New Hulu series explores the horrors of the life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard

New Hulu series explores the horrors of the life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Eva Allison, staff writer


Premiered on Wednesday, March 20, Hulu’s newest limited-television series, The Act, is an intense and disturbing reminder of the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King). Influenced by Michelle Dean’s article “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered” and the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, the series explores the deeply flawed relationship between Gypsy and her mother, Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette).


Having intrigued the nation in 2016, the story of Gypsy and Dee Dee is utterly haunting. With King and Arquette as the stars, the show recalls how Gypsy endured physical and emotional trauma due to Dee Dee’s later alleged Munchausen by proxy. Intentionally making Gypsy ill for most of her childhood, as well as claiming that her daughter had multiple sight, sleep, muscle, chromosomal, and hearing disorders, Dee Dee was keen on accepting responsibility and heaps of praise as Gypsy’s primary caregiver. Gypsy longed for romance and friendship–both of which were denied by her mother–and she eventually discovered that her mother’s claims about her health were false. Gypsy began a secret, online relationship with boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, and the pair plotted a plan to murder Dee Dee. Their plan was successful, but their escape was not–they were both eventually found and trialed for murder. Gypsy was sentenced to a 10 years for second-degree murder, while Godejohn was sentenced to a life in prison without parole for first-degree murder.


The Act, although rooted off of the death of Dee Dee, shines a massive, explosive light on their straining mother-daughter relationship. King’s portrayal of Gypsy is precise and diligent. She depicts Gypsy’s inner loneliness and longing for connection in such a raw manner. The actress, having shaved her head and completed extensive research about Gypsy, is successfully able to show both of Gypsy’s derailing physical and mental states, as well Gypsy’s signature high-pitched voice. The scenes in which Gypsy is extremely upset or rebellious are heartbreaking, and King’s extreme talent was utilized greatly throughout the series. As for Arquette, it is easy to see the passion Dee Dee has for her daughter, although not always sincere. Arquette illustrates Dee Dee’s manipulative behaviors and shows how behind the scenes Dee Dee was a dangerous mother. Dee Dee’s fear and determination is constantly seen in Arquette’s eyes, and the pairing of Arquette and King allows the show to genuinely reveal how traumatizing this situation was.


Those working behind-the-scenes, such as the showrunners Michelle Dean and Nick Antosca, are deserving of similar praise. The way the story is told is on the whole captivating. Having scenes that show both the discovery of Dee Dee’s demise, as well as events from Gypsy’s teenage years, allows for suspense and discomfort to continuously build. Overall, the show is breathtaking and disturbing, which is exactly the point. The first four episodes are currently available on Hulu, with the rest being released on a weekly schedule.