It seems like all my worst fears about Dan and Amy in season 7 are coming true! When did Amy become the Jonah of the group? The constant dumping on her is not entertaining for me, and makes me want her to get far away from Dan and Selina as she possibly can.
I think this is partly my fault, because I have been ranting and raging, and forgetting the very important maxim not to freak out about something a show does until I see it in context. For which I apologise.
Until we see the whole season, it’s a bad idea to get too upset by any one thing (or too invested in any one theory), especially a show like Veep, which in Mandel’s hands has a tendency to… recontextualise earlier scenes for the audience towards the end of the season (think Kissing Your Sister or Breaking Ground).
I mention that, because all the reviews, and all the information we’ve been getting, seems to be based on the screeners that went out to reviewers – which contain only the first three episodes. And as a very wise woman once said:
“What I wonder is, assuming there’s a time jump in or immediately after 7.03 or 7.02 (when would the first primary debate be, exactly? Presumably well after Amy’s due date) – think of the way Parks and Rec jumped immediately after Leslie’s pregnancy – that we will be getting two versions of the story. As in, Dan fucks up somehow in the first half of the season and spends the second half trying to rectify it.”
Everything we’re hearing fits in with that story-structure perfectly. Dan freaks about the pregnancy – acts out in the worst way possible because he’s panicking and won’t admit it – only realises what a colossal mistake he’s made after Amy leaves, and spends the rest of the season worming his way back into her life. Now, this is kind of infuriating, and makes him the slowest of slow learners, because…seriously, how many times will Amy have to ditch him for being an asshole before he learns to behave like a decent human being? Her running off to Nevada with Buddy didn’t make that point with sufficient force?
Still, none of that feels out of character, even if it is exasperating.
One of Dan’s hallmark traits is a tendency to need to see that Amy is upset – for her to be crying or screaming or catatonic – before he puts on the brakes. So I could genuinely imagine a scenario where he doesn’t realise her feelings about the abortion – and him – and thinks they’re actually on the same page, right up until she bursts into tears in the clinic and kicks him out. (At which point it will be substantially too late, from her point of view). Basic empathy has never been his strong suit.
The problem for me here is that reproductive coercion is a textbook sign of an abusive relationship – whether by sabotaging birth control or forcing abortions – and is one of the most intimate ways men abuse women. So to have Dan doing his utmost to force Amy into having an abortion (and let’s be clear – he doesn’t have to say the words to be doing that – sleeping with other women as flagrantly as possible and refusing to even discuss the pregnancy sends a very, very clear message) makes me fear that the writers are edging into territory that I have real doubts they have any ability to handle.
This may well be what Reid Scott was talking about when he said Dan was worse than ever this year. And humourless feminist that I am, I just cannot imagine any scenario in which I could find Dan pushing Amy into an abortion against her will funny – let alone root for them to get together afterwards.
Now maybe, maybe there’s a way for the show to do that – maybe Dan will realise the magnitude of what he did to her, maybe he will exhibit genuine remorse – but it would require something a lot more sincere and emotional than the show is usually willing to give us.
Because if that’s the story structure they’re going with, I’m fairly confident they will be putting them together in the end – I’m just going to hate it. Because if Amy sleeps with Dan again – risks a pregnancy with again – after a coerced abortion – without him having proved that he has changed in a serious, serious way… the show will have effectively turned her into a battered wife.
And I have no interest in watching that. None.
But this is all based on a pretty big if.
My problem is not Amy having an abortion. My problem is Amy having an abortion because the father of her child and her employer abuse her to the point where she has no other choice. And my fear is that the writers will give us the latter, without ever acknowledging what they’ve depicted.
But they may not do that. It may all play out very differently. And I am not going to assume I know what the writers are doing ahead of time.
(As for the constant dumping on Amy – if the costuming is anything to go by, she’s going to thrive once separated from Selina, and, to a lesser extent Dan, since going by the pics Dan makes his way back into Amy’s orbit towards the end of the season. So, they have everyone treating her terribly to make it all the sweeter when she comes back and beats them all – I’d prefer that Amy’s success and happiness not be equated so blatantly with her dressing well, but it is a definite possibility).