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Friday, March 16, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 7 - Hold, Please

Just like that, we're more than halfway through the first season of "Recapping One Day at a Time".  We'll be through this series in no time at all.  And because it's been renewed by Netflix for a third season, we'll be revisiting this series sometime next year!  How cool is that?

I hope you've been enjoying this series as much as I have.  We're on Episode 7 - Hold, Please.  And while the plot might seem like a dull one, there are a LOT of secrets revealed within the Alvarez family.  Consider this to be an episode of truths, so to speak.

And we begin with one harsh truth for a lot of veterans who have come home from combat.  Penelope is on hold with Veterans Affairs - an organization designed to help veterans book medical appointments and counseling services - and based on the fact that she has snacks around her and an entire load of laundry to fold, I take it that long waits on the phone are common.  Penelope's shoulder is acting up and she needs to book an appointment to get it looked at because if she doesn't, she will be in tremendous pain.

Now granted, if we were to sit and watch Penelope scarf down Cheetos and gummi bears while waiting for someone to pick up the phone, it would be a boring episode, so we have to have some B-plots to keep the episode going.  For instance, Lydia is annoying Elena with the insistence that she choose an escort to take with her to her quinces.  Elena wants to make the decision herself without any pressure, but Lydia keeps shoving her yearbook in her face pressuring her to pick someone.  Lydia even threatens to set Elena up with her cousin, who in Elena's words "smells like a Dorito that died in a pool of Axe body spray".  Yeah, I can see why he's such a catch.

There's also a street fair going on in the neighbourhood and Penelope's new friend, Jill, has already been down there - apparently spending forty bucks trying to win that cheap plastic lightsaber toy that she's playing with.  While she hides it in Penelope's apartment so that Schneider doesn't steal it, Jill and Penelope talk about how frustrating it is to be put on hold with the VA, and how Penelope has been waiting to get in touch with Jolene to have her book the doctor's appointment.  I can sense the frustration in Penelope's voice too.

And after Jill leaves, someone comes on the telephone line and Penelope, having the phone on speaker mode, rushes towards it to give the woman her account number...but she slips and falls, and the commotion causes the woman on the other end of the phone to put her back on hold.  How frustrating.

We also get to meet Alex's friend, Finn, when Schneider drops both of them off at home after their baseball game.  It's been said that Finn is a bit of a smart ass and that Penelope doesn't quite understand why Alex would hang around him so much.  It's a bit clear as to why that is when Finn seems to act with a little bit of sarcasm towards Penelope, but later on in the episode, you'll see exactly why Penelope has a right to be concerned.  But, I don't want to give away too much.

Lydia is concerned to see Penelope in so much pain, so she grabs the bottle of painkillers that Penelope has been prescribed (notice how Finn and Alex are present when this takes place), and insists she takes them.  Isn't this the same woman who nearly had a coronary when she found out that Penelope was taking anti-depressants?  Maybe Lydia is coming around and becoming more aware that the world has evolved since she fled Cuba all those years ago?  But then I think about how she's pressuring Elena to choose someone to take to her quinces, and I think that maybe she has a way to go yet.  But good for her for at least trying to understand Penelope better.

Alex and Finn are on their way to the street fair, and Schneider announces that he too is going to be making an appearance... one of the members singing and performing at his yacht rock band.  Unless they plan on singing old Captain and Tennille songs, Schneider just looks totally out of place with that hat! 

With everyone's plans in motion, they all leave the apartment as the speaker phone comes on and Penelope is happy that she can finally get the appointment made.  Unfortunately that excitement turns into frustration when the person on the other end of the phone thinks her last name is Phillips instead of Alvarez.  And when the person on the other end of the phone accidentally hangs up on her, it's enough to make Penelope take a bit of a fit on the couch.  Yeah, great customer service there, VA.

So after a while, Penelope gets back on the phone with the VA, she is put on hold one more time listening to the "please, hold music" on the speakerphone, and she is resorting to licking the cheese dust off of the empty bag of Cheetos because she doesn't want a single crumb to go to waste.  I guess this is a good time to reveal a secret of mine - I do the exact same thing! 

