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Reality On Scripted: When Reality Stars Play Themselves on TV

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Jul 23, 2012 | 4:09pm EDT

michael voltaggio the exesWord on the street is that Top Chef season six winner Michael Voltaggio is going to keep his chef whites on for a visit to TVLand's show The Exes this season. In the episode (slated to air August 15th), In the episode, Stuart (played by David Alan Basche) finds out that Voltaggio (his favorite chef, natch!) is cooking at a party he's attending, and will do whatever it takes to meet his favorite celebrity chef. It's a cute idea that will no doubt play well against Voltaggio's very deadpan presentation, and is a fun cross-pollination between networks.

But this got us thinking: sure, plenty of reality stars try to make the bridge into (for lack of a better term) real acting--attempting to parlay a TV career based on either a real-life skill set (or complete lack thereof in any regard), into one based on actual script-reading and emoting. But, it rarely ever works (you're a shining exception to the rule, Jennifer Hudson) in their favor.

What can often work is the tongue-and-check, self-referential appearance in a show. And for this, Voltaggio isn't the first to embark. No, the reality star cameo is often saved for especially iconic and/or infamous stars, and so we've created a list of some of our favorites, below!

1.) Kim Kardashian on 30 Rock: Arguably the most high-profile and hilarious of the bunch, Kim made a cameo (twice) during the west-coast feed of this season's live episode. Our favorite part (personally) was when she mocked the tepid ratings of the critical darling by comparing them to her Twitter following. Check out the first part of her cameo below:

2.) Christian Siriano on Ugly Betty:Remember when Siriano was known more for his Project Runway catch phrases than his exceptionally-designed clothes? While I'm sure he'd like you to remember the latter, his appearance on ABC's Ugly Betty as himself was certainly enjoyable to watch (featuring a bonus Nina Garcia sighting!):

3.) Snooki on WWE:

When everyone's favorite guidette showed up on the wrestling program it was both unexpected and (therefore) hilarious. We all knew our scrappy little meatball could throw down, and to see her play herself and throw down with a professional wrestler was nothing short of hilariously mindboggling. Skip ahead to 9:30 in the clip for the best bits:

Our notes for Mr. Voltaggio? Keep it lighthearted, fun, and don't take yourself too seriously. Oh, and if you cook something really delicious, please share!

What do you think about when reality stars venture to more scripted fare? Let us know in the comments!

[Image Credit: Bravo]

Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes

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