Just in case you wanted to read the whole thing in chronological order. Obviously, it hasn’t been written in order, so hear and there details will slip (and there’s an egregious mistake in Chapter Four, where I have Amy realising about the text message screw-up much later than she did in canon… but I think it still rings true emotionally). Sometimes the stories overlap in time, but I’ve tried to stick with what I think is the most sensible reading order. I will try to keep this updated with new chapters, as and when I write them.
Can we hope for another chapter of what might have been anytime soon?
Dear anon: Chapter Seven: AU starting from 5.09 (I guess). Amy doesn’t get pregnant the first time.
I think this will be the last of the What Might Have Been’s for a while, for the simple reason that I can’t think of any others.
Well, there’s the ‘what if they never met before the show’ one, but that would be so enormous I simply don’t have time to write it now. And there’s the ‘what if’ Amy’s messages got to Dan in 5.02 (in which case he almost certainly wouldn’t have seen them until after he’d finished with Sophie…) but I don’t see that scenario ending well at all.
Remember I commented about colour only re-entering Dan’s storyline in season 4 when Amy does?
All his scenes in the lobbying firm (KPM?) are drained and colourless, everyone dress in black or grey or white, and the environment full of black couches and steel finishings – there are reflections everywhere. (I seem to remember that the lighting or something in these scenes also makes Reid Scott look even paler than he already is – like he’s being drained somehow).
And then Amy comes to work with him, gets her groove back, and comes in wearing an electric blue skirt. As much as Dan may have been momentarily boggled by Amy taking his desk and parking space, I think this makes it clear that Amy joining him made him much, much happier – she brings him back to life, in a way, and bringing colour back into his environment illustrates that.
is it my eyes or amy's dress matches Dan's tie in the last creencap? i love how amy looks this ep, she looks soooo great! and her lip gloss makes her look even more like a doll!!!
Nope, it’s not just you. It’s a trick the costume designer uses pretty regularly to tie Dan and Amy together colour-wise – though, from memory, I think it shows up more in the later seasons when they’re closer. Menswear doesn’t offer many other opportunities for colour, and Amy doesn’t have the kind of build that would be flattered by more androgynous clothing, that mimicked the shape of Dan’s suits. She’s what used to be called a ‘pocket Venus’ (a beautiful phrase for someone short and hour-glass), which can be tricky to dress (I say this as a short, curvy woman myself).
The purple dress is kind of interesting though, because I don’t think we’ve seen Amy wear a neckline that low ever again in the show. Combined with the pink lipstick and the purple dress, she looks a lot more girlish – and more to the point, younger – than she does later on in the season, and it’s not a coincidence that it’s in the scene where we get the first hint of her past with Dan. Making her look as cute and feminine and doll-like as possible really underlines her vulnerability.
Which is presumably why Amy’s reaction to having to be in prolonged close quarters with Dan is to start wearing the most colourless, shapeless suits she can find. The pinks and blues and purples of the first episode disappear for quite some time.
In fact, I don’t think we see Amy wearing a real, saturated colour again until the red blouse she wears the morning after her date with Ed. (There’s the blue dress in 2.04, but I think that’s it).
It’s an interesting contrast with Selina in that I’d be willing to bet Selina ENJOYS fashion a lot more than Amy does – she takes pride in her beauty and likes to show it off – but Amy’s clothing choices are far more reflective of her mental state.
In other words, if in behind the scenes pics of season 7 we see Amy in red or pink, it’s probably a safe bet that SOMETHING is afoot romantically.
How old do you think dan and Amy are? I’d read somewhere that Dan was around 34 while at CBS and then during the consultancy etc. etc. however in the latest chapter of what might have been you’ve written him to have grey hair? Is that maybe because of Reid Scott?
Oh dear, I am a very mean woman. As you’ve noted, the line about Dan going grey is to do with Reid Scott, who is definitely developing salt and pepper tendencies. (Though, in all honesty, I had friends who started to go grey in their twenties, so it could be much worse).
The reason Amy says it to him, of course, is an attempt to hold him off – she may be glad she left Buddy, but two years with him did not do her confidence any good at all, and seeing Dan and being reminded of HIS rejection so soon afterwards doesn’t help. Hence, she doesn’t pick up on Dan’s attempt to flirt with her at all, and keeps trying to slap him down so he’ll leave her alone and she won’t have yet another reminder that she’s undesirable.
As for Dan and Amy’s ages…to answer this I have to do a deep dive into Veep’s timeline, so bear with me.
The regularity of elections helps with this, but it’s still occasionally tricky to keep track of.
Season 1: starts SOMETIME in 2013, probably late spring/early summer (everyone’s complaining the heat in 1.02 – but both Amy and Selina have heavy coats on in 1.01, so I don’t think it can be earlier than that). The season ends with an argument about whether Selina will or will not endorse Furlong for his campaign as governor, so it seems reasonable to assume it runs through to sometime early in 2014, though it’s hard to say where exactly.
Season 2: opens in November 2014, at the midterm elections. The best guess would put the season ending round about April/May of 2015. (This introduces a problem in Amy’s relationship with Ed that I’ll get too in a second).
Season 3: opens in summer 2015 – the first episode is Mike and Wendy’s wedding, which is held outdoors. (I’m guessing it’s early in the summer, because I understand DC can be unbearably humid as the summer goes on). 3.07 – when Dan has his nervous breakdown – is presumably in early November, as Selina gives a speech marking Armistice Day. (Note, in 3.05, Ed says he and Amy have been dating for a year – which, unless they started dating BEFORE season 2 even started, is impossible. And it seems unlikely to me that that was the case given the way Sue talks to Amy in 2.04). Season 3 ends with the New Hampshire primary, which would take place in late Jan/early Feb 2016.
