‘The Act’: Is Hulu Already Making a Season 2?
Anthology dramas are having a new renaissance, especially when you include shows like American Horror Story or the many on Netflix like Black Mirror. With The Twilight Zone back, we’re also seeing the sci-fi/fantasy anthology series regenerate. True-crime anthologies are also a cottage industry, something relegated to the non-fiction mold.
As far as scripted shows, though, The Act on Hulu more or less sets a new standard. The first season introduces Joey King and Patricia Arquette playing real-life Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her late mother, Dee Dee. This bizarre murder story is still being analyzed, though it likely won’t be repeated in The Act’s second season.
Let’s look at whether The Act season 2 is happening and the show’s next path.
Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee’s complex mother-daughter relationship
When The Act made its debut on March 20, the point was to dramatize true-crime tales, something we’d only really seen through short actor re-enactments on other true-crime shows. Nobody thought to hire A-list actors to portray the often complicated relationships murderers had with their families, friends, or spouses.
Created by Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean, the concept worked thanks to brilliant actors like young Joey King and Patricia Arquette, who seemed to assimilate Dee Dee Blanchard’s mindset.
Mother-daughter relationships are sometimes very complex, and in this case, it was a mother abusing her daughter by fabricating illness. As a result of being forced to feign cancer, Gypsy Rose tried to escape the clutches of her mother by murdering her. As emotional and tragic as this case is, it dug deep into the psyche of how incompatible some mother-daughter relationships are.
A real-life ‘Mommie Dearest’ scenario
The notorious movie Mommie Dearest (about Joan Crawford) has some similarities here, yet far from faking an illness in a daughter. Latter situation is even more mentally abusive, and one proven by facts rather than speculation as in the Crawford biopic.
Gypsy Rose’s murder of her mother is still very shocking while providing one of those ethical dilemmas of whether she had no choice to so she could escape her mother’s madness.
Then again, you wonder what would have happened had Gypsy Rose not escaped with an online boyfriend, Nick (played by Calum Worthy). Both plotted to kill Dee Dee Blanchard, despite Nick doing the deed.
Creating sympathy for Dee Dee Blanchard
While The Act is still underway on Hulu at the time of publication, it’s expected the show will flash back to when Dee Dee was a girl and how she dealt with abuse from her own mother. Suffering abuse herself supposedly led Dee Dee onto a dark path.
This seems to be a common thread in a lot of abusive mothers: They usually experienced it themselves and seem to pass it on through assimilation. Situations like this make it a lot harder to not find some sympathy for Gypsy Rose’s mother.
It appears the show will also make Gypsy Rose not look so innocent either. To date, the real-life Gypsy Rose still in prison for second-degree murder with no chance for parole until 2024.
According to Gypsy Rose, she’s not happy with what happened. She also claims to feel more freedom in prison than when pretending to have cancer under the thumb of her mom.
What will ‘The Act’ do in a second season?
The first season is available now and there isn’t any official word on whether a second season is on the horizon. Since ratings on streaming services are also kept secret (thus far), there isn’t any way to know how many are watching.
While no metrics are available, critical response is positive. And considering season 1 concludes with Gypsy Rose going to jail, it’s likely we’ll see a new true-crime depiction in season 2. By then, it’s more than possible we’ll see several copycat shows getting into this interesting new streaming/TV genre.