The (Potential) End of The Amanda Bynes Show

amanda bynesDear Reader,

I try to stay away from celebrity gossip on this website as much as possible because I do not believe in spreading rumors and looking through people’s business when such business should remain private. However, there are times when news of a celebrity (which is confirmed true) sparks a larger debate. There are also times when a celebrity that I have liked and followed in the past does something that grants a discussion. Amanda Bynes qualifies as such a case.

I know that there has been a lot written about Ms. Bynes in the past few months. There are so many articles that we have been subjected to. Most have seen the shaved head, the wigs, and the dog that Amanda has been running around with lately. Those who have investigated the case more may have read the tweets, the “ugly” comments directed at people like Drake and Michelle and Barack Obama, the arrests made, the ambitions to be a rap artist and clothing designer, and so on. There are a lot of places one could start at.

However, while some reports suggest that this has been a decade-long problem, it seems like the trouble began when Amanda was replaced in the adult comedy film Hall Pass. It was soon after this, in June of 2010, that Amanda officially “retired” from acting (by writing on her Twitter account, “I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it”), then “unretired” in July of 2010, then retired again in September of 2012. Between March of 2012 and May of 2013, she has been ticketed, arrested, charged for two hit and run incidents (which were later settled out of court), given three years of driving probation, arrested again (in which the infamous and alleged foot-long marijuana bong was thrown out of the 36th floor of her apartment), and hospitalized with a 5150 hold (meaning 72 hours of involuntary hospitalization), which has just now been extended for two additional weeks.

This is not the Amanda Bynes that I thought I knew. This is not the Amanda Bynes that I know in my heart still exists. It is clear that she has been going through troubling times. But let’s go back to earlier times when Amanda was starring in such shows as Figure It Out, All That,  The Amanda Show (which she landed when she was only thirteen), and What I Like About You, and staring in films like Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants (a personal favorite), She’s the Man, and Sydney White.  I can’t tell you how many times I watched these shows and films as a child, particularly The Amanda Show (which featured wonderful characters like fan-obsessed Penelope Taynt, Judge Trudy—with her infamous dancing lobsters, Crazy Courtney,  Amber—who “oozes” popularity, ungraceful Katie Klutz, Mother Caboose, and other roles) and the comedy/drama What a Girl Wants (which features Amanda Bynes as father-searching Daphne Reynolds). There was something about Ms. Bynes that was different from other celebrities. She was never just acting. She could turn even half-hearted writing into golden memorable lines because of the way that she delivered it and the amount of energy and passion that she put into her work. She had a gift.

This gift began earning her fame when she was seven. It’s been two decades and she continues to be in the (increasingly bright) spotlight. It’s no doubt a lot of pressure. Though the last film she acted in was three years ago, the media continues to draw attention to her (of which I admit to being partially responsible for by writing this post). Most likely, this pressure did not cause any mental illness, though it could add to the intensity of the symptoms.

Nevertheless, the state of her mental health has not been properly diagnosed yet, but is a valid concern to have. While some may claim that she is drawing attention to herself and is merely doing all of this to make the headlines, the behavior seems to have reached an extreme degree. Wearing different colored wigs, dancing in the streets (allegedly), and posting odd tweets on Twitter may be one thing, but throwing bongs out the window (or a plant vase, as Ms. Bynes claimed it was, though both could have killed a passerby on the streets) and trying to set fire to a neighbor’s house is on an entirely different level. As someone who has lost touch with reality during different points of my life, I can assure you that mental illness is not done for attention, but is a serious issue that can envelope a person completely. Based on the information above, I firmly believe that what Ms. Bynes needs is medical attention, which I hope is what she is getting while hospitalized. As mentioned above, she was sectioned a 5250, meaning she will be at the hospital for another two weeks. While it is involuntary, I hope that the time allows for a proper diagnosis. (If not, there is always a 5270, which gives a patient an extra 30 days, though I don’t know if that will be needed and there are currently no reports that indicate a doctor trying to push for that.) Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment can begin.

I look forward to Amanda Bynes’ future creative outputs (no matter if they are in rap, fashion, a return to acting, or something else) and would hate to see mental illness take that future away (and it can and will if treatment does not begin). It is for this reason that I also believe her parents being granted a conservatorship (which reports indicate is what her mother is in the process of doing) is the best thing. No one can do life alone and especially not when caught in a crisis. If you are at a place where you are a danger to yourself and others, you are in a crisis. When you are in a crisis, you need help from others to lighten the load until you can assume regular responsibilities again. This should not matter whether the person in question is a legal adult or not.

However, I am very curious to hear your opinions about this. What do you think of this issue? Should the parents of a legal adult be granted conservatorship if the adult appears incapable of making informed and appropriate decisions? Or should an adult be able to make their own choices, regardless of who it may affect?

Wishing Ms. Amanda Bynes all the best.

Sincerely,

Jumbled Writer

*Photo Courtesy of Zimbio.com.

