Can A “How I Met Your Mother” Cameo Turn Jennifer Lopez’s Career Around?

This year, Jennifer Lopez will be spending more time on the small screen than she did when she was a dancer for “In Living Color.” In addition to being in talks to play a cafeteria worker on “Glee,” Lopez is currently shooting a guest-starring role on “How I Met Your Mother.” She’s playing Anita Appleby, a self-help guru who teaches women to trick men into relationships. When Robin tells her about Barney’s exploits, she makes it her mission to “break him.” Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney, posted a pic of him with J.Lo on his Twitter account. “Jennifer Lopez was really great— hot, cool, and funny,” he said. “And well prepared! She gave me a few pointers. Here’s one of them.” Ba-dum, ching. [Hollywood Reporter, Twitter]

So why the television blitz? Jennifer hasn’t had a memorable role or album lately, and meanwhile rumors continue to swirl that there’s trouble in her Marc Antony paradise. And let’s just say that doing a cameo on “HIMYM” has a certain way of putting a person back on the pop culture map. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • In 2007, for the third season premiere of “HIMYM,” Mandy Moore kicked off the trend of celebs appearing on the show. She played Amy, a tattooed, big-haired party girl whom Ted starts dating to make Robin jealous. At the time, Mandy’s fifth album had just come out to lackluster reviews and sales. She also no doubt saw the edgy role as a way to wipe the image of her in a sweater set in “A Walk To Remember” out of the public consciousness. Enrique Iglesias also appeared in the episode, as a guy Robin met on vacation in Argentina. [Buddy TV]
  • After a flame-out two years of head-shaving, umbrella-waving antics and a flubbed comeback attempt at the MTV Music Awards, in March 2008 Britney Spears signed on for a guest spot on “HIMYM.” She played Abby, a receptionist who falls for Ted. Viewers tuned in expecting a fiasco … but were surprised to see Britney looking good—complete with hair—and showing great comedic chops. “Britney the Trainwreck showed how she can still be Britney the Performer,” wrote the Associated Press. Her episodes got the show its highest ratings ever, and the path was cleared for her Circus comeback. [Hollywood Reporter]
  • Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt supposedly campaigned hard to get a guest spot on the show in late 2008. And their angling worked. In an episode of the show where Marshall contemplates the dynamics of doing a number two at work, he walks down the office hallway with a tabloid tucked under his arm. Heidi and Spencer stare out from the cover and begin moving and talking, warning his co-workers of what’s about to go down. Sure, no cameo could ever make these two all the way likeable. But it was a good reminder that they have a sense of humor. [Backseat Cuddler]
  • Kim Kardashian and Kendra Wilkinson also appeared on tabloid covers in the same episode, along with Spencer and Heidi. It was superb timing for Kendra, who’d just moved out of the Playboy Mansion and announced her engagement to Hank Baskett. And things worked out nicely for Kim, who’d just had an embarrassing run on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she was unexpectedly voted off third. [NY Daily News, Pop Crunch]
  • The latest to try the “HIMYM” comeback? Rachel Bilson. On “The O.C.,” Rachel established herself as the kind of starlet women love because of her style and relatability. But after the show ended, she mostly disappeared off the radar. Following horrendous reviews in the hugely disappointing “New York, I Love You,” it was announced that Bilson would be appearing on the 100th episode of “HIMYM.” Rumors instantly began that Rachel would be the mother. Rachel played Cindy, a Ph.D. student who’d sat in on Ted’s first class. She turned out not to be the titular mother, but we know that her still-yet-to-be-seen roommate will be. Still, the role—where she’s paranoid that every dude she likes will fall for this magical roommate—was enough to remind women of how much they love Rach. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her soon.

Oh, but there are many more who’ve taken guest roles on “HIMYM”—Bob Barker, Regis Philbin, Tim Gunn and Carrie Underwood, who’ll be appearing this spring. Will J.Lo’s cameo be enough to put the gas into her stalled career? Guess we’ll have to wait and find out.