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October 14, 2015

The What the *#@#%! Were They Thinking? Award: Winner - VIDEOS

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 6th 2008 11:59PM
Neil Patrick Harris and Britney SpearsAs if Britney Spears wasn't having a bad enough year, she is also now the TV Squad staff choice for the most egregious case of miscasting during this 2007-08 season. Yes, friends, for her turns as Abby on How I Met Your Mother, Brit-Brit is the first recipient of The What the *#@#%! Were They Thinking? Award.

Competition for this one was pretty fierce. Michelle Ryan of Bionic Woman barely edged Spears out on the readers' choice poll, and to me she seemed like the obvious choice; there were a lot of things wrong with BW, but Ryan's stiff performance was probably the worst of what was wrong. But by an overwhelming margin, the Squadders thought Britney's casting was the worse offense.

Looking back on her appearances, I can understand the vitrol. It's not that she was awful on the show -- opinions about that are mixed. It's the whole idea and motivation behind her guest stint that most people seem to find so patently offensive.

People are extremely protective of the shows they watch, especially ones that are more in the cultish vein that HIMYM is. Britney's guest stints were seen by many fans of the show as not only a desperate ratings grab, but they also didn't want the show to be the vehicle for the pop star's career rehabilitation.

At least that was the theme I got from some of my fellow Squadders' responses:

"You could have thrown a quarter outside the HIMYM studio and hit an actress that would have done better with that part than Britney did," said Brett. "It was stunt casting at its worst, and I think HIMYM should be above that."

"I vote Brit. No more second chances for her; how about no more career?" was Debra's response.

"It was nothing more than stunt casting, and while she did a passable job with the character, I guess, speaking as an actor I was annoyed that a real comedic actor didn't get a chance to play the part," said Wil.

Look, even the producers of the show acknowledge that ratings were one of the reasons why they decided to bring Brit on when her people approached them. What seems to chap most fans' rear ends, though, is when they brought her back for a second time, giving her more lines in the process. The comments about her on that episode, "Everything Must Go," were much more negative than they were for her first appearance, even though her performance wasn't demonstrably worse. People just seemed to resent the fact that she got so much screen time on one of their favorite shows.

When I asked Carter Bays about that episode, he said that they wouldn't have brought Spears back if they didn't think there were real comedic possibilities for that character, and he said he was proud of the episode. But the defensiveness in his voice told me that fielding Britney questions isn't something he wants to do for the next few years. It makes me wonder if we'll see Abby the nutty receptionist in the next few seasons, even if there's a situation where she should be there.

Anyway, here's another opportunity for you to judge for yourself. The first clip is "all the Britney parts" from "Ten Sessions," compiled by CBS' YouTube elves themselves. The second clip is from "Everything Must Go," where Barney and Abby pretend to be in a relationship to get back at Ted. Is she really that bad in either of these, or is her presence what's distracting you folks?

Either way, I'm sure Brit's crying her eyes out over being the winner; it's got to be the worst news she's gotten all day...

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The It's A Paycheck Award
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The Brought To You By TV Squad Award
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The Arrested Development Award
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The Put Me Out Of This Misery Award
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The Good Riddance Award
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The Reality Shows Have Writers!? Award
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The Jeopardy Award
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The What the *#@#%! Were They Thinking Award
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The Adam Finley Award
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The Nuttiest Fans Award
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The Excellence in Outsourcing Award
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The Most Real Unreal Award

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John D\'arc

"Oh my gawd, Ted! That's funny! you're so FUNNY SMART AND GREAT!"


June 20 2008 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have been more annoyed with the Britney casting if the show was popular. I love HIMYM and if I had to choose between dealing with Britney for an episode (they so should not have brought her back for the second! I hate that she was the girl from the Bracket!) or the not having a fourth season, I will definitely deal with Britney.

June 07 2008 at 2:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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