8 Most Mindbogglingly Meta TV Show Cameos Ever

Self-aware is an understatement.

NBC

Celebrity cameos are now a staple of TV. We don't bat an eyelid when Larry David appears in Hannah Montana, or when Michelle Obama plays herself on Parks and Recreation.

But these appearances can often feel contrived and awkward. Just think back to Jean-Claude Van Damme needlessly popping up in Friends, or Justin Bieber's wooden appearance in CSI - these are unnecessary distractions that don't add much to the episode itself.

Crow-barring in a famous face can put the audience on shaky ground when it comes to suspending their disbelief, reminding them of the various underlying currents of fame and money that are steering the writing. If an actor is too well-known, it can be especially jarring and disorientating; as Andy Millman says in Extras: "What would Chris Martin be doing visiting a factory in Wigan?!"

One way to get away with these cameos, then, is to have your cake and eat it. Many shows, especially comedies, can't help but draw attention to the cameo itself or else reference some real-life situation in a wry, self-aware way. Here are 10 of the examples of meta winks done right.

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Contributor

Another wayward English graduate who makes money by arranging words into the correct order. Is really at it good!

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