The Act Review, new show based on real life events brings forward moral ambiguity


A single mother and her young, disabled daughter move into a new bright-pink house — built just for them by Habitat for Humanity — located in a small town. Seemingly innocent, right? Well, yes, up until the innocent façade is ripped away when police break down the new house’s front door to find the mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, has been stabbed to death in her bed and the supposedly handicapped daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, is missing. But the scariest part about The Act, the new Hulu original which tells the story of this thrilling murder mystery: It’s a true story.

Moving to Green County, Missouri in 2008, Dee Dee Blanchard, played by Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, is the primary caregiver for her chronically ill daughter, Gypsy Rose, played by Joey King, the same actress from The Kissing Booth. Gypsy Rose’s story is one of deceit, manipulation and abuse. The source of all this torture: her mother. Dee Dee suffers from the mental illness Munchausen syndrome by proxy, an illness that results in a caregiver fabricating an illness for the individual under their care because they desire the attention and control that comes from taking care of someone who is sick. In these cases, the vulnerable ones, who are typically small children, are not conscious or consenting of their situation, making this behavior child abuse.

Dee Dee claimed Gypsy suffered from Sleep Apnea, a chromosomal disorder, hearing and vision problems, muscular dystrophy making her dependent upon a wheelchair, and an allergy to sugar. Dee Dee even shaved Gypsy’s head making it look like she was undergoing chemotherapy for terminal cancer, treated Gyspy’s saliva glands with botox and removed many of Gypsy’s teeth, replacing them with dentures. Dee Dee even lied about Gypsy’s age, claiming she was 15, with the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, when she was actually 19.

The Act starts right around the time Gypsy Rose begins questioning her mother’s claims. One after another Gypsy starts uncovering all the lies, all the unnecessary procedures she had to undergo, all the donations her mother accepted from charity organizations, and all the disabilities that her mother claimed she had, when in fact she didn’t. Gypsy soon begins rebelling against her mother. She starts a secret Facebook page and meets many mysterious men on it. Pretty quickly Gypsy begins enlisting these men for help to either run away or get rid of her mother.

The Act jumps from five years prior, to the present as the police are trying to solve Dee Dee’s murder. The Act does a good job at bouncing the role of the bad guy between Gypsy and Dee Dee, making the story more intriguing. Who in this story is the real victim? Watch the show and follow the story as it develops to decide for yourself. The third episode was released March 27, and episode four is scheduled to be released April 3 on Hulu.