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.

Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of Friends

Today we are kicking off a week – A WEEK! – long series of posts exclusively dedicated to one of our personal favorite TV shows of all time – Friends. May 6th (tomorrow!) marks the 10th anniversary of the series finale airing, which drew in 52.5 million viewers, making it the fourth most watched finale in TV history. But more on that tomorrow.

This post is all about the people who walked into the world of our six favorite New Yorkers – and then walked out immediately. These guest stars aren’t people like Paul Rudd or Brad Pitt or even Julia Roberts for that matter, but rather the less high profile actors who were only in one episode and the ones you barely remember (or don’t remember at all).

Let’s go all the way back to 1994, shall we?

Melora Hardin (Celia)

TOW The Stoned Guy {Season 1, Episode 15}

Before she was crazy Jan Levinson who wooed Michael Scott on the office, she wooed Ross … in the most awkward way.

 Leah Remini (Lydia)

TOW The Birth {Season 1, Episode 23}

Somewhere in between being Stacey Carosi on Saved by the Bell: Malibu Sands and the King of Queens, Leah Remini stopped by NYC to have a baby. While the gang is in the hospital for the birth of Ben, Leah’s character Lydia had no one – so obviously Joey stepped in.

Lea DeLaria (Woman at Wedding)

TOW The Lesbian Wedding {Season 2, Episode 11}
lea delaria friends

This connection didn’t occur to me until writing this post – but the woman who hits on Pheebs at Carol & Susan’s wedding is Big Boo from Orange is the New Black!

Tahj Mowry (Kid)

TO After the Super Bowl {Season 2, Episode 12}

He’s a Smart Guyyyyy *doo doo dooo doo doo doo dooo* And also a kid who likes listening to inappropriate songs from Phoebe

Michael Bower (Roy Gublik)

TOW The Prom Video {Season 2, Episode 14}

Roy Gublik was Monica’s prom date in the famous video (you know, the guy who has seen Star Wards  317 times), but you may know him as Donkey Lips from Salute Your Shorts.

Charlie Sheen (Ryan)

TOW the Chicken Pox {Season 2, Episode 23}

Remember when Charlie Sheen wasn’t QUITE as crazy as he is now, and considered somewhat of a Hollywood heartthrob? Yeah this was then. He played a guy from the navy who was home for a couple weeks and had a thing with Phoebe. But he gets the chicken pox, which Pheebs had never had before and that explains the odd cow oven gloves.

Mae Whitman (Sarah Tuttle)

TOW Rachel Quits {Season 3, Episode 10}

One of TV’s best criers, Mae Whitman, was obviously a child star, but this role gave her the upperhand on Ross, who accidentally broke her leg. Because of this, he has to sell all her Christmas cookies a la the girl scouts. I mean that end scene with the fake space camp?? Come on.

Sherilyn Fenn (Ginger)

TOW Phoebe’s Ex-Partner {Season 3, Episode 14}

Chandler starts dating this chick Ginger and when he finds out she has an artificial leg, he Chandlers it and freaks out. But then she finds out he has a ‘nubbin’ and SHE’S too freaked out so she ditches him.  You know when she should’ve ditched everything? When she and her stupid daughter April came into the life of Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls and ruined everythingggg.

Sherri Shepherd (Rhonda)

TOW Phoebe’s Uterus {Season 4, Episode 11}

Did anyone else watch Less Than Perfect? Just Me? It’s the show where I thought Zachary Levi was really cute and then years later realized he was ZACHARY LEVI. Anyways, Sherri Shepherd is like the token black woman here, but oh dear lord is it good.

Iqbal Theba (Doctor)

The One Hundredth {Season 5, Episode 3}

Apparently Joey always needs to have his own separate story line when the episode is set in a hospital. While Pheebs is off having the triplets and dealing with the Fonz stan, Joey has kindey stones. Otherwise known as KIDNEY stones or kidney STONES.

Michael Winters (The Doctor)

TOW All The Thanksgivings {Season 5, Episode 8}

Michael Winters couldn’t put Chandler’s severed toe back on his foot mainly because it was a piece of carrot. You know who would have a lot to say about this? Taylor Doose from Gilmore Girls.

