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veep livestream thoughts
I thought the Veep livestream with JLD and Reid Scott was so interesting and enlightening, and I wanted to post some of my (admittedly jumbled) thoughts about it, just as a way to process it all.
Mostly I was completely struck right by the fact that immediately RS commented on how the characters changed from the first season to the seventh season, especially Dan and Mike. Like, he basically summed up (and incredibly specifically!) exactly what changed…reflecting on how S1 Dan would never have a moment like S7 Dan, throwing stones in a lake and wondering about his future, how he would never question what his future was. He literally said S1 Dan would never be so vapid. And JLD chimed in with RS’s observations about Mike, how he’s a lot more acerbic and sharp in the earlier seasons, compared to later—I think they did actually use the word dumb to describe S7 Mike.
RS used the word “growth” to describe these changes (I think he meant in the sense of, like, “evolution over time” as opposed to “progress”, but who knows). It was very evident that he doesn’t view the changes in Dan’s character as something that “bad” as in, negative for the show or a betrayal of how he viewed Dan’s character. He described Dan’s ending in the show pretty definitively and with good humor, joking “good work Dan” when JLD brought up his twenty-year old wife, emphasizing that Dan ended up in the right place, that he would never run for office once he discovered his true fate as a Laguna Beach real estate mogul.
I think it’s very illuminating how RS describes himself too, pretty dark and sardonic (it was interesting and kind of cute how he said he didn’t mind the social implications of the lockdown at first, purely as opportunity to hole up and be with his family and not be out in the world….) It seems like he sees the character through a similarly dark lens, and enjoyed taking him to a darker (and dumber) place in the later seasons. And perhaps Dan’s more human qualities, especially in regards to Amy, are not what unlocked the character for him. When he acknowledged Amy and Dan’s Sam-and-Diane-esque qualities, he also qualified the comparison too, saying he enjoyed how the show kind of inverted the classic love-hate journey…both he and JLD talked about the enduring dysfunction of everyone on the show, and their inability to maintain healthy relationships.
I don’t know. I don’t really have a response or anything to all of this. It was just intriguing hearing him talk about the show so frankly, and I was impressed by how thoughtful and reflective he was. As I’ve said before, this kind of stuff is fascinating but also distinctly extra-textual, and there’s never really one interpretation of a text, anyway. More broadly, I think it speaks to the fundamental difference of being outside something, in the process of creating it, versus engaging with a “finished” creative product. It just changes your perspective. As anyone who has ever created any piece of art can attest to, you always see it differently than your readers or viewers. Just in Veep’s case, that change in perspective has been exacerbated by the dramatically different artistic approach to the final season.
I also think it’s interesting how these individual chats highlight how distinct the relationships between the different members of the ensemble are. I didn’t see JLD’s chat with Tim Simons, but the one with Tony Hale had a very different energy. It was a lot more banter-y…they have a very established rhythm, simply because they literally spent seven years filming almost every scene together. And RS and JLD naturally had a different chemistry together that manifests in a different way…at times, this felt almost like an interview, like, literally JLD thinking of questions to ask to keep the conversation going. Not that it was awkward or bad, not at all! They’re obviously incredibly close, their goodbyes were so heartwarming…I loved when she asked about his kids, it’s so clear they bonded over being the parents of two boys. It just translates differently to this kind of setting.
And tbh, an hour is a long time to vaguely reminisce, especially if they’re scrambling for questions. Although I feel like there were plenty of questions coming in?? Idk, I have no idea how these Instagram livestreams work. Also, now they have to do one with Anna Chlumsky..although I feel like the Dan/Amy content would just be more of the same. I mean, there are only so many scenes they remember filming together…only so many ways they can talk about the abortion scene and why Dan and Amy didn’t end up together. But otherwise it would be so much fun! I would love to hear their perspective on being the only two women in the ensemble.
In conclusion, Reid Scott is a very intelligent and deeply observant person who can apparently also perform incredibly handy tasks like re-upholster furniture and on top of all that loves history and reads books by women. Basically a Renaissance man with a perfect face. Do they sell Reid Scotts in stores? I refuse to believe there is only one out there. There needs to be at least one more available model for me.
