As we continue to watch Amanda Bynes and post our thoughts about her on various social media forums, it has dawned on me that we are feeding a monster. Bynes has succeeded in becoming something of a tabloid darling thanks to her Twitter rants and bizarre behavior. She's in my newsfeed every day; she receives coverage on the entertainment TV shows every night. We can't escape her, and it's starting to work my nerves. So much so, that I went on my own Amanda Bynes-fueled Twitter rant yesterday.
I began the day by tweeting, "I'm so over the Amanda Bynes Shit Show. Let's all move on and stop giving her a false sense of security that she's not mentally deranged." This led to a few exchanges between a couple of my followers and me, some of which actually referenced Amanda Bynes by her Twitter handle. I read a few other things that were retweeted into my timeline, and then by midday the pièce de résistance had come in -- Bynes herself had posted something about Perez Hilton. She called him an ugly gay bully, and ended the tweet with, "If you like him I won't be your friend." How utterly grade school of her. (This tweet has since been deleted.) The little devil that was sitting on my shoulder encouraged me to make a mockery of this, and I couldn't resist:
All week I've been reading about how "ugly" she thinks everyone is who posts a negative thought about her. It was beginning to sound like a broken record. I guess I snapped. I took part in some more exchanges about her, and then I realized that Amanda herself hadn't sounded off. She didn't call me ugly; she didn't even acknowledge what was going on. She's quick to retweet praise from adoring fans who think she's awesome and address the critiques issued by celebrities, yet she ignored my hateration. That's when I figured it out. Amanda obviously searches for tweets that contain her name. That's how she found the one by Chrissy Teigen that caused her to lash out earlier in the week (Chrissy didn't use Bynes's Twitter handle). There's no blue checkmark next to my name. I don't have millions of followers. I'm an author and a blogger; however, I'm nowhere near being a household name. Translation: I'm hardly worth picking a fight with on Twitter since there would be no media coverage to gain from it. And therein lies the undercurrent of what might possibly be fueling Amanda Bynes's antics. If you examine it closely, this isn't a case of crazy. This is just an actress who is used to receiving attention from performing and doesn't want to give that up.
Vanity Fair posted an article containing clips of Amanda's greatest performances on the Nickelodeon show All That. I realized as I watched the videos that Bynes was groomed at a rather early age to perform in sketch comedy. She was given zany characters to portray and directed to act as outrageously as possible for the purpose of entertainment. She received a paycheck for her acting work, and developed a fan base. While All That launched her career, it possibly planted the seed in her mind that outlandish behavior is rewarded with money attention, and validation. This is pure speculation on my part, but if you think about it, it's completely within the realm of possibilities. After all, don't we, as adults, carry out the lessons we learned as kids? Bynes has been acting since her childhood. It's all she knows. So even though the acting opportunities have become scarce (yes, I'm aware she has stated she retired by choice), she doesn't know how to flick the "off" switch when it comes to performing. She likes the attention, and to some degree, probably craves it.
Amanda Bynes hasn't gone off the deep end. She is simply manipulating the masses in our current Reality TV obsessed cultural climate. We root for Real Housewives who are catty and argumentative. We tune in and cheer on as people air their dirty laundry in front of cameras on a weekly basis. The genre is giving credibility to the notion that bad behavior can, and should, be rewarded with fame and adulation. This is working in Bynes's favor. She might have her fair share of detractors, but she also has die-hard supporters. If you think I'm making that up, just look at her Twitter account. She has one million plus followers, and the majority of them think she is amazing. (There's your study on the long-term effects of prolonged exposure to Reality TV.)
Could she benefit from visiting a therapist? Absolutely. She does need help transitioning to an off-camera life. But when you think about it, it's really no different from the Average Joe who makes a career change and needs assistance with the adjustment. We're just making a bigger deal out of it because this career transition involves a celebrity.
What a girl wants? What a girl needs? The answer to that is attention. If you're wondering when the fascination with all things Amanda Bynes will come to an end, you might be waiting a long time. The world has become her stage, and we are attending her show by the droves. Every outburst on Twitter earns her more followers, more retweets, and more media coverage -- and it doesn't seem to show any sign of slowing down. While I was working on this entry, I looked up her IMDb profile, and interestingly enough I read the following: "A prodigiously talented comedienne, she promises to have a lifelong career."
Judging from the performances we have been seeing lately, truer words were never spoken.