Among the latest releases from Hulu comes the shocking true-crime series that'll give you all the nightmares. The Act, available to stream March 20, has a couple big names attached — Patricia Arquette and Joey King — portraying the disturbing mother-daughter relationship that was Dee Dee Blanchard and daughter, Gypsy Rose. I say "was" because Dee Dee was murdered in her home in 2015. If you'd like to know where The Act is set to, you know, avoid it, I've got you covered.
Springfield, Missouri is where Dee Dee's body was found and her murderer — the man Gypsy Rose met and fell in love with online — was convicted for first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison. Let me back track a sec, because this story is bananas. The first season of The Act reveals the backstory of the gruesome murder and was co-written by Michelle Dean — who also covered a BuzzFeed article about the bizarre story.
The city of Springfield is located in the southwestern region of Missouri and is the third largest city in the state. It is nicknamed "Queen City of the Ozarks," and has the famous Route 66 as its birth place. Seems like Missouri is the place to be — unless you're Dee Dee Blanchard.
To understand how this all came about, you must first refer to Dee Dee, who suffered from a mental illness called Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The strange syndrome is when a parent causes unnecessary pain to their child by pretending and often convincing them they're sick when they're not. It's a disorder that feeds off the need for attention — under the guise of being a good, caring parent — even if it's at the sacrifice of a child's health. Unfortunately, it's something Gypsy Rose knew too well. Dee Dee convinced Gyspy she had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, lung problems, and other illnesses. She was bound to a wheelchair and even fed through a tube. According to Inside Edition, Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told reporters, "Things are not always as they appear," and they certainly weren't.
Once Gypsy learned the truth — that she wasn't sick at all — she and boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, plotted to have Dee Dee killed in her Springfield home. Gypsy plead guilty and received a 10-year sentence, while Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The most concerning part isn't even that Dee Dee was capable of doing these things to Gypsy, but that her past indicates she had a disturbing pattern of causing loved ones harm, as documented in the HBO documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest. It's believed that Dee Dee may have tried to kill her stepmother by poisoning her food, and in '97, it was suspected Dee Dee may have starved her own mother to death (also discussed in the documentary). Dee Dee's illness apparently began long before Gypsy Rose came along.
While you may be planning a spring break trip or booking a summer B&B, a visit to Springfield, Missouri may be in order if you're a true crime aficionado. Or, if you're like me — the paranoid, nightmare-having type — maybe avoid the area until long after The Act premieres and go somewhere tropical instead.
The Act hits Hulu on March 20.