Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of Gilmore Girls

You’re probably either two days into your Gilmore Girls binge, or waiting to launch it til over the weekend. A few symptoms that you need to take a break from Stars Hollow: are you snacking constantly? Running on excessive amounts of coffee? Talking really, really fast? And finally: do you think you see celebrities everywhere you turn? Because it seems like every few episodes in Gilmore Girls, you’re catching either a cameo from an established celeb or a before-they-were-famous guest spot. Here are just a few:

Madeleine Albright (Season 6, Episode 7)

 Look. If you’re trying to get someone on board with Gilmore Girls, just try the following phrase: “dream sequence with Madeleine Albright.” I’ve seen the episode, but still don’t quite understand why or how this happened.

Christiane Amanpour (Season 7, Episode 22)

Amanpour was Rory’s hero throughout college, so it was only fitting that the journalist herself had a guest spot on the finale. After all, Rory’s dream was to be Amanpour, whereas my college dream was simply to someday be a person with a job. And I did it – so hold fast to your dreams, kiddos.

Paul Anka (Season 6, Episode 18)

To be fair, there were a few Paul Ankas on Gilmore Girls (again, reasons you should be watching this show if you haven’t seen it already. Or even if you have). While Paul Anka The Dog had more frequent appearances, Paul Anka The Human showed up in – you guessed it! – a dream sequence. Why didn’t we think it was weird that season 6 was chock full of plus-aged celebs starring in the Lorelai’s dreams?

Adam Brody (Season 3, Episodes 3 onwards)

I could be wrong, but it seems like the same actors are on all of our Whatareyoudoinghere features – like all of these folks were making the network/cable rounds in the early 2000s, just waiting for their lives to start. Adam Brody, Jane Lynch, Jon Hamm… you get the gist. Before he stole our hearts as Seth Cohen, Brody stole Lane Kim’s heart as Dave Rygalski. He was in her band until he had to go off to college…. in California.

Sherilyn Fenn (Season 3 Episode 21, and Seasons 6 and 7)

 Here’s where Gilmore Girls goes all Law And Order. Fenn appeared in three seasons of Gilmore Girls, playing two different characters. In Season 3, she guested as Sasha, Jimmy Mariano’s girlfriend. And a few seasons later, she was Anna Nardini, Luke’s baby mama. Last year I was trying to get into Twin Peaks and I realized I knew Audrey Horne from somewhere. But where? Well, it’s not surprising that it was hard to pin down, since she was two different characters and all.

Max Greenfield (Season 4, Episode 4)

Pre-Schmidt, this New Girl star was filling up the Douchebag Jar as Lucas, a drunk friend at Dean’s bachelor party.

Jon Hamm (Season 3, Episode 5)

Appearing as a pre-Don Draper Don Draper-type, Hamm played Peyton Sanders, a flash-in-the-pan love interest of Lorelai. This was over a decade ago, so it shouldn’t be shocking that Hamm was so baby-faced here, right?

Victoria Justice (Season 4, Episode 3)

If you need further proof that the teen sensations of today are really, depressingly young, look no further than Victoria Justice’s guest spot on Gilmore Girls. We’re still trying to cope with the fact that this show started literally half our lives ago, but we can’t deny it when we look at tiny baby Victoria acting opposite Melissa McCarthy. This girl is DRINKING AGE now, everybody. Sunrise, sunset.

Carole King (Season 2, Episode 20; Season 5, Episode 18; Season 6, Episode 10)

Granted, King is technically in every episode of Gilmore Girls. But it went beyond the theme song – she had an acting role as Sophie, owner of Stars Hollow’s (only?) music store.

Traci Lords (Season 4, Episode 5)

If you were watching Lords as interior designer Natalie Zimmerman, and thinking “wait, I know her from somewhere”: Porn. You know her from porn. So I hope you didn’t cop to that one out loud.

Jane Lynch (Season 1, Episode 10)

Is there one of these lists that Jane Lynch hasn’t made? Lynch made a brief appearance as a nurse when Richard landed in the hospital with Heart Attack Numero Uno.

Seth MacFarlane (Season 2, Episode 21)

You’d be forgiven for not recognizing MacFarlane’s face, since he’s usually a disembodied voice on bro-ish Fox cartoons. However, he also appeared as Lorelai’s classmate on her graduation day. Fun fact: Family Guy’s Alex Borstein also appeared in this episode (shame Rory missed it). For keen listeners, Seth also provides the voice of Bob Merriam (the lawyer who calls Lorelai on her answering machine) in season 3, episode 11, I Solemnly Swear.

