Do you think the outcome would've changed a lot, if instead of sophie, Dan had slept with an actual CBS producer?
My instinct is that it would have changed somewhat, but it’s difficult to be certain how much. Despite what Dan seems to think, senior news producers do not generally give away coveted positions just because they‘ve slept with someone (and especially not women).
But it wouldn’t have done nearly as much damage to his relationship with Amy, especially in the immediate aftermath.
Because as far as she knows, Dan flirted with her, at least implied that he wanted to sleep with her… and then chose her sister instead. And not only that, he’s low enough to TAUNT her about it, rubbing it in her face when she seemed upset.
Odd though it may sound, the only reason there was any relationship left to salvage, is that Dan made it VERY clear (at least initially) that he was only interested in the job. But Amy – understandably, in my opinion – took his sleeping with her SISTER as a personal rejection of her. Not just that he didn’t want her on that particular evening, but that he wouldn’t want her EVER – that he cared about her so little, she wasn’t even a factor in his thinking – he’d rather have the slim possibility of a job, than a chance to be with her.
Because, while I think Dan’s transactional approach to relationships is utterly toxic, Amy seems to if not accept it about him, certainly to understand it. It’s that it was her SISTER that made it so hurtful.
Take that element away, and I think she’d have gotten over it a lot faster. Especially as…there’s a kind of spiral thing going on, where Amy reacts badly, and Dan doubles-down as a result – he knows it upsets her, and he’s angry at her for making him feel guilty. But if her reaction is smaller, his impetus to behave like a shit goes away.
In other words, you wouldn’t have had things like Dan asking Amy to make his one night stand stop calling him, or the mess at Thanksgiving (I totally believe Dan would have showed up at Amy’s door, but it wouldn’t have had the effect of rubbing salt in the wound).
Ultimately it’s Dan making a different choice, and I think that’s how Amy would have perceived it. As is, by choosing to sleep with Sophie AND reminding her of it over and over, he was sending a very clear message that he didn’t want Amy, ever. And I don’t think Amy’s perception of it as a categorical rejection changed very much, even when she realised he hadn’t got her text messages.
But in a situation where it’s A.N.Other Woman, once Amy realised about the text message screw-up, I think she’d have shrugged it off quite quickly – because in that scenario, Dan didn’t reject her, he just didn’t KNOW.
Assuming Dan didn’t act more like an asshole than usual, I think, at the least, Amy wouldn’t have ghosted him the way the show implies she did once they left the White House. And if Dan knew she was considering marrying someone else (in the show he doesn’t appear to learn this until AFTER Buddy hits the national news, at which point the writing was on the wall), I have to believe he’d have done something about it.
It might even have happened sooner than that. They surely would have celebrated Jonah’s election somehow, for instance, and Amy’s a lot less likely to hold him off if she’s not under the weight of all that humiliation and hurt.
One of the things Season 6 makes clear is that they were both more than ready for their relationship to evolve – consider just how quickly they start…something (even if they don’t know what). It was only the second time they’d met. (I don’t think they had meetings that we didn’t see in season 6, because there’s a marked progression in their dynamic each time they meet. If they were meeting-up offscreen, I can’t imagine things would have stayed static between them – they’re quite volatile with each other, taken as a whole, if oddly undramatic. In other words, it’s implausible to me that they could have had a meeting where nothing happened).
So, if Dan’s fuck-up is of a much smaller scale, and as a result, they don’t fall into the vicious spiral that defines their dynamic in season 5…to quote Austen, things would rapidly have reached the most natural and reasonable conclusion.