Monday, April 30, 2012

Everybody lay off my girl Amanda

Everybody needs to lay off Amanda Bynes right now. Seriously.

You may remember that I adore Amanda Bynes. It seems that she may be going through a rough time right now and whether the recent rumors are true or not, I'm still pretty irritated by the stories in the media about her lately.

According to the Internets, Bynes was arrested in April on suspicion of DUI. Yeah, not good, I know. But I'm sorry, one DUI arrest (or suspected DUI - Bynes claims that she was not drunk at the time of her accident and that she blew a "zero" on the Breathalyzer) does not automatically mean that she is a "troubled starlet" or "child star gone bad" or any of the other ridiculous phrases used to describe her in the past month.

I don't take drunk driving lightly. It's not something I do and I know people whose lives have been personally affected by it in a bad way, so yeah, I'm not going to defend a DUI no matter who the driver was. But... one DUI does not automatically make you a terrible person, nor does it necessarily ruin your life in an instant. A DUI most certainly has the potential to be life-altering (and life-ending) but it's not fair for the media to decide that because Bynes may have made one mistake, that she's suddenly on a downward spiral.

TMZ and other trashy gossip sites keep using the fact that she had been "frequentiing the Hollywood party scene" and going to bars and clubs as evidence that she's in trouble. But sorry, going to bars doesn't automatically mean you have a problem. I go to bars all the time. You know why? Because I'm an adult. Maybe because Bynes was a beloved star at such a young age and we've watched her play teenagers for over a decade, people forget that she is actually 26 years old. Well beyond legal drinking age and certainly allowed to go to a nightclub if she feels like it. Even now. People make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes include alcohol, but not every person who makes an alcohol-related mistake is an alcoholic. We all have made regrettable decisions. I don't believe that Bynes would be taking a DUI arrest lightly, but everyone calling for her to go to rehab needs to shut up because we have no idea if she has a drinking problem at this point.

And I think a very special "fuck you" has to go out to the TMZ writer who wrote this garbage:

Amanda Bynes  just went to an L.A. tow yard to pick up the black BMW she allegedly crashed into a cop car this morning ... wearing the exact same hoochie outfit she wore during the arrest.
Bynes -- who was clutching a bottle of water -- was clearly suffering from a painful hangover
I was especially pissed off by the write-up Bynes got in the OMG! by Yahoo! slideshow entitled "Child Stars Gone Bad":
Amanda Bynes was hilarious as the 13-year-old star of her own sketch comedy program, “The Amanda Show,” which premiered on Nickelodeon in 1999, and as the younger sister on the WB's “What I Like About You" three years later. She even headlined movies like 2003's "What a Girl Wants." The young actress charmed audiences all the way to the bank, earning an estimated $2.5 million in 2007, enough to land her at No. 5 on the Forbes' annual list of the top-earning celebrities under 21 by the ripe old age of 20 in 2007.
But Bynes hasn't acted often in the years following her last TV series, which ended in 2006. She starred in the movie version of the musical "Hairspray" and college comedy "Sydney White" in 2007, a couple TV movies, and the 2010 comedy "Easy A." She’s now becoming better known for her off-screen antics that include retiring and unretiring from acting via her Twitter account last year, and her arrest for suspicion of DUI as she left Hollywood club Greystone Manor on April 6.
Um, what the fuck?

How can they write that she "hasn't acted often in the years following her last TV series" and then go on to list all of the acting that she did in those years. Starring in three movies and "a couple" TV movie between 2006 and 2010? That sure sounds like a lot of acting, no? According to her IMDB page, in the years following the end of "What I Like About You" in 2006, she appeared in "She's The Man" (2006), "Hairspray" (2007), "Sydney White" (2007), "Living Proof" (2008), "Canned" (2009), and "Easy A" (2010), not counting non-starring TV appearances. That's at least one film a year! (In fact, she's appeared in at least one film or show a year since 1996! That's pretty impressive and I know there are plenty of seasoned actors older than her who can't claim the same stats.)

I also object to the reference to her "off-screen antics". Her "antics" don't include retiring and unretiring, they solely consist of them.(She's been criticized for over-sharing on Twitter, but I can't even dignify that one. It's Twitter. That's kind of the point.) They make it seem as though she is a fickle child star who quits and un-quits every few days. She didn't actually "unretire" and go back to acting; she was simply promoting the film "Easy A" (which she was absolutely brilliant in by the way) and she's been very open about the fact that her "retirement" isn't necessarily permanent. She just needed some time off, having been acting since she was 7 years old.

We get so attached to our celebrities, that sometimes it's hard to accept when they decide they want to stop acting. (I myself was pretty bummed when she retired, not just because it meant that she would never fulfill my remake casting fantasy of starring in "Sixteen Candles" opposite Channing Tatum.) But celebs don't exist solely for our amusement. They're human beings and sometimes they want to have lives outside of the entertainment industry. She's been acting since she was 7 - she's allowed to take a break! So I get pretty annoyed when people have criticized her decision to "retire", have claimed that her career was dwindling or suffering (it wasn't; maybe now it has, but that's sort of how not-acting works) or that the alleged dwindling has upset her and caused her to "misbehave". Just shut up.

The comparisons to Lindsey Lohan also piss me off because they are completely unfair (and apparently Bynes feels the same way). No offense to LiLo, but there's no reason to assume that Bynes would be headed down the same road (no pun intended) as Lohan. Bynes has been arrested for one suspected DUI and she got a previous ticket for talking on the phone while driving (gasp!) so the comparisons make no sense other than the fact that both were beloved child stars and are both female. Men in Hollywood get away with a hell of a lot more than women do and that's really sexist and unfair. Why does Charlie Sheen still have a career? Why does Chris Brown still have a career? Why does Mel Gibson still have a career? Why does Shia LaBeouf still have a career? One suspected DUI and Bynes is "in trouble" but we're so quick to forgive those assholes?

I'm not in Amanda Bynes' life and I'm certainly not in her head. So I can't say whether she's really going through something or just made one regrettable mistake. I can't. But I know that all these anonymous "sources" the gossip blogs keep trusting probably can't really speak for her either. If she's fine, then all this speculating and rumor spreading needs to fucking stop. And if she isn't fine? Then all this speculating and rumor spreading needs to fucking stop. Period.

PS: By the way, love the lilac hair Amanda.

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