Saturday, February 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Elena and Syd Discuss Taking The Next Step in Their Relationship in 'The First Time'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.07 "The First Time"

Penelope finds out Elena and Syd secretly got a hotel room. A grounded Alex enlists Lydia to stand in line to buy him the latest designer sneakers.

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.

"The First Time" was written by Michelle Badillo & Caroline Levich and directed by Phill Lewis

This episode has such a meaningful, passionate and important conversation about sex. The previous episode featured Elena and Syd declaring their love for each other for the first time. And now, they feel like they are ready to take their relationship to the next level. They just also feel the need to sneak around because of the rules in the Alvarez apartment. It's creepy that Penelope has Alex spying on them because he has nothing better to do while he is grounded. Moreover, Penelope only learns that her daughter has become sexually active because of a charge on her credit card statement. It's all completely by accident. And yet, it fosters an open and honest conversation as well. That is so powerful and meaningful. At first, Penelope is completely thrown. She doesn't know how to react. She knows exactly what to do if Elena were straight. She understands that things are different when it comes to LGBTQ+ sex education. However, she doesn't have that knowledge when it comes to having that conversation with Elena. Sure, it's then amusing how she only reaches out to Ramona to talk when she needs someone to explain being a lesbian to her. However, Ramona enjoys spending time with Penelope. Plus, she is able to calm her down considering that Elena is doing this with someone she genuinely loves. Moreover, it's so important that the bulk of this story is told from Elena's perspective. Sure, it's important that Penelope learns and has that conversation with her daughter. The rules of the house aren't going to be changing. And yet, she does want to know that her daughter is okay with everything that did happen in that hotel room. She is checking in on Elena's emotional health to see if she had a good first experience. Elena is able to talk about the fears and insecurities that she had as well. She and Syd are so nervous about renting a hotel room in order to do this. Meanwhile, Elena is shocked to learn that Syd actually had sex with their previous girlfriend. This is only going to be the first time for Elena. However, Syd is very supportive and encouraging of whatever Elena wants to do. They didn't pressure her into this. They wanted to wait until Elena was comfortable. Elena is a special person who deserves that in her life. This episode presents the case of these two being the strongest couple the show has ever featured before. It highlights how teen love can still be beautiful and powerful to watch. Nothing needs to be seen beyond them kissing too. But it's also significant that the show features that moment of both clearly giving their consent for what's about to happen. That too should be inspiration to the audience watching. This should be the norm when it comes to sexual encounters. As such, Elena has no worries when talking to her mother about what happened. She is very fortunate in that way. Penelope couldn't talk with Lydia about this kind of stuff. In fact, Lydia still doesn't believe that Penelope has sex. Sure, that's ridiculous. But it also ties neatly into the more comedic subplot here with Lydia trying to help Alex get exactly what he wants. It's a very simple story that also plays around with time just like the main plot does. It shows that Alex does have an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to help his family with the right determination. He cares about his grandmother and the sacrifices that she makes for him. As such, she can't stay mad at him after he sells the shoes for a huge profit because he is also going to treat her to a nice meal that Penelope never does.