beyond figuring out the Leap Day equivalents of all the usual Christmas cliches. (Including Jack having a “Christmas Carol”-esque nightmare about Liddy experimenting with liberalism, and Jim Carrey starring in his own version of “The Santa Clause.”) Funny jokes here and there (Liz’s nerdiness compared to Thad’s, Tracy not thinking Dotcom is real), and I was glad to see John Cullum as the real Leap Day William, but compared to most of what they’ve done since January, this was forgettable.

“The Office,” meanwhile, delivered the best episode of what’s been a very disappointing season. (Even if we’re not grading on a curve relative to how each show has been this year, I still enjoyed “The Office” more than “30 Rock” last night.) The Tallahassee storyline has the problem that Dwight continues to be way too over the top, whether him fighting through the appendectomy last week or him being a horrible flirt with Nellie last night. But the Jim subplot made excellent use of Dwight’s cartoonishness, as Jim kept calling on his old nemesis to rescue him from Kathy’s seductive clutches. (I also appreciated that Jim recognized what was going on instantly and that there was never a hint he was going to fall for it; he just wanted this lady out of his room ASAP before she forced a situation he’d have to awkwardly explain to Pam later.)

Keeping the “After Hours” theme going in both Scranton and Tallahassee gave the episode a good focus, allowing for successful little stories involving Erin and Ryan and, especially, Daryl and Val. With the use of five dots, Daryl & Val instantly vaulted ahead of Andy & Erin in the race to be the show’s new Jim & Pam. (Not that the show necessarily needs a new Jim & Pam, but if they’re determined to force one, these two are more engaging than Andy and Erin have been in a very, very long time, if ever.)

What did everybody else think?