In memoriam: amandaplease.com
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of amandaplease.com.
Amandaplease.com was the fictional fan website run by Amanda Byne’s #1 fan, Penelope Taynt (played by Amanda herself, because of course). Upon my annual googling of amandaplease, I recently found that the once-perfectly-intact page now leads to nick.com.
This time capsule of our youth is seemingly gone forever; this is the end of an era.
Before I get too caught up in changing my drag queen name to Penelope Taynt — how on earth did that name fly on a children’s show?! — I’d like to say a few words about the contribution amandaplease.com made to society and to my personal life. In 1999, Nickelodeon entrusted an entire television show to 13-year-old Amanda Bynes, who didn’t seem at all phased by what must have been overwhelming show biz pressure!
I immediately coveted the ridiculous half-hour sketch stew that was The Amanda Show.
It starred a kid who MADE. FUN. OF. ADULTS. Amanda was fearless! She was a beautiful girl who wasn’t afraid to look ugly. She did over-the-top impressions of Judge Judy and smacked the cutest boy ever, Drake Bell, in the face with stacks of hay. Instead of trying to win an Oscar, she openly mocked Oscar-nominated films from behind the counter of Blockblister. She bossed around adults like parents and Santa Claus in a way I could only imagine from the privacy of my bedroom.
From my angsty pre-teen perspective, Amanda Bynes was a hero.
Amandaplease.com existed before the internet as we know it was born. Amanda Bynes didn’t have a fan page on Facebook or a popular Vine account to make her comedic genius go viral. In fact, the internet was so new that creating a fan site for yourself felt cocky. Nickelodeon created the buffer of super-fan Penelope Taynt (seriously how was that her name?) to make it seem like Amanda didn’t care about fans. It was her fans that cared about her!
Let’s not forget that amandaplease.com inspired future TV series to publish their own fictional-but-real websites. The Office had a site where fans could buy actual Dunder Mifflin paper from the imaginary company, and there is currently a real-fake tourist destination website for the fictional town of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Now, there are virtually no boundaries between television and the internet. We can literally tweet Amanda Bynes and maybe get a response.
Amandaplease.com was a reminder of a simpler time. A time when Amanda Bynes was just a mega-talented friend of ours, before any of us started smoking weed or worrying we weren’t going to the gym enough. It was a museum dedicated to an era before there were “followers” or LinkedIn or fretting over student loans. Back then, we had dial-up instead of 10 p.m. work emails, and AIM instead of Tinder. A sad part of my heart suspects that Amanda Byne’s contract with Nick officially ended, and that might mean The Amanda Show is actually truly over.
If you’re feeling distraught, a wonderful human has preserved a memory of amandaplease.com on YouTube. I highly suggest watching it to the sound of this melancholy bagpipe diddy.
I’m so sorry for your loss.