A pre-recorded message about preventable accidents plays while Penelope waits which cues in rather nicely with an injured Schneider being dragged into the apartment by Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz!  Seems that Schneider's college friends don't exactly get along as well as they used to, and Schneider got whacked in the eye by a decorative anchor!  See, a more believable story would have been a person in the crowd attacking him because yacht rock sucked, but hey, not everything in sitcoms can be believable, right?  I mean, just watch any episode of "Family Matters" after Steve Urkel changes into Stefan Urquelle to see what I mean.

Penelope wonders why Dr. B. is there, and Dr. B. explains that when he gave Penelope permission to take half a day off work to make the appointment, he thought he would do the same.  He explains it with a YOLO, and it makes me realize why I find the expression YOLO so incredibly annoying!  Dr. B. later explains that he wanted to go to the street fair.  Fair enough.  But why is Lydia with him?

Well, it's not until Penelope takes Schneider to his own apartment to fix his eye (after she tells Lydia to listen for the phone in case the VA picks up) that we get our first secret reveal.  It seems as though Dr. B. has developed a little bit of a crush on Lydia, and how he was so touched that she was so nice to him at his birthday party a couple of episodes ago.  It doesn't seem that Lydia feels quite the same way as Dr. B. does, but Lydia does acknowledge that he is a good friend at least.  Aw.  It's an almost love connection!  It's actually really funny that the music in the background changes from standard music to a love song while all this is happening!  Could this be foreshadowing?  Hmmm...

The two even bond over their shared and separate medical issues as they toast with glasses of water and pills.  My gosh, I hope when I turn 70, I don't have to take that many pills to stay alive - but I suppose it's an inevitability.  Though a funny moment does arise when Penelope comes back home, sees the scene, and Lydia explains that she and Dr. B. were only taking drugs together!  Ha!

It seems as though Penelope has done what she can do for Schneider as he appears at Penelope's door wearing an eyepatch.  Schneider is also determined to restart his yacht rock band by turning it into a pirate rock band.  Oh, sweet Jesus, Schneider, just let it go already!

Everybody leaves the apartment to go to the street fair and Penelope finally gets through to the VA which transfers her call to Jolene.  She is initially excited and she does a dance in celebration...

...until she gets transferred to a guy named Tad who has absolutely no clue what Penelope is talking about.  See, this is where the frustration lies for Penelope.  This is an organization set up to help veterans lives get better and yet it's filled with poor communication, staff members with little to no training, and lots of red tape to slice through.  Because before Tad will even help her, he tells Penelope that she has to fax the referral given to her by her primary physician - despite the fact that Penelope e-mailed it to them two months ago.  This is the same kind of crap that people dealing with medicare companies have to go through every day due to lack of funding, and it makes me angry that people have to go through so many hoops just to get treatment. 

At least there's a fax machine just five minutes away at a nearby convenience store, and Penelope uses the opportunity to buy a ton of candy bars to get her through the day without killing someone.  After passing over the phone call duties to Elena, she runs off.  And Elena manages to grab the half a bag of Cheetos that her mother did NOT eat and takes her snack to her room waiting for someone to pick up the phone.

When Elena retreats to her room, Finn and Alex return and they see that Penelope has left her pill bottle out on the table.  And this is where we learn that Finn is a bit of a moron.  He plans to have Alex steal some of Penelope's painkillers so that they can sell them to their classmates for more money to spend at the street fair.  Whoa.  Bad idea.  Very, very bad idea. 

But unfortunately Alex is at the age where peer pressure can be most tempting, and after Finn leaves, Alex grabs the bottle and seriously considers listening to Finn.  But then he hears Elena coming out of her room and he quickly disappears, bottle in hand, and hides out in Lydia's quarters, pulling the curtain shut behind him.