It’s really interesting that he compares the two versions of Dan and says s1 Dan would never be so vapid. All of the characters really devolve starting in season 6 (even though their arcs fit with the previous seasons). I really want to know what his thoughts are on Dan’s treatment of Amy and her “growth” as a character- maybe we should substitute growth for devolution or regression? We know Dan’s terrible, but he never was to Amy before, especially in that degree. I remember him tweeting in the early seasons about “regardless of what Dan wanted, Amy would do as she pleased.” Amy knew Dan.
Amy being so in love with Dan in s7 still sort of works for her arc? It makes more sense than Dan’s arc does, but I guess sex psychopath Dan is the equivalent of Amy suddenly picturing a white picket fence ending for her and Dan and constantly flinging herself at him? S1 Amy would NEVER. And S1 Dan would NEVER.
“And perhaps Dan’s more human qualities, especially in regards to Amy, are not what unlocked the character for him.” This is really interesting too. I kinda got that impression through his interviews even from the early seasons. I was just hoping that it would because that’s how I viewed Dan as a viewer/fan of Dan and Amy.
What’s so funny to me is that none of the versions of s7 really work. What we saw- Sex psychopath Dan not caring about Amy doesn’t track with the earlier seasons. Anna’s version of the show doesn’t track because of how she was treated all season. Reid’s version doesn’t track because we never see Dan wondering whether or not he should leave politics. He’s too busy sleeping around. He never even questions it, it’s all about sex even when he’s contemplating his future. And then in a split second decision, he decides to leave it all behind.
In my head, I like to think that it’s an extended breakdown but that also doesn’t fit with Dan ~getting a win at the end. Maybe s7 is so broad, which is why all of these can exist simultaneously (just not very well)? They all have such different interpretations.
I always thought of them as a mix between Sam and Diane and Josh and Donna. But they were always way more compatible than Sam and Diane. I don’t mind the inverted love-hate relationship or them not ending up together. I just wish they had done it in a way that made sense or if it didn’t make sense, at least didn’t result in the horrible treatment of Amy. That’s what bothers me the most. Their dynamic was just so unbalanced. There were so many different ways they could have written that storyline where it still pushed boundaries without being so misogynistic and grotesque. But it’s ~funny. 🙄 DM can fight me on this!
This was an interesting read.
I just wish they had done it in a way that made sense or if it didn’t make sense, at least didn’t result in the horrible treatment of Amy. That’s what bothers me the most.
Chapter Ten of The Long and Winding Road is on its way – slower than I’d like, but coming soon…and I thought after nearly five months, a sneak peek was in order. (Also, for anyone who’s forgotten the details of the plot, I would definitely recommend re-reading at least the last chapter ahead of time).
With Dan’s co-del making its leisurely way through Cambodia and Laos as well as Vietnam, and Amy still in hiding, the political blogosphere had to turn to other sources for inspiration.
Which is probably why they, oh so coincidentally, publish footage of Kerry – doing what every congressional staffer does when their boss is out of down, getting college-girl drunk on weak D.C. cocktails in a bar full of other political staffers, and ranting about the people deserve better than to have a pimp as President.
“The President is a fucking pimp” goes viral, though it’s almost impossible to judge whether the people using it intend it more as a criticism or a compliment.
As she watches the news that Saturday morning, watches the TV anchors desperately try not to quote Kerry directly, she feels a chill.
It’s too memorable, too quotable, too “have you no decency.”
There are moments which crystallise presidencies, which go down in history as the point of no return. The Fort Sumter, the Black Tuesday, the Saturday night massacre…
The President is a fucking pimp is going to be one of them, she knows it in her bones. It’s all over but the screaming.
High Society (1956) dir. Charles Walters
High Society isn’t a patch on the original (any film with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in it automatically wins in my book) but Grace Kelly’s clothes aren’t exquisite.
Well, look, it’s George Looney.
Dan, what are you doing here?
Everybody needs to be somewhere, Mike. I need to be here.
So, did they cure you or whatever?
No, I did not need to be cured, Michael. I diagnosed myself with an acute case of “everything’s fine.” Can I get anybody a coffee?
Uh, yes, please.
Milk and two heaping spoonfuls of whatever the fuck you’re on.
In retrospect, I find it interesting how close Dan’s season 7 look is to his styling is here. Further proof for my “Dan’s season 7 arc is a drawn out downward spiral where he slowly destroys everything in his life he ever valued” theory – even if the way the story is presented goes against that a little bit.
I am ashamed to think of how much of season 7 I might have tolerated if they’d given Dan a beard.
How it feels to read a really good fic and find the author has dozens more like it