A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I tell you that I'm really blonde and have a urinary tract infection...
It didn't offer anything as hiccup-inducingly hilarious as last week's filming of the "Dealbreakers" opening credits. But "Secret Santa" offered, like the identically-titled "Office" episode that preceded it, a showcase for virtually the entire cast, and some more tender holiday spirit.
With the exception of the absent Grizz and Dotcom, all the usually minor characters had their moment: Pete's delight at getting holiday vengeance on Jenna, the writers trying to get out of Kenneth's horrible Secret Santa scheme, Danny finally learning sarcasm (and Cheyenne Jackson getting to show off his Broadway leading man pipes), Cerie schooling Liz and Jack on social media, and Jonathan getting territorial about Liz's place in the Jack Donaghy gift-giving circle.
But what really carried the show - more than those little grace notes for the second bananas, or sight gags like Kenneth as Godzilla stomping on the Christmas village, or meta jokes like Liz pointing out the continuity problems with Jack's high school theater career versus the crippling stage fright he demonstrated in season one's "Jack-Tor" - was Alec Baldwin's performance opposite Julianne Moore(*) as Jack's old high school crush Nancy Donovan.
(*) Okay, New Englanders past and present: thoughts on Moore's accent? And on Baldwin's during the brief Rockefeller Center scene where Jack slipped it back on?
Though "30 Rock" is, for the most part, content to be a live-action cartoon where the characters' feelings matter much less than their role in some ridiculous plot, the show does on occasion (usually at holiday time) take Jack and/or Liz's feelings seriously. And Baldwin was great at showing a hopeful, smitten but still cautious Jack Donaghy. There were plenty of jokes hung on this story (most of them involving Liz, Cerie and Jonathan), but sometimes it's just nice to watch Jack try to be happy.
What did everybody else think?