It is this moment that we learn the MAJOR secret of the episode.  And,'s not that she eats Cheetos just like her mom.  While Elena is waiting for Tad or Jolene or anyone to pick up the phone, pre-recorded messages urge the person on hold to talk about their problems, and Elena drops a bombshell.  She is under pressure by everyone to pick a boy to take her to her quinces...but Elena is questioning whether she even likes boys.  She even makes the claim that maybe she might like girls better. Elena's questioning her own sexuality and she's afraid that her Cuban-American family headed by her God-loving Abuelita might not understand.  This has the makings to be a great story to tell.

Unfortunately, Elena might have to explain herself before she's ready when she hears a strange sound coming from behind the curtain.  And when she opens it up, she finds Alex with Jill's lightsaber in one hand, and Penelope's pills in the other.  Hoo boy.  Looks like BOTH Alvarez kids have something to explain to each other.

Of course, both are upset.  Alex is upset that Elena thinks that he is getting into trouble by stealing their mom's pills, and Elena is mortified that Alex heard her potentially coming out of the closet.  But it seems as though Alex has had a change of heart regarding Finn's plan, and puts the pills back.  And when Alex throws his full support to Elena and tells her that he will be there for her no matter what, it leads to a nice bonding moment between them.

And that moment ends when Jolene finally comes on the speaker phone and both Alex and Elena struggle to keep her on the line until Penelope gets back, which causes Elena to hilariously pretend that she is Penelope.  It's cringeworthy to see Elena try to act like her mother, but somehow it does the trick as Penelope returns just in time to intercept the call.

Unfortunately, Jolene seems to be in no mood to help Penelope.  In fact, Jolene actually tells Penelope to call back on Monday because she is late catching her bus and she has to go.  Oh, boy...I can see this not ending well.  For Jolene.  In fact, this leads to an epic rant by Penelope against Jolene and against the VA.  And I think this deserves to be written in Penelope's own words.  

PENELOPE:  Well, then, walk me through it, Jolene.  Because I don't understand.  What I do understand is I went to war, I got hurt.  And when I came back, there was supposed to be an organization set up to help me and the other veterans get the help we need.  So I don't get why it's so hard to make a simple appointment.  And I'm one of the lucky ones.  My husband has bad knees, a bad back, and traumatic brain injury.  He's not getting help.  Partly because he's a stubborn ass, but mostly because of this insane process.  And because he's not getting help, he almost did something stupid.  I lost someone in my unit because she did do something stupid.  So, please, enlighten me, Jolene, as to why helping soldiers is less important than catching your goddamn bus.

Whoa.  That was definitely what TVTropes calls "The Reason You Suck Speech".  And Justina Machado delivered that soliloquy brilliantly.

Too bad Penelope is put on hold by Jolene again which causes Penelope to throw her phone on the floor in anger.  Damn, I'd be angry too, but smashing your phone on the floor won't get you put through any quicker.

But as a dejected Penelope begins to clean up the mess, Jolene comes back on and announces that Penelope's appointment has been booked for next Monday.  And with that, I think everyone is thrilled...especially Penelope.  Now, I'm not saying that screaming at your customer service representative will get them to do something for you, but the way that Penelope passionately argued her case - hell, if I was Jolene, I'd definitely make sure Penelope got what she wanted!  It's also a great way for the show to demonstrate just how hard veterans struggle to reintegrate themselves back into society, and how the system definitely needs to be overhauled to make it better for them.

I just wish it didn't end with Schneider singing off key to Toto's "Hold the Line".  I mean, I can see why yacht rock and pirate rock didn't last.

That's it for Episode 7.  As always, we'll end with some of the funniest lines from the episode.  Have a look!

LYDIA:  Then use your phone and Chapsmat somebody.
ELENA: You don't understand social media.  Abuelita...
LYDIA:  No, no, no.  Of course I do.  All you have to do is find a boy and twat at him.
ELENA:  I hope you mean "tweet"?
LYDIA:  "Twat", "Tweet".  Same thing.
PENELOPE:  Not the same thing, Mami.

JILL:  I try to never deal with the VA.  I stopped calling them about my punctured eardrum.
PENELOPE:  That seems like a bad plan.
JILL:  Oh, thanks.  I got it on sale.

