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''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…

Have sitcom guest spots become the new career rehab stations for scandal-plagued starlets? This week, we’ve had news that Paris Hilton is appearing in a fantasy sequence on My Name Is Earl (airing Apr. 3), and that Britney Spears (left) is filming a spot on March 24’s How I Met Your Mother (she’s playing a dermatologist’s assistant who develops a crush on the unsuspecting Ted, played by Josh Radnor, at right). (And we know that Lindsay Lohan has been in talks for a while with the Ugly Betty folks for a guest arc.)

I think these guest spots are a smart move for the performers. No heavy lifting, demonstration of an ability to poke fun at yourself, and just enough work, at regular hours, to prove your professionalism and dependability.

Only downside is the potential resentment by other comeback-seeking stars. According to TV Guide, Alicia Silverstone dropped out of the Spears HIMYM ep because she feared (justifiably, I’d say) that Britney would upstage her. How are scandal-free stars in need of a comeback supposed to reestablish themselves if the scandalous stars are stealing their thunder?

Show of hands: Who’s looking forward to watching Britney on HIMYM or Paris on Earl? Who thinks these guest spots are a step in the right direction that will help these starlets get back on solid footing — and who thinks they’re too little too late? And what other scandal-repair stunt-casting would you like to see?

addCredit(“Britney Spears and Josh Radnor: Toby Canham/Getty Images; Cliff Lipson”)

Episode Recaps

''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…
How I Met Your Mother

Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly remind us all of the joy of slap bets

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