Created By: Westrim on December 20, 2011 Last Edited By: Westrim on September 12, 2014

Guest Star Overload

Look at all the people I recognize!

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Page Type:
Trope
If a single episode has three or more guest stars in a single episode, it's generally a fair bet that something is going to happen to change the usual dynamic permanently and you're going to want to see it.

Guest stars have been used almost since television began- having someone that a fair chunk of the audience will at least vaguely recognize on your show for an episode or a recurring role is always a good way to maintain viewer interest. Sometimes two will appear. But if there are three guest stars, the show is getting into downright uncommon territory and the guest list is getting crowded.

They may appear because the episode is already special- series or season opening, series or season ending, because it's Sweeps Week, because the plot is taking a twist, or simply because that episode is when their schedules worked. This does not apply if several recurring characters show up unless they are explicitly also guest stars.

Compare Stunt Casting, All-Star Cast.


Film
  • Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet had famous actors for almost every role, including the bit parts. Some reviewers criticized this, saying it was distracting, but others like Oancitizen commended it, saying it made you pay more attention to each line if the person speaking was someone famous.

Live-Action TV

Music
  • PSY's "Gangnam Style" video is full of K Pop guest stars, though it's popularity beyond the genre means that most viewers aren't aware of that.
The alternate music video to the Beastie Boys song Make Some Noise, titled * Fight for Your Right Revisited, not only is over 30 minutes long, it also features a large number of guest stars, some of them in blink-or-you'll-miss-it roles. The other wiki lists them.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • December 20, 2011
    CurlyJeffers
    • The Simpsons has been host to several hundred guest stars; usually spread out over several episodes, but some, like season 3's Homer at the Bat, can feature many--that episode alone featured 9 celebrity guest voices.

    My concern, though, is that this is rather subjective.
  • December 20, 2011
    Westrim
    In regards to how well known the guest stars are? It shouldn't be- it's usually the credits themselves that will make the distinction, with several 'and's or 'featuring's to make clear which are one episode actors and which they shelled out some extra money for. That's what I expect any entries of the trope to be based on.
  • December 20, 2011
    Sligh
    Two And A Half Men 's 9th season premiere.
  • December 30, 2011
    Duncan
    Dream On had a two-part episode, "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told", that featured guest stars Tom Berenger, David Bowie, Mimi Rogers, Fran Drescher, Yvonne De Carlo, Eva Gabor, Ricardo Montalban and Sylvester Stallone.
  • December 30, 2011
    RedneckRocker
    Would it count if the show doesn't have a lot of guest stars in one episode, but lots of guest stars during the show's run? If so, Will And Grace would count, since they had a lot of celebrity appearances.
  • December 30, 2011
    Duncan
    ^ I think that's just ordinary Stunt Casting, as well as the business-as-usual with The Simpsons (though "Homer at the Bat" would be an example.)
  • January 11, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Wasn't The Love Boat designed this way?
  • January 19, 2012
    Westrim
    Duncan is correct, there have to be three guest stars in one episode. Allowances can be made for multi-part episodes like the Dream On example.
  • January 19, 2012
    cityofmist
    The How I Met Your Mother episode 'Robots vs. Wrestlers' guest stars Arianna Huffington, Peter Bogdanovich, and Will Shortz as themselves, as well as some fictional celebrities.
  • February 19, 2012
    Westrim
    I'm wondering if I should include movies that are particularly cameo heavy as well, or make a separate trope for them. Thoughts?
  • March 17, 2012
    Westrim
    bump
  • March 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Also compare All Star Cast.
  • March 17, 2012
    CaveCat
  • February 2, 2013
    Westrim
    long bump
  • February 2, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Boston Legal had many well-known celebrity guest stars over its run, a few recurring. The names include: Michael J. Fox, John Laroquette, Tom Selleck, Jeri Ryan, Heather Locklear, Betty White, and Elizabeth Mitchell. The show also had a lot of Revolving Door Casting, and some of this is arguably overlap, as some of these "guest stars" had a small arc that involved their characters.
  • February 2, 2013
    Westrim
    Did it manage to have three in one episode? I need to modify the explanation to make that requirement explicit.
  • February 6, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet had famous actors for almost every role, including the bit parts. Some reviewers criticized this, saying it was distracting, but others like Oancitizen commended it, saying it made you pay more attention to each line if the person speaking was someone famous.
  • May 8, 2013
    Chernoskill
    The alternate music video to the Beastie Boys song Make Some Noise, titled Fight for Your Right Revisited, not only is over 30 minutes long, it also features a large number of guest stars, some of them in blink-or-you'll-miss-it roles. The other wiki lists them.
  • May 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    From what I've read, PSY's "Gangnam Style" video is full of K Pop guest stars but most people who have seen the video have never seen any other K-Pop, so it comes off as "a bunch of people" rather than "look at all those people I recognize!!!"
  • September 12, 2014
    DAN004
    Exaggerated Hey Its That Guy is still Hey Its That Guy.
  • September 12, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    Does it count as three seperate guest stars if they are part of a group? Such as getting a full rock band to appear in one episode
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