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New Hulu true crime anthology series—premiere date TBD. The first season will tell the Gypsy Blanchard story. 

From Deadline:

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Joey King (The Kissing Booth) is set as the co-lead opposite Patricia Arquette in the first season of The Act, Hulu’s character-based anthology series from writers Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean and Universal Cable Productions. 

Written by Dean and Antosca and directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, The Actis a seasonal anthology series that tells startling, stranger-than-fiction true crime stories. The first season is based on Dean’s 2016 Buzzfeed article “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered.” It follows Gypsy Blanchard (King), a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother, Dee Dee (Arquette). Her quest for independence opens a Pandora’s box of secrets, one that ultimately leads to murder.

I'm not really sure how Patricia Arquette is going to pull off playing Dee Dee Blanchard but it should be interesting. 

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Another article with the premiere date and a pic of Joey King sporting her Gypsy Blanchard haircut.

ETA: 

And a pic of Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee and Joey King in character:

 

Not feeling the Dee Dee from Patricia in this pic but given that she's killing it in Escape at Dannemora right now, I'm willing to believe her performance in this will be just as incredible.

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S1.E1: La Maison du Bon Reve

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Doting mother Dee Dee Blanchard and her sweet daughter Gypsy arrive in a new neighborhood, where Gypsy feels lonely due to a barrage of medical issues and eager to make friends. But their new neighbors can be nosy, and Dee Dee and Gypsy have secrets to hide.

S1.E2: The Body

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Dee Dee is on a high since Gypsy will be given the “Child of the Year Award,” which makes Dee Dee feel like Mother of the Year. But before the big event, Gypsy has a dental emergency that gets the attention of a skeptical doctor who could expose Dee Dee’s secrets.

Original air date: 3/20/19

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I've seen the HBO documentary about Gypsy and her mother, and I think knowing the real players made this seem kinda meh.  I recently saw Patricia Arquette in Escape from Dannemora and she was really good in it, but I'm not feeling her as Dee Dee so far. The actress playing Gypsy is okay.  Even though she's playing a nice neighbor of the Blanchard's, I just want Chloe Sevigny to have as little screen time as possible - I just don't like her face.   Maybe I'll get more into it as the series progresses.

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I'm just starting the first episode and I'm amazed how much Jaimie looks like Gypsy. I actually wish I didn't know the real story so well. People who don't are going to have a hard time believing that it really happened 

6 hours ago, patty1h said:

just want Chloe Sevigny to have as little screen time as possible - I just don't like her face.   Maybe I'll get more into it as the series progresses.

I used to feel the same till I saw her on Finding your Roots. She was actually very likeable 

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Just finished that first act of The Act, and one thing seems very clear to me-- that mother was abusive! I mean, think about it-- Gypsy is leading a sheltered life because her mother thinks she has all these illnesses and diseases, and her mother subsequently thinks that certain things will make them worse. Gypsy takes one lick of a cupcake at a party, and all of the sudden, her mother rushes in with an epipen like it's the end of the world, then gets her to the ER. I mean, Gypsy didn't even eat a whole cupcake, and that mother is acting like she did.

Granted, for someone who really has an allergy to sugar, you'd need to have that epipen on hand to deal with it at the time of a reaction (as with anything that anyone has allergies to), but in context of the story, I think that Dee Dee just didn't want her daughter to escape the shackles of that sheltered existence, so she immediately used an epipen under false pretense to combat the perceived dangers of sugar to her daughter.

BTW, a question: do you think that when this first-season Act is fully played out (the Gypsy Rose/Dee Dee affair), Warner Bros. or some other studio will put out a first-season DVD/Blu of it, with audio commentary by Joey King, among other things?

Edited by bmasters9

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I just finished part 2, and wow, that was so well done and so hard to watch. I'm still stunned that

Spoiler

Dee Dee wasn't ever caught by medical personnel. 

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I’ve watched the HBO documentary about the Blanchard’s .

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And the jailhouse interview Gypsy did on a show, I think it was 20/20 or Dateline. This poor girl, classic Munchhausen’s, she had a crazy life. I never understood how DeeDee managed to get doctors to diagnose all the medical conditions her daughter never had. 