WOMAN ON PHONE:  Did you know that over 40% of trips to the emergency room are caused by preventable accidents?
PENELOPE:  That seems high.
(Schneider enters holding his eye.)
PENELOPE:  What happened?
SCHNEIDER:  It was a totally preventable accident!  We were setting up for the show and our keytarist threw a decorative anchor at me.
PENELOPE:  Okay, I'm sorry you're hurt but it sounds like I just missed the best part of your show.

LYDIA:  Estrogen replacement to keep me young!
DR. B:  For my cholesterol so I don't die!
PENELOPE:  What's going on here?
LYDIA:  Nothing!  We're just taking drugs!

Stay tuned for next week.  The title of the next episode is "One Lie at a Time".  Sounds intriguing.  And it comes with a very special guest star!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hospital Gift Shop Finds

Over the last six months, I've spent a lot of time in hospitals.  Thankfully, not as a patient...more like I've been in hospitals visiting patients.

I'll tell you something.  I don't know a single person in the world who absolutely loves to be in the hospital - well, unless you happen to work in a hospital.  And even then, it might be a moot point.  Let's face it, they can be pretty depressing places to be.  You are surrounded by people who are sick and/or injured and you feel a bit helpless in feeling as though you can't help them.  Also, the food is notoriously bad.  I know that when I was in the hospital as a patient, I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but knew that I had to wait until I felt better before I could.

But I will say this.  As depressing a place as hospitals can be, there are some cool things about them too.  Babies are born in hospitals every day, and sick and injured people do recover and get to go back home. 

And there is one place that is found in most hospitals that I absolutely love.  In fact, when I was a kid, I walked by the town hospital after school and it would be the place where I would hang out for a few minutes each time I got my allowance.  

Yes, I admit it.  I spent part of my childhood hanging around the hospital gift shop.  And why not?  Hospital gift shops contain so many treasures and goodies inside of them.  Each gift shop contains items that are designed to help brighten the spirits of the patients that are recovering inside.  And even if you weren't a patient inside the hospital, there were still a lot of fun things to purchase inside.

Believe me.  From the time I was six until the time I was nineteen, the hospital gift shop was a place where I found some of the coolest things ever. 

Here were just a few of the treasures that I bought from hospital gift shops.

Naturally, you all know that I am a comic book geek.  I make absolutely zero apologies about it.  But did you know that at least 10% of my whole collection of comic books came from hospital gift shops?  It's true!  I still remember the first time I found out that our hospital gift shop sold comic books.  I had just lost my first baby teeth (the two front teeth came out the same day), and my mom took me to the hospital gift shop on her way to visit someone there.  When I saw a copy of Jughead Jones Digest #51 (how crazy is it that I remember that), I used my tooth fairy money to buy that book!  Still have it too!

Hospital gift shops were also the best place to purchase birthday cards, believe it or not.  Sure, most of the cards that they had to offer were "Get Well Soon" cards, but there were also birthday cards available - in case one was unlucky enough to celebrate their birthday in the hospital.  They were relatively inexpensive too, so at least I didn't have to spend too much money on them.

Sometimes I'd grab a snack from the hospital gift shop after school because after studying the times tables, doing an art project in class, and conjugating every French verb ever created, I needed a sugar rush to boost my energy until dinner.  My snack of choice was a Cadbury Rum and Butter bar and a can of Dr. Pepper or C-Plus Orange Soda.  Oh, I wish they would bring those chocolate bars back!

I also managed to find some amazing toys when I went shopping at the hospital gift shop.  There were lots of activity books available at the store, which included word searches, crossword puzzles, and my personal favourite - Yes and Know books.  You know those books where the answers are written in invisible ink and you had to use the special pen to uncover them?  Do they still make those?  I really enjoyed them back in the day.

