If you love binge-worthy true crime TV, you’re about to discover your new favorite show. Hulu is releasing “The Act,” an anthology docu-drama series that’s first season will tell the absolutely insane and majorly disturbing story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard, on March 20.
Gypsy will be played by Joey King—you’ve seen her in “Fargo,” “Slender Man,” and “Ramona and Beezus.” Patricia Arquette, of “Boyhood” and “Medium,” will play her mom, Dee Dee.
ICYMI, here’s the Blanchards’ backstory: Dee Dee raised Gypsy as if she was terminally ill and forced her to use a wheelchair, even though she wasn’t sick or disabled. As a teen, Gypsy started to recognize what was happening to her, while at the same time beginning an online relationship with Nick Godejohn. In 2015, Dee Dee was found murdered in their Springfield, Missouri home, and Godejohn and Gypsy were convicted of killing her shortly after. Gypsy has been in prison since, where she’s serving a 10-year sentence.
The story went viral after Buzzfeed published an investigative piece on the family, Godejohn, and the condition Dee Dee suffered from that caused her to harm Gypsy, called factitious disorder imposed on another.
Check out the trailer for “The Act” on Hulu, which is starting to pick up buzz now:
What the heck is factitious disorder imposed on another?
According to Cleveland Clinic, factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA), formerly and more commonly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP), is a mental illness in which a person acts as if someone they’re caring for, like a child or grandparent, has a physical or mental illness, when they don’t. Dee Dee told Gypsy—and her doctors—that she needed a feeding tube, had leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, seizures, and the mental capacity of a 7-year-old because of brain damage she’d suffered during premature birth. Often, in telling these lies, and forcing the victim to take unnecessary medication or have unneeded procedures, the victim does develop some symptoms. The condition is considered a form of abuse by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.
So…who usually gets factitious disorder imposed by another?
FDIA is typically seen in mothers, driven by a need to get the attention given to families dealing with severe illnesses. It’s hard to know how common it is since it often goes unnoticed, but estimates suggest about 1,000 of the 2.5 million child abuse cases reported each year are caused by FDIA. It’s unclear what exactly brings on an episode of FDIA, but it’s thought that a history of abuse, early loss of a parent, or major stress might trigger it, according to Cleveland Clinic.
What are the warning signs of FDIA?
The doctors in Gypsy’s life were suspicious at times, but missing medical documents and fake birth certificates helped conceal that Gypsy was actually a healthy girl. These are the characteristics someone with FDIA typically shows, according to Cleveland Clinic:
As for the child FDIA is being inflicted upon, the warning signs are:
It’s super scary stuff. Hopefully, “The Act” will shed light on this condition that can be so hard to spot and prove.
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