David Sutcliffe (Kyle)

TOW The Engagement Picture {Season 7, Episode 5}

Speaking of Gilmore Girls, Christopher also made his way from Boston via Stars Hollow to Greenwich Village, playing one half of troubled couple Kyle and Whitney. Pheebs dates Kyle, Ross dates Whitney and Pheebs and Ross end up having a fight on behalf of Kyle and Whitney – who end up working their problems out and start dating again.

Scott Adsit (Director)

TOW Ross and Monica’s Cousin (Season 7, Episode 19)

In which Pete Hornberger from 30 Rock has to stare at Joey’s fake… thing. Which falls embarrassingly to the floor.

Kevin Rahm (Tim)

TOW Rachel’s Date {Season 8, Episode 5}

Kevin Rahm may play stupid Ted Chaough on Mad Men now, but I will forever think of him as Tim, Monica’s sous chef (sous = under. I ‘soux stand’) who Phoebe begs Monica to date but then wants to break up with him because he’s totally annoying. Problem is that Monica wants to fire him too. There’s a part where Tim blows a kiss to Phoebe and she catches it, but when he walks away, she throws the invisible air kiss back at him in anger. I may or may not do this on a regular.

Emily Osment (Lelani Mayolanofavich)

TOW The Halloween Party {Season 8, Episode 6}

Little Emily Osment visits the gang as a trick-or-treater, but when Rachel runs out of candy, she offers a personal check… except pre-Hannah Montana Emily’s name is so hard to spell. Just make it out to ‘cash’.

Marla Sokoloff (Dina Tribbiani)

TOW Monica’s Boots {Season 8, Episode 10}

In a parallel universe, Gia, Stephanie’s rebel friend on Full House, grows up to be Joey’s sister who gets knocked up and asks Rachel for life advice.

Dan Bucatinsky (Waiter)

TOW Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner {Season 9, Episode 5}

James! Dear, dear James from Scandal. From waiter on Friends to White House Press Secretary, he really moved up in the world. Kinda. Fun fact: Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow have been friends for a super long time and are producing partners together, and produce Lisa’s Web Therapy as well as the really cool genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?

Jim O’Heir (Adoption Agency Worker)

TOW the Birth Mother {Season 10, Episode 9}

I mean how crazy is it that Jerry/Garry/Larry/Terry helped Andy Dwyer’s IRL wife find her baby out of wedlock find a home with Chandler and Monica??

Ellen Pompeo (Missy Goldberg)

TOW The Stripper Cries {Season 10, Episode 11}

This role is weird because Ellen Pompeo is playing fairly nice and not as Type A as Meredith Grey. But she looked totally rad in the 80s flashback!

Craig Robinson (Clerk)

TOW Princess Consuela {Season 10, Episode 14}

Daryl Robinson pre-Dunder Mifflin was helping Phoebe legally change her name… you know, to Princess Consuela Bananahammock.

Jane Lynch (Ellen)

TOW Estelle Dies {Season 10, Episode 15}

Jane Lynch plays a realtor showing a house to Chan and Mon – but the other person looking at the same house? Hint: OH. MY. GOD.

Jim Rash (Nervous Male Passenger)

The Last One {Season 10, Episode 18}

Hey Dean Pelton, relax. There was no left phalange to begin with.

Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of The West Wing

In its seven season history, The West Wing created some of the created episodes and moments in television – period. Aaron Sorkin’s most successful show to date took home 26 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series four consecutive times. Basically, it was the definition of a hit series.

And with its critical acclaim and popularity, came outstanding actors, both those were were already accomplished (Martin Sheen, Alan Alda, Jimmy Smits), there was also a multitude of actors who were talented but on their way to finding fame.

Here are just some of the guest stars throughout The West Wing that were totally a part of Bartlet for America before hitting it big.

Nick Offerman

Season 1, Episode 4
Leave it up to the guy who plays a government worker who hates the government to play someone asking the White House for a $900 million ‘wolves-only roadway’ on The West Wing. Ron Swanson, everyone.

Liza Weil

Season 1, Episode 13
For some reason, Liza Weil is typecast as the unlikable, bitchy woman in everything I’ve seen her in (Paris Gellar?!). In TWW, she plays a young staffer who leaks Chief of Staff Leo McGarry’s troubled addict past. She gets fired, then gets rehired because Leo is da bomb.

