Sunday, March 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Act' - Dee Dee Pushes Back Against Those Starting to Question Gypsy's Medical History in 'The Body'

Hulu's The Act - Episode 1.02 "The Body"

Dee Dee is on a high since Gypsy will be given the "Child of the Year" award, which makes Dee Dee feel like Mother of the Year. But before the big event, Gypsy has a dental emergency that gets the attention of a skeptical doctor who could expose Dee Dee's secrets.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's The Act.

"The Body" was written by Dan Dietz and directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Dee Dee is a master manipulator. She is able to convince the world that she and Gypsy deserve as much sympathy as possible. She is manipulative of her daughter as well. It gets to the point where Gypsy is afraid of doing anything that could go against her mother in some way. She sneaks out of bed at night to consume sugar. That's the least rebellious thing a teenager could do. And yet, this hour showcases how that is so devastating to this family. Gypsy is even shy about sharing it with Lacey and her friends. That's enough for Lacey to question Gypsy's sugar allergy. But even in 2015 after Dee Dee is found murdered, it's unclear to the people in this neighborhood how much they should believe what Dee Dee and Gypsy have always told them about their lives. In those private moments where they are confiding in their new friends, some of it is truthful while others are just part of the overall manipulation. Gypsy knows that she isn't allergic to sugar. Dee Dee understands that as well but is still subjecting her daughter to so much pain in order to keep that narrative going. She can't allow the idea to grow that Gypsy could one day have her feeding tube removed. To Dee Dee, that is essential for keeping Gypsy alive. Her condition only worsens with brief moments of things being perfectly fine between them. In her mind, it's wrong to hold onto hope that things could change for the better. She is the mother standing in the spotlight who is carrying this entire burden by herself. Of course, the audience knows that not to be the case. She is getting checks from her family in order to cover all of Gypsy's medical expenses. She is stealing prescription pads in order to get more drugs for herself. It's chilling to see that closet full of medications that Dee Dee can use for nefarious purposes. It's perfectly understandable for the new doctor to have questions about Gypsy's medical history. She wants to confirm everything that Dee Dee is telling her and not just trust the records that she has kept over the years. But there's also the sense that none of this will ultimately go anywhere because of the failings of the system. There is no genuine threat to the doctor learning the truth about the Blanchards or family services taking Gypsy away from Dee Dee. The teases of what happens in 2015 ensures that everything will remain the same for the next few years. Dee Dee will continue to sail through all of this even though her daughter is suffering. It's devastating to watch as Gypsy realizes most of her teeth will have to be extracted. It's clear that Dee Dee wants to be the hero in pulling out the new dentures right before they go out on stage to accept a charitable award. Gypsy is right to question why she had to go the entire day being depressed about her smile throughout this event. And yet, the bond between them is still incredibly strong. Dee Dee may be the one crafting this entire narrative. However, Gypsy relies on it as well. It makes it so it is a loving moment when they break into song onstage. But again, there remains the looming sense of dread throughout the proceedings. The threats in the past may not actually go anywhere. But the mystery still exists as to what happened to Dee Dee in 2015 and where Gypsy is now. Lacey reveals that Gypsy may have had a secret Facebook account to chat with a boyfriend. However, the psychological damage of all of this is really the most effective element at play. That's what makes the piles of plush toys so meaningful. When Gypsy reveals she gets a new one with each doctor visit, it becomes clear just how much has been done to her even for no real medical reason.