Norman Mailer (Season 5, Episode 6)

This may have been a brief guest role, but Gilmore Girls viewers are unlikely to forget Mailer’s cameo as himself… because they must have said “Norman Mailer” 500 times in that episode. When you think about it, running an inn/restaurant is the smartest way to shoehorn in cameo appearances that otherwise wouldn’t make sense. Well, that and dream sequences, but that was more of a season 6 thing.

Chad Michael Murray (Season 1)

Like many hearthrobs of the 90s and early 2000s, Murray is an actor so nice, they named him thrice. I really do always forget that Gilmore Girls began as long ago as it did, but Murray’s turn as assy Chiltonhead Tristan DuGray (hello, made-up-sounding typical rich boy name!) predated his turn on One Tree Hill by a few years, and was even a year before he appeared on Dawson’s Creek.

Nick Offerman (Season 4, Episode 7 and Season 6, Episode 4)

Although Offerman is capable of playing more than just shades of Ron Swanson, how perfect is it that his Gilmore role was Beau Belleville, big brother to resident farmer Jackson?

Danny Pudi (Season 6, Episode 13 & 14; Season 7, Episode 6 & 7)

From Yale to community college? Well, yes. Pudi was Raj, Rory’s associate on the paper.

Krysten Ritter (Season 7, Episodes 4 Onwards)

After Veronica Mars, before Don’t Trust The B–, Ritter played Lucy, Rory’s acting major pal at Yale. It’s nice the performing arts community accepted Rory after the whole, you know, ballet debacle.

Danny Strong

Danny Strong is finally getting his due, but for years he was “that little guy on that show.” Like actress/vampire Bianca Lawson, Strong started off playing a teen on Saved By The Bell: The New Class, and then played a teen on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and eventually landed on The CW/WB. By the time he was on Gilmore Girls playing Paris’s boyfriend Doyle, Strong had finally aged up to “college student” on TV – but in real life, he was 33 years old. Would it be weird to write him asking for his diet/sleep/exercise routine so that people stop calling me “ma’am” at 28?

*2016 Update: NBD, but he co-created a little show called Empire. Or as Amy Sherman-Palladino said about him at the ATX Television Festival, “I love that Danny, between The Butler and (Empire) has become the voice of Black America. It’s the weirdest… finally they found somebody to speak for them!”

Rami Malek (Season 4, Episode 11)

*2016 Update: Rami, as Andy, was a huge advocate of Assistant Pastor Eric when he was one of Lane’s Seventh Day Adventist classmates, but now he’s busy being a hacker and winning Emmys thanks to Mr. Robot.

Nasim Pedrad (Season 6, Episode 16)

*2016 Update: I had no idea Nasim was on GG until like, a year, ago. Her scene was super short and because I’ve watched all these episodes so many times, I tend to not pay attention as much to details. Anyways, she quickly waited on a v drunk Rory after a dramatic fight with Logan. At the time, Nasim only had two other credits to her name. Now she has five seasons of SNL under her belt, which is not too shabby at all.

Abigail Spencer Pedrad (Season 6, Episode 16)

*2016 Update: In that very same episode, Abigail Spencer, that woman you’ve seen in multiple things but can never remember what (Formerly Rectify, currently Timeless), played Megan, one of the bridesmaids that stir shit up during Logan’s sister’s wedding.

Masi Oka (Season 2, Episode 4)

*2016 Update: Did Masi Oka use his Heroes time-travel skills to appear in this ep with Alexis? He played a Harvard student who got in a nerdy debate with Rory after she snuck into a class. Lo and behold, he ended up sharing the screen with another GG alum, Milo Ventimiglia, in Heroes a few years later.

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28 Co-stars Lindsay Lohan (Maybe) Didn’t Deserve

Well folks, she made it. Lindsay Lohan is celebrating her 28th year on earth today and we’re all alive to witness it. We’ve watched LiLo grow up in front of our very eyes – from The Parent Trap to acquiring an annoying celebrity nickname to befriending Oprah, Lindsay’s roots as a child star have putting her in the precarious position of being scrutinized in the public eye while still attempting to have a professional career. And while her heyday came between the late 90s and early 00s, Linds has still been in a number of films and TV cameos in her nearly 20 year career in the business, and many with exceptional co-stars. But let’s be real, how many of these outstanding co-stars deserved better than Lindsay Lohan? Hint: almost all of them. But in honor of Lindsay’s 28th birthday, here’s a definitive list of which of her former castmates deserved way better than a (in some cases, future) drug and alcohol addled LiLo to share the screen with.