The actress playing Gypsy is killing it and I like Patricia Arquette and think she’s doing a good job playing Dee Dee. I’m looking forward to the next two episodes. 

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7 hours ago, bmasters9 said:

Just finished that first act of The Act, and one thing seems very clear to me-- that mother was far overprotective! I mean, think about it-- Gypsy is leading a sheltered life because her mother thinks she has all these illnesses and diseases, and her mother subsequently thinks that certain things will make them worse. Gypsy takes one lick of a cupcake at a party, and all of the sudden, her mother rushes in with an epipen like it's the end of the world, then gets her to the ER. I mean, Gypsy didn't even eat a whole cupcake, and that mother is acting like she did.

Granted, for someone who really has an allergy to sugar, you'd need to have that epipen on hand to deal with it at the time of a reaction (as with anything that anyone has allergies to), but in context of the story, I think that Dee Dee just didn't want her daughter to escape the shackles of that sheltered existence, so she immediately used an epipen under false pretense to combat the perceived dangers of sugar to her daughter.

BTW, a question: do you think that when this first-season Act is fully played out (the Gypsy Rose/Dee Dee affair), Warner Bros. or some other studio will put out a first-season DVD/Blu of it, with audio commentary by Joey King, among other things?

That's the thing about Munchausen by Proxy,though. Deedee KNEW Gypsy didn't really have these illnesses and diseases. She wasn't being "overprotective" because she feared for Gypsy's life-she reacted in those ways because A) she didn't want to give the ruse away to others and B) it was part of her manipulation of Gypsy. She knew that cupcake and soda wouldn't hurt Gypsy, but she couldn't let her know that she wasn't really allergic to sugar. The whole thing was about control. MBP always is. 

Helicopter parenting, overprotectiveness, etc. is a much different ballgame from MBP. MBP is about manipulation, control, and deception. Just about everything she did, from lying to Gypsy about how old she really was, to lying to doctors about family history, was done in order to maintain the ruse. 

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Hey guys --- there's a mod note right above the area you post. Please be sure to use spoiler tags when talking about real-world articles/documentaries you've read or seen about something that's not related to an already aired episode for those who wish to remain unspoiled by the outcome. After the series ends, you don't need to use the spoiler tags anymore.

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14 hours ago, Melina22 said:

I'm just starting the first episode and I'm amazed how much Jaimie looks like Gypsy.

Joey, you mean?

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54 minutes ago, bmasters9 said:

Joey, you mean?

Yes! I realized my mistake later. When I first heard she was playing Gypsy I couldn't see it, but she's actually doing incredibly well. I don't love Patricia as Dee Dee quite so much, but she's still pretty good. Maybe I'll like her more in future episodes. (And by like her more I mean Patricia as the actress. I don't expect to find Dee Dee more sympathetic.) 

Edited by Melina22
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Dee Dee was creeping me out the way she infantilized Gypsy. The girl was a teenager and she was being treated like a 6 year old. Dee Dee wasn't just overprotective of Gypsy - she was deliberately isolating her from everyone else so that she was completely dependent upon Dee Dee for everything. She was deliberately withholding and manipulative (case in point: not giving Gypsy her new dentures until just before going onstage to receive her award). It's sickening to see the way Dee Dee treated her daughter.

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I’ve been fascinated by this case since I first heard about it, so I knew it was only a matter of time before they made a movie/miniseries out of it.

Spoiler

Admittedly I wasn’t super sympathetic to Gypsy early on...I felt bad about what she went through but I believe she was in on the con later on in her life. But after watching the first two episodes of this has softened my views a bit.

That scene of her after her dental surgery as she’s sobbing and looking in the mirror was heartbreaking. And to see how her mother isolated her...I do get it. Her mother was a disgusting person.

Random: I was THIS close to naming my daughter Gypsy Rose. I think it’s such a beautiful name. Glad I saved her the Google alerts 😂

Edited by Giant Misfit · Reason: added spoiler tags
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On 3/23/2019 at 2:07 PM, Angelsmom1009 said:
Spoiler

Admittedly I wasn’t super sympathetic to Gypsy early on...I felt bad about what she went through but I believe she was in on the con later on in her life.

