Tuesday, April 21, 2020

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Alex Views Failing at Something as Unacceptable Within the Family in 'Perfect'

Pop's One Day at a Time - Episode 4.05 "Perfect"

Alex needs a large amount of money right away, worrying Penelope. Schneider and Avery must contend with an unwanted gift from Dr. Berkowitz.

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 Pop's One Day at a Time.

"Perfect" was written by Alison Wong and directed by Angela Barnes Gomes

Alex is proud of everything his family has taught him. However, he is embarrassed to showcase that appreciation. He feels that he has to accomplish something great or notable in order to include it in the list of great things happening for the family. That is a high standard set for him. He is growing up. His life is being celebrated as well. He doesn't need a quinces to mark the occasion. He wants the recognition without putting in the effort to earn it. He wants to keep things from his family believing that they will be disappointed in him. He loves a good surprise. He is pursuing his interests. He is learning the skills that will help him thrive in life. He just views failure at the start of that journey as enough reason to quit. He can't put the investment in not knowing if it will pay off quickly. He is excited about this streetwear fashion design class. That is actually perfect for him. It allows him to express himself through a creative outlet. Lydia may have her doubts about this class and just how useful it can be in the culture at large. And yet, streetwear is a billionaire dollar industry that Alex is already obsessed with. He always has to buy the latest sneakers. That may not be money well spent. He cares about them though. And now, he cares about this class. As a result, Penelope is too. She supports her children chasing their dreams. Sure, Elena goes a little crazy as she freaks out over how perfect her college application essay has to be in order to get into Yale. That subplot is good for some frantic energy while mostly just simmering in the background. It's resolved mostly through Elena saying that her guidance counselor hasn't seen as good a personal essay in a long time. That's the validation that she needs in that moment. It's an acknowledgement of her greatness that happens in clear and concise terms. She may have had trouble narrowing down her subject matter because of the passionate life she has already lived. However, she gets exactly what she wanted in the end. Meanwhile, Alex walks away with a jacket that turns into a vest the moment his mother hugs him. That is still an accomplishment worth celebrating though. This is a garment he created. It's not something off the rack he is trying to pass off as his own. He doesn't think things through when Penelope and Lydia catch him in this lie and fear that this was all a ruse for something much more mischievous. Instead, it's a simple story about the insecurities still felt amongst this family. They have gone through so much together. They are close for a reason. They are happy about that. Alex is growing up and exploring new opportunities. He has a girlfriend for the first time. And now, he believes he has to be great at the thing he loves right away. That isn't true. It takes time to master that talent. He has the passion. The skills will come so long as he keeps practicing. That is the message Penelope gets him to accept. Every step along this journey is worth celebrating and praising. Sure, Lydia may not always understand it. However, it's the perfect kind of parenting where Penelope does whatever it takes to ensure that Alex makes the right choices to pursue the happiest version of what his life could be. She does that for them. He appreciates that. He is heard and respected even when his insecurities could get the best of him. His family can be a lot to deal with sometimes. But at the end of the day, this is all natural and helps further signal that things are heading in a positive direction. The same applies to Schneider and Avery having their first fight as a couple. Now, that may be questionable considering the time he relapsed and she chose to walk away from the relationship. However, this story has a new context because Avery is pregnant. The baby is completely healthy and helps unite the parents-to-be. It's a simple story but one that further points out that this relationship is beneficial and meaningful. It highlights growth while still having an overall playful nature to it - especially with Dr. B's weird baby present which is eventually returned to him. That plot helps keep the show light on its feet. Of course, the comedic highlight comes from Penelope seeing how great it is to open and close Lydia's curtains.