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Guest stars are the best parts of sit-coms

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

I love sitcoms — they are my comfort shows, the things I look forward to watching before bed. Honestly, they make up most of the stickers on my emotional support water bottle and about half of my TikTok feed.

What I love most about sitcoms is how they give us glimpses into some pretty funny people’s (sometimes wild) lives. And, sometimes, these pretty funny people have some pretty cool friends (or acquaintances). And recently, I’ve noticed that some of my favourite episodes include these incredibly funny guest stars. So here are some of my top picks. 

Brad Pitt in Friends 

One of my favourite episodes is “The One With the Rumour” also known as the best episode of Friends. Well, at least the best for me. Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston’s real-life husband at the time, plays an old friend of Monica, Ross and Rachel’s from when they were in high school. However, Pitt’s character used to absolutely despise Rachel, which makes the dynamics between the two and Ross (another member of the “I Hate Rachel Club”) so funny. This is certainly an episode you can watch over and over again and still laugh out loud. 

Jennifer Lopez on How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother had great guest stars. From Britney Spears to Brian Cranston, these characters brought lots of laughter to the audience. Yet, I would say that Jennifer Lopez‘s character, the “anti-Barney,” is my top pick. In “Of Course,” Barney meets Lopez’s character, Anita, at the bar. She is the author of a self-help book (hilariously called “Of Course, You’re Still Single, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut”) that claims the best way of getting a guy is to go on 17 dates before finally doing it. She does this to Barney, who happily accepts the challenge. Lopez’s character was a great match for Barney and a great addition to the show.

Craig Robinson on Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Arguably the best sitcom guest star ever, Craig Robinson, as Doug Judy on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, never fails to make me smile. The Office alumn plays Jake Peralta’s arch-nemesis and best friend. The PB&J (Pontiac Bandit + Jake) dynamic is one of my favourite sitcom relationships ever. Doug Judy pops up in the show every season to create chaos in Peralta’s life, who always falls for his lies. But in the end—the best part of all of this—they actually really care about each other. And it’s so refreshing to see a male friendship like that on screen, especially on a comedy show. Of all the episodes Doug Judy is in, my favourite is season three’s “The Cruise“! 

Paul Rudd on Parks and Recreation 

Paul Rudd on Parks & Rec is certainly also in the sitcom guest star hall of fame. Rudd plays the privileged naive, and hilariously funny Bobby Newport, the son of Sweetums owner Nick Newport Jr. Rudd appears on the show multiple times throughout season four (and one other time after that) as Leslie Knope’s competition in the City Council election. Bobby’s incredibly nonsense speeches and his unique view of life (and politics) made him a pretty funny match for Leslie—and a great character for the show. 

Jack Black on Community

Community is a wild, wild show. From paintball fights to The Godfather homages, Community has brought unexpected storylines to its audience. Jack Black‘s Buddy is no different. In “Investigative Journalism,” Buddy gaslights the study group into believing he was there all semester long and tries to get them to let him into the group in a very Jack Black-y way. This dynamic is completely wild and honestly always catches me off guard during my rewatches. But Black’s role in this episode is absolutely hilarious and definitely makes this episode one to watch!

The five characters here don’t even scratch the surface of the many, many incredible one-off characters on these funny sitcoms. But they are my favourites and can give you a taste of what you can get in each one of these shows. Who is your favourite guest star?

Mariana is a fourth-year Journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. She moved to Toronto from São Paulo, Brazil in 2021. Her favourite hobby is watching shows and movies and then spending hours researching, thinking and writing about them.