As I stared in abject horror at CNN all day Saturday, only one thing could pull my view from the tragedy unfolding before our eyes: the CNN ticker at the bottom of the screen saying “Katy Perry to guest star on How I Met Your Mother.
Before anyone thinks me insensitive, I was mostly drawn to it because I found it so strangely thoughtless. “Yes, yes, this unspeakable nightmare is happening in Arizona. But look! The lady with the boobies!” But with time, I grew to look past the careless tickering toward its message. And its message is that I’m supposed to be interested by the appearance of Katy Perry on How I Met Your Mother. And I am not.
I am an appreciator of a good cameo or guest spot: most, if not all, guests on 30 Rock and Arrested Development, the entire show Extras, Joss Whedon’s appearance as Lorne’s brother Numfar. Yes, some cameos are wonderful. And then some cameos are Paris Hilton on Veronica Mars. Or Paris Hilton on The OC. Or Paris Hilton on Supernatural. Seriously, why was that Harry Twatter on so many shows I like?
With a few delightful exceptions, few things pain me so much as terrible guest star appearances. Here are some of the worst offenders. And some of them hurt.
How I Met Your Mother
I adore HIMYM. Adore. It is one of maybe three shows on television right now I refuse to miss. That said, they are ritual abusers of The Cameo and they do it in increasingly painful ways. Perhaps the aforementioned Katy Perry will blow my mind’s face and be great, or maybe she’ll be Carrie Underwood.
Some HIMYM guests have been shockingly awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed Mandy Moore, Enrique Iglesias, Nicole Scherzinger, even Britney Spears (it’s precious that I say “even” as though I don’t love Britney Spears like the cupcake she is). Will Shortz even got a cameo, which is the best thing ever. But then the decision was made to just throw the most random assortment of stars at the wall and hope they stick. Regis, Trebek, Jennifer Lopez, Kendra Wilkinson, Heidi and goddamn Spencer and Kim Kardashian. None of these have been out and out horrible, and most have been pretty fun, but I must beg them to cease. Cool it. Step away from the stunt casting. Unless it’s Kyle McLachlan. Because we need more Kyle McLachlan.
Carson Daly on Daria: Is It Fall Yet?
You know, voice work isn’t for everyone. Particularly boring people. Particularly on otherwise outstanding shows.
Is It Fall Yet? featured two other guest stars: Bif Naked, and a complete waste of Dave Grohl. I don’t do well when Dave Grohl isn’t utilized to his full advantage, and that still doesn’t come close to incensing me quite like Daly as Quinn’s summer tutor. His lines are read with all the heart and passion of the stoner reading aloud in a high school drama class. When Daria and Jane sound emotionless, it’s great. When Daly does, it’s not on purpose.
There’s no video that I can find, but, here, watch this. Or just buy the DVDs already. I can’t live your life for you.
Jack Black, Cloris Leachman and Jessica Alba, The Office
I don’t want to talk about it.
Ashanti, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I’m on the record as saying Season 7 is probably my favorite. Sometimes I forget why. This is one of those sometimes.
Bristol Palin, The Secret Life of the American Teenager
You know, if we keep letting them do things, they’ll never go away.
Leonard Cohen, Miami Vice
Wait, what? I take it all back. Guest stars are fine.