28)  Megan Fox from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Who knew Megan Fox would turn into one of Hollywood’s sexiest and most profitable stars? Well she did, even though it may have been hard to tell when she played opposite Lindsay in this teen musical movie. Actually, as I’m looking at this picture, maybe Lindsay’s hat should’ve been on the list instead.

27)  Tim Gunn in Project Runway

Linds served as a guest judge on the season six premiere of the fashion competition series, but let’s be real – the best part of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. And his fabulousness was wasted on Lindsay – like what even are those pants? She couldn’t even make those work.

26) The garbage can she fell into in Mean Girls

Warning: this is just the first of a few Mean Girls co-stars on this list – but I feel like one of the most iconic scenes from the movie is this one, with Lindsay’s legs just sticking straight up in the air. Who falls into a garbage can like that? And what ever happened to the garbage can after filming?

25)  Bette Midler in Bette

If you don’t remember this show, it’s because it didn’t last long – Lindsay played Bette Midler’s daughter in the pilot, but when production moved from New York (where she was based) to LA, she had to pull out. Probably for the best since the show was short-lived and Bette probs could’ve found another child star.

24) Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday

Jamie Lee Curtis: THE scream queen and certified babe of the 1980s/1990s. She quickly became an A-list actress and then she decided to do this Disney movie with LiLo? Not to mention she came from Hollywood royalty (Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis).

23) Woody Harrelson in  A Prairie Home Companion

I have a renewed love of Woody Harrelson after seeing him in The Hunger Games and True Detective. This guy can act. He’s not just the bartender from Cheers anymore (is that a reference people still make these days?) But his acting skills are severely undervalued and he should be playing quality roles like True Detective more often.

22) Natasha Richardson in The Parent Trap

To be fair, The Parent Trap kicked it all off for Lindsay, when she was still young and full of promise, so working with the great Natasha Richardson before her death is such an honor. Like Jamie, she’s Hollywood/possibly British royalty (Tony Richardson & Vanessa Redgrave) and was taken way too soon – Natasha seemed like a breath of fresh air when watching her on screen and made a simple kid’s film into a movie full of heart and hope.

21) Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls

Rachel McAdams is the actress that Lindsay should’ve become, if it weren’t for the, you know, downward spiral and all.

20) Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule

When Georgia Rule was made, Lindsay was in her prime – it was a post-Mean Girls world and she had so much hope and promise as a young actress that it’s obvious why Jane Fonda, a longtime veteran of the industry would want to work with her. It’s just that also around this time, Lindsay could barely work with herself.

19) Jimmy Fallon in SNL

After appearing in this classic Debbie Downer sketch (its first appearance on the show ever!), Jimmy has always been a fan/supporter of Lindsay – although who ISN’T he a fan of? Anyways, she’s appeared on his show multiple times and even participated in bits like Ew! JFal is one of the greatest comedians of our time and Lindsay’s just lucky he likes her.

18) Chris Parnell in Labor Pains/ SNL

I will say this about Lindsay: she’s actually been pretty good every time she hosts SNL. She’s not afraid to make fun of herself and always goes all in. Except for that last time she hosted – it was like Britney made her first public appearance since the meltdown and you could TELL she was on all these drugs to keep her sane. Anyways, SNL is clearly the breeding ground for the best comedians in the game, so when acting alongside the likes of Chris Parnell, you gotta step your game up. I know it’s hard to be funny sometimes, but you can’t win ’em all.

17) Lily Tomlin in A Prairie Home Companion

True story: when we were in high school, we decided to see this movie in the theater solely based on the fact that Lindsay was in it and singing. It was probably one of the most boring movies of our teenage lives, and a lesson on why you should never go to see a movie you’re not interested in (plot wise) just because there’s an actor/actress in it that you want to see. Anyways, revered funnywoman Lily Tomlin is in this and she sings with Lindsay.

16) The Danny DeVito Chick in Mean Girls

Because Danny DeVito lookalikes are hard to come by these days and she was severely underused.