I also recall buying some of those alphabet and number fridge magnets from the store when I was a small kid, as well as building blocks, a small pick-up-sticks game, and a small wooden village playset.  Who needed a fancy toy store like Woolworth's or Toys R Us when you had a whole gift shop filled with goodies?  And given that Toys R Us is on the verge of closing up shop for good this year, hospital gift shops suddenly don't look like a bad option for gift giving.

And of course there are lots of stuffed toys and onesies to purchase for those new moms who just gave birth to new children.  Believe me, some of the stuff in those stores are not only beautifully made, but a lot of the items were hand-stitched and crafted by hospital volunteers.  You know a gift has to be good when it's made with love.

Anyone else have some wonderful bargains found at their local hospital gift shop?

Friday, March 09, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 6 - The Death of Mrs. Resnick

It's time for another episode of Recapping One Day at a Time, and this time we are at Episode 6:  The Death of Mrs. Resnick.

But don't be alarmed.  Mrs. Resnick isn't a character on the show.  At least not a human character anyway.  In fact, we're about to meet her now.

No, she's not hiding in the car with Penelope, Alex, and Elena.  Mrs. Resnick is the car!  Plot twist.  Who would have thought it?

We learn a lot of things about Mrs. Resnick from the idle chat taking place as Penelope is driving Alex to his baseball game.  We learn that it was a car that Victor owned when she began dating him.  We learn that he named it after a teacher he had in high school that he had a huge crush on.  And we quickly learn that over twenty years of owning Mrs. Resnick, she's on her last legs. 

It's bad enough that Elena turning up the air conditioning causes the car to stall in the middle of the busy road.  For Penelope, it's an even bigger tragedy that her cassingle of Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart" won't play in the car stereo the way that she would like it to.  Seems like "Un-break My Heart" has broken!

The opening credits roll and when the title screen appears we see Lydia sitting on the couch wearing what appears to be a Bounce fabric softener sheet on her face.  When the gang arrive back from the baseball diamond, they are wondering what is going on.  Lydia explains that it's a sheet mask, but thanks to her accent, it sounds like something a lot more naughty which leads to a fun pun war between the Alvarez family!  I'll recap it in my best lines section.

Oh, and of course, Schneider is here - amusingly wearing the same kind of mask that Lydia is wearing.  I guess we know where she got the idea to wear one, huh?  And, is it just me, or does Schneider spend more time at the Alvarez place than his own home?  I guess having five moms in your life kind of makes you crave stability.

It looks like there's bad news on all fronts regarding the car.  First, Alex tore his pants getting out of Mrs. Resnick because he apparently had to climb through the trunk to get out as the doors wouldn't work!  Then, Penelope's mechanic calls and tells her that the cost to repair Mrs. Resnick would be more than she would pay if she bought a new car!  And on top of all that, the Toni Braxton cassingle unspooled!  Oh, the horrors!

Penelope is a bit bummed about having to buy a new car.  Not only can she not afford one, but it's extremely nerve-wracking for her because this will be the first big purchase she'll be making without Victor.  She then goes into a discussion about how in love she and Victor were once upon a time, and how Mrs. Resnick was brand new when they got her - well, okay, she had 60,000 miles on her, but it was brand new to them!  She even talks about how on one of their first dates, Victor grabbed a five dollar bill and wrote their initials on it to profess his love!  You know, based on Penelope's descriptions of life with Victor, he seems like an okay guy.  I wonder why they split up?

Penelope also talks about the process of buying a new vehicle and how she lists off some bullet points about how women often get charged a higher price for cars, and how men seem to get better deals.  Unfortunately based on what I've noticed, she's not wrong.  So, Penelope is stressed out about it.  She knows she needs a car, but she is having anxiety about it all.

This prompts ideas from Lydia, Schneider, and Elena on how to make the situation easier on them.  Lydia plans to reboot her dance classes and she will teach everyone how to dance.  Yeah, okay.  Schneider offers to take Alex to his baseball games until Penelope can get a new car.  Decent.  And Elena makes it a mission to take public transit as her next crusade to save the environment - partly because she wants to reduce her carbon footprint, and partly to really annoy her Abuelita.  Yeah, because that's the reason we all live on this planet.  To save it while sticking it to our relatives.  My goodness, Elena's been sort of preachy lately!

