One Day At A Time - Season 3 - Review By Jamie Coudeville (February 9, 2019, 12:00 pm)
One Day at a Time
This show has already produced 2 stellar seasons, which left us wondering: can they do it again? The answer is: hell yeah, they can. I laughed (and cried) just as much as I did last year. The writers once again managed to find the perfect balance between humor, love, pain, and family, which ties it all together. Below, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite aspects of season 3. So if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and go do that right now. Family: This show has covered a lot of different topics but the main theme has always been family. We’ve seen the Alvarez’ face heartbreak and celebrate achievements and this season was no exception. We got to see Lydia dealing with the aftermath of her stroke and Elena pushing her to take it easy, much to Lydia’s annoyance. We saw Penelope and her brother, who was noticeably absent last season when Lydia had her stroke, make amends and inspiring her kids to try to get along better. But it wasn’t just the Alvarez family that was highlighted this season. Personally, I consider Schneider and Dr. Berkowitz as a part of the Alvarez family and tend to forget that they have their own family members. But we finally got to meet Schneider’s dad, who was as awful as I’d imagined. Lydia has been a better parent to him than that guy ever was. And while we didn’t see Leslie’s daughter, we did see him take the first step to possibly mending their relationship.
Growing up: Remember when Elena and Alex’ biggest problems were recycling in the cafeteria and making sure your hair looked okay? These kids have sure grown up since then. While Elena is slowly becoming an adult, Alex is very much a teenager. Now, I’m 24 years old so I imagine things have changed a bit since I was in high school (not a lot but still). I never really experienced much peer pressure to do drugs (I did for alcohol) but maybe public opinion of weed has changed quite a bit over the past few years. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people smoking pot. It’s not like anyone’s ever killed anyone while high on weed. But I do get why Penelope freaked out (and punished him so severely). For one, he’s way too young. There’s a reason why there are laws prohibiting alcohol under a certain age (though I find the ones in my country a bit too lax). Your brain is still developing. And since Victor suffered from substance abuse problems, I’m sure she feared Alex might have similar issues. But for me, his biggest infraction was how he just looked his mother in the eyes and lied when she first asked him about it. I know teenagers lie to their parents but I can’t remember ever telling that big of a lie to mine (my parents may possibly disagree here). However, he did take his punishment without argument. He knew he messed up and I think after seeing Schneider at rock bottom, he’ll think twice next time. Not something to be ashamed of: I’m so glad they did an episode on anxiety because so many people suffer from this without even realizing it. A lot of people think it’s just stress but it’s more than that. I really love how they portrayed it, with the flashes to worst case scenarios. Because that’s how it actually feels. I suffer from anxiety myself, I don’t have the sweating and difficulty breathing, for me it’s mostly internal panic. But it’s very similar to how the show described it, thinking about everything that could go wrong, double and triple checking things. It gets especially fun when you (like me) are super insecure. But seriously, I’m glad this show is tackling these mental health issues and they even gave us tips on how to deal with it. The more we talk about these issues, the more we can avoid situations like the one Elena faced, not knowing why she got these attacks.
