Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Politician season 1.
The Politician's storyline and characters are ultimately fictional but there are moments that feel so real. Part of this is because the affluent Santa Barbara setting is so true to life, but part of that is also because it sure seems like Zoey Deutch's character Infinity's Politician character is based on Gypsy Rose Blanchard. The show has several passing references to pop culture (like Payton's twin brothers talking about the Menendez brothers murder case), but Infinity's storyline is too extensive to be just a reference.
In the show, Infinity is a high school student who has cancer — or at least she thinks she does. It turns out that her grandmother (Jessica Lange) has Munchausen by proxy and has been giving Infinity injections that make her sicker so that Infinity will be dependent on her and won't leave her. Her grandmother also did it because the sympathy and free things that other people gave her for taking care of Infinity were so alluring.
If that Munchausen by proxy diagnosis sounds familiar, it's because it's what experts also think Gypsy Rose Blanchard's mother Dee Dee Blanchard had. In that very real case, Dee Dee falsified Gypsy Rose's medical history and subjected her daughter to unnecessary medical treatments like surgery under the guise that Gypsy was sicker than she was in real life. Eventually, Gypsy learned the truth and escaped the only way she said she knew how — she planned Dee Dee's murder with her boyfriend at the time Nicholas Godejohn. Gypsy is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for her role in her mother's death. Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison for carrying out the murder.
Netflix and the show's creators did not return Refinery29's request for comment regarding the similarities, but Deutch had this to say when Refinery29's Kathryn Lindsay asked her about it at the series' press junket:
"Like so many other things in The Politician, there's a lot of social commentary about things that are very much still in the zeitgeist. It's very fair to draw comparisons. But I would just like to reiterate that these are fictional characters in a very fictional world. So that is how I can comment on the comparison. Clearly it isn't that relationship, but I understand the drawing of comparison."
Infinity's storyline plays out a little differently, because she doesn't kill her Nana or even think of it — although her boyfriend Ricardo (Benjamin Barrett) considers it. "Well, what am I supposed to do? Kill 'em?" Ricardo asks Infinity when she tells him what her grandmother and medical technician are doing to her.
Infinity also resembles Gypsy Rose in how she dresses and speaks. She often wears bright colors and childish prints in pinks and purples — which Gypsy also wore because her mother was selling a charade that Gypsy was a child when she was actually a teenager. Gypsy also speaks in a high, childlike voice, similar to Deutch's own affectation in The Politician.
As the series wears on and Infinity gains her independence from her grandmother, she also gains her independence from the Gypsy Rose comparisons. Her character gets more fully rounded out in the later episodes and she stands on her own with her story going in a much different direction that Gypsy's.
Still, if viewers watching wondered what the deal was with her character, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone in wondering if she seems an awful lot like Gypsy Rose — just give it some time and she'll stand out as her own character too.