Jane Lynch

Season 2, Episode 1
Pre-Glee, Jane Lynch spent her time in the White House press room, nagging Allison Janney for answers.

Sam Jaeger

Season 2, Episode 4
Before becoming a Braverman on Parenthood, Sam played a reporter in the White House. Look at how tiny he is!!

Eric Stonestreet

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 9.36.41 PM

Season 2, Episode 19
Cam from Modern Family didn’t have many lines, but I’m sure he was an integral part to Oliver Platt’s White House Counsel.

Connie Britton

Season 3, Episode 2
Tami Taylor, y’all! She appeared in a few episodes as ‘Connie’, a Bartlet-Hoynes re-election campaign staffer. She was flawless before, she’s flawless now.

Dennis Haskins

Season 3, Episode 9
It’s really unfortunate that the guy I looked at as the ultimate high school principal turned into a creepo who owns a karaoke bar in Burbank. What happened to you, Mr. Belding? Luring Chief of Staff alcoholics liquor, that’s what.

Evan Rachel Wood

Season 3, Episode 21
This lucky bitch got to play CJ Cregg’s niece. And go shopping for designer clothes for prom. More jealous about the CJ Cregg thing, tho.

David Burtka

Season 3, Episode 21
Alright, how cute and adorable is Neil Patrick Harris’ boo?! Even though he played a young intern who ends up selling moose meat Josh gave Donna who gave it to David Burtka who illegally put it on eBay.

Amy Adams

Season 4, Episode 1
In the season opener, Bartlet & co. are back on the campaign trail, and we meet them in the middle of Indiana. Except the bus leaves without Toby and Josh, and they have to rely on farm girl Amy Adams to get them to their next stop in time. Really, it’s like she doesn’t age.

John Gallagher Jr.

Season 4, Episode 1
In the very same episode, high school student and Bartlet for America volunteer named Tyler helps out the gang by driving them around in his jeep. BTW, does he look familiar, Newsroom fans? Yep, that’s a young Jim Harper.
In fact, when John auditioned for Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin didn’t remember him from TWW, and just saw on his resume he had been in an episode. John of course refreshed his memory.

Danica McKellar

Season 4, Episode 6
Winnie Cooper guys, Winnie Cooper, back on TV! She played Will Bailey’s (Josh Malina) stepsister and assistant, Elsie Snuffin – an amazing name!

Christian Slater

Season 4, Episode 7
Basically if you were a person who got in the way of Donna and Josh’s sexual tension, I was not a fan. Enter Christian Slater. She met Lt. Commander Jack Reese outside a polling place, as she was trying to trade votes with a Republic voter after accidentally voting for the opponent instead of incumbent Democratic Pres Bartlet. They went out for approx 2 episodes before he was sent of to Italy. Good riddance.

Matthew Perry

Season 4, Episode 19
Technically Chandler still worked in the White House up until the new President moved in, but we only got to see him in a few episodes as the Associate White House Counsel. But their continuity is a little off since he was seen in season 4 as “Matthew Perry”, a celeb Donna tries to chat up during a Hollywood party. Oops.

Taye Diggs

Season 4, Episode 22
Let me start by saying this pic is what dreams are made of. My boyfriend Taye played a secret service agent who was in charge of keeping Pres Bartlet’s daughter Zoe (Elisabeth Moss) safe when she went out the night of her graduation. Except… things didn’t go so well…

Jesse Bradford

Season 5, Episode 2
Awesome, oh wow. Like totally freak me out I mean right *clap clap* the Toros sure are number one!!!
Jesse Bradford did not befriend a high school cheerleader in The West Wing. He basically followed Josh and Donna around just like in the gif.