Spoiler

I don't think she had the cognitive abilities to truly understand the nature of the con. Not because of any condition but because of the complete and utter arrested development her life with her mother ensured for her. My son is only 6 but I can see how drastically his development and understanding of the world comes from his peer relationships and the media he consumes. I (like most normal parents) go out of my way to open his eyes to the world and teach him how to interact, to tell right from wrong, to think things through, etc. But that's not enough for him to develop true social skills, real empathy, an understanding of how he needs to act around people, how to compromise and fully engage in the world.

Gypsy Rose was only given an extremely limited view of the world and her mother did absolutely everything to minimise her development.

Spoiler

Unfortunately the tool she did have to access the outside world, the internet, is full of potentially toxic material/people that even the most socially savvy person can be fooled by. That poor girl didn't have a chance. I'm not massively aware of her case but I truly don't think she should have been imprisoned. She was her mother's victim and she her upbringing made her prey to a dangerous man online. She needed/needs help, lots and lots of it. And possibly careful monitoring for life as her upbringing may unfortunately make her a danger to others. Sending her to prison has probably exacerbated the danger she may present rather than mitigate it.

Edited by Giant Misfit · Reason: added additional spoiler tags
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This comment pertains to the 2nd episode. Don't look if you haven't yet watched it.

Spoiler

IMHO GypsyRose should have been given an award instead of a prison term. Her actions were self-defense after years of being abused by a psychopath.

 
Edited by preeya
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Just watched the first two episodes. It's pretty good watching, I was hoping to find another limited series to get into after watching Dirty John, and voila.   I hope Joey and Patricia are up for Emmys next year, they are both very good in this.

It was disappointing when Gypsy didn't take the opportunity that the doctor gave her to confide, but I guess she was scared, wth would she do if she was taken away from the only parent she had, even if she was a terrible parent? I'm glad the doctor figured out what was going on though and tried to step in, although, when is she going to notice that she is missing one of her prescription pads?

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35 minutes ago, newyawk said:

I'm glad the doctor figured out what was going on though and tried to step in, although, when is she going to notice that she is missing one of her prescription pads?

It looked like the prescription pad had another doctor's name on it, a Dr. Henry something, I think.

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1 hour ago, junemeatcleaver said:

It looked like the prescription pad had another doctor's name on it, a Dr. Henry something, I think.

Here's the prescription pad: Dr. Evan Harley. It was on the table when the social worker was interviewing Gypsy.

RxPad.thumb.JPG.39747e55c1f17746522df8ae090919c5.JPG

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On 3/21/2019 at 11:01 AM, patty1h said:

I've seen the HBO documentary about Gypsy and her mother, and I think knowing the real players made this seem kinda meh.  I recently saw Patricia Arquette in Escape from Dannemora and she was really good in it, but I'm not feeling her as Dee Dee so far. The actress playing Gypsy is okay.  Even though she's playing a nice neighbor of the Blanchard's, I just want Chloe Sevigny to have as little screen time as possible - I just don't like her face.   Maybe I'll get more into it as the series progresses.

I'm the opposite - I love Chloe in anything! I thought Patricia was amazing in this too.

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S1.E3: Two Wolverines

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Dee Dee makes Gypsy play dress up for a costume convention, where they each attract charming men who could dangerously complicate their insular relationship. And Gypsy is starting to question the lies her mother tells her — especially about how old she really is.

Original air date: 3/26/19

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I forgot to mention after last week's episodes that Gypsy spitting out a tooth was like my living nightmare. It seriously creeped me out!

I have liked AnnaSophia Robb since The Carrie Diaries so I have been enjoying her on this show.

I had to laugh when Gypsy said, "He's going to take me far away from here to some place really special - like Arkansas, maybe?"

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2 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

forgot to mention after last week's episodes that Gypsy spitting out a tooth was like my living nightmare. It seriously creeped me out!

