Saturday, February 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope Teaches Alex the Realities of Drug Use for People of Color in 'Nip It in the Bud'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.05 "Nip It in the Bud"

Penelope catches Alex smoking pot at a concert. When Lydia develops a cough at the opera, she tries Dr. B's special lozenges.

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.

"Nip It in the Bud" was written by Dan Signer and directed by Phill Lewis

The show has to be very careful in balancing the tone of the stories it is telling in this episode. On one hand, it wants things to be outrageous and hilarious when Lydia accidentally takes one of Dr. B's weed lozenges and ruins her double date at the opera. On the other hand though, it wants to have a serious conversation about drug use for teenagers and the impact it has for people of color. It's a very delicate conversation. It's also one that the show handles incredibly well like it has done with so much topics across its three seasons. Plus, it's still hilarious to watch as Lydia exhibits all of the natural characteristics of a stoner while at the opera. It never detracts from the conversation that the rest of the episode is having about the pros and cons of recreational marijuana use. There was always the sense that Dr. B's lozenges would come into play at some point. There was the initial fear that they could tempt Schneider and his sobriety. Instead, the show has Lydia mistakenly take one during a coughing spell. But it's much more damning to Penelope when she catches Alex vaping while at an outdoor music concert. Of course, all of the signs were there for her and Schneider to notice that this was a festival built completely out of love for marijuana. In fact, it's amusing how Schneider is a drug hound who can spot the hiding places in Alex's room immediately after Penelope thought she covered everything. And yet, he too doesn't see the obvious warning signs about this festival. But again, all of this fosters an important discussion. Penelope has long held the behavior that drugs are bad. That's the mentality she was raised with. She had to sneak out of the house in order to attend her first concert. She got arrested for drug possession and her parents don't know about it because a cop sympathized with her. The world is different now though. Marijuana has become legal. Penelope's therapy group returns and adds to the discussion of how this drug can help many veterans deal with their problems. Sure, it's outrageous to think that Ramona is more calm now even though she is still being banned from stores. But it's also something that has become more normal and perfectly fine. However, that does not make it legal and okay for Alex to be doing this. He is only 15 years old. His brain is still developing. He has been hiding this from his mother. He lies to her about how often he has vaped. He doesn't have a drug problem to the extent that he needs significant help. Schneider can help Penelope process all of this. But again, it's wrong in this situation. It's wrong because Alex is too young to know any better. His young brain will have to deal with the consequences that he can't even think about right now when he decides to smoke. Moreover, he has to be aware that the punishment for being caught with drugs will be much more severe for him than any of his white friends. That's a real issue and one that hasn't gotten any solid criminal justice reform despite the legalization of marijuana in many states. It's a complicated issue. One that rightfully concerns Penelope because she is trying to protect her son. She trusts him enough to keep this a secret from Lydia. But she still needs him to accept his punishment and actually earn back her trust as well.