Those TV Guest Star Moments We'll Never, Ever Forget
What I’m about to say may seem impossible, but I assure you, it’s true: New Girl is about to get even better. Last week, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Jessica Biel will appear in the show’s new season. Playing “the hottest scientist in the world,” Biel will join New Girl’s long list of guest stars, including Taylor Swift, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Olivia Munn. She will also join another prestigious list: the collection of “Favorite TV Guest Stars Through the Years” that exists only in my head. What’s that, you ask? You want to see it? Ah, well. If you insist.
1) Brad Pitt on Friends
In “The One with the Rumor,” Ross invites the attractive-yet-partially insane Will Colbert over for Thanksgiving, where he proceeds to dwell on high school rivalries and make everyone feel uncomfortable. (What else would you expect from a holiday gathering?)
2) Britney Spears on Glee
Not only did the Britney/Brittany episode of Glee put a spotlight on one of the most under-appreciated characters in the series (whoever wrote Brit’s one-liners deserves a high five and maybe a few Emmys), but it also roped in one of the greatest pop stars of all time: Rick Astley. Oh, sorry, I meant Britney Spears. The star approached Murphy and asked if he’d be interested in using her music in the show, a request that launched a series of fantastic Britney covers and brought the singer, and all of her wonderful expressions, back into the acting world.
3) Zooey Deschanel on Bones
What is it about the Christmas season that drives Zooey to such great roles? At this point, the two seem to go hand in hand, like hot chocolate and snow days, or clowns and terrifying birthday parties. In the show’s season 5 Christmas special, Brennan gets a visit from a distant relative, played by her real-life sister Zooey. Seeing the sisters work side-by-side on the network that they both call home was heartwarming, and I can only hope that Emily considers a cameo on New Girl as some long-lost cousin seeking a place to stay or a pesky new neighbor or maybe even a barista that hands Jess her latte in the morning. I’m open to anything, really.
4) Oprah on 30 Rock
The first draft of this article was composed entirely of 30 Rock guest stars, but in an effort to give other shows a chance, I’ve managed to narrow the list down to two characters, one being the ever-fabulous Oprah Winfrey. After chatting with Oprah on a flight back to New York, Liz adopts a new life philosophy, only to learn that she hallucinated the whole conversation and had been following a child’s advice the entire time.
5) Hugh Laurie on Friends
You can’t really call yourself a guest star on a show before you get your big break, but that didn’t make it any less surprising when I saw young Hugh Laurie show up on an old episode of Friends. In “The One with Ross’s Wedding (Part Two),” Rachel tries explaining her dating situation to a disgruntled Hugh Laurie, which would turn out to be great preparation for his iconic role as Dr. House in later years.
6) LL Cool J on House
Speaking of House, the opening episode of Season 2 features none other than LL Cool J, the rapper-turned-psycho-killer who succumbs to schizophrenia. For someone who’d only ever acted in a handful of smaller TV shows, LL Cool J did a surprisingly fine job convincing the audience that he was a lovable older brother with a medically-induced anger problem.
7) Stevie Nicks on AHS: Coven
I don’t care how quickly the AHS: Coven plotline spiraled out of control. The writers got one thing right when they cast Stevie Nicks as herself to surprise Misty, the potential Supreme and definite Stevie super-fan. Call me cheesy, but after watching Misty rave about Nick for basically the entire season, my heart skipped a beat when the two finally met and, had I not been watching the episode in my dorm’s common area, I would have definitely fainted alongside her.
8) Buzz Aldrin on 30 Rock
It’s easy to recruit famous actors and actresses for guest star roles, but what about astronauts? Playing himself, Buzz Aldrin appeared on the season 4 episode of 30 Rock “The Moms,” in which he and Liz Lemon yell at the moon, effectively creating one of the best cultural TV moments of all time.
9) Stephen Hawking on Big Bang Theory
While I don’t watch Big Bang Theory, I know the basic premise, so I can understand how monumental Stephen Hawking’s appearance on the show must have been for fans and anyone that wanted to see someone out-smart Sheldon.
10) Michael Jackson on The Simpsons
Michael Jackson wins the award for most unconventional guest star in a TV series for his role as Leon Kompowsky, a mental patient who believes he is Michael Jackson. The role is abnormal solely because it was a secret: Michael agreed to appear on the show, but had to be credited under the pseudonym John Jay Smith for legal reasons. Take the “Can you tell that this is Michael Jackson” test below: