Friday, February 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope Wants Lydia to Bury a Longstanding Feud with Her Sister in 'The Funeral'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.01 "The Funeral"

At a relative's funeral, Penelope urges Lydia to end a petty feud with her sister, and Elena wonders if her cousin Pilar is gay.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Netflix's One Day at a Time.

"The Funeral" was written by Debby Wolfe and directed by Phill Lewis

One Day at a Time opens its third season with a funeral. However, it doesn't operate with the same life-or-death stakes as the second season finale did. In that episode, the entire family rallied together as Lydia was in a coma after suffering a stroke. And now, she is back and as vibrant as ever. Moreover, things are only somewhat put into perspective by the news that one of her sisters has passed away. The entire extended family comes together for the funeral. It's the first major life event that has brought everyone together since Elena's quinces. Things have changed a lot since then. However, some things are exactly the same as well. Elena is still determined to let everyone in the family know that she is gay and that they should accept it completely. More importantly though, Lydia continues her feud with her younger sister, Mirtha, over the family mantilla. It's a grudge that has split the family for the past 20 years. Both Lydia and Mirtha believe the other to have it and refuse to admit it. In fact, Lydia actually believes she has it and is too proud to let Mirtha know that she is actually right. Now is the perfect time for Penelope to interfere to say that all of this is too silly. The family has to love and support each other right now. And yes, the family is able to forgive each other for the mistakes of the past. However, it's also fascinating to see how these ideas and opinions carry through the generations as well. Penelope and her cousin, Estrellita, are just happy to have each other back as a best friend. It's a lot of fun watching them sharing the intimate details of their lives and immediately falling back into sync with recreating the dance moves for Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation." However, they still see themselves as the rightful owners of the mantilla. Penelope believes she deserves to have it because Lydia is still the head of the family while Elena and Alex are the eldest of the next generation. However, Estrellita wants to put her and her husband's names on the mantilla because she didn't get to wear it at her own wedding. That's perfectly rational. But everything takes an immediate turn when Estrellita makes the argument that Elena won't even use it because she's gay. Throughout all of this, Elena is in a very amusing subplot of trying to get her cousin, Pilar, to also come out to the family because she is obviously a lesbian. It's a fascinating story about how one's sexual identity comes to define one's life over time. It's a big deal when one immediately comes out. It's still something that Elena flaunts with everything that she does. However, Pilar is married to the woman that she loves. Sure, the family all conveniently have amnesia when it comes to her being a lesbian. And yet, none of them are hostile or judgmental of her. They just throw their hands up in the air whenever the subject comes up. It's as if they are surprised by it and don't feel like having a rational reaction to it. It's just something that goes unsaid. Pilar is still welcomed to all of the family events. The family even came to her wedding to Susan. So, it's not as big a deal as Elena makes it seem. Sure, it's not great. But Pilar is also happy with her life and this forges a new bond with Elena. It's because they can talk about things like this. That's also what makes it amusing when Pilar ultimately has the mantilla. There is no reason for anyone to be fighting. Everyone agrees that it was all silly and they shouldn't let something trivial get in the way of their familial bonds. However, everyone immediately turns against Estrellita the moment she says "Make America Great Again." That phrase has so much potent and vivid imagery of hatred and intolerance. It's shocking to hear at this particular family event. It ensures that things will remain just as divided as ever amongst the family too. It also makes the audience feel for Estrellita's son - who is the other seemingly gay child in the family.