Why exactly do you ship Dan and Amy together? I was just curious because based on your recent posts about season 7, and previous posts about DanxAmy in general, it doesn't really seem that you're very into the idea of the two of them together, or that you even really like Dan as a character. (I promise I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just genuinely curious to know your perspective).
Ha! Anon, I’m really curious – how many of my previous posts did you read? I feel like you can’t have gone too far back if you have doubts about my feelings on the matter.
But I will respond semi-seriously. The reason I’ve been rooting for Dan and Amy as a couple is because they seem to make each other happy. There are scenes with Dan where Amy is more visibly relaxed and at ease with herself than she has ever been at any other point in the serious – in large part because the qualities in her that so many people constantly criticise her for – that she’s abrasive and ambitious and ruthless – either don’t bother him or actively attract him. And on Dan’s side of things, Amy makes him a far more interesting character, because she pulls some humanity out of him – I got rather bored of him in season 6, because as strong as Reid Scott is in the role, nine episodes of undiluted assholery really highlighted how static Dan can be without her influence. She makes him a loveable asshole as opposed to an asshole asshole – they’re just fun to watch on screen together.
And, no, I don’t like Dan as a character, I think that’s fair to say. I mean, I love him, ever since “terrorist chickenfucker” and I think he’s so much fun to watch, especially when his cunning plans are unravelling (which they always do), but I have no delusions about his character having any redeeming features in a moral sense. I don’t like him, because he isn’t likeable.
My default setting is to have zero sympathy for Dan’s fuck-ups because they are always self-inflicted and could be avoided if he didn’t proactively seek out the most asshole-ish option possible. In that regard, I think my sense of the character isn’t far off Reid Scott’s to be honest. And because he’s such an asshole, I do enjoy watching him suffer – Jane mocking him for being a himbo or Sidney Purcell’s transparent contempt for him was delightful to me. (Okay, except when Ben made fun of him for having mental health issues. That’s the one exception).
Dan’s relationship with Amy is basically the only good quality he has – and his scenes with her are the only ones where his character is dynamic in a dramatic sense, because they’re the only ones where the audience can legitimately be in some suspense as to what he might do. And sure, 80% of the time he’s awful – but the other 20% he’s…actually kind of sweet (by Veep standards) with her, startling though that quality is in him. That can’t be said of any scene he’s ever had with Mike or Selina or Jonah.
But there are always going to be limits to the amount of assholery I am willing to tolerate – and Dan successfully coercing Amy into an abortion she doesn’t want is one of them, because it is unequivocally abusive. It’s literally one of the warning signs for intimate partner violence – even if the writers won’t acknowledge as such – and if friend told me that her partner was reacting to a pregnancy in such a way I would be seriously concerned.
I don’t care how good their chemistry is, or how charming Reid Scott manages to make Dan’s shittiness, I’m never going to be able to root for a couple where the male character tries to exert control over the female character’s reproductive choices. And to be clear, my feelings on this would be just as strong if Amy wanted the abortion and Dan was trying to prevent her from getting it. It’s unacceptable either way.
Now, I wonder if the first three episodes are going to be Dan having a kind of low-level, sustained panic attack at the thought of a baby – acting out in the worst way possible, and not really grasping what Amy’s feelings are about the pregnancy because he’s made it impossible for her to have an honest conversation with him. In which case it will be less a case of calculated coercion and more careless selfishness (the latter of which isn’t great, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least offers the possibility of a way back for the relationship that won’t have me throwing things).
And again, if Amy comes to the decision to have an abortion herself, that is absolutely, one hundred percent fine by me. It is the coercive aspect that would kill off the relationship for me. At that point Dan will have gone well past Loveable Asshole and into ‘Menacing Abusive Partner.’ Which, I’m sure Reid Scott could play, but I’d still rather not see it.
But it may not come to that. We don’t know what’s going to happen yet, as I am reminding myself on a regular basis.