WORDS | Thea Halpin
As another teen icon makes a spectacular fall from grace it seems like the hey-day of 00’s child stars is finally over. In the last week the world has screamed “WTF?” as child star Amanda Bynes has totally lost her shit. Bynes, star of such seminal projects as The Amanda Show, What a Girl Wants and She’s The Man, tweeted earlier this week that she would like hip hop artist Drake to “murder” her vagina. Apart from painting a disgusting mental picture, and grotesque thing to subject people to who were innocently browsing their Twitter feed, it seems as if Bynes is just another in a long list of child stars who have stumbled (and fallen down about 15 flights of stairs) as they enter adulthood.
If Parent Trap wasn’t your favourite movie when you were young you were severely deprived. If Mean Girls wasn’t your favourite movie from when it came out to right now you are still severely deprived. However, the freckly face that anchored these triumphant moments of cinema history hasn’t lived up to the potential such quality cinema could have provided. Lindsay Lohan has recently notched up her sixth mug shot, meaning that soon her mug shots will outnumber her films. The Olsen Twins abandoned us to wear fur and pose with Karl Lagerfeld. And who could forget 2007 Britney Spears?
Where on earth did they go wrong? They were so talented and endearing! We all wanted to be best friends with them! What was it about that time that made them crash and burn so spectacularly? Just a few years earlier we would have been watching Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, with her crazy aunts, talking cat and dopey boyfriend. Or Alicia Silverstone: the iconic Cher Horowitz who turned out to be nowhere near as clueless as she seemed. Or Sarah Michelle Gellar, slaying vampires and constantly walking around cemeteries in mini skirts.
In fairness their acting careers haven’t exactly soared since leaving adolescence, yet they have managed to keep two feet on the ground and entire bodies out of police cars. Melissa Joan Hart is now starring in a show called Mel & Joey which has already managed two seasons. Good for you Melissa Joan Hart! Sarah Michelle Gellar was nothing less than perfection in her role as Daphne in the live action version of Scooby-Doo, appeared in nearly every horror movie between 1997 and 2006 and is now filming a pilot with Robin Williams. What could be cooler than a TV show with Robin Williams? Alicia Silverstone has taken a total hippie turn that (apart from feeding her son pre-chewed food creepy bird style) has included writing a book about being a vegan. Plus she has three film projects lined up: Gods Behaving Badly, Jesus in Cowboy Boots and Ass Backwards (they may have porn-esque names but are actually movies.)
Why can't our childhood heroes be like this? So much drug taking and drinking and sleeping around and DUI’s are destroying our images of those oh-so-awesome child stars who got to skip school and live it up in Hollywood. Can't the stars of Nickelodeon and Disney (the pre-promise ring generation) slowly transition into adult roles that entertain, yet somehow manage to echo our lives? Then we can watch them grow and change and relate to them and wish they were our best friends until the day we all die. Is this really too much to ask?
There are the occasional exceptions. Apart from agreeing to be in Twilight, Dakota Fanning has continued to be a wholesome little over-achiever. Hilary Duff is still cool and has never been arrested, photographed naked or tweeted obscenities about her genitals. Good job Hilary, you rock (and please marry Gordo.)
Good luck to the next generation of child stars. Growing up in an era of Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey-Boo-Boo, it looks like you are going to need it.