“The Act” is a Hulu crime/drama series that began airing on March 20, based on the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard. As a child, she was trapped in her own home and forced by her mother to lie to doctors, other people and herself about being ill for years. The series is packed with shocking scenes of deception, forbidden love and ultimately murder.
It is believed that Dee Dee Blanchard suffered from Munchausen by proxy, causing her to lie to the public as well as to her daughter Gypsy Rose about her being sick. She did this in order to gain sympathy as well as donations and gifts, such as a home that Habitat for Humanity built for them. Her lies were so severe that Gypsy Rose believed that she actually did have many of the fictitious ailments for much of her childhood. Dee Dee even tricked doctors into giving her a feeding tube that she did not need, as well as other pointless operations and ridiculous amounts of medications.
However, Gypsy Rose, as well as some doctors, began to question all of her “conditions” over time, and Dee Dee became increasingly paranoid. She warns Gypsy Rose of what may happen if they admit to their lies, manipulating her to continue to deceive the public. Gypsy Rose becomes increasingly angry about Dee Dee’s abuse and deception.
Gypsy Rose managed to find ways around her mother’s total control, such as buying a laptop without her knowing by sneaking away during a trip to the mall. She signed up for a Christian dating website, met a man through it and eventually admitted to him that she and her mother have been lying about her conditions. He told her that he still accepted her because he had problems himself, and disclosed to her that he had an “evil side” that can be very violent. Throughout the series, there are glimpses of scenes showing the aftermath of the murder of Dee Dee, but the first few episodes are more heavily focused on the buildup to the crime.
Based on documentaries and real interviews with Gypsy Rose, it seems that the TV drama has added in many aspects that are not completely accurate to her actual life. However, that is to be expected from a drama, and does not take away from the series.
“The Act” is very emotionally packed, evoking feelings of frustration, sympathy and even anger. The series masterfully puts viewers in the perspective of Gypsy Rose which brings rise to questions about what they would do in a situation like this.
It is clear that Dee Dee is very emotionally unstable and has a serious problem, which is hard to watch and even brings feelings of sympathy at times. She is so dependent on her daughter, but she ruined so many years of her life and Gypsy Rose felt that she had no other escape but to murder her. If you enjoy true crime, I highly recommend this series. Its gripping plot line keeps you on your toes even if you already have a general idea of what actually happened with the Blanchards.