What was your thought process going into production? The goal was to make people understand at a base level that there was an emotional logic to what happened here, for the people who lived through it. And I hope we got that emotional logic right.
Still, years later, people are putting the pieces together. Often true crime shows or documentaries are produced with the explicit goal of getting justice for the people whose stories they tell. And that goes for Nicholas Godejohn, too.
No one is denying that a violent crime happened here, but the reason that he became involved and his own family background are things that I wish had played more strongly into the consideration of his sentence, which was pretty harsh: life without parole. Do either Gypsy or Godejohn know that the show has been made? Some of the press around the show has been criticized for downplaying your role as a showrunner, and emphasizing the role of your co-creator, Nick Antosca.
In our writers room, we had four women and two men.
Most of the episodes were directed by women. It was a real goal for everyone involved, right up the chain to Hulu. What did having so many women involved in the production mean? Her resulting article, which chronicled the lengths Dee Dee went to to care for her daughter who wasn't actually sick, was published in on BuzzFeed and went viral almost instantly. Nearly four years after spotting that photo, Dean is now the co-creator and co-writer of Hulu's The Act , a stranger-than-fiction drama based on her BuzzFeed article.
The show, like her article, is focused on why the story of Dee Dee and Gypsy isn't just another true crime tale or scammer story — it's a meditation on an incredibly toxic mother-daughter relationship and how it went so terribly wrong. It's easy to turn Dee Dee into a monster.
In her reporting, Dean found that Dee Dee forced Gypsy to go through painful medical procedures, like having a feeding tube put in, and administered her medications she didn't need to fool people into thinking she was actually sick. Dee Dee claimed her daughter had a long list of ailments including childhood leukemia, chromosomal defects, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and muscular dystrophy, which kept her confined to a wheelchair even though she didn't need one.
Hulu’s shocking new crime thriller, The Act, probably never would have existed without the work of journalist Michelle Dean. In August , Dean published an in-depth look at the case on Buzzfeed titled, “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered.”. The Act co-creator Michelle Dean has opened up about her plans for season 2 of the Gypsy Rose Blanchard series on Hulu. Ever since The Act debuted on Hulu.
We see this in the final moments of the pilot, when Gypsy, played by The Kissing Booth 's Joey King , gets up in the middle of the night, ceremoniously cracking her feet before revealing she can walk just fine. It's a bittersweet moment that encapsulates the extent of Dee Dee's abuse: Gypsy knows she doesn't need the wheelchair, but stays in it anyway for her mom's sake.
What's hard is drawing up sympathy for Dee Dee, which the show does with help from Patricia Arquette, who's both scary and sorrowful in the role. The disorder is also getting more attention in pop culture, since it plays a role in last year's Sharp Objects , another series that deals with the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters.
It's a disorder that hides in plain sight and often goes undiagnosed, as it did in Dee Dee's case. It's also a syndrome that is more often than not tied to motherhood , Dean says.
It's why she made her writers room read books on motherhood by the likes of Rachel Kusk, Vivian Gornick, and Adrienne Rich.