Why I Can't Laugh at Amanda Bynes
It’s kind of hard to avoid Amanda Bynes lately. The former child star’s very public meltdown is being talked about practically everywhere, with both journalists and comedians breathlessly discussing her bizarre actions, bewigged court appearances and her antagonistic behavior on Twitter. And as an observer of pop culture, I confess that I find it fascinating to watch this all play out. But as a mother, all I find it to be is tragic.
Right now there’s only speculation about what exactly the 27-year-old Bynes is going through, be it drug use or mental illness or what have you, but every time I see a story about her, I wonder why nobody seems to be helping her. She moves back and forth from New York City to Los Angeles, has very disturbing incidents in public places and has been arrested more than once. And just this week, she was placed on a 5150, an involuntary psychiatric hold in California, for setting a small fire in a residential area. Yep---she's starting fires.
The hold could last up to two weeks if they find that she’s a danger to herself or others, and I sincerely hope that’s what happens because now her parents finally seem like they’re trying to get control over her situation. Per various reports, Rick and Lynn Bynes are considering a conservatorship for Amanda, which is similar to what Britney Spears’ dad created for her in 2008. And while Britney never really rebounded into the mega-star she was before all that, she certainly seems to be healthy and doing well now.
Of course I don’t know how Rick and Linda raised Amanda, but I’m going to give them somewhat of a pass for not helping her before now because it probably wasn't easy. After all, she’s a grown woman of 27 and has her own funds and people close to her who desperately don’t want to give up their gravy train. And if it’s indeed mental illness, they probably couldn’t have predicted that this drama would happen or been able to stop her erratic behavior in advance.
Of course it’s easy to make jokes about Amanda and laugh at her crazy tweets. Her wigs alone are total comic fodder. But it’s important to remember that she’s still someone’s (possibly sick) daughter. I hope the Bynes are able to do their best for Amanda in the coming weeks. If their intentions are good and their resolve as parents is strong, they’ll hopefully save her life.