TV comes down with guest star-itis


Writers strike or not, November heralds in sweeps.

And sweeps heralds in guest stars. And guest stars herald in … OK, I’m

officially out of stuff to herald. But I do know that when it comes

to sweeps month, the very special guest star is trumped only by the

lesbian kiss as the most popular sweeps stunt. So, let’s rate

the ratings stunts, starting with the big guns.

Note: A few of these guest stars are showing up tonight, so set your DVRs!

Al Gore on 30 Rock

(tonight!): Former vice president. Oscar winner. Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Almost next president of the United States.

Stunt Wattage: 10, but we should dial it down to 8.5 to conserve


David Schwimmer on

30 Rock
(tonight!): Kind of a step down after big Al. But he was

on some show for a long time. What was it called again? Buddies? Pals?

Amigos? Something like that.

Stunt Wattage: 5, but the

silly costume helps.

Edie Falco on 30

(Nov. 15): Alec Baldwin had better look out. I hear Edie’s last

costar had a penchant for whacking people he didn’t like — oh, and onion


Stunt Wattage: 8. That lady can flat-out act.

Victoria Beckham on

Ugly Betty
(tonight!): Posh and Wilhelmina? Not since peanut butter

met jelly has a pairing been so destined to become a classic. Now, if

only she could act.

Stunt Wattage: 9. It’d be a 10 if she brought


Vera Wang on Ugly

(tonight!): A real fashion designer on a fake fashion show?

Wherever do these people come up with these ideas?

Stunt Wattage:

4, just for predictability.

Eliza Dushku on Ugly

(Nov. 22): Now this, this is unpredictable. Eliza plays

a former wild child in rehab. Uh, didn’t they get the memo about Lindsay Lohan possibly


this season?

Stunt Wattage: 7. Don’t mess with Faith.

Paul Reubens

on Pushing Daisies (Nov. 21): Pee Wee on a fantastical show with

a cast of quirky characters that occasionally breaks into song? Perfect.

Maybe he’ll bring along the talking chair.

Stunt Wattage: 8,

but the Buckwheat hair is freaking me out.

Kristen Bell on Heroes

(Nov. 12): OK, she’s not technically a sweeps guest star. But she is


Stunt Wattage: 100,000 kilowatts. Oh, wait, wrong kind

of wattage.

Helen Slater on Smallville

(Nov. 12): Another member of the Superverse makes an appearance. I hate

to say it, but I loved Supergirl. What? I was young, she had a cape …

Stunt Wattage
: 7. Now if only she’d wear the outfit.

Nancy McKeon on

Without a Trace
(Nov. 15): Jo looks sad. Is it because the person

sitting next to her isn’t Blair? Come on, you know they hooked up in


Stunt Wattage: 6.5. The .5 is for the crush I had on

her back in the day.

Coco Nicole Austin on

Law & Order: SVU (Nov. 20): Uhm, I, uhmn … Should they be bigger

than her head? And so, uhm, orange? While her husband (and cast member)

no doubt approves, I do not.

Stunt Wattage: 1,

though in all fairness, 2 seems more empirically correct.

Melinda Clarke on

Reaper (Nov. 20): I never watched The O.C.

OK, I watched a little for Marissa and Alex. But I did like her as Lady

Heather on CSI.

Stunt Wattage: 3. She was Marissa’s mom,


Rachel Bilson on

Chuck (Nov. 19): Please see above, but the young folks do seem to

like her.

Stunt Wattage: 4. I always confuse her with Mila


D.B. Woodside on

Grey’s Anatomy
(Nov. 15): Too bad he wasn’t on Ugly Betty

instead. It would have been like a Buffy finale reunion.

Stunt Wattage:

2. He was the principal, not the slayer.

So, any very special guests

I missed? And whose star wattage needs an adjustment? Discuss.

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