‘The Act’ unfolds the toxic relationship between a mom and a falsely diagnosed teen


“The Act,” a Hulu original series about a mother who manipulates her daughter into believing she has several allergies and disabilities, launched its first two episodes on Wednesday, March 20.

The first season focuses on the story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard moving into a home that was built specifically for them and is based on a true story.

Throughout the season, it is clear Gypsy is being emotionally and physically abused by her mother Dee Dee. She is a healthy teenager being treated as a disabled child. Dee Dee exhibits toxic behavior and constant abuse, including bathing her in a sink like a newborn baby, telling her she will never be like everyone else, shaving her head and stealing jewelry.

Gypsy often seeks connection with her neighbor Lacey. Lacey goes to the Blanchard household the first day they move in and gives Gypsy a makeover. Shortly after leaving, Dee Dee forces Gypsy to scrub off the makeup saying, “You are too young for all that paint on your face.”

Lacey introduces Gypsy to sugar with a can of Coke and a cupcake, and Dee Dee claims her daughter is allergic, which is another addition to her long list of supposed conditions.

One night Gypsy is rushed to the hospital because of her supposed allergy, where the doctor tells her the allergy is impossible because she drinks sugary Pediasure every day.

There are so many other things that demonstrate the abuse — it’s peppered throughout the show.

Spoiler alert: Dee Dee dies. The first episode doesn’t specify how it happens, but it does give a glimpse of the crime scene where they clarify that she is dead before returning to the story.

This season is a tragic walk-through of an intense medical abuse scenario. As an audience member, you see Gypsy catch on little by little. She gets out of bed and tastes whipped cream as a test in the middle of the night. She does this even though her mother told her she was medically unable to do either of those things.

My prediction is that Gypsy figures everything out and then murders her own mother, but that will eventually unfold at the end of this season.


Madison Appleby is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at madison.appleby@uconn.edu.

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