The front runners have made a couple of comments about ‘if’ the pregnancy happens in the next season. ‘There’s no baby, there’s a pregnancy. That’s all I’m willing to say at the moment’ – David mandell Do you think there’s any chance they would make it not happen so that there is no baby at the end? If they did what would you think about it?
It’s worth taking a step back here and considering…what does the pregnancy DO in dramatic terms?
And what I mean by that is…what actions is the pregnancy going to force the characters to take. I don’t mean in the sense of arranging maternity leave or buying a crib, I mean something more fundamental.
A principal I’ve found useful, when writing, is that a dramatic story is one where a character makes a choice at the end of the story that they could not have made at the beginning – and the dramatic meat lies in seeing the process by which they become able to make that choice.
Think about all the films and plays and tv shows you’ve seen – I think you’ll be surprised how many that description applies to. (There are always exceptions, of course, because things like Waiting for Godot exist, but it really does hold true across a lot of different stories).
With that in mind, I think the purpose of the pregnancy becomes somewhat clearer. In Dan’s case it’s obvious – he’s going to have to choose between having Amy and continuing to be a heartless womaniser. (Only because it’s a comedy, the choice itself is kind of ludicrous – I GUARANTEE ninety percent of men wouldn’t hesitate for a second if offered the chance to be with a beautiful, intelligent, lovable woman who is pregnant with their child. That there’s even a struggle here for Dan indicates how immature he is).
And for Amy…well, all through the show, Amy has batted around questions of whether she wants to have a life beyond/as well as her career. And all through the show, she has seemed more comfortable in her professional role, than in the more explicitly feminine roles of girlfriend or fiancé, not least because virtually everyone in her life tells her, repeatedly, that she is a kind of…failure, as a woman. (I’ve said it before, but if people would just get off her back about it, I think Amy would be a lot more relaxed). And all of a sudden Amy – who puts considerable effort into hiding the more vulnerable, gentle, affectionate side of her character (it’s small, but it is there) – is being thrust into the most womanly of all roles, that of an expectant mother.
Even without Amy’s complicated feelings for Dan, the pregnancy would still be bringing numerous issues that she has tried to hide out into the open. Except of course, the feelings are there, have been there throughout the show – Dan and Amy’s rather fucked up courtship is probably the longest running plot in the show – and being immature and rather selfish (*especially* Dan), they’ve both preferred not to deal with them.
So the pregnancy does a lot in dramatic terms to force both Dan and Amy to face up to choices they’d rather avoid and to reveal the true nature of their feelings at long last. Which is kind of why the pregnancy exists in the first place, precisely to create that effect. (There are other ways this revelatory effect could have been created – the death of Amy’s father, for instance, being an obvious way to force both of them into growing up – but I always thought a pregnancy was the most likely route for the show to take).
But BECAUSE the pregnancy, by itself, is going to force all of these revelations, it means that by the time the child is actually born, you would expect all of that character development to have already happened. The pregnancy is more a useful dramatic tool than the child – a story about Amy finally facing her fears about her own femininity and embracing the parts of herself she’s spent so long trying to tamp down and defend, seems a hell of a lot more dramatically interesting to me than one of her trying to balance life as a working mother.
In other words, on the most basic level, I think the pregnancy is probably more attractive to the writers than the baby – it allows them to do a lot more. So, I really, really don’t think we’re going to come back in episode 7.01 and find out that Amy decided to have an abortion – it would cut the writers off from some really rich material.
However, the part I can’t work out is this – Amy presumably conceived in early November, which would put her due date in late July/early August. However, Selina presumably wouldn’t announce her candidacy until August at the earliest.
Which, would mean that if the show comes back early in the primaries (and going by the episode titles that seems to be what they’re doing), Amy would almost certainly already have had her baby. The timelines of the presidential election and her pregnancy don’t line up in a dramatically helpful way. (That said, the writers were blithely unconcerned about timelines in season 6, so maybe Amy will have an eleven month pregnancy or something).
And that creates a problem that I don’t know how the writers fix. Because for Dan and Amy not to have sorted out at least SOME element of their relationship by the time Amy gives birth strains credibility, to put it mildly. Like, we know they’re immature, but that would just be silly. (I got round this in You Were Always On My Mind by using Selina and Brie and Leon and Tom and Dan’s father to persistently…insert themselves into the relationship and prevent Dan and Amy from speaking honestly to each other, but working out how to orchestrate all that obstruction so that the story ended in tandem with the political campaign AND it felt believable that they hadn’t resolved things earlier on was not easy).
But at the same time, the writers are not going to want to resolve Dan and Amy’s relationship until the end of the season – I’m guessing episode nine – meaning there is going to be some kind of obstacle keeping them apart.
I’m hoping that obstacle will be Amy’s – extremely well justified – distrust of Dan, because I think their dynamic needs to flip if the audience is going to stay with the story. Having Dan continually demean and insult Amy as insufficiently sexually attractive while she’s pregnant with his child, is not a dynamic I can see myself enjoying for any length of time. And for Dan to have to fight his way back into Amy’s affections all over again, seems like it would give Reid Scott something more interesting to play than he’s had in a while (Dan got rather one-note in season 6), and a believable way to spoil the tension out until the end of the show.
I DON’T think they’ll go with a miscarriage or a fatal abnormality or anything like that. Genuine tragedy isn’t something Veep’s ever really done, and I have no idea how they could make a late-term miscarriage of a wanted pregnancy FUNNY. (I am not an award-winning comedy writer, of course, but I don’t see a way to do it that doesn’t turn Veep into actual absurdism). That’s not to say a comedy couldn’t tackle the subject – Friends probably could have, and Sex and the City gave Charlotte a pretty heart-rending miscarriage – but both of those shows had more…tonal variation than Veep. They allowed their characters to be sad without mocking them or us for feeling that pain. That kind of pathos has been largely impossible for Veep to achieve.
But who knows – I’m positive the seventh season will include at least one, and possibly two time jumps, so that we find out the results of the next election. And where those time-jumps are may have a considerable impact on how the storyline concludes.