I have a ton of asks about this, and thought it would be easier to sum them up in one place. For anyone who is unspoiled, this post should explain it.
Putting in a cut for anyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled.
TLDR: They do not fill me with optimism, to say the least – but I can accept a lot if it means an end to Pining!Amy.
Okay, so some of this ties into things we’re already aware of, and plays into my sense that the time jumps are the most crucial element in how the story the is playing out.
Assuming the spoiler is accurate, I see two options for how this could go, though I think one is more likely than the other. I have a lot of different thoughts on this, so apologies if this is a bit back and forth.
In the flash forward at the end of the series, Dan and Amy are separated, and Dan is married to a twenty-two year old.
I don’t love this for a number of reasons. But, as I said last night, the only reason I can think of to introduce such a big change at the last minute is to dramatically undercut everything that came before. If Dan continues to be an irredeemable pig right up until the last moment in the ‘present’ having such a last minute reveal doesn’t change our perception of anything – it merely confirms it.
The appeal of this as a story decision, in other words, is that it allows the writers to have their cake and eat – they can put Dan and Amy together in the present, even give them some relatively tender and sincere moments, safe in the knowledge that they will also be confirming their mutual terribleness in the end. (Though, as always, I would love to know what Amy is supposed to have done that is so awful? Sure, she says dreadful things, and she’s abrasive as all hell, but within the world of the show that is hardly an outstandingly bad trait. I cannot get my head around how that is in any way equal to Dan’s relentlessly heartless treatment of every single woman who has the misfortune of meeting him and being attractive).
David Mandel worked on Seinfeld, which I know had a policy of “no hugging, no learning,” so I can see how it would be appealing to him as a structure. I can’t say that I am terribly fond of it though.
To digress slightly, it reminds me of the way Alien 3 so callously disposed of Hicks and Newt. Now, defenders of that decision point to the Alien universe being dark and violent, with terrible things happening to people all the time. The problem is – and this applies to Veep and Game of Thrones and Alien and half a dozen other stories – the ‘world’ of the story having particular traits is not an excuse for the creators of the story to disregard basic dramatic logic or character consistency. Even in a world that is utterly illogical, characters need to behave in a coherent manner.
So, to do all the work that is required to put Dan and Amy together, to develop Dan to the point where we can feel not utterly miserable at the thought of him and Amy as a couple, only to then pull the rug out from under the audience at the last possible minute just feels cheap to me. Like, sure, you’ll get a laugh – but the trade-off is that any sense of the characters’ actions in the preceding seven years having meaning will be lost. It will be a reductio ad absurdam – Dan will not have changed – he will still, twenty plus years after he’s introduced to us, be the scumbag who exploits extremely young women and taunts Amy because she dares to have feelings.
Not only that, but by having him relentlessly go after women in their late teens and early twenties, they will really have doubled-down on making him effectively Jonah. To the point where it feels like character assassination? Like, when Dan was introduced, he was the kind of charming asshole where you knew that somewhere in Amy’s head in every interaction, deep, deep down, there was a voice saying “Don’t sleep with him, don’t sleep with him, whatever you do, don’t you dare sleep with him.” Marrying a twenty year old at fifty isn’t remotely charming – it just turns him into the kind of man women steer clear of in bars. It makes him gross. (Especially, I should say, if he and Amy have a daughter, which seems at least possible – his wife would be…maybe six or seven years older than his child, at most).
If they must go down this route, I want them to turn Dan into Tom James, not Andrew. And that does seem at least a possibility to me, that there will be the implication that, despite having other partners, and marriages, and careers, they are still hung up on each other, ceaselessly drawn back to each other’s orbit no matter what. That seems to be as close as Veep can come to creating a genuine romance.
Or, there is the most palatable version of this, in which Amy has moved on, found happiness (either alone or with a partner), and Dan is the one pining away – still acting out in ridiculous ways because after knowing each other for more than twenty years, he still can’t express his feelings to her in an acceptable way.
After so many infuriating scenes of Pining!Amy, there would be some satisfaction in that.
Dan really spirals after Amy goes to work for Jonah, marries someone in a fit of pique or pig-headedness. Now, if there is a time-jump somewhere in the middle of the season (between 7.03 and 7.04 seems like the most likely place, though we don’t know anything concrete about any episodes past 7.04) we might not necessarily have to see his wife terribly often – perhaps not even find out about her until the final episode.
Maybe he comes back, with a slightly more rational (that is, connected to reality) attitude, and we find out at the end of the season that the reason is that marrying someone and having to arrange a hasty divorce, was the cold hard dose of consequences he’s needed for a long, long time. And, having hit rock bottom, he’s finally starting to grow up, just a little.
I think that is a possible story – by which I mean, I can see a way to write it that allows Dan and Amy to stay substantially in character.
But, I don’t know that it’s a likely story. I don’t know that it appeals to the instincts of Veep’s writers – it doesn’t seem like the kind of narrative joke they like to construct.
That said, I may well be wrong. I may be very wrong. We don’t know anything concrete yet, which I would urge everyone to remember.
It’s more important to me how they tell this story, that they put an end to Pining!Amy and Dan’s abuse of her, that they stop having him take her for granted and treat her as though she’s undesirable. Because the framing at the moment is pushing him well over the line into being abusive – if he continues to treat her so nastily, I’m not going to want her anywhere within a hundred miles of him.
A resolution to their story, and Amy getting to feel like a desirable, attractive woman for the first time in god knows how long, is the extent of what I need the show to give me.