A Review on "The Act", Hulu's Newest Original Series

Warning! There are spoilers for the show.

I remember watching a documentary on YouTube about a girl who was being tried in court for the murder of her mother. I was curious to know what would drive someone to kill a family member, and I think that seeing the documentary truly shocked me. I don't think a lot of people could go through what Gypsy Rose had endured without going suffering from some sort of trauma. Gypsy Rose was being manipulated and abused by her mother. After the story when viral, it was optioned off to Hulu for a television series. 

I believe that Hulu executed the show perfectly, and is able to show viewers what their relationship was truly like. Gypsy both feared and loved her mother, proving how toxic the situation really was. 

Who are Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard? 

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Dee Dee Blanchard (portrayed by Patricia Arquette) is a mother with Munchausen by proxy,  a disorder which made Dee Dee pretend and believe that her daughter, Gypsy Rose (portrayed by Joey King), was younger than she actually was, chronically ill, and disabled. The disorder allowed Dee Dee to physically and psychologically abuse Gypsy and see it as her protecting her daughter. Dee Dee used Gypsy's "illnesses" and "disabilities" to her benefit: they had a house custom-built by Habitat for Humanity to allow Gypsy to use her wheelchair, she received donations from the Ronald McDonald House and Make-A-Wish Donation, as well as other people who felt touched by their stories.

However, people had their suspicions, and the show discusses how the truth of their situation really came about. scott-from-the-act-1553710133108.png

In the show, Dee Dee's deep desire to be needed and fear of Gypsy's independence puts a huge strain on their relationship. In the fourth episode, Stay Inside, Gypsy bought a laptop to talk with men online and one day, Dee Dee discovers it. She destroys the laptop and yells at Gypsy, asking what she is hiding from her. Dee Dee then grabs Gypsy and wrestles her on a bed until Gypsy spits in her face. She crumbles as Gypsy tells her, "I'll just get another [laptop]". From that one scene, you can already tell the dependence that Dee Dee has on Gypsy, and Gypsy's desire to be free and do the same things that girls her age do.

She also chats with Lacey (portrayed by AnnaSophia Robb) about a dating app and what it's like having a boyfriend. Dee Dee overhears their discussion and scolds Lacey for talking to Gypsy about boys, as she, "has the mind of a 7-year-old", not realizing that Gypsy was the one who initiated the conversation. Throughout the show, Gypsy expresses how she wants to experience simple things like kissing, eating sweets, and doing her makeup. Through her secret phone and (was) secret laptop, she is able to text men and watch kissing and makeup tutorials. These simple desires push her to sneak out of the house and meet Scott, her first boyfriend who she met at a comic convention, at the hospital when he gets injured and go back to his house with him. Dee Dee eventually finds her and emotionally manipulates Gypsy to go back home with her. In real life, Dee Dee discovered the two at a hotel and handcuffed Gypsy to her bed for 2 weeks. While the show isn't exact with the events that led to Dee Dee's murder, they still managed to capture the two key points: their toxic relationship and Gypsy's desire for independence. 

What happens next? 

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The next episode airs on April 10, 2019, as a new episode airs every Wednesday. Where the show left off was Nick, Gypsy's new online boyfriend that she met on a Christian dating site, telling Gypsy that he wants to protect her and he would do anything for her. She confessed the abuse her mom had put her through, and she asked if he really would do anything for her. Which means, help plot her mom's murder. I'm really curious how their relationship develops and if Dee Dee discovers it. I will definitely be up at 12 AM and watch the episode as soon as I can. Please binge this series. Hulu definitely killed it with this one.