The Strange, Sad Saga of Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes after her arrest in New York. (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/fMEn-_Rx5b8)

Amanda Bynes after her arrest in New York. (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/fMEn-_Rx5b8)

If you’ve followed the bizarre breakdown of Amanda Bynes in any capacity, you’ve realized that this clearly isn’t some type of Joaquin Phoenix-style performance art. It has officially passed the point of having any chance at being funny. In fact, it passed that point a long time ago.

Bynes’ unraveling began all the way back in March 2010 when she was fired from the Farrelly brothers movie “Hall Pass.” A few months later in June, she would announce her retirement from acting on Twitter, only to un-retire in July. From that point until the beginning of 2012, Bynes stayed away from the public eye.

Between March and September of 2012, however, Bynes would get a DUI, commit two hit-and-runs, have her license taken away, and then be charged with driving with a suspended license. A year later, her behavior started to change from simply irresponsible to signs of serious mental distress. Bynes began attacking other celebrities on Twitter, particularly Rihanna, whom she called “ugly,” only to later backtrack and claim that the tweets were fake and “mocked up” by someone else. Soon after, Bynes would be arrested for allegedly throwing a bong out of her apartment window, even though those charges would be dropped when police couldn’t prove it was a bong and not a vase, as Bynes had claimed. She would later accuse the police of sexual harassment.

Most recently, on Monday she was arrested in Los Angeles after allegedly starting a gasoline fire in a stranger’s driveway. Bynes is still facing drug charges in New York, which might explain her recent decision to return to California. Just so you know, I’ve left out many details of this story here but, as you might suspect, you can read about all of her escapades in great detail online.

Hopefully, though, this disturbing three-year run will have a positive ending. Yesterday, Bynes’ parents filed court documents asking a judge in California to impose a conservatorship on their daughter. The judge agreed and Bynes has been placed under a 5105, which is a California Welfare and Institutions Code for an involuntary psychiatric hold. A normal 5105 lasts 72 hours and is initiated if a subject presents “danger to others” or “danger to self” but could last as long as two weeks depending on results from Bynes’ mental evaluation.

While I’m glad to see Bynes get the help she obviously needs, I still am amazed that it’s taken this long for someone to step in. At the same time, I know I shouldn’t be because of how mental health issues are stigmatized in this country. Of course it shouldn’t have taken that long, but Bynes’ story has followed the exact same path of so many celebrities and, I’m willing to bet, everyday people before her.

First, her actions were mocked and laughed at for a prolonged period of time, even when there were clear signs that she was in serious mental distress. Then, once it was dangerously close to being too late (and in many cases in our country it ends up being too late), she was offered help. Now, we will yell angrily at those who obviously aren’t as compassionate as the rest of us and are still mocking her, even though we were pretty much just doing that a few days ago.

So while I’m glad to see that Bynes is getting help, I’m even more hopeful that this high-profile case will lead to honest discussions about mental health issues in this country. Still, just because I’m hopeful doesn’t mean I’m not realistic. If I was a betting man, I’d bet we’d see a 1,000 more Amanda Bynes (Justin Bieber is already on that path) before we see that discussion take place. And that aspect makes this story and others like it all the more tragic.

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CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Phil Mickelson Reminds Us Why We Love Sports
Monday’s Viral Video: For Those Senior Citizens About to Rock, We Salute You
Beertopia: Inlet Brewing Company’s Monk in the Trunk
“World War Z” Moves Too Fast for Its Own Good
Ilya Kovalchuk’s Retirement Won’t Worry NHL

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One response to “The Strange, Sad Saga of Amanda Bynes

  1. Thanks for writing this, refreshing insight after listening to options on talk shows that these actions are just part of growing up. Not options but opinions.

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