At work, Penelope is talking with Dr. B. about the car purchase and with a little pep talk from him about how she's a strong woman, Penelope is in the right frame of mind to choose a car that is right for her and her family.  But she's still feeling insecure about dealing with the salesman and just to ease her along, she asks Dr. B. to tag along with her in hopes of getting a better deal.  Dr. B. is in...until Penelope tells him the date she wants to buy the car, and he already has plans to meet with his messed-up daughter's life coaching team.  Because as it has already been established, Dr. B.'s kids are screwed up.  Probably because they have Dr. B. as a father.  But hey, I'm judging a fictional character.  What do I know?

Back at the Alvarez household, Elena rambles on and on about how wonderful it was to take the bus, and how she wishes she had done it before.  Judging by Lydia's reaction, I can guarantee that she's seething on the inside.  But hey, at least Elena seems to be having the right attitude about it.

Key word, seems.

And Alex is really enjoying having Schneider take him to the ball games.  Not only does Alex really enjoy the heated seats in Schneider's vehicle, but he notes that the car attracts all the ladies.  Schneider even used the opportunity to boast that one of the baseball moms hit on him, but Penelope lets him down by explaining that the mom is a lesbian.  Of course, glass-half-full Schneider at least entertains the notion that she swings both ways at the plate.  Ah, come across as so creepy, yet so goofy.  I'm on the fence with you!

At least Penelope can count on Schneider agreeing to tag along with her to help her get the best deal on a vehicle.  Of course, she wants Schneider to pose as her husband as she's heard that married couples get better deals than single people.  Okay then.  She already has her eye set on a 2012 model in particular.  Schneider even offers her up some tips on how to get the salesman to become more vulnerable - which includes him throwing a pen on the floor and using his assets (or lack thereof) to shake him up a bit.  Of course, Penelope would be the one to flaunt what Lydia and Berto gave her!  Penelope seems to want to take a different approach though.

You see, Penelope also did a bit of research and found that people at car dealerships are more sympathetic towards veterans (and I'm wondering what source she's getting her info from).  Either way, she's in full Army garb, and even Schneider seems to be impressed at her technique.  Besides, with a male salesperson, it won't be too hard for Penelope to sell her story.

Ah, but what happens when the salesperson is female?  Well, that throws a spanner in the works, doesn't it?  And it looks like our friendly neighbourhood saleswoman - her name is Jill, by the way - is causing both Penelope and Schneider's brains to explode.

I mean, Schneider decides that he's going to do the pen trick to get Jill to fawn over him, and he ends up getting stuck underneath a parked car.  Wow...good plan.  NOT!

Fortunately, it seems as though Penelope has a much easier time relating to Jill.  As it turns out, Jill is a war veteran herself!  And this eases the tension between Penelope and Jill with Penelope emphatically declaring that she and Schneider are NOT married!  Yeah, I don't think she gives Jill nearly enough credit!  But either way, it appears as though Penelope might get her car after all!  And after Jill yells at a co-worker for eating too many donuts and Schneider bolts out from under the car after seeing a spider, it's time to talk business!

We're back at the Alvarez home where Elena is all hearts, flowers, and sunshine about the bus.  This prompts Lydia to talk about how she went to the butcher and ripped out the weave of another woman over a leg of lamb.  It's a totally unrelated story, but it tells us all to be careful of 70-year-old Latino women with a thick accent!

Elena talks about her journey, and Lydia quizzes her on everything, knowingly making up some parts along the way to confuse her.  Seems as though Lydia is onto something - especially after she catches Elena in a lie and pounces on her like...oh, a grandmother attacking a customer in the butcher shop, perhaps?

Elena finally admits that she hates riding the bus.  She claims it smells, it's overcrowded, and someone actually stole her socks.  As I'm trying to figure out how that's even possible, Lydia remarks that she too has been taking public transit.  And buying local groceries.  And recycling.  Wow, Lydia's really wanting to be top dog in the Alvarez household, eh?  Fortunately, Elena is thrilled that Lydia can actually teach her a few things about how to live life more environmentally friendly.

