Life After Lockup’ Examines the Pitfalls of Notoriety TV Review : ‘Gypsy Rose

A continuation of the documentary, “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” Lifetime‘s eight-part docuseries, “Gypsy Rose Life After Lock Up,” chronicles a new chapter of Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s story

Published Time: 03.06.2024 - 18:31:33 Modified Time: 03.06.2024 - 18:31:33

A continuation of the documentary, “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” Lifetime‘s eight-part docuseries, “Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up,” chronicles a new chapter of Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s story. For viewers unfamiliar with Blanchard, the series begins with a rapid-fire recap of her childhood and early adulthood. Blanchard suffered from years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. The elder Blanchard likely had a mental health condition called Munchausen syndrome by proxy. As a result, she tricked medical professionals into believing that her daughter was wheelchair-bound and had a variety of ailments and illnesses. In 2015, determined to break free from her mother’s grasp, Gypsy Rose conspired with her then-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to kill Dee Dee, resulting in Gypsy Rose’s imprisonment. After completing most of her 10-year sentence, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was freed on Dec. 28, 2023. “Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up” follows the formally incarcerated woman grappling with family, newfound autonomy and the media frenzy around her. The series teeters between intriguing and invasive as the audience watches Blanchard cycle through several intense life transitions on the world stage.

Episode 1 (the only one made available to critics before the show’s premiere) opens three days before Blanchard’s release from prison. Her father, Rod Blanchard; stepmother, Kristy; half-sister, Mia and husband, Ryan Scott Anderson, decorate their Missouri Airbnb for the holiday season, anxiously awaiting Blanchard’s emancipation. Though the foursome has a tenuous rapport, Rod and Mia, in particular, seem a bit skeptical about Anderson. Moreover, Rod and Kristy’s overprotectiveness of Blanchard is palpable, almost to the point of overcompensation. At one point, Rod speaks regretfully to producers about his long absences during Gypsy Rose’s childhood, which allowed for her mother’s abuse to fester. The audience also hears from the soft-spoken Blanchard herself, who, during her final days in prison, is focused on getting a taste of McDonald’s fries, revamping her image and gaining independence for the first time.

While much of “Life After Lock Up” plays like standard reality TV fare, it has two uniquely compelling components. The show highlights society’s manic obsession with all aspects of Blanchard’s existence. This includes everything from Erin Lee Carr’s 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest” to Hulu’s “The Act,” starring the Joey King (who was nominated for an Emmy for the role) and the Patricia Arquette (who won in her category). After her release, there were TikTok videos devoted to tracking Blanchard& -

#8217;s every move, as well as ones relentlessly rehashing the atrocities she endured as a child, along with accounts of her mother’s murder —she has become a spectacle. Interestingly, it appears to be a position Blanchard enjoys, at least initially.

The second, and perhaps more important, aspect of “Life After Lock Up” is its illustration of the American criminal justice system.However audiences might feel about Blanchard’s role in her mother’s death, the series premiere illustrates the confusing red tape and complications the formally incarcerated must navigate while on parole. A slew of tense and perplexing phone calls with her parole officers in the hours following her release showcase the lack of care and concern that some law enforcement officials have for the people they’re charged with monitoring.

For those following Blanchard’s story since she was paroled last year, it’s no secret that her marriage to Anderson —they had married in July 2022, while she was in prison — has since collapsed. Though the pair engage in only some light bickering in the first episode of “Life After Lock Up,” the duo clearly have differing views of the future. While Blanchard seems eager to sort through her emotional baggage, explore the world and engage with her “fans,” Anderson has other ideas. As someone who likes to take charge, he appears determined to settle down with his wife away from the spotlight. The demise of their relationship and Blanchard’s reunion with her former fiancé, Ken Urker, will undoubtedly serve as the juicier narrative bits further along in the show.

Like many people, Blanchard has used social media and the internet as a means of escape and connection, which in turn has also fostered the mania surrounding her. A compelling subject, Blanchard’s charm and notoriety are woven throughout “Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up.” For now, the 32-year-old has won the court of public opinion with her soothing tone and ability to articulate her past and present emotional state. What remains to be seen is how long she will be able to sustain this type of status. The limelight can certainly feel glorious following a lifetime in the shadows, but it’s also a very precarious and often unsustainable place to be.

“Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up” premieres June 3 on Lifetimewith new episodes dropping weekly on Mondays.

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