Yes! I had the exact same reaction! It was so awful. 

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This episode also served to demonstrate that no matter how much you try to isolate your child, they will always find a way to get online, obtain a secret cell phone, meet people, etc. The harder you try to keep your kids from doing that stuff, the more determined they are to do it.

I understand Dee Dee lying to other people about Gypsy's age (I mean, honestly, she lied to other people about EVERYTHING, so Gypsy's age is just one more thing on the list), but lying to Gypsy about how old she is? That is really fucked up. I know I should be focused on all the other terrible things Dee Dee did to her daughter, but knowing how old you are is just basic information that everyone should have and Dee Dee took even that way from Gypsy (and then proceeded to gaslight Gypsy when she asked about it).

I hate seeing how manipulative Dee Dee is with Gypsy. There was no reason to make her change from Belle to Cinderella at the last minute. Dee Dee was just punishing her for daring to ask if Lacey could do her makeup aka showing interest in someone other than Dee Dee. 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Not about the series, but about Hulu's presentation thereof-- the series page for The Act has several short featurettes that take you inside what you're seeing in each episode; have you seen any of those?

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4 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

This episode also served to demonstrate that no matter how much you try to isolate your child, they will always find a way to get online, obtain a secret cell phone, meet people, etc. The harder you try to keep your kids from doing that stuff, the more determined they are to do it.

I understand Dee Dee lying to other people about Gypsy's age (I mean, honestly, she lied to other people about EVERYTHING, so Gypsy's age is just one more thing on the list), but lying to Gypsy about how old she is? That is really fucked up. I know I should be focused on all the other terrible things Dee Dee did to her daughter, but knowing how old you are is just basic information that everyone should have and Dee Dee took even that way from Gypsy (and then proceeded to gaslight Gypsy when she asked about it).

I hate seeing how manipulative Dee Dee is with Gypsy. There was no reason to make her change from Belle to Cinderella at the last minute. Dee Dee was just punishing her for daring to ask if Lacey could do her makeup aka showing interest in someone other than Dee Dee. 

Two thoughts I had about the age.  First, who says the age and YEAR their child was born when getting into an event?  I've had to buy various tickets over the years and they would ask for my kids' ages but I always just said "13" or whatever.  I never said "13 born in 1997".  So weird.  I know that was supposed to show the point in which Gypsy realized there was something amiss, but I thought it was clunky.  But, then again, what single thing does Dee Dee do that makes sense?  

The second thing I just thought of was those guilty pleasure books by VC Andrews.  I think it was My Sweet Audrina where she had a traumatic even happen to her that she blocked out and somehow the parents thought that pretending the entire year didn't happen was a good idea.  They also aged her down.  Lol.  I haven't read that book in about 30 years but for some reason that just came to mind. 

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1 minute ago, Whimsy said:

Two thoughts I had about the age.  First, who says the age and YEAR their child was born when getting into an event?  I've had to buy various tickets over the years and they would ask for my kids' ages but I always just said "13" or whatever.  I never said "13 born in 1997".  So weird.  I know that was supposed to show the point in which Gypsy realized there was something amiss, but I thought it was clunky.  But, then again, what single thing does Dee Dee do that makes sense?  

The second thing I just thought of was those guilty pleasure books by VC Andrews.  I think it was My Sweet Audrina where she had a traumatic even happen to her that she blocked out and somehow the parents thought that pretending the entire year didn't happen was a good idea.  They also aged her down.  Lol.  I haven't read that book in about 30 years but for some reason that just came to mind. 

Ha, I read My Sweet Audrina so many times in middle school! But yes, even though her crazy dad was ostensibly trying to help Audrina with his mind games, it did not work out in the end!

Sadly, Dee Dee doesn’t even have a well intentioned reason for lying to Gypsy about her age. Damian is one of the many terrible parents in the VC Andrews universe yet somehow Dee Dee was even worse!

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I just watched episode 3. Even though I've read about the story extensively, I'm still finding it riveting. I continue to be astonished that no one ever figured out what was happening. Obviously the man in tonight's episode knew Gypsy could walk. I assume he kept quiet hoping to stay out of trouble. 

