The story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her severely ill daughter Gypsy starts when the police find the body of the mother stabbed to death in her pink house in the suburbs of Springfield. But this series based on real-life events is far more disturbing than most known murder mystery dramas. And because we soon find out who killed Dee Dee, I wouldn’t classify it as such.
As we jump back and forth in time, the events that led to the murder become soon apparent. Dee Dee Blanchard since Gypsy was very little, fabricated a number of her daughter’s medical conditions to gain sympathy and raise charity money they lived on. What stays at the core of the narrative is the close but toxic mother-daughter relationship. It had been built on lifelong dependency, fraud, and a broken system that let Dee Dee, who suffered from Munchausen by proxy syndrome, get away with her daughter’s abuse for so long.
The drama dressed in pink tulles and soft toys is extremely uncomfortable to watch. Partly responsible are the meticulously shown tube feeding scenes and emotional blackmails, which this mother-daughter relationship is built on. It is obvious the series creators tried to be objective and show the nuances of this extremely complex tragedy. However, in doing so they left out elements that would make the story fuller. I wish we learned from Gypsy about the response to the tragedy, at least some kind of acknowledgment. Very involved performances from Patricia Arquette and Joey King make The Act worth a watch but the story although grand could have been a couple of episodes shorter.
I watched it on Starz Play.