But to us they'll always be quitters. In the best possible sense.
Because they quit us.
They say Americans love comeback stories, but come on, nothing impresses a nation of fame monsters more than people with the steely strength to walk away from the cameras, from the spotlight, from the audience.
When Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show, he was a legend. Because he stayed away (with one silent exception), because he meant it when he left, he died a god. (Yes, that's how that's supposed to work, Jay Leno.)
Now, we're not ready to assign Carson status to either Bynes or Manzo, but we are ready to award them medals. In an age where you half-suspect (OK, fully suspect) Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi announced their split because it'd been one whole month since they'd had significant prime-time attention, Bynes and Manzo said, See ya.
We don't know if Bynes' denunciation of acting—at age 24, yes, we know—will take. But as much as we enjoyed her spark in The Amanda Show and onward, we hope so. She didn't say, after all, she was retiring from life. Or even Hollywood. How Ron Howard cool would it be if she found success behind the scenes? If she found fulfillment by holding our attention, rather than by trying to be the center of it?
We don't know if Manzo's swearing off of reality TV will last, either—in an interview with Watch With Kristin's Megan Masters, she sounded done with Danielle Staub, which proves her good sense, but hedged on whether she'll return for the RHONJ's season-ending reunion, which proves how hard it is to extract yourself from these things. Just when you think you're out, Bravo pulls you back onto Andy Cohen's couch.
Like Bynes, we hope Manzo stays strong, if only to prove that it can be done. That an off-camera life is possible. That sometimes quitting is the noblest thing ever.
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