I can't get over how much AnnaSophia Rob (or however you spell it) looks like Natalie Portman. It bugged me nonstop til I figured that out. She should play her sister in something. 

I don't recall reading anything about Dee Dee's men friends or lack thereof, but clearly if she'd let anyone into her life, keeping the secret would have been impossible, so she doomed herself to being alone. 

When I watched the documentary, the only time I felt bad for Dee Dee was when they said that when she was first married and had Gypsy, she seemed very happy and normal. It was after her husband left her that she became weirder and weirder. I can understand possible reasons he left... he was a teenager when they married and she may have been extremely difficult to live with, and I don't think if he'd stayed she would have magically been a "normal" person, but I still felt bad for her. 

That said, she basically tortured her own daughter for years for money and attention, so my sympathy is very limited. 

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On 3/27/2019 at 8:08 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

This episode also served to demonstrate that no matter how much you try to isolate your child, they will always find a way to get online, obtain a secret cell phone, meet people, etc. The harder you try to keep your kids from doing that stuff, the more determined they are to do it.

 

Yes. Puberty hits. Hormones hit. Your child is going to want to experience normal developmental milestones and is going to have urges and desires in line with their actual age. So I feel terrible for Gypsy here. She should be allowed to have friends. She should be allowed to meet boys. 

I know it's how she talked but Gypsy's voice drives me crazy. I can't deal with the giggling. 

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Her voice is strange. She probably always had a high pitched voice, but then I assume she was encouraged to sound as small and infantile as possible, and it just gradually became her voice. 

Spoiler

Oddly, a high pitched baby voice in a small, attractive girl can be quite powerful when used on certain men. You see it her initial police interviews how she uses it to seem young and clueless. 

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I’d bet that Dee Dee encouraged her to keep that high pitched baby voice because it helped maintain the illusion that Gypsy was still a child. The first time Gypsy used a slightly lower voice, I imagine Dee Dee saying, “Gypsy, my angel, whatever is wrong with your voice? Are you ill?”

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I understand that Dee Dee had a huge stake in keeping up and very vigilantly protecting a pretense  to keep collecting money from wellwishers, but after the last episode, I also started wondering if she had been sexually abused in her past. She didn't seem comfortable talking to that guy at the convention, and in general doesn't seem comfortable with men, and was very hasty to wipe off her makeup in the bathroom. She also works overtime to keep Gypsy looking as childlike and asexual as possible (outside of dressing her as Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks, she couldn't have picked a blander costume for her). 

Somehow I don't think it was entirely because of the scam. I think something happened to Dee Dee.

Edited by newyawk
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I think Patricia Arquette is knocking it out of the park. I like that they didn't go as far with the transformation, lookswise, as they could have. They are definitely putting a lot of effort into her look, but still letting most of the characterization come from her acting.

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This show is brutal. I know some of it is fictionalized, but sheesh. That poor girl. 

I like Chloe Sevigny. I especially like the wardrobe/hair styling. That long hair with the terrible angled layers is particularly midwest and it's perfect. 

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About what happened in the first episode with Dee Dee sticking Gypsy with that Epipen for the nonexistent sugar allergy supposedly caused by licking a cupcake-- wouldn't that be something that Spock on Star Trek would deem, in his phraseology, "illogical" (being as all those PediaSure solutions that Dee Dee was forcing into Gypsy in that feeding tube had sugar out the wazoo that Gypsy didn't react to)?

In other words, do you think it was hypocritical on Dee Dee's part to punish Gypsy in that way for having sugar in an unapproved way (on that cupcake), considering the sugar content in all that PediaSure?

Edited by bmasters9 · Reason: Feeding tube
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35 minutes ago, bmasters9 said:

Dee sticking Gypsy with that Epipen for the nonexistent sugar allergy supposedly caused by licking a cupcake

It was my understanding that Dee Dee knew perfectly well Gypsy wasn't allergic to sugar and that was just one more of the lies. (Is anyone actually allergic to sugar? Like it makes their throat close up? ). The Epipen was purely for show. After telling everyone how allergic Gypsy was, Dee Dee couldn't let the neighbours see her have literally no reaction to sugar so she had to use the Epipen then make a big show of rushing her to the ER. 