Awkward: There’s not a lot that’s more awkward than giving the sex talk to your child (except maybe getting it). Especially when you actually have no idea what you’re talking about. We’ve all had sex ed in high school (though I’ve heard horror stories of what US sex ed contains or, more importantly, leaves out) so we all have a general idea of what happens. However, sex ed for same-sex couples is basically nonexistent in any country. And we all know Google is not the way to go here (seriously, don’t). So how do you handle this as a parent? Well, I think Penelope did a pretty great job here. She went to a reliable source, Ramona, who told her what she needed to know. She didn’t yell at Elena, they had an open conversation where Elena felt comfortable enough to tell her mom what happened. Seriously, this is parenting done right. Abstinence does not work. If a teenager wants to have sex, they’ll find a way to do it. And if you yell and punish them, they’ll just do it behind your back. However, if you’re open about it, talk to them like an adult, maybe your kid will actually come to you with questions. And then you can inform them on how to be safe. Don’t just tell your kids that they shouldn’t have sex, teach them how to be safe, about consent and that they can always change their minds even if they gave consent earlier. And USA, fix your shitty sex education. Day 1: We’ve had mentions of Schneider’s addiction in the previous seasons but we didn’t really get to see how much he struggled until this season. First of all, I thought these episodes were incredibly well done. Addiction storylines are not easy to do, mostly because the audience is rooting for this character to get back on track but often doesn’t understand why they’re struggling so much. I think anyone who hasn’t experienced addiction will struggle to understand what it’s like, myself included. Schneider had been sober for 8 years. You’d think it would take something huge for him to throw that away but it wasn’t. His dad is what triggered his relapse, which shouldn’t be that surprising since he was probably what lead to Schneider’s alcohol abuse in the first place. But Schneider seemed so fine with everything while his dad was there. No one, not even his closest friends realized that he was just bottling it up. Now, it’s important to remember that the Alvarez’ have had experiences with addiction, with Victor. I know Penelope tried to shield the kids from it but I’m pretty sure they noticed something, kids are perceptive. But I don’t think Alex really knew what it meant to struggle with addiction until he was confronted with a very drunk Schneider. He’d never seen this dark side of him, only the fun side. I don’t think that’s something you forget easily. I hope this show gets a 4th season so that we can see the relationship between Penelope and Schneider grow again. It took quite a hit this season, with all the lying. It must have really brought her back to when things were bad with Victor. And it’ll take a while for the trust to be regained but Schneider loves being a part of that family and I know he’ll fight to feel worthy of them. That’s what hurt the most for him, the thought of losing that. I’m really proud of him, though. It takes a lot of strength to start at “day 1” again after 8 years.
Best quotes: Lydia: “You have to hate my sister!” Schneider: “Alright, I’ve been brainstorming names all night. Main squeeze, person-friend, your gay of sunshine.” Elena: “No! Women always blame themselves and the man never has to take responsibility. During rape prevention week at school are the signs are aimed at women. “Girls, don’t dress provocatively. Girls, don’t walk alone.” How about “Hey, guys. Don’t rape!”” Penelope: “Fool, I’ve seen Basketball Wives. I know what a suite is.” Alex: “Plus, someday I want nieces and nephews to throw cash at like tio Ti.” Elena: “I’m not having any kids.” Alex: “Then, your cats.” Elena: “That is such a stereotype … but yes, there will be cats.” Jill: “Weed makes me paranoid like everyone’s out to get me. Because when you’re black, everyone is.” Penelope: “The reality is, if a white kid like Dylan gets caught with a little weed, he gets a cool story. But you, you could end up in prison. Your life will be over and so will mine because I couldn’t bear to lose you like that.” Dr. Berkowitz: “I don’t know how but I’m sure this is my fault.” Elena: “Do you want to know the best part?” Penelope: “No.” Elena: “I took all the toiletries.” Penelope: “You really are a woman now.” Penelope: “I want you to know that you are enough.” Elena: “Is this some passive aggressive mom way of telling me not to gain weight.” Penelope: “No, I just want you to know that I’m not judging you and I am in awe of who you’ve become. And, if for one second I ever made you feel a freaking perfect piece of work, then I’m sorry.” Penelope: “Look, I know it’s hard to believe but Schneider is oddly calming. Like white noise.” Ramona: “The whitest of noises.” Penelope: “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, even though I’m ashamed of it. But that’s something I’m trying to end with me because I’m fine now. And you’re going to be fine, too.” Elena: “I know this is going to sound really weird, but I’m actually happy to hear this ‘cause I thought that I was just going crazy.” Schneider: “My father’s visit is stressing me out. I haven’t seen him since before I got sober.” Elena: “Haven’t you been sober for like 8 years?” Schneider: “Yeah, I’m not his favorite child. Plus, he refused to come back to America until it was great again.” Penelope: “I have a feeling your father is going to want to make me want to take my earrings out and punch him in the throat.” Alex: “I just didn’t want you to hate me.” Lydia: “Oh, Papito. I could never. You are mi vida.” Lydia: “Hold on, I’m watching the president. Oh wait, it’s a hemorrhoid commercial.” Berto: “It is true. I am amazing.” So Netflix has cut a lot of big-budget series these past few months, which means there should definitely be room for another season of this amazing sitcom. This show still delivers incredibly relevant storylines that you don’t really see on the shows (especially sitcoms) and it has acquired a very loyal and dedicated fanbase that would be very upset if this was the end for the Alvarez’. So please renew it, Netflix!