15) James Franco in the fake movie in The Holiday

Lindsay and James Franco made a surprise appearance via movie trailer as the stars of the film that Cameron Diaz’ character was editing. Like Lindsay, James had already appeared in a bunch of TV shows and films prior to The Holiday, but let’s face the facts – only one of these people has earned an Oscar nomination.

14) Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday

Ah, Chad Michael Murray: The teen heartthrob so nice, they named him thrice. It’s hard to believe, but when Freaky Friday came out CMM was in his early 20s and seemed a bit old for Lohan. Only five years had passed since The Parent Trap, and little did we know that in five more years, LiLo would be filming such classics as Labor Pains.

13) Ashton Kutcher in That 70s Show

Take yourself back to 2004. Lindsay Lohan was THE teen queen – I mean, she even had a public feud with Lizzie Maguire herself, Hilary Duff, for goodness sakes – and the teen king of the day was none other than (technically 26-year-old man-child) Ashton Kutcher. Of course, Lindsay’s real That 70s Show love was Wilmer Valderrama. We’ll address that later.

12) Ana Gasteyer in Mean Girls

Imagine what could have happened if Ana Gasteyer had been able to sub in as Lindsay Lohan’s actual mother instead of Dina “Not Really A Rockette” Lohan.

11) Wilmer Valderrama in That 70s Show/Real Life

Wilmer Valderrama dated fresh-faced, attractive, pre-train wreck 2004 Lohan. This makes him fare better, dating-wise, than any other guy named Wilmer – past or present.

10) Chris Pine in Just My Luck

Remember Just My Luck? It doesn’t even air on TBS or  ABC Family, but it was a sort of TV movie-quality theatrical release. It was an early attempt to turn LiLo into a RomCom leading lady a la Meg Ryan or Katherine Heigl (WHY ARE NONE OF OUR REFERENCES CURRENT? Do they even still make these movies? I feel like the last one I saw was in about 2009). Anyway, Chris Pine was a beautiful newcomer at the time.

9) Joshua Jackson in Bobby

Pacey Witter, Dream Man? Now it’s personal.

8) Jared Leto in Chapter 27

I don’t care if it’s skinny Jordan Catalano, ombre-haired Jordan Catalano, or chubby Jordan Catalano, Jared Leto will always be some incarnation of Jordan Catalano to me. But you, Ms. Lohan, are no Angela Chase. Arguably, Rayanne Graff if things really went south for her, but I always imagined she’d find her niche and really ~thrive.

7) Lizzy Caplan in Mean Girls

Proving that “slow and steady wins the race” (s/o to Aesop!), you didn’t hear too much from Lizzy Caplan right after Mean Girls, except for effusive praise from her co-stars. Now she’s winning acclaim for her role on Showtime’s Masters Of Sex, while Lohan is garnering attention for her factually inaccurate list of sex partners.

6) Maya Rudolph in A Prairie Home Companion/SNL

Maya Rudolph is one of those actors who’s able to make anyone she’s working with look good. Plus, she seems like a really fun and nice person. We’re jealous.

5) A Pre-Drugs Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap

The frustrating thing about Lindsay’s long, horrible demise is that at one time, she was really good. So how lucky were the people who got to work with Lindsay before all the troubles? Among those lucky people: Lindsay herself, really Orphan Black-ing it as Hallie and Annie in her film debut.

4) Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion

Before Lindsay was accidentally calling out Jennifer Lawrence for saying “I beat Meryl!” at the Golden Globes, Lohan was costarring with Streep herself! But make no mistake: A Prairie Home Companion was still boring. Or, I mean, we thought so when we were 18 anyway.

3) Tina Fey in Mean Girls/SNL

Look, if you can’t build a viable career after Tina Fey wrote your breakout role, I don’t think anyone can help you. And don’t say that Tina didn’t try. Around the era we were all first realizing Lindsay wasn’t doing so great, Tina Fey and the other SNL folks even staged an intervention for her. Remember that show Intervention? If they’d had Tina Fey as the coach instead of that random guy they did have, they probably would have had a 99% success rate.

2) Amy Poehler in Mean Girls/SNL

Again, if having Amy Poehler as a potential mentor cannot help you rise above, I am not sure what can. I mean, Ask Amy videos alone are responsible for thousands of women Lindsay’s age (I mean… teen girls, who are the target audience, right?) getting their shit together.

1) Herbie in Herbie: Fully Loaded

WHO LET HER WORK WITH A CAR?

She isn’t great with cars, guys.

Herbie is an icon. He deserved better.

We all did.