The "Dawson's Creek" and "Mercy" star is making his return to television in the ABC pilot "Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23" as a heightened version of himself, according to Deadline. Considering he's at the height of his comedic career thanks to his Funny or Die videos, it definitely seems like the right direction.
Van Der Beek is far from the first star to play himself, and though we're sure he's got his bases covered, here are some previous examples he could learn a few lessons from.
Neil Patrick Harris
We're looking back to a scary time before "How I Met Your Mother" where NPH was just known for his role as a child star on "Doogie Howser, M.D.." And then we realized how awesome a drugged-up, horny version of Neil Patrick Harris could be in the "Harold & Kumar" movies.
Mike Tyson's appearance in "The Hangover" was so funny because it came completely out of left field. Since Van Der Beek doesn't have that going for him, our advice is to pick up some unexpected and potentially life-threatening pets.
Again, Bill Murray had the whole surprise thing going for him in "Zombieland," but it was more the ridiculous nature of his cameo that made it so hilarious. And, of course, the way he made his departure.
Maybe I'm a bit biased by the fact that I think "S.O.B.s" -- the episode Andy Richter appears in -- is the best episode of "Arrested Development" of all time, but Richter managed to play quintuplets and be self-deprecating all at the same time. A win in our books.
It's impossible to write this article and not mention Larry David. "Curb Your Enthusiam" is basically the heightened version of the "Seinfeld" writer's life, and David was willing to paint himself in a bad light because that's the point of the whole gimmick. Van Der Beek should take a page out of David's book and not be afraid to let himself go.
Do you think James Van Der Beek can pull off playing a humorous, fictionalized version of himself? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter!