8 TV Show Guest Appearances That Were Truly Terrible Ideas

Daniel Bukszpan

Clockwise from left: TLC; Frank Carroll/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; FOX

Television shows feature guest stars for numerous reasons, though most of the time it boils down to two motives – the show needs a ratings boost, or the guest needs a little extra publicity. But sometimes it's hard to see how a collaboration was good for anybody. Either the guest star is clearly slumming, or the show has so profoundly lowered its standards that it takes the first celebrity who'll say yes. Here, we present a list of personalities who appeared on television shows when clearly, they should have known better.

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Charlies Angels

Christopher Lee (Charlie's Angels)

Season 5, Episode 1 (Nov. 30, 1980, ABC)

Christopher Lee of Dracula and Lord of the Rings appeared on Charlie's Angels during its final season. Portraying the head of a crooked modeling agency, he sported a glorious porn mustache while acting circles around everybody else. The show was cancelled the following year, but Lee went on to star in The Hobbit and record his own heavy metal Christmas album.

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Diffrent Strokes

Nancy Reagan (Diff'rent Strokes)

Season 5, Episode 22 (March 19, 1983, NBC)

Diff'rent Strokes habitually confronted head-on such controversies as racism, smoking and the perils of hitchhiking. But for an episode about drugs, only a guest appearance by Nancy Reagan would suffice. The then-first lady visited Arnold's (Gary Coleman) school and told all to "just say no" to drugs; 23 years later, the trite episode became the basis for a headline in the satirical news publication The Onion, which read "Nancy Reagan Ends Nation's Drug Problem with Very Special 'Diff'rent Strokes' Appearance."

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Love Boat

Andy Warhol (The Love Boat)

Season 9, Episode 3 (Oct. 12, 1985, ABC)

The Love Boat featured many guest stars with a high WTF factor, including Linda Blair, Gloria Vanderbilt and the Village People, but its weirdest choice by far was artist Andy Warhol. He was part of a subplot in which a middle-aged woman -- Marion Ross of Happy Days fame -- has a secret past as one of the artist's models, a fact that she tries to keep from her husband. (Scant evidence of this episode exists, so it cannot be Hulued, Netflixed or Amazonned, but a strangely stylized excerpt is available on YouTube.)

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Facts Of Life

Stacey Q (The Facts of Life)

Season 8, Episode 15 (Jan. 31, 1987, NBC)

1987 found The Facts of Life mired in lethargic ratings. It needed a hypodermic needle full of guest star adrenaline administered to its circulatory system, and it came in the form of Two of Hearts singer Stacey Q. She portrays Cinnamon, a girl who beats out Tootie for a role in a Broadway show. Tootie can be seen stalking the singer through a window and seething with a pre-human, jealous hatred.

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Friends

Jean-Claude Van Damme (Friends)

Season 2, Episode 12 (Jan. 28, 1996, NBC)

In 1996, Friends was a ratings juggernaut and every actor wanted in, so the episode following that year's Super Bowl featured guest stars Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields and "Muscles from Brussels" himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme. It grabbed 52.9 million viewers, but Van Damme's "acting" stunk up the joint like nobody's business. He is, however, to be commended for telling Monica (Courteney Cox) of his ability to crack a walnut with his buttocks.

TLC

Kate Gosselin (Sarah Palin's Alaska)

Season 1, Episode 5 (Dec. 12, 2010, TLC)

On the fifth episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, Kate Gosselin and her children visit the former vice presidential nominee, go to a bear safety class and accompany Palin on a wilderness camping trip. As Gosselin freaked out over the fact that there was no table in the woods upon which to make sandwiches, she performed the remarkable feat of actually being more annoying than Palin. Maia Nolan-Partnow of Alaska Dispatch News summed it up best when she observed that Piper Palin "looks like she might kick Kate. I kind of wish someone would."

ill-Advised Guest Stars-Comedy Central

Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino (Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump)

(March 15, 2011, Comedy Central)

Comedy Central's roasts offer the opportunity for comedians and non-comedians alike to poke fun at a celebrity; in 2011, it was real estate mogul Donald Trump's turn. Among the roasters was Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of Jersey Shore, whose relentlessly unfunny jokes proved that he belongs in the "non-comedian" camp. According to The Los Angeles Times, comedian Lisa Lampanelli said that the mercilessly booed Sorrentino didn't even know he had bombed. "He came up to us after the show and said, 'That was good, right?' "

ill-Advised Guest Stars-The Simpsons

Julian Assange (The Simpsons)

Season 23, Episode 14 (Feb. 19, 2012, Fox)

On its 500th episode, The Simpsons featured Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, who recorded his lines from an undisclosed location unknown to even the show's producers. The episode received mixed reviews, but who knows? Maybe if Assange decides to leave political asylum and go to Sweden to face those pesky rape allegations, he can have a second career in voiceover work.

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