Season 4: picks up almost immediately afterwards with Selina’s first state of the union address, and runs straight through to the election in November 2016.
Season 5: covers the shortest time period, going from the election 2016, through to the inauguration in January 2017.
Season 6: starts with a time jump of a year, putting us in January 2018, and running through to January 2019.
Bear in mind, between the beginning of season 2 and the end of season 5, two years and two months pass in show time – the elections allow us to be extremely exact about that. Season 6, by itself, almost doubled the length of time covered by the show.
Now, the one piece of evidence we have about Dan’s age shows up in season 6:
I think the working assumption is that Dan did a standard four year degree, and thus would have been 23 when he graduated – and therefore, since there’s an eleven year gap between 2007 and 2018, he must be 34 (or possibly 35 by the final episode of season 6 – we don’t know when his birthday is).
Now, if Dan is 34 in season 6, that would put him at 28 or 29 in the first episode of the show. Which…seems just a little bit too young to me. Firstly, because, let’s be honest…Reid Scott LOOKS older than that (it’s not a criticism, I swear – I feel super mean even writing that down). And secondly, because everything about his dynamic with Amy makes more sense if he’s a little bit older than her (the kind of age gap that’s huge at 25 and meaningless at 35). Not to mention, that I’d always assumed Dan was older than Jonah – again, largely based on how the characters interact – and Jonah’s running for President in 2019, meaning he MUST be at least 35 in January 2019. Jonah being older than both Dan and Amy doesn’t scan AT ALL.
On a broader point, I would be hesitant to place too much weight on a prop, for evidence about Dan (or Amy’s age). And to explain my point – look what Veep tells us about Amy’s educational background:
There are two problems here. One, MMIIV isn’t a Roman numeral (I’ll be generous, and assume they were going for MMVII, i.e. 2007, and didn’t try to write 2003 in a strange way – especially as Amy being FOUR years older than Dan seems wildly out of place). Two, we know from this that Amy got her Bachelors from Penn State. And yet, not only does she not mention it in her bio, she describes herself as a graduate of Denison university. Possibly this is an American usage tripping me up, but my experience has usually been that people describe themselves as graduates from the university at which they did their undergrad – and not wherever they did their post-grad (which is what Amy must have done at Denison, unless she has TWO Bachelors degrees, which seems unlikely).
In other words, it seems more likely to me that the set dressers (I assume that’s who makes the props) made a mistake with either Dan or Amy’s graduation date (or both – Amy graduating in 2007, putting her at age 28/29 in the first season seems sensible to me, Dan’s the one that bothers me, as putting him at that age throws off his dynamics with Amy AND Jonah) than that we are supposed to accept the rather contradictory evidence we see here.
On balance, it would seem to suggest that they are meant to be read as peers, though I find that problematic for characterisation reasons. (I suppose Amy could be very young for her school year, and Dan could be old for his – like if they both had September birthdays, but almost a year apart).
I also note that both did their undergrads in reasonable proximity to DC, meaning the two of them crossing paths some summer they spent as interns is reasonably plausible. And if Dan got a job with someone in Ohio (he seems to have connections there, knowing Furlong and Will at the start of the series), they could have met while Amy was doing her postgrad degree.
Though I don’t think that could be when their ‘romantic’ backstory happened – if Amy went straight into her post-grad, that would put it in 2007-08, a full FIVE years before the show begins… which just seems too distant. I don’t think Amy would be as bitter about what had happened, or that there’d be so much visible tension between them, if it was that far in the past. From what we see in the show, it feels like a lot of the reason she never properly ‘got over’ Dan is that he was always hanging around her, keeping those feelings fresh and churned up.
Even for people as immature as Dan and Amy, five years feels like a LONG time for that holding pattern to sustain itself, without one or both of them wanting more – it’s clear by 4.04 that there’s a strong mutual desire there, and that it’s reached a breaking point already – and that’s after three years of working together. Adding an extra five years of the two of them dancing around each other seems really unlikely – the show had to really WORK to justify keeping them apart in seasons 5 & 6.
Though, if you think this is bad, try working out Selina’s backstory! She says she’s 48 in season 4, meaning she’s 51 (or thereabouts) at the end of season six.
Now, between the ages of 18 and 51 (so thirty-three years), Selina somehow found time to do a four year degree at Smith, three years of Law School, became a partner in a law firm, and had a twenty-two year long political career, presumably going the House-Senate-Veep route. I’m not sure which is more unlikely – becoming partner at a law firm in three years, or combining a high powered legal career with being a Congresswoman and having to run for re-election every two years – but I think it’s clear Selina simply isn’t OLD enough for the career we’re told she’s had (even if we’re supposed to find it plausible that Selina could shave a year or three off her age without anyone noticing).
Instead of driving home on that fateful evening, Buddy takes a taxi, and events unfold rather differently. (It’s a sign of how poorly used Amy’s character was in season 6 that lifting her out of the back half doesn’t actually change how events unfolded in any substantial way).
“She’s knocked up with Dan Egan’s baby. What the fuck is she going to do now?“
The next pretty.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t particularly like writing sex scenes, but, for whatever reason, the two in Best Laid Plans were the easiest I’ve ever written.
In the first instance because I kind of loved the idea of writing a scene for them that was entirely without dialogue – they’re both so hyper verbal that taking away that particular crutch seemed like it would do something interesting. The second one was interesting to write because…well, I liked thinking through just how calculated Dan would be about sex, and how much thought he would put into each action to make sure that Amy would relax and actually enjoy herself.
I completed this JUST before season six started to air, which is hilarious in hindsight.