Seriously, what happened to the Dan in S4 who …

Seriously, what happened to the Dan in S4 who ran out of a party with plenty of hot, young women to follow Amy to the parking lot to help her calm the f*ck down???

Good question. Or the Dan who needed Amy’s opinion so badly he interrupted her Thanksgiving dinner?

It’s as though the writers completely lost track of the basic character point that he likes her and pretty much always has. So, you get Reid Scott staring at Amy like she’s the most lovable person he’s ever seen… but every thing he actually does seems calculated to hurt her as much as possible.

It makes Dan’s characterisation rather incoherent – as though the character transformed between seasons. I mean, Dan’s behaviour with women is objectively more objectionable than Jonah’s – how the hell did that happen? (Don’t get me wrong – it was always pretty terrible – but he was never the kind of sleazy that women would steer clear of in bars before).

There is a good Dan/Jonah fic written pre-Mand…

There is a good Dan/Jonah fic written pre-Mandel that actually does have Dan running for office and (spoiler I guess) being totally unable to keep it in his pants once he’s in a real position of power. Idk, I’m a rare multi shipper in the fandom so I don’t expect anyone else to have read it but the take was interesting, especially given recent discussions about his devolution.

I can’t say I have, as slash isn’t generally my thing, and I find Jonah pretty revolting on every level – but fandom is a broad church, so I am sure there are people out there who have.

The thing is, based on the character as he exists in 7.01-03 I think that probably is a pretty realistic trajectory for him – but I wouldn’t have ever said that before this point. Dan always seemed both too smart for that and also too disinterested. Because, sure, he took pride in his beauty and in winning over women, but, Amy aside, I never got the impression he got any greater emotional kick out of sex than an ego boost. He’s not the Iceman he describes himself as, but he’s also not Don Draper – his pursuit of sex never seemed rooted in anything so pathological that he couldn’t give it up in the service of a greater goal.

I could see a scenario where dan runs for offi…

I could see a scenario where dan runs for office and he has amy be his campaign manager

I’ve always thought that was a dynamic that could work for them – especially as Dan actually listens to Amy, and actually seems to enjoy it when she bosses him around, which would be a definite improvement on any other candidate she’s had.

But I cannot for the life of me imagine the two of them working that closely together and not blurring emotional/sexual boundaries all over again. They have literally never managed that in the entire lifetime of the show.

Dan in public office is a pretty terrifying notion mind you, especially as he seems to have lost any boundaries he once had about pursuing much, much younger women. He wouldn’t have to be trying to abuse his power to abuse it in that scenario.

I feel like the ‘win’ Dan gets at …

I feel like the ‘win’ Dan gets at the end is that for the 15 years or so before the last flash forward Dan and Amy flit around each other, kind of live their own lives but still sort of connected but in the Dan gets the girl.

I tend to think that the “win” Reid Scott was referring to will be something career-related – partly because he brought it up in tandem with some comments about just how many times Dan has been fired (I’m honestly losing track at this point). Maybe he’s approached to be candidate? I can’t really ever imagine Dan as someone’s Chief Of Staff – he enjoys the spotlight too much.

That said, I’ll happily be wrong on this. I just have my doubts that they’ll give him an ending that redemptive.

“especially when they have Dan reach a p…

“especially when they have Dan reach a peak of awfulness that no one else in the show has reached“ that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Dan slept with some women and was open about that fact with a woman he’s not in a relationship with. He told that woman he didn’t want to have a kid and that she should get an abortion. How is that the worst thing a character has done? Selina does worse things every other episode. Amy sabotaged Dan’s career and lied about it while he was in a hospital bed

Sure, Selina does worse things in political terms, yes. Ben certainly does worse things, and Tom James actively attempted to subvert the outcome of an election. If we’re considering the macro impact of characters’ actions, a solid two thirds of the cast should be imprisoned.

But that wasn’t what I meant, and I think I’ve been fairly clear about that. Thinking in purely interpersonal terms, find me something worse a character has done than what Dan did in 7.01-7.03, because outside of Selina’s relationship with Catherine, and maybe Andrew’s of Selina, I really think you’re going to struggle.

Besides, spare me the “they’re not in a relationship so Dan can trample all over her feelings whenever he pleases.” Because, sure, they’re not in a committed, monogamous relationship – but they have been friends and colleagues for close to a decade at this point. And even if Amy was some woman he had met for precisely an hour, Dan would still have obligations in this scenario, and they include, at a minimum, not going out of his way to hurt her.

I wouldn’t be complaining if Dan had quietly told Amy that he didn’t want to be a father, so he would make a financial contribution, but that was all she could expect from him, and then shut the fuck up about his sex life. (Well, abandoning his child is still a pretty shitty thing to do, so I would complain, but…less). There are options here between settle down and get married and Amy giving up the child she wants – Dan just didn’t like them.

He had unprotected sex with Amy, he impregnated her, and when she told him about it, he abandoned her. Not only that, but he knows she has feelings for him – if Reid Scott’s interviews are anything to go by – so there’s no excuse for rubbing it in her face that he’s about to have sex with another woman in the very next room, moments after she’s told him she’s thinking about continuing the pregnancy.

That’s not Dan being “open” about the situation, that’s cruel. And he lays on all of that emotional pressure over and over again – right up until he knows that Amy has given in and will give him what he wants, at which point he becomes nice as pie, physically attentive and damn near doting on her.

It’s very, very hard not to read that as a further abusive tactic – a way of ensuring Amy doesn’t dump him entirely. As long as she complies with what he wants, he’ll be sweet to her, but the moment she expresses desires that are inconvenient to him, he’ll withdraw all emotional engagement and deliberately do things he know will hurt her, all as a way of maintaining his control.

