Dear Amanda Bynes,
Let me start off by saying that, as a child, I lent my affections to both the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. When I wasn’t mesmerized by the overall-turtleneck-combo fashion in The Baby-Sitters Club, I was learning the slight but crucial emotional difference between laced and cupped fingers when holding your boyfriend’s hand from As Told By Ginger. When I wasn’t living through my massive crush on Kel, I was living through the water down supernatural cheesiness of So Weird with avid interest. As a bonus, I could even watch it at night – in stark contrast to Are You Afraid of the Dark?, because if I watched it a second after sundown, it’d be a schedule of me re-watching Mary Poppins on VHS until I was reminded of the good in the world before I even thought about sleeping. That said, Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? remain grade-A Canadian exports (available on YouTube. Congratulations, you’re about to waste a lot of time).
Point is, I knew you back then, Amanda. Admittedly not very well, because my mom thought every time you said “Amanda, please!” you would slowly be brainwashing child!Shannon into a higher pitched, demanding voice that would ebb away her reason like the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon of Sanity. Every time you shrilled “bring in the dancing lobsters!”, I felt all of the tendons in my mom’s body coil and tense like a snake who had a rage meter set to 11, only brought down by the sound of the channel switching. Needless to say, the Amanda Show was obviously not on constant rotation on our TV set, but you were present, even at the chagrin of the head of house.
Considering I was ages 6 through 12 while you were filming All That and The Amanda Show, I wasn’t exactly concerned with your future, because I was too concerned with peeling off uniform widths of cheese from my mozzarella cheese stick, but maybe I should have been. Maybe we all should have been.
Amanda, you’ve had some success over the years. You were in a couple teen movies that kept you memorable enough to my generation. Maybe you weren’t at the forefront of our minds, but just like my childhood home, even though you weren’t shrieking obviously in our faces, you were there. There were hushes of a career break, of an ultimate comeback, but the bit roles (e.g. Hairspray) kept the remnant fans satiated and content. Constant surprises of “oh, it’s that girl from my childhood! She wore pigtails then! She’s wearing pigtails now! I feel safe.” made us trust you. Hell, Teen People, which almost could be considered a valid magazine until it disbanded in 2007, called you one of the 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 in 2006. 2006! It was still a magazine back then! You were worth something to the public eye. You were hot.
And then…in 2010, after a Maxim cover shoot that surely haunt my generation’s (dry or non-dry, depending on factors) dreams, you came out with a very bleak statement:
“I know 24 is a young age to retire but you heard it here first I’ve #retired … I don’t love acting anymore so I’ve stopped doing it … Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem” – Amanda Bynes to Twitter, June 2010
….only to “unretire” a month after.
Considering some people had probably stopped considering your acting career to be worth its salt, this was met with mixed reactions, but mostly they fell along the lines of “uh, okay.” We moved on, and so did you. Besides, you looked fantastic at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards, so why would we have to worry? Legs, a mile long. Hair, feathered and hairsprayed into loveliness. Your face looked kind of strange and the shoes could only be described as hideous, but that didn’t matter. You were starting to become America’s child star sweetheart, especially because we needed to wash the aftertaste of other trainwreck child stars from our mouths and minds.
You disappeared after that. I admit, we sort-of forgot about you.
When 2012 came around, you figured it would be your year. Finally, your name would be all over the headlines. Er…well, you weren’t wrong!
March 8, you were pulled over by a cop for talking on your phone while driving and drove away before he could give you the ticket. March 17 and 22, you were caught drunk driving. April 6, you drunkenly clipped a police car. April 10, you were involved in a hit-and-run with another car. May 5, you were involved in another hit-and-run. August 5, you were involved in another another hit-and-run. On August 21, there was another vehicular accident. By this point, your license is suspended. You needed to cope, it was a really embarrassing ordeal, but you’re one of those people who perseveres. Which is why on September 13, you were photographed smoking pot and eating tacos before driving around L.A., only to end up at Home Depot, where you smoked more pot and bought lightbulbs, life still needed to go on! No one was going to hold you back! Also, it’s why when you were caught driving with a suspended license as you plowed your car into the fender of another car on September 14, onlookers could only say “wow. She’s really determined to drive, huh? I kind of wish they’d impound her cars, avoiding the roads is getting harder to do and my emergency food is down to Chef Boyardee.”
You may be telling us what you really want now; you may be launching a perfume that smells like weed, dashed hopes, and taco bell wrappings. That doesn’t stop the real world from turning and things like, oh, I don’t know, skipping out on the hearings for your mounting legal troubles. It’s hardly in our right to be armchair psychologists, but Amanda, you need help. Badly. It isn’t funny, this isn’t an extended skit for a show, complete with alternate identities and horrible wigs.
All we can hope for is that this is some insane Joachin Phoenix type tomfoolery and you’re actually just incredibly gifted, intelligent, and pulling one over on us. All we can hope for is confirmation that you’re not, actually, nuttier than squirrel poop.
Someone Who Thinks the World Can’t Handle Another Lindsay Lohan
P.S. Delete Twitter.