Friday, February 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope and Schneider Make New Romantic Connections in 'Benefit with Friends'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.03 "Benefit with Friends"

Elena hides her grandmother's high heels. Penelope starts to see a male friend in a new way. Schneider meets a kindred spirit at the school auction.

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 next episode of Netflix's One Day at a Time.

"Benefit with Friends" was written by Sebastian Jones and directed by Angela Gomes

So far, this season hasn't presented Lydia with any additional challenges that she has to overcome following her stroke. That all changes in this episode with the family trying to get her to take her health more seriously. She wants to remain the strong and proud woman who won't change who she is at all. She doesn't wish to accept her failing body because there are still so many things that she can do. It remains impressive at her age as well. However, the family also has to be more worried about her dancing and her love of high heels. She is now taking blood thinners which puts her at a greater risk of internal bleeding should she ever take a fall. Lydia actively made the decision to wake up from her coma and return to her family. She could have been reunited with Berto, her greatest love. However, she believed that her family still needed her. And now, it becomes clear that there is still so much she wants to do with her life. She wants to stay alive long enough to hold Elena and Alex's children in her arms. She wants to experience that beauty. She also wants to perform in front of a band once more. She is writing all of this down now in order to make it a reality in the future. Those are clear goals that everyone in the family is willing to accept. However, it also comes at a time when she has to accept that she isn't as strong as she used to be. She twists her ankle just in order to prove a point with Elena. Her granddaughter doesn't want anything to happen to Lydia again. She doesn't want to see her in that hospital bed not knowing if she will ever wake up. She wants Lydia to take better care of herself. Lydia just sees that as having to give up everything that makes up her identity. In the end, they are able to find a compromise with stylish, low-heel shoes. Of course, Lydia still enjoys getting to break the cane and the motor that operates her blinds as well. So, only a small amount of progress is made here. It should be very fascinating to see just how much of this will carry throughout the remainder of the season. Should the audience remain concerned about Lydia's health? Or is this the sole episode that properly addresses it because Rita Moreno still needs plenty of opportunities to dance and perform moving forward?

Elsewhere, new romances are introduced for both Penelope and Schneider. It's very fascinating when it comes to Schneider because the show just pointed out that he has never had a healthy or long-term relationship. He has been disappointing with every woman he has been with. He has never felt the way that Lydia and Penelope describe being in love. And yet, that changes here when he meets Avery, a teacher at the school auction. She is very quirky with a love of typewriters, recycled paper and poetry. However, she also completely sweeps Schneider off his feet. It's enough for him to break the toxic pattern he has carried with Nikki for three years now. That's very encouraging and could signal this being a year of growth for Schneider. Even though there is the awkward ending with Avery assuming Schneider isn't some trust fund baby, there is still the assumption that this will be a relationship that lasts simply because Avery is played by India de Beaufort, who is married to Todd Grinnell in real-life. This should mark something very different for Schneider. The same should also be said for Penelope. She has previously spent a season dating a new guy. Things didn't work out with Max because he still wanted children. She wasn't even interested in Mateo in a romantic context either. They are best friends who end up doing all of the work during PTA fundraisers. And yet, he also understands her as well. He has the same kind of responses and humor in any given situation. Moreover, he steps up when Penelope says she needs a man who can take care of his business. She swoons and sees him in a new light. Now, there is the fear that this could damage their friendship. They don't want anything to jeopardize that. However, seeing each other in this new light may already do that. And so, they are going out on a date. It's very sweet and charming. Mateo represents a new guy whom Penelope can date. As such, it will be very interesting to see if she can make things work with him and how that would shake up the rest of the family. Lydia is already willing to welcome him in after all.