Spoilers ahead for The Act Season 1, Episode 6. It may be a true crime show, but at its heart, Hulu's The Act is about mothers and daughters. Most of the series has thus far been focused on the toxic relationship between Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose, but the April 16 episode added another layer to their tense family dynamic. Dee Dee Blanchard's mother Emma is portrayed in The Act as being severely overbearing and controlling. At one point, on her deathbed, Emma tells Dee Dee "I knew [Gypsy] was better off with me from the day she was born."
In real life, the Blanchard family has made similarly harsh claims about Dee Dee and her mother. "[Dee Dee's] mama was a little bit like her," Dee Dee's stepmother, Laura Pitre, said in the documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, which also covers Gypsy and Dee Dee's case. "Her mama was a shoplifter and all kind of stuff. I don't know how many times she had to go to court for shoplifting and other things," Dee Dee's father, Claude, alleged.
There aren't any records to back up Claude and Laura's claims, and Emma died in 1997 so she cannot speak on her own behalf. But Claude and Laura also seemingly blame Dee Dee for Emma's death, alleging that Dee Dee wasn't feeding her properly. "To leave your mama dirty and asking for food and not want to feed her? That's evil," Laura claimed in the documentary.
The claim that Dee Dee had a hand in Emma's death is pervasive in the Pitre/Blanchard family. Kristy Blanchard, Gypsy's stepmom, also recounted the allegations in Mommy Dead and Dearest. "Dee Dee was starving [Emma.]," Kristy claimed. "Dee Dee wasn't giving her anything to eat. I asked her sister — you know, I was like, 'I hate to ask this, but you think Dee Dee had anything to do with her mom's death?' And she, you know, said, 'Now I wonder.'"
The Act doesn't draw this conclusion quite as explicitly. There's a scene where Dee Dee gives her mother Percocet, and then later lies to the doctor about her mother having taken any additional pain medication. But in the show, Emma asks for the pain killer — Dee Dee wasn't dosing her against her will. There are scenes in which Dee Dee ignores her mother's cries for help, but no explicit starvation is portrayed. The show also doesn't address one of the other Pitre family claims that Dee Dee allegedly poisoned her stepmother Laura.
"She was putting some poison in my food. The same thing she had put in the plant," Laura said in Mommy Dead and Dearest, referring to a chemical weed killer. "[Laura] stayed nine months in bed after that. She couldn't get up. I didn't think she was going to make it," Claude added.
Dee Dee's nephew Bobby Pitre elaborated on that allegation in an interview with Thought Catalog. He told the outlet that Dee Dee lived with Laura and Claude in Louisiana and did all of the cooking, when suddenly Laura became ill. "She was poisoning my stepmother. Supposedly, she was giving her some Roundup in her food and stuff, " Bobby said in the documentary. Laura allegedly only got better once Dee Dee had moved out, according to Thought Catalog.
Bobby also told Thought Catalog that Emma was a lot like Dee Dee. According to him, Emma, too, had strange rules about food and was constantly hovering over her daughter. This lines up with Gypsy Rose's account of her own mother: she testified in court that Dee Dee would allegedly hit and starve her.
Furthermore, The Act depicts Emma's death as being a catalyst for Dee Dee. It's after this that she has Gypsy start using a breathing machine and a wheelchair, despite the fact that, medically, she doesn't need them. As for the real Dee Dee, Bobby said in Mommy Dead and Dearest that "ever since [Emma] died, Dee Dee kind of went off the deep end."
The Act showed the beginning of that supposed descent on Wednesday, and viewers all know where it ends up — with Dee Dee's murder.