It also helped that she'd convinced Gypsy of the sugar allergy lie till this point, just to make things easier for herself. Just like Gypsy actually thought she had cancer. 

It's pretty horrifying to think of how many unnecessary medications she inflicted on Gypsy over the years. Apart from her ruined teeth, she didn't seem too damaged by it but I wouldn't be surprised if in later years there are aftereffects. We also don't know what effect they had on her mental and physical development. 

Edited by Melina22
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1 hour ago, Melina22 said:

Is anyone actually allergic to sugar? Like it makes their throat close up? )

Yes there are people who have an anaphylaxis reaction to sugar. 

Am I misremembering are was the only doctor who called bullshit on DeeDee axtually a dude who did shit about it?

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Yes, there was a male doctor who actually submitted a report about her, strongly suggesting Munchausen by Proxy, but nothing ever came of it. Whenever doctors would get suspicious, Dee Dee would stop seeing them and seek out other doctors in different hospitals and clinics. 

Edited by Melina22
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22 minutes ago, Melina22 said:

Yes, there was a male doctor who actually submitted a report about her, strongly suggesting Munchausen by Proxy, but nothing ever came of it. Whenever doctors would get suspicious, Dee Dee would stop seeing them and seek out other doctors in different hospitals and clinics. 

He strongly suggested it in his own notes, but did not make the report to CPS for abuse as required by law.

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Do you think perhaps that there are religious/spiritual parallels in the first episode of The Act:

--namely that Gypsy was meant to represent the victims of controlling/patriarchal/legalistic churches;

--that the Epipen that was stuck into her leg under false pretense for a nonexistent sugar allergy was like the controlling mechanisms that these churches would impose upon anyone who tried to take one taste of freedom from them;

--that Dee Dee represented the pastor of a controlling/patriarchal/legalistic church who would swoop in whenever a parishioner in such a church dared think for himself/herself and refused any longer to believe that what the church taught was the same as what Jesus Himself said;

--and that the cupcake (and the sugary icing on it) represented anything that the church said was a sin to do (irrespective of whether Jesus Himself said it was a sin or not)?

Edited by bmasters9

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It's based on a true story, so I doubt it was meant to be symbolic in any way.

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1 minute ago, newyawk said:

It's based on a true story, so I doubt it was meant to be symbolic in any way.

True enough-- just thought I'd try to think outside the box.

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While I don't think the show was designed as a full-blown allegory, I think there are likely symbolic elements. For example, I read somewhere that the character of Mel was supposed to represent the audience's POV. So the character was likely written to that end, and not to accurately represent the neighbor's reaction to the story, even though there really were neighbors and the Lacey character seemed to be based on young adult who was Gypsy's friend and interviewed in Mommy Dead and Dearest.

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Was there really a Scott? Or other men who Gypsy had fledgling ‘relationships’ with who he is an amalgam of? Or was that totally made up for the episode?

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14 minutes ago, AllyB said:

Was there really a Scott? Or other men who Gypsy had fledgling ‘relationships’ with who he is an amalgam of? Or was that totally made up for the episode?

Gypsy really did have a brief relationship with a 35 year old man she met somewhere, I think at a convention. Dee Dee found them together and put a stop to it. This really is true. 

On the other hand, she almost certainly never disguised herself and walked into a hospital, or any other public place. She wouldn't have risked it, because Dee Dee would have gone ballistic if people found out Gypsy could walk. 

It appears that Dee Dee's male friend is made up though, because there's no evidence of her having any male friends or relationships after her marriage broke up. I'm not sure why they made that up, unless they're attempting to humanize Dee Dee to some degree. 

Edited by Melina22
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Giant Misfit

For further discussion of all things Gypsy/Dee Dee related, particularly information that was not featured in the episodes, please continue your conversations here  https://forums.primetimer.com/topic/93312-gypsy-rose-blanchard/

 

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