Whatever Happened to Amanda Bynes?
Kevthewriter wonders whatever happened to Amanda Bynes.
I’ve got a secret: I’m a millennial. From what I heard, most of the bloggers on here are middle-aged and I’m probably the youngest writer here. As a result, the name Amanda Bynes might not mean much to you besides, I dunno, being just another troubled child star.
But I grew up with her Nickelodeon stuff and saw the lows and highs of her career. Therefore, seeing her life go to hell had a bit more of an impact on me than it probably did for many people on this site. But where did it all go wrong? What made her go from cute kid to another troubled child star?
Whatever happened to Amanda Bynes?
Amanda Bynes was a talented girl. As a pre-teen and teen, she had some good comic timing.
She started off in TV shows aimed at the Nickelodeon demographic, including All That (also known as the show that introduced the world to Kenan Thompson, a.k.a. “The Man who will never leave SNL”) and, later, her own show, The Amanda Show.
When The Amanda Show was cancelled in 2002, she starred in the sitcom, What I Like About You, which was also aimed at the pre-teen demographic.
In this show, she moved away from the goofy, over the top characters she played on All That and The Amanda Show and played more of an average teenage girl who was a little quirky and klutzy. She’d end up playing this character in her movies. Over and over again.
And most of the movies she starred in (Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants, Lovewrecked, She’s the Man, and Sydney White) got mixed to negative reviews and were only modestly successful at the box office (except for Sydney White, which bombed but the reviews were more or less the same).
Considering her movies were considered “meh” by both audiences over the age of 13 and critics, as a movie star, she didn’t really stick out from the Hilary Duffs of the world and her movie star career was cut short.
Problem is, she grew up playing larger than life crazy characters yet she was always cast as the average, relatable teen when she was seemingly more suited to playing crazy characters than she was normal characters. Need proof? In one of the movies she made that was successful and did make an impression was Easy A, where she basically played a crazy Christian stereotype (granted, she wasn’t really the reason most people were seeing the movie but still…).
It seems like movie executives were trying to make her the next Hilary Duff or the next Lindsay Lohan when she wasn’t really like that. It didn’t really help that she was given roles that were rather forgettable and generic.
But what else hurt her career is that she was stuck in being in stuff made for the preteen demographic for over 10 years. From 1996-2007, she was basically in movies and TV shows aimed at the Nickelodeon demographic, even when she left Nickelodeon, as she was doing movies set at the preteen demographic from 2003-2007 and had done shows aimed at a similar demographic from 1996-2006.
Unlike Lindsay Lohan, who might still have a career if it wasn’t for her personal life, she didn’t really make a movie that showed audiences she could act and take her seriously as an actress. Instead, she was stuck in one genre from when she was a kid to when she was in her 20’s.
Now was this the only reason for her meltdown a few years ago? Of course not. There were probably multiple factors that led to her infamous meltdown. But one of them might have been that she felt like her parents and PR people were controlling her life.
One thing that showed this is that she actually wanted to branch out and do other things besides tween comedies. In 2008, she said, “I’d love to do something that would shock people, something that’s against type”. An insider who knew her also said, “Everybody had Amanda as a goody-goody. She couldn’t break out of that genre. Her frustration was, ‘I could have played this role; I could have played that role. I’m not getting the Lindsay Lohan roles.”
This frustration might have, if not led her to having said public meltdown, caused her to quit acting in the first place. After all, she did say she didn’t find it fun anymore and she might not have found it fun because she wasn’t getting the roles she wanted. As for what led her to then have that huge meltdown she had in 2013, my best guess is, seeing as she had people controlling what jobs she could and could not take, she probably still had people controlling her even after she quit acting and she couldn’t take it anymore, which led her to flip out and get out of control.
Since 2014, thankfully she seems to have gotten the help she needed and even announced a few months ago she was interested in getting back to acting. If she does act again, I hope she does do that shocking role she’s always wanted to do, if she’s still interested in doing it.