Tuesday, April 7, 2020

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope Has an Awkward Talk with Alex After He Sees Something Private in 'Boundaries'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 4.03 "Boundaries"

After Alex catches Penelope in a compromising position, Penelope is motivated to talk to Alex about healthy human sexuality, while defending herself against Lydia's old-school judgments.

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.

"Boundaries" was written by Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz and directed by Phill Lewis

The Alvarez family is probably too close to each other. They don't really have any boundaries. That isn't likely to change at any point soon. However, nothing could probably prepare Alex for what he sees his mother doing behind a closed door. That's such an embarrassing moment. One that the show derives a lot of successful comedy from. It remains impressive to see this show mine conventional sitcom stories in new and exciting ways. It inverts what the audience expects. Penelope has long prepared herself for a moment like this simply because she is raising a teenage boy. She knows that someone is bound to see something incredibly personal and private. She just didn't expect herself to be the person in that compromising position. There is nothing wrong with what she was doing in her room either. Penelope and Elena state that over and over again. Penelope has an entire support group that champions her taking care of her sexual health and needs. They just understand how awkward all of this is going to be with Alex. He doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't see a reason why they should either. Things will be awkward for a little bit. But it doesn't have to create a rift amongst this family. Instead, Penelope needs to start a discussion because that's simply the way this family operates. However, that welcomes Lydia to catfish her and become even more entangled in Penelope's dating life. Lydia is literally interviewing potential suitors for her daughter. She then becomes the reason why Penelope and Max get back together. That should serve as a strong argument for why this family needs to be so close with one another. That may change soon. Elena is less than a year away from going off to college. Alex is no longer the baby Penelope and Lydia love so much. It's funny that he still wants to hide under a blanket whenever his mother tries to have a conversation about sex and personal intimacy. That shows that he is still fundamentally the same kid. However, he can't afford to have that reaction now. He is in a relationship. He is a young man dating someone. As such, he needs to be informed about how to act in any given situation. He has to be responsible and respectful no matter what. He can't just shut off whenever his mother tries to bring up this conversation. He has to be open to hearing it. Sure, it's awkward right now because he is forced to see his mother in a new light. Lydia sees her daughter differently as well. She views her as a woman who is doing something despicable and should feel ashamed for doing it. Lydia continues to embrace an old-school mentality about what is acceptable behavior in society. Women have to act a certain way while men are animals who should give into these desires. That reinforces bad behavior though. Penelope and Elena both try to convince Lydia to change her thinking. It doesn't work. It could be worse. Schneider wants to underscore that point. He knows just how awkward it gets when Lydia tries to invade Penelope's personal life. He encourages it as well. He wants to see his best friend happy. This season is being designed as one where Penelope is searching for what will make her personally fulfilled. She is more than fine being alone. She can please herself. She doesn't need a man. However, she is thrilled when Max shows up at the door ready to start again as a couple. They will need to have a conversation to see if their minds have changed since they broke up over a disagreement about having children. Things may have altered. Or that divide could still be present. Right now, it's just clear that these feelings are still present. They have so much passion for each other. It's a celebration worth highlighting instead of turning away from. The family can support that while also praising Penelope's plan of installing a lock on her door. Her children don't get that luxury. Meanwhile, Lydia still only has a curtain to divide her personal space from the rest of the apartment. But this plot proves that a lock is something that Penelope needs and deserves in order to avoid any further awkwardness with her family. Some champion her. Others are horrified. But in the end, she is happy and satisfied which is what everyone should want for her. These are discussions worth having as well. As such, the show continues to forge new ground in depicting the bold ways families live and interact with one another.