Tuesday, March 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope Begins to See Money Through a New Perspective in 'Penny Pinching'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 4.02 "Penny Pinching"

After a disastrous evening, Penelope realizes she needs to change her relationship to money and do the unthinkable: buy something new. Meanwhile, Elena struggles to make it to an important e-sports match.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"Penny Pinching" was written by Dan Signer and directed by Phill Lewis

Penelope invested in her education in order to better provide for her family. She became a nurse practitioner because it was a better way for her to help her family while not plunging them into debt through her schooling. She struggled but it was a major reward when she graduated. She is now a partner with Dr. B at their offices. She has money now. That can make a difference in her family's lives. She is just so accustomed to approaching spending a certain way though. She is always looking out for the best deal. She will fight with a waiter when she believes the check doesn't accurately reflect the meal they had ordered and the deals that came with it. She doesn't care who sees that either. This dinner is meant for the Alvarez family to meet Alex's new girlfriend, Nora. It goes well in that regard. The story is never truly about her. It's mostly just an affirmation that the family loves her. Lydia is always a little territorial with Alex and his love. But she approves of Nora. That's the extent of her presence in this episode though. Instead, the time is spent on Penelope's relationship with money. Schneider has never had to worry about that. People view him as entitled as a result of that. He has had his fair share of struggles. He has had to overcome obstacles. His life is better and more fulfilling as a result of that. Sure, it's annoying when he unexpectedly shows up in the Alvarez apartment. He literally slides out from underneath the couch here. That earns such a huge laugh. He is always coming up with new ways to surprise Penelope. She still relies on him though. He helps her better understand what is now available to the family now that there is a little more financial security. Penelope always feared over-spending in any given moment because catastrophe could always be right around the corner. She didn't want to spend on something frivolous when something bad could happen. She has always lived in that uncertainty. She didn't have the money to cover any unexpected expenses. But now, she does. She can afford to splurge. She does so by getting a new couch. It's not unreasonable either. It's something that the apartment needs because the old one breaks while Penelope is sitting on it. That is such a fantastic visual and earns another big laugh. All it takes is her eating one chip. It's easy for her to go out and get a new couch as well. She still has her opinions. However, it's more important for her to get her priorities in check. The couch is just one thing though. It's not the only financial stress she has to deal with during this episode. At first, Elena's story of driving her family around on errands when she just wants to enjoy an e-sports match presents as a silly B-story. It connects back to Penelope's new relationship with money though. Elena is trusted with the responsibility of caring for the family car. She has to drive her family members in order to enjoy these privileges. She adheres to the rules as well even though that means bringing Dr. B along for the journey. It doesn't go quite how she planned. Plus, she makes a mistake. She is a teenager. She is allowed to mess up from time to time. She leaves her laptop in the car and it is stolen. That will be a major disruption to her life. She has mapped things out so carefully and everything is organized on that piece of technology. Penelope can forgive her. She may lose her cool in the moment. However, she loves her family and recognizes that they can be trusted to make smart decisions in their lives. They may fear her reactions in any given moment. However, that line of communication is always open. Elena can't hide this from her mother. She can't underplay it either. It's a big deal. But her work ethic and appreciation for money is very honorable and proves that Penelope is still a good parent despite this setback. Elena already has a plan to earn the money to get a replacement computer. That is important to her. Alex is the one who wants to waste his money on new sneakers. He doesn't follow through on that purchase though which could be seen as a blessing too. It just means that everyone in this family is trying their best to be frugal and responsible. That presents itself in different ways for all of them. Lydia's priorities are getting the crabs at the top of the shelves. That's important to her. Those priorities are apparent. So is the love amongst this family even though Alex and Elena are frequently embarrassed by their mother. That's simply who she is though. It's unlikely to change even though the family has more money now and can afford to move up the socioeconomic ladder a little bit.