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Amy in the media

I’m a news junkie, and I’ve been watching the Rob Porter/Hope Hicks story clusterfuck unfold with some interest.

It does strike me though…one, if anything, Veep has probably underplayed the amount of press interest Amy would generate – beautiful women in politics get a completely outsized response from the media (Huma Abedin And Hope Hicks being recent examples).

Two, Dan and Amy having to deal with an unplanned pregnancy seems downright WHOLESOME in comparison to the current shenanigans. This almost certainly won’t happen, of course, but if they could get on the same page and present a united front, they have the kind of “love story” people would be fascinated by.

It’s known they had a relationship in the past (thanks to Dan’s little snit), it’s known Amy’s previous fiancé was pretty terrible, and they’re both very good looking. Turning the relationship into a political asset would be EASY (though I don’t know if Selina would appreciate the press being distracted in that way).

Their rather…fractious relationship will probably prevent that of course, and I have my doubts as to how likely Amy is to cooperate in any attempt to use her as a political prop…but it’s so innocent compared to the current scandals that it’s kind of fascinating to think about.

As everything we’re feels beyond satire, everything that used to be satire feels underplayed. Dave Mandel’s recent comments awards about how reality having better writers than Veep show some consciousness of this, though how it will reflect in the plot is TBD.

In the way what the real and fictional couples have in common are histories of relationships in unhealthy cycles. Rob Porter abused both of his ex-wives, Hope Hicks has a history of being involved with abusive men (possibly the reason that this story leaked at all.) Amy has a history of being attracted to narcissist and not being great about standing up for her interests. Dan has his of treating everything as transactional and being shortsighted in this. Part of wrapping up their stories will have to be seeing if they can break these cycles. (Sophie’s reappearance should hint at an answer to this. Also I think Amy’s relationship to Selina has to end. Some of Dan’s conflict will be that he’s now a partner and in business and won’t be able to flit around from job to job as he did in the past. While I’d like to meet someone from his family, I’m not sure it’s necessary.)

(I just read Kim Gordon’s memoir Girl In a Band where she discusses how she thought her marriage to Thurston Moore was her breaking her narcissistic/codependent pattern, but it turned out not to be. This is the only celebrity break up that really affected me and reading it brought up a lot of feelings.)

The other thing is being  the media will affect their sense of selves and if change is even possible. Dramatically in the show (and in real life) the boundaries between the media and the subject and journalist are becoming porous. I don’t think that going from CBS to politics will be as easy a transition as it was to go the other way. Also I’m intrigued by the possibility of Mike actually pursuing writing, essentially completely flipping his and Leon’s roles. It is harder to initiate change when surrounded by people who’ve helped fix your image in the public eye. (and Hope Hick’s modelling career including being on the cover of a Gossip Girl’s spinoff series just makes everything more surreal.)

Regarding Amy and Selina, the more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with you about the likely direction of that relationship.

I remember saying at the time that it was significant when Amy, in 6.10, decided to leave Selina of her own volition – not because she was angry or upset, but because BKD was clearly a better place for her to be. That’s sabotaged by events, of course, (and it seems odd to me that she was planning to go work for Dan’s company before telling him about the pregnancy, unless Dan was a hell of a lot more declarative that night than I think he was), but I think it points at the likely direction of her storyline in season 7. Her relationship with Selina is a lot more co-dependent than her relationship with Dan (which is saying something), and cutting that cord may well be the final step Amy has to take to become properly adult.

And in some ways, I think the pregnancy may be something of a blessing in disguise, because while Amy may not be great at sticking up for herself, she’s very very good at doing it for other people. Having a baby is going to force her to establish boundaries with Dan, in a way that I don’t think she’s really had the willpower to do before. She clearly cut him off for the best part of a year between seasons, which is some progress, but at the same time…we’ve never seen her ignore him in person. It’s relatively easy to do when there’s an entire continent between them. But in this situation, I’d expect her to fight him off tooth and nail unless he gave her a very (very) good reason not to. Which wouldn’t preclude smiling for the cameras, necessarily, but it’s a safe assumption she’ll try to shut him out of anything personal as much as possible. She’ll defend the baby from him in a way she’s never really managed for herself.

And as for Dan, I think it would be genuinely FUN to see him deal with a problem that he can’t charm his way out of, and, even more importantly, doesn’t want to. He had very little idea how to manage Jane, because a woman who doesn’t fall at his feet when he bats his eyelashes at her is something entirely out of his experience. (He’s basically a film-noir vamp with a gender flip, which I find kind of fascinating). Having that same woman be Amy is a kind of culmination of his worst actions the whole way through the show – none of his usual tricks will work on the person who, more than anyone, he’s gone out of his way to convince that he’s heartless and shallow.

I do tend to agree regarding his family though – I’m not sure we need to see them. Partly it’s because of the scenes with Gary’s family in season 6 – they were quite disappointing in that they WEREN’T revelatory, Gary’s family turned out to be exactly what one would expect them to be. If that’s the case with Dan, it’s really just wasting the audience’s time.

I say this, mind you, despite thinking that, as a general rule, the most important information we learn about ANY character in fiction is meeting their parents. What Veep showed us of Selina and Amy’s families was quite telling in that respect.

On the other hand, Dan’s relationship with Amy has always been the most revealing one he has – in dramatic terms, it defines his character far more than it does hers (I’d say Amy’s defining relationship is with Selina, though less so now than earlier in the show). So, at this point, I’m not sure any scene with his family could tell us more than a scene with Amy would.

This is also why he was rather less interesting to watch in season 6 than in the past. Left to himself, he’s such an awful person that he’s dramatically rather static – and surrounding him with people who are equally odious doesn’t do much to create a sense of stakes. Once he vanquished Jane – the only other character at CBS who wasn’t entirely one-note – the whole thing became rather dull, especially as the writers forgot the cardinal rule, that Dan is far more fun to watch when he’s losing than when he’s winning (much like Selina). But because Amy pulls a kind of humanity out of him – willingly or not, he’s often almost sweet with her – there’s more dramatic tension in his scenes with her. They’re the only times when the audience can, legitimately, be in suspense about what Dan might do, because it’s NOT a foregone conclusion that he’ll default to the nastiest option possible. She MAKES him dynamic.