At this point I think it’s safe to assume that Dan actually loves Amy and with the way Season 5 went in terms of their relationship, I think it would’ve been interesting to see Amy with someone who she was ACTUALLY into and posed as a major threat to Dan. Dan is an extremely competitive person and I would’ve loved to see how he reacted to Amy with someone as handsome and smooth as he is.
Okay, I have a couple of thoughts on this, so bear with me.
First of all, I don’t think Veep could ever allow Amy to meet Tall, Dark and Nice to Her. Because unless Amy is a previously unknown species of masochist, in any competition between Dan and a man she is equally attracted to who has not slept with her sister, used her to advance his career and done his level best to make her feel unattractive… Dan loses. After the events of season 5, how could he ever convince her to pick him?
As things play out, Amy has to be brought very, very low in season 6 before she considers seeing Dan again. Buddy humiliates her in the national press and makes a mockery of her political career – she has no option but to go back to working for Selina, because no one else will hire her, and Selina not only makes a point of promoting RICHARD over her, she spends a considerable amount of time abusing Amy, reminding her that she is unattractive in every possible way. And then, to crown it all, Mike’s diary is leaked, Amy’s publicly accused of perjury and facing jail time… and Dan is right there, eager to take advantage of any opportunity she gives him to reclaim his place in her life.
Amy cutting Dan out of her life was a very sensible, healthy decision given how he’d been treating her, and if things had played out differently, I don’t think she would have backtracked on it. I should also say, this is an aspect of how Veep has built their ‘love story’ that I am not in the least bit fond of. The sense that Amy falls back into something with Dan because she’s been boxed in by literally everything in her life going wrong in the worst way possible casts quite a depressing light on their relationship. (Which is yet another reason why Dan needs to WIN her back in the final season – it needs to be clear that Amy actively CHOOSES to be with him, rather than feeling like she has no other options).
Secondly, from what we see in the show, Amy WAS attracted to Buddy. Look how excited she was to tell Selina about him, and how happy she seemed when talking about her visit to Nevada. She wasn’t in love with him, and I think it’s obvious that Buddy should never have been more than a fling, but Amy’s not capable of faking her feelings that way.
Thirdly, it’s very difficult to predict what Dan would do in that scenario, because Veep has shut us out of crucial information on his feelings for Amy all the way through the show.
Now, my working assumption is that Dan didn’t learn that Amy was engaged to Buddy until AFTER the dash cam footage went viral. Most likely, Amy ghosted him as soon as they left the White House, and the interview in 6.03 may well be the first time they had spoken – and Dan clearly knew by the end of the interview, if not at the beginning, that Amy and Buddy were doomed.
What I think strengthens that assumption is how Dan reacted to Ed. Because his reaction WASN’T to compete for Amy, not really. He sulked. He gets drunk at Catherine’s birthday party, and acts out the next night at the dinner, picking on Ed with Jonah and accusing him of not being man enough for D.C. (This is all hilarious to me, by the way). In the very next episode he betrays Selina (and by extension Amy) by helping Chung, and for the rest of the season he only bothers to put any real effort in when Amy, specifically, pays attention to him. What gets him to really commit to doing his job is learning that Amy too is considering jumping ship – something which makes absolutely no sense politically, but does if you assume that his behaviour in 2.07-2.08 is a prolonged pass-aggressive sulk at Amy appearing to have supplanted him with Ed. Which is probably why the moment he sees an opportunity to reclaim that place – by leaving Selina with Amy by his side – he jumps straight on it.
In other words, Dan’s reactions to Ed and Buddy play out in very similar ways, and at no point does he actively compete for Amy’s affection. His MO is to react pretty damn childishly, sulk for as long as Amy appears to ignore him, and then leap at the chance to re-establish himself as the central man in her life (but virtually always with the cover that it’s their PROFESSIONAL bond he values).
It’s an oddly passive way for Dan to behave – especially when you consider how confident he is with women in every other way – but I don’t know if it would change just because the man Amy was with was more…conventionally masculine. I mean, it might – and I can certainly see Dan reassuring himself that Amy wasn’t REALLY attracted to Ed or Buddy, they’re both milquetoasts (though Ed had more spark to him than was obvious initially), which might be harder for him to do if she was dating someone more dashing – but I wouldn’t bet on it.
To be fair, I actually think that the way Season 6 plays out implies that Dan has developed more understanding of Amy’s feelings than is immediately apparent. But I don’t think that had much to do with Buddy, as such.
I think it’s more that Amy’s actions regarding Buddy broke through some of his delusions about their relationship. Because Amy seemed to be committed to her relationship with Buddy right up until the moment she wasn’t. And once she wasn’t, she ran out of Nevada and didn’t look back.
Now Dan has (or, let’s be fair, had) a very unattractive sense of entitlement towards Amy – which is why he sulks like a child when she dares to spend time with someone else, as though she was a favourite toy that had been taken from him, rather than a person who makes decisions based on how she’s treated. He doesn’t COMPETE with Buddy or Ed, because competing with them implies equality – in a competition Amy could choose either one, something Dan refuses to acknowledge is a possibility. Obviously, he can have Amy any time he wants her, and so he’ll wait for her to come back to him, the way she’s supposed to, rather than admitting that Buddy or Ed is an actual rival for Amy, who she may find more attractive than Dan.
However, he is also very intelligent, and he knows Amy incredibly well. So while he may have gone into a passive-aggressive snit about Amy ignoring him and planning to marry someone else (rather than, say, getting on a plane to Nevada and asking her to come back), I think the way Amy left Buddy was what finally broke through his walls of denial and clued him in as to why she ghosted him in the first place.
Because if Amy’s response to Buddy hurting and humiliating her was to cut off all contact and run cross country… well what did Dan do that pushed her into doing the exact same thing to him? Oddly enough for someone who most people consider quite aggressive, Amy’s default response in difficult relationships is flight not fight, and I think Dan is too smart not to have made the connection to his own behaviour once she walked away from Buddy.
Which would explain the way he is…oddly careful with her in 6.05. He doesn’t want to set her running again. He is obnoxious, naturally, but Amy’s comment about her mother, her obvious unhappiness at her position with Selina, and Gary showing up weeping about men exposing themselves in the exact way Buddy did – all of these things give him opportunities to be a lot MORE obnoxious, none of which he takes. Dan being sensitive to anyone’s feelings is such a rarity that it stands out (of course he’s still an ASS which is why he won’t stop talking about Jane).
In conclusion, for a long, long time, Dan has had a fucked up and DEEPLY unpleasant way of thinking about Amy, and we don’t know that he’s fully gotten over it. The pregnancy will be the final test in that regard – because while it would be understandable if Dan assumed a long-term relationship was a foregone conclusion, he has got to get over that sense of entitlement to her if their relationship is ever going to function.
So if they DID give Amy an additional love interest in season 7, it would give Dan the opportunity to (at long fucking last) man up and actually fight for her, rather than assuming she’ll come back to him like some boomerang he threw away. But past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, so I’m not convinced that he’d do so, even if Amy was being wooed by Idris Elba or Chris Pine or even Paul Newman in his prime.