Is Amanda Bynes the next celebrity car crash waiting to happen?
If the earlier, and apparently still ongoing, public meltdowns of Britney Spears, Tara Reid, Lindsay Lohan have taught us anything, it's the ability to pinpoint when a young female star is on the very brink of a complete mental collapse. In the case of Bynes, the cry for help seems to get louder with each passing day.
In fact it was only yesterday that the 27-year-old actress was conspicuously seen in New York holding a FedEx envelope in front of her face in a pretty obvious half-hearted attempt to avoid paparazzi as she left the gym.
On Twitter yesterday, Bynes announced she had shaved her head "because of hair damage from someone," and shortly after went on a vicious Twitter rant against the openly-gay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, calling him "ugly," "the scum of the earth" and claiming he "makes being gay look bad."
A few weeks ago, Bynes was spotted wandering the streets of New York in a dazed and confused state, though she took time to post pictures of her new double face-piercings to her Twitter account. She no longer looks anything like the fresh-faced girl who starred in the sitcom What I Like About You and feature films like What a Girl Wants and Hairspray.
Not surprisingly, Twitter has become the primary soapbox for Bynes to apprise her 600,000 followers on her latest life developments.
Just last week, Bynes announced on Twitter that she suffered from an eating disorder ("I have an eating disorder so I have a hard time staying thin"). A few days later she tweeted that she was officially incommunicado with her own parents: "I don't speak to my parents anymore, they don't talk to reporters on my behalf. Don't believe anything you write about me unless I tweet it."
And classy? In late March, Bynes expressed her admiration for the Toronto-born rapper Drake with the tweet: "I want @drake to murder my vagina."
This current run of erratic behaviour is nothing new for Bynes. In the past year she was arrested for a DUI, a hit-and-run accident and two instances of driving with a suspended license.
It seems like every day is a new adventure for Bynes, who hasn't acted professionally since the 2010 teen comedy Easy A. Desperate for attention in any form, Bynes is hellbent on becoming the next Lindsay Lohan: A tabloid harridan more famous for her wretched public behaviour than for any accomplishments in the arts.
But there's a notable difference to this pending car crash. Lohan clearly has the constitution of a dockworker and in her rare moments of clarity, as on last week's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, she can still rally long enough to appear both presentable and employable. In a pinch, Lindsay can still sell Lindsay.
Based on recent events, Bynes doesn't seem nearly as hardy. At her current accelerated rate, she's moving more toward the cautionary case of Anna Nicole Smith, a former Guess model and sometime actress who died of an accidental drug overdose before her 40 th birthday.
Much like Smith in the latter stage of her sad career–or for that matter, like Marilyn Monroe in her final days–Bynes is needy and confused and seemingly moving like a moth toward a flame. The fact that her breakdown seems inevitable doesn't make it any less tragic.
And although Bynes has been in the entertainment business since she was seven, there's one important fact that she can't, or won't, accept: The very panting public that sustains the media machine from which she so desperately seeks attention isn't anticipating her career comeback.
They're waiting for her to expire.