So you’ve gotten a little into this in you fics, but how different do you think Dan’s time at CBS would be if he and Amy were together during that time? Ever think Amy was lucky to have missed him in a place that brought out his worst? On a side note I’d like for a BKD client (or potential client) to go off on Dan about how badly CBS covered a cause that matters to them.
There’s a couple of different things to think about here, so bear with me if it seems like I’m approaching them in a slightly backwards manner.
Ever think Amy was lucky to have missed him in a place that brought out his worst?
Did CBS bring out Dan’s worst side, or was it being separated from Amy that did it? Because I’m not sure that Dan’s professional behaviour is substantially worse in season 6 than it was previously. His behaviour in his personal life definitely seems worse – the show had certainly implied that Dan had slept around before, but not to the extreme that we saw in season 6. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any element of deception in his relationships, such as they are, which is the aspect of his behaviour that I’ve always found really objectionable – he doesn’t appear to be exploiting the women in the same calculated manner as in the past.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Dan became insufferable as the season went on, but I don’t think it’s because his behaviour changed substantially, it’s more the way it was shown to us. The characters at CBS were all pretty odious themselves, and because he only has three scenes with Amy while he’s working there (in all of which he’s pretty obnoxious), we don’t get ANY moments that…leaven his character. Which is a change – in every other season, Dan usually got at least a few moments where the audience was reminded that he is, at least intermittently, capable of being a proper human being.
Unsurprisingly, almost all of them involve Amy – around her Dan becomes a Loveable Asshole. Shorn of that influence, I think he’s simply too unattractive a character – too nasty, too knowingly malicious – for the audience to really root for him. Jonah says terrible things all the time, without actually realising what he’s said – Dan knows exactly what he’s saying and how he’s behaving and goes ahead anyway. (It does strike me that if they’d kept in a few more of Dan’s sad attempts at journalism – which he does seem to have been semi-serious about, given the hard subjects he was taking on – it might have helped a little).
how different do you think Dan’s time at CBS would be if he and Amy were together during that time?
There’s a short answer and a long answer to this.
Short answer – if Dan was in a known long-term relationship with Amy, I don’t think he would have got the permanent gig on CBS This Morning. The network seem to have kept him for two reasons, 1) because they thought he had a good instinct for creating good TV moments, given the bust-up with Jonah (that Dan thought they’d fire him for that really shows he was thinking like a politician, not a producer), and, much more importantly, 2) because Jane liked him.
If it was already public knowledge that Dan was involved with someone, he becomes a lot less useful for Jane’s purposes – it’s a lot harder for her to sell the story that they’re having an affair, if he’s out on the town with Amy on a regular basis. Not impossible (look at how Jane got the Post to talk about Amy in their gossip column) but harder. (Which is why I don’t understand why Dan didn’t just start dating someone – anyone – publicly as a way of staving Jane off. It would have been more effective than the route he did choose, and if he was seeing as many women as the show implied, would have been easy for him to do. I’m sure someone would have been willing to go to a few high-end cocktail bars with him).
The more important question is whether it’s plausible that – assuming the fuck-up in Nevada didn’t happen or was resolved somehow – Dan and Amy would have started a serious relationship. And I genuinely don’t know.
As complacent as Dan has been about Amy in the past, he may well have needed something like her moving across the country to marry someone else, if he was ever going to change. In other words, I tend to think he had to come very close to losing her completely before he would admit (to himself, of course, not to Amy) that he cared about her. (This is why the threat of Buddy has loomed large in most of the ‘want of a nail’ fic I’ve written, because I think Dan needed that prod to get him moving).
On the other hand, that scenario would almost certainly have been better for Amy – Dan’s a lot better at selling her than she is, and in a situation where she would accept his help, I think she would have wound up in a better position professionally.
Having said all of that, from what we see of them in 6.10, spending just one night together turned them both into the most starry-eyed versions of themselves. With the way Dan tends to divorce sex from emotion, sleeping with someone he genuinely loves was probably a brand new (and potentially slightly overwhelming) experience for him – and he certainly seems to have enjoyed it.
Having Amy in reality is entirely different to having her in theory, and when push came to shove he may not have been willing to give her up, once he’d had a taste of how good it could actually be. So they may have eventually found a compromise they could live with, but I think there would have been a LOT of shouting before they got there, and especially if Amy was still raw over Nevada.
On a side note I’d like for a BKD client (or potential client) to go off on Dan about how badly CBS covered a cause that matters to them
I want them to do something that means the CBS plot line feels relevant – if they don’t, I think it will feel like a very odd interlude in the show’s plotting – though at this point it’s anyone’s guess what that might be. If the show is very tightly focused on the presidential campaigns, we may not see BKD deal with any other clients – though it would seem a natural way to bring back some of the political fuck-ups we’ve met over the years for a victory lap.
Or even better, bring in Amy Poehler or Peter Capaldi as a potential candidate (I know it would be stunt-casting, and I don’t care. The potential joke of having Leslie Knope show up in Veep is endlessly entertaining to me – though of course the actual Leslie Knope would HATE most of the characters (except Sue, Mike and maybe Amy)…as much as she’s capable of hating anyone).
It’s a pity we only saw Dan interview pre-existing characters – Selina, Tom, Amy and Jonah – because if he was trying to get hired by someone he’d given an on-air savaging, that could be quite challenging. (Isn’t Buddy supposed to show up again? Maybe he tries to hire BKD for an image rehabilitation campaign! (It won’t happen, but it would be hilarious).)
I don’t know a lot about how political consultancy firms work, but at the moment it seems like BKD is to small to handle anything beyond the presidential race – though you’d think they could provide less hands on management to congressional candidates.
If I were writing it, I’d have the campaign use Dan as it’s official talking head – now that everyone knows how good he is on TV – and bring back at least Jane, so we can see the two of them spar a few more times. They could even have Jane interview him (and maybe Amy) about the pregnancy – it seems like the kind of story a morning show would cover, and there would be so many apparently competing lines of sexual tension, and ACTUAL tension, that the writers could have a lot of fun with it.
I guess it depends on where the show is focused next year – my instinct is they’ll be more interested in the campaign than the early stages of the consultancy… but I am not a psychic, and they have so much ground to cover, that I think the characters could easily end up in very different places from where they start the season.