Jason Isaacs

Season 5, Episode 21
Remember that thing I said about anyone getting in between Josh and Donna? Yeah, that goes for Lucius Malfoy. ESPECIALLY Lucius Malfoy. Jason Isaacs played a photojournalist Donna met during her trip to Gaza, and the two had a little fling. *Spoiler alert* Donna is one of the group of the White House who is injured in a car bombing, and Malfoy follows her to the German hospital she’s being treated in. Except Josh flies to her side too – to find the scene above…

Navid Negahban

Season 5, Episode 22 I would think it would suck to always be a Middle Eastern/Muslim/Terrorist if you’re of that ethnicity. But hey, as long as you keep gettin that dolla dolla billz, I guess it would be fine. Imagine my surprise when I found out Abu Nazir from Homeland showed up in the season finale as a foreign operative. I watch way too much TV to fully accept that Nazir travelled back in time to rendezvous with Josh Lyman.

Dean Norris

Season 7, Episode 6
Well, well, well, good old Hank Schrader, putting away his rocks and minerals in order to hang with the big guns. Dean came in for a couple of episodes in the last season, as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and while he may have had to face some tough politicians, I bet it was nothing compared to Heisenberg cornering you in your own garage.

Jon Bon Jovi

Season 7, Episode 15
What’s more American than getting Jon Bon Jovi to play at a campaign rally? Springsteen, probably, but he wasn’t available for this episode. JBJ even had speaking lines in this episode, where he helped raise money for Congressman Matt Santos’ (Jimmy Smits) campaign. He’s just livin on a bus and a prayer, you guys.

 

 

WHATAREYOUDOINGHERE: Unexpected Guest Stars of Arrested Development

If you’re an Arrested Development fan, chances are you’ve already seen the new season in its entirety. And although creator Mitch Hurwitz warned AD fans to try to calm their excitement and spread out the viewings, it’ll be difficult to not watch all 15 episodes after waiting for seven years. Not to mention, this reincarnation of the series will bring the likes of Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, John Krasinski, Conan O’Brien, Ben Schwartz, John Slattery, and more to the Bluth family. So to help you heed Mitch Hurwitz’s request, take a break from your binge watching and get a refresher on some of the stars who you may have forgotten (or never even knew) appeared on this iconic show.

Amy Poehler

Well, this is kind of a no-brainer, since Queen Amy appeared in 5 eps as Gob’s wife (ugh, RIP Will/Amy), who Gob kept forgetting he was even married to. So much so she didn’t even have a name.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Playing one of my personal favorite AD characters, Julia played Maggie Lizer, a ‘blind’ attorney who was also Michael’s on and off girlfriend. This scene where Tobias sneaks into her house trying to be stealth but the fact she is fully aware he is there is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.

Zach Braff

The Scrubs/Kickstarter star played Phillip Litt, a man who showed that Tobias was not alone in his Never Nude world.

Charlize Theron

The Oscar winner played Rita Leeds who was briefly engaged to Michael, and although she may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed, she was wealthy – as the heiress to Wee Britain.

Jane Lynch

Long before she terrorized kids at McKinley High School, Jane played Cyndi Lightballoon who was an undercover agent investigating Pop Pop. Except she eventually falls in love with him. It happens to the best of us.

Armie Hammer

In a career-defining role, the Winklevoss twin(s) played ‘student number 2’ in one episode – he calls George Michael ‘star dork’.

Jack McBrayer

Kenneth the Page was still tending to people’s needs (and encountering Devon Banks) before helping Tracy at TGS – he played a waiter at the local country club in two episodes.

Ed Begley Jr.

Ok, but Ed Begley Jr. LITERALLY is in everything. He shows up in almsot every movie or TV show I watch (Office finale, much?), and it’s even a running joke with my friend Suzanne because she sees him everywhere in LA. So naturally, his off Stan Sitwell character has to be on this list.

Ed Helms

Speaking of The Office, rit-it-it-itdoo, the Nard Dog played realtor James in “The One Where Michael Leaves” episode, whom Lindsay thought was hitting on her. And maybe a minor spoiler alert? He’ll be back in the new season too.

Phyllis Smith

Before Phyllis was a saleswoman at Dunder-Mifflin, she was a board member at the Bluth Company. Incidentally, just weeks after this episode (The Immaculate Election) aired, she made her debut on The Office.

Craig Robinson

Dink and flicka. Tobias has an audition at Tantamount Studios, and Craig Robinson is there to guard the gate. Except he probs should’ve been keeping an eye on Maeby instead.