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15 Responses to The (Potential) End of The Amanda Bynes Show

  1. My heart goes out to AB. I, too, got to know this amazingly gifted comic when she was a little sprout on Nick, naturally funny and talented. My kids and I saw all her movies! All I know now is that I’m very thankful and relieved that she is hopefully in a position to get the care she needs and deserves. Thanks for sharing your great post:)!

  2. I don’t have any interest in Amanda Bynes, but the last paragraph is meaningful to me. We have the concept of durable power of attorney in America, which I can support in true cases. The keyword is “true.” If there is definitive proof that the principal is incapacitated or incapable of making informed decisions (i.e. mentally handicapped), then a competent agent is most definitely needed. As much as I am for personal freedom, legitimate cases of guardianship are necessary.

    • I agree. There is a line between personal freedom and causing damage to yourself or others in a way that goes beyond normal. From what it sounds like, the case has enough proof that conservatorship is needed.
      –JW

  3. My kids used to watch the Amanda Show. It’s sad that someone with such remarkable talent has taken such a downward turn. I think people underestimate what stress can do to you. Amanda has been under stress and in the public spotlight since childhood and this takes a toll. We’ve seen it time and again with other celebrities. In extreme cases, it’s necessary to strip an adult of their freedoms in order for someone to step in. Amanda’s case seems like one in which someone needs to take over until she’s well enough to manage her own life.

    • Indeed, this goes far beyond a normal case. And if you have been in the spotlight for most of your life, it can take its effect on you. To constantly have people watching you would be stressful enough for anyone, let alone someone who may be having signs of a mental illness. Conservatorship may be best for right now.
      –JW

  4. Stress is often the trigger for serious health issues. It appears Amanda is enduring a critic phase in her health. She has my sincerest wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Meanwhile, since I don’t know the entirety of the situation, nor her relationship with her mother/parents, I can’t address whether or not they are the appropriate ones to take conservatorship. Indeed, it appears that Amanda needs someone in her “corner” to help make difficult decisions.
    JW, Thank you so much for bringing this important issue to light so that we can re-examine our thoughts on it, not only in relation to Amanda but to ourselves as well. I have thought of what would happen if I were to become mentally or physically incapacitated. This is the reason my wife of nearly 25 years holds Power of Attorney, and if something should happen to the both of us, since we travel together a lot, our best friend, Barb, holds that Power of Attorney.
    Again, thank you for this thought provoking article.

    • I, too, wish her well with her journey. I think that her time in the lime light is being overlooked by certain sources. It is important to remember that being under such pressure does present certain strains with it. Though I have written an article about her, I do hope that she is able to stay away from what is causing the pressure for right now and focus on getting better. Thanks for stopping by!
      –JW

  5. I don’t know anything about Amanda Byrnes but she sounds like me to be someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that has manifested as dissociative personality disorder. One of the reason’s that an actor does characters so well is that she or he isn’t actually acting.
    As to whether someone’s parents should have guardianship it depends entirely on who they are. Environment plays a huge role in how we are as adults and if the parents are the problem then no I don’t think that they should assume guardianship. As to the issue of adults being able to make their own choices it’s a difficult one. Vanessa Redgrave’s youngest daughter refused treatment after bumping her head skiing. In Canada that is the individual’s right. She died of the seemingly innocuous injury within hours. Should adults lose the right to run their own lives? I would like to say yes when the person is making decisions that are harmful to themselves or other people and that happens temporarily if the person is in imminent danger of hurting her/himself or others but in the long term I’m not really comfortable with people losing their right to make their own choices except in situations such as Alzheimers where the person is clearly no longer able to make choices for her/himself. As someone who suffers from a mental illness (Bi-Polar disorder) I am touchy about my rights – I think that people can get help without relinquishing the right to make decisions for themselves. Squarely on the fence I know but i don’t want someone making my decisions for me even when I’m ill unless I have actually asked for someone to do it.

    • Thank you for this very interesting reply. It is a hard decision to make in terms of when someone should step in and take the reins of someone else’s life. I don’t think that anyone wants to have their life controlled by someone else, but there are exceptions when someone may not be able to control themselves. And the worst is when the person is not even aware of how much help they need. If this is the case with Ms. Bynes, I don’t know. But you also pose another relevant concern, which is whether her parents will be her best bet for safety. I definitely do not know enough about her parents to say, but I hope that their concern for her is genuine. So far, I see no reason to doubt them, but I would hope the judge would look for this when making the decision.
      –JW

  6. Hey JW!

    I’ve read other post about her and I think it’s sad that she’s been suffering in silence for so long. I’m glad she’s now getting the help she needs and deserves. I don’t think anyone should judge or point fingers. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes… you have no idea of what they are dealing with.
    Great post! 🙂
    BTW: Your blog design is one of the coolest I’ve seen in over a year of blogging!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great weekend. Hugs Paula xxx

    • So true. Mental illness should not be blamed on any one person, especially the person going through the illness. I hope that Ms. Bynes is able to find the help and support that she needs, too. From what I can tell (and I know that images can be deceiving), her parents seem like loving people that want to genuinely help the situation. I hope this is true.
      –JW

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