Now, what I actually think the show is going for is that Dan is so self-involved and so panicked at the thought of aging and his life changing by becoming a father, that he doesn’t even think about how his behaviour seems to Amy. But this is based largely on the performance, because there is almost nothing in the writing of it that draws that distinction between knowing and unknowing abuse – and it’s a vanishingly thin line to walk to begin with. Especially as we’re not talking about Jonah here – one of Dan’s defining characteristics since the very first episode of the show has been his willingness to manipulate women.

Say what you will about Amy’s actions in London, she didn’t do them with the intent of putting Dan in a hospital bed. (And I would also point out that Selina fired him because he “pimped” her out, a decision which had absolutely nothing to do with Amy, and which she actually advised him against). And she didn’t flaunt her status as campaign manager in his face, or ever use his emotional vulnerabilities (such as they are) against him.

Not to mention, even if she had, there’s such an order of magnitude of difference between coercing someone into a surgery that will have lifelong repercussions that you know they don’t want, and sabotaging their promotion that I don’t for one second think the two are comparable. Neither are great, obviously, and Amy’s manipulation is not something I’m about to depend – but they are not the same.

Just wanted to say that I agree with everythin…

Just wanted to say that I agree with everything you're saying about Amy's abortion and the lack of consequences for Selina and Dan. Amy's decision to abort her baby seemed to be made in anger without sufficient introspection. She said she cried and prayed or whatever, but we don't see any of that. All we see is Selina & Dan being unreasonably abusive to Amy with zero repercussions. Feels like Mandel has these characters abusing Amy for the sake of putting a few more insults in there for laughs.

See, I don’t know that we needed introspection from Amy necessarily. If what they wanted was one single moment where her decision is made, far enough – the moment of making that choice is different for everyone, and I can well believe that something would happen for Amy that kind of…crystallised what her decision had to be.

The problem is more that, because everything around Amy’s choice is so relentlessly negative, it’s very hard to read that moment as anything but a reactionary decision, especially when they have Dan reach a peak of awfulness that no one else in the show has reached. She’d be unnatural if she didn’t react to it emotionally.

Give Amy some – any – degree of support, and then it’s much, much easier to accept her choice as one she makes for herself, rather than in reaction to severe emotional pressure.

It’s also a sign of how much they were having to bend Dan’s character to make the story work, because I guarantee if Amy had cried in front of him – or even come close to it – he would have softened up immediately (if he was any where close to being in character).

Photo

Photo

Ok there’s a pic on JLD’s Instagra…

Ok there’s a pic on JLD’s Instagram with her and Anna and they are wearing their outfits from episode 2, but the caption says something like “filming last episode!” Do you think we will be getting a flashback of the two of them from that episode? I can’t imagine what it would be though.

I think this is the photo you’re referring to!

And yes, thanks to Julia’s hashtag we know that they’re rehearsing a scene from the final episode in their outfits from the second episode (which I noticed but never put two and two together until you did!)

And this is a quote from Anna’s recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter

So, we can look forward to the writers kinda setting up the Selina vs Amy arc again for the remaining few episodes and in the FINAL episode we can expect a much-needed discussion or conversation between the two where hopefully they address everything. For the conversation though I DO hope that it’s not just Selina speaking and scolding to Amy like a teenage girl, I’m hoping that Amy gets in a few bites of dialogue as well.

i'm really surprised i haven't seen …

i'm really surprised i haven't seen any criticism over how the abortion arc was handled in mainstream reviews. it feels like critics are overlooking the character inconsistencies in general. why do you think that is..? or am i just not seeing the articles?

This has slightly startled me as well, I must say. There was one critic last year (I can’t remember who, unfortunately) who expressed some discomfort with the Amy-Buddy sex scene, but that’s the only time I can think of when a critic has picked up on the issues the show’s fans are flagging.

But critics are no more immune to group-think than any other set of people, and for a weird example, look at the original reviews of The Phantom Menace. They’re pretty uniformly positive, despite near universal agreement ever since that it was a bad film.

So, I think there’s a critical consensus around Veep that hasn’t adjusted – there’s been something similar with the later seasons of Game of Thrones. The fan comments tend to become a kind of canary in the coal mine – in both instances people were complaining about questionable writing choices well in advance of any critic saying so.

Similarly, there seems to be general agreement now that season 6 was a step down, but you’d never have known that from what the critics said at the time.

It also helps that the cast consistently delivers, even when the writing is shoddy.

There has been so much focus on Dan's cha…

There has been so much focus on Dan's character assassination, but does it make you sad how misogynistic Selina has become? What do you think her end game will be? I can't even watch the show anymore. Everything I loved deeply for years has been ruined.

I can’t predict where Selina ends up at all, and I’m not going to try.

I had thought that, since the show’s attitude to politics has always been one of “the beatings will continue until morale improves,” it was unlikely they would finish on either a clear win or loss – preferring an ending that implied Selina keeps running around the same hamster wheel over and over.

But the way they drew attention to her lack of funeral plans did…give me pause, I must admit.

I’ve talked about it before (see here: http://thebookofmaev.tumblr.com/post/184264431978/i-think-i-figured-out-my-issues-with-veep-the) but in all honesty, I hate what they’ve done to Selina more than what they’ve done to Dan, and that is saying a lot. One of the all time great female comic characters, who was despicable precisely because she was nuanced, and likeable even at her most despicable, and they’ve reduced her down to a snarling misogynist caricature of an ambitious woman.

But Ben x Ben’s mug hasn’t been ruined for you, I hope – and I guarantee Matt Walsh will come out with some line so funny it hurts before the end of the run.