On the heels of their leap year episode from two weeks ago, last night’s 30 Rock took on an actual holiday, “St. Patrick’s Day.” Jack (Alec Baldwin), and Liz (Tina Fey), not unlike St. Patrick himself, are in need of change in their lives, and faced with unenviable circumstances, are forced to make the best of it, or in Jack’s case, turn sand into glass. Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) are also forced to accept certain truths, but with Kenneth’s (Jack McBriar) help, they’re able to acknowledge the differences that make them great; sort of like Catholics and protestants, or in Liz’s case, St. Patrick working with William of Orange.

The episode begins as we find out that, because Harry’s Law isn’t exactly burning up the Nielson charts (an NBC dig right out of the gate), Jenna and Tracy are still the two most famous people on NBC, and as a result will host the St. Patrick’s Day parade for the third time. Previous years didn’t go so well, so they will be on a short leash. Between their burgeoning hostilities and Kenneth’s replacement Hazel (Kristen Schaal) not really working out, chaos ensues.

It’s not a TGS production, however, so Liz couldn’t care less. She plans on spending the holiday with boyfriend Criss (James Marsden) doing the same thing she does every year: staying home and wearing orange in honor of famous protestant William. Before she leaves the studio, Jack tells her she needs to learn a St. Patty’s Day lesson, which she interprets as an Irish curse. It’s a pretty good interpretation, considering she’s awakened the next morning by drunken Irishmen attacking her beloved NPR and awake for five minutes before ex-boyfriend/super nemesis Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters) shows up with a story about being punched and lies down on her couch before she can protest. She’s convinced it’s the curse instead of realizing that, along with Jack’s objections a couple weeks ago, she’s going to have to truly commit to her relationship if it’s going to last, and that includes saying “I love you” to Criss, instead of responding to his profession of commitment with, “I just ordered Thai food. How much do you love me now?”

Kenneth is worried about Hazel’s ability to keep Tracy and Jenna happy (and keeping them lucid despite little quirks like the fact that Tracy is only allergic to allergy medicine – but he loves it), and so he presents her with a good luck charm – a key chain with what looks to be a rabbit’s foot attached to it. It’s not, of course; it’s Kenneth’s actual tail that he had until he was 16. As demented as it may be, Hazel’s the messed up one here – readily admitting she abandoned her children in a Sears, for instance. She makes her first mistake in letting Tracy and Jenna see the promos for their broadcast of the parade, because now Tracy knows Jenna is being billed over him. While Tracy unsuccessfully asks Siri to “kill Jenna,” Pete tries to explain to Hazel that they don’t allow Tracy and Jenna to ever watch NBC. However, it’s too late; the damage is done and when the broadcast goes live both hosts insist on reading the teleprompter lines for “#1 Host,” a role they both feel they deserve. The broadcast is a disaster and Al Roker is forced into emergency hosting duties as Hazel’s mistakes continue to gum up Tracy and Jenna’s fragile relationship.

Jack is working on St. Patty’s as well, as are the TGS writers who can’t go out on St. Patrick’s day because each one of them has a face people naturally just want to punch. As a result, they’re holed up in the writer’s room playing a Dungeons and Dragons style game called “Colonizers of Malaar.” Jack needs a challenge, and after helping Frank (Judah Friedlander) realize he needs to diversify his wheat fields with unicorn hair, he decides to substitute “Malaar” for “Fairfield, Connecticut,” and throws his full focus into winning the game by turning nothing into something (honestly, how do NBC execs watch this show without cringing and or firing someone and or quitting?).

Back at Liz’s place, Criss and Dennis are hitting it off, watching lesbian movies on Showtime (which turns out to be The Kids are Alright) while Dennis explains his former business ventures, like converting old DVDs into Laser Disks. Liz tries calling 911 to come look at/remove Dennis from her apartment (who is mad because “Obama took my healthcare”), but 911 is busy on this particular day, tending to “an Irish religious festival” instead. So Dennis stays and continues to further drive a wedge between Liz and Criss.

The strategic maneuvering extends to the writer’s room, where Jack is not as successful as he thought he’d be. He attributes his lack of progress to a string of bad luck, but can’t seem to shake a feeling that something just isn’t right. Because his company refuses to innovate or change, he feels impotent (more digs at NBC with the subtlety of a root canal). He heads to St. Patrick’s cathedral in Manhattan for guidance and after talking to a priest realizes he can learn from the man whose name is on the door. After all, the real St. Patrick was basically born dead (the pestilence, famine, and malnourishment prevalent during the fourth century) and had only one possession (no snakes). But look what he was able to do with it: sainthood, a holiday, and a beautiful cathedral. Jack heads back to the land of Malaar with a new found optimism – perhaps his luck has changed.

Liz’s bad luck continues, however. She decides she’s going to try to get Dennis to leave by making him feel uncomfortable, but lying and saying she loves him hurts Criss’ feelings, who is sad that she can say it no problem in a lie to her ex-boyfriend, but can’t say it to her current boyfriend, who she actually loves. Criss leaves to go to work, but just when all seems lost, Dennis thinks he knows what’s wrong and tells her to “open up a bag of wine” because they need to talk. After all, he’s grown; married to a girl named Megan who can’t answer the phone because her boobs are too big and who holds round cards at kangaroo boxing matches.

Tracy and Jenna also need to talk, but their egos continue to get the best of them. Even when Hazel accepts she’s done an awful job and orders them cars home, the two fight for the right to be in the first car that comes. However, when they get downstairs there’s a problem – the bigger car has a sign that says “#2 star” so they’re not quite sure what to do. This confusion begins the healing process; Tracy admits that he’s jealous of Jenna’s newfound popularity as the host of “America’s Kidz Got Singing” and Jenna admits she’s built up quite a bit of resentment toward Tracy over the last five years of playing second fiddle to his lead banana. For a minute it seems like they actually resolved their differences themselves, until we realize the driver of car #2 is actually Kenneth, who created the bigger star/smaller star paradox in order to help Jenna and Tracy toward the realization that they need each other.

Jack’s realization is similar – to have luck like St. Patrick he has to think outside the box like St. Patrick, and he uses his last bit of currency to buy a “fire spell.” As his only possession in the game is the vast desert of “Croth,” a land he cannot escape. This seems like a waste, until he reveals he will use the fire spell on himself, thereby turning his vast wasteland of a desert into a highly marketable commodity – glass, a product everyone needs, thereby making him the richest man in Malaar. It turns out, once again, that “the puppet has become the puppet master.” His victory may mean bigger things: “Today, Mallar. Tomorrow…Cabletown!” Good luck, Jack. If you’re seriously going to attempt to improve NBC (especially as a fictional character) you’re going to need more than just the luck of the Irish.

Liz also has her epiphany when Dennis’ wife Megan shows up to her apartment. Liz can’t believe she’s actually real, but her mind is truly blown when Dennis helps her realize she’s “stubborn, holds grudges” and “is emotionally repressed,” making her the most Irish person he’s ever met. Liz throws on her Hulk hands (the only green thing she owns) and heads down to Criss’ hotdog truck to confess that she’s used to being let down, but she realizes that isn’t his fault. She tells him she loves him which would be a beautiful moment if people weren’t puking and fighting in the background.

Yet, when you think about it, gross public display of affection is another huge part of March 17th – proving yet again, that, sorry Liz, even you’re Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.