If only Elena could have showed Lydia how to make a poster.  In Lydia's haste to make posters advertising her dance school, the wording on the poster as well as the photo used has unfortunately made Lydia appear as though she is running a sex hotline.  Which leads to a funny gag about how Lydia is impressed at getting fifty-eight new phone messages, and after hearing some of them makes her want to get a new phone number!  Lydia is definitely the comic relief of the show, and Rita Moreno is a star!

We're back at the car lot, and we're finally getting to see Mrs. Resnick one last time.  I imagine back in her prime, she was a sleek, royal blue machine.  But now, it's time to say farewell.  Besides, Penelope knocked off the mirror right off the bat, so it's definitely time to say goodbye to the old and in with the new.  Jill leaves Penelope alone to clear out the car while she draws up the sale, and this causes Penelope to start getting in a reflective mood as she enters the car one last time.

Through the trunk.  Hey, at least she knows how Alex felt!

It's a sad moment when Penelope goes through the car interior and finds that her Toni Braxton cassingle has bit the dust.  I don't know if her heart will ever un-break from that.  Sorry, I had to go there!

But as Penelope goes through the glove compartment to take out her other things, she finds the five dollar bill that Victor wrote their initials on...and if Penelope's heart wasn't broken before over the chewed up tape, believe me when I tell you it's in a million pieces now.  Poor girl.

At this point, Jill comes back to check on Penelope and she gets in the car with her too.  Interestingly enough, Jill has no problem getting inside the car - though it could be because when she tries to open the door, the windows fall out!  At this point, it's a miracle Mrs. Resnick lasted as long as she did!  But then we learn about how Victor and Penelope broke up, and it gets a little dark for a sitcom, but it's important for the telling of the story, as well as Penelope's personal growth.

Before Victor and Penelope went off to war in Afghanistan, they were a loving couple and they had the whole world in their hands.  But when they were both deployed and they saw the world get blown up piece by piece in front of them, it changed both of them forever.  We know that Penelope suffers from depression and post traumatic stress, but for Victor, it was even rougher on him.  He developed a drinking problem became an addict, and this caused the once likeable Victor to turn into a raging monster.  It's implied that he did some things that really hurt Penelope, though the show doesn't go into detail.  Penelope tearfully recalls the time in which Victor got so drunk that Penelope had to take the keys away from him...because he talked about how he wanted to hop in Mrs. Resnick and drive into a tree, killing himself.  As I said, it's a really dark story, but the way that Justina Machado tells it is so powerful.  She is such a phenomenal actress.

Jill gets it because she was where Victor was when she returned to civilian life...until she got help for it.  She tells Penelope that she's in a support group for female veterans and she tells Penelope to come with her to the next meeting.  It may not save her relationship with Victor, but at the very least, she'll start the process of healing herself.  Jill points out that it might be helpful to her to be surrounded by other female veterans who know what she is going through, and Penelope agrees to give it a whirl.  Well, not only has Penelope bought a new car on her own, but she ended up making a new friend in the process!  And Penelope didn't think she could do it!  I think she sold herself a little short!

The end result is that Penelope is happily driving her new car, and everyone is happy.  Alex is happy that his mom has a car to take him to baseball practice.  Elena is happy that she never has to ride the bus again.  And, given that Lydia is drinking a bottle of rum in the passenger seat, she must be happy about everything!  But Penelope is happiest of all.  Why?  Because she's programmed "Un-break My Heart" into her stereo to play at voice command.  Good for her, bad for them.  You know what, I feel compelled to play Toni Braxton in this blog just to get it done and over with.  And I will!

As you listen to her un-break her heart, have a look at the funny lines from this episode!  See you next week!

ELENA:  Maybe the car's mad 'cause papi stuck it with the name Mrs. Resnick.
PENELOPE:  You know your papi named her after a hot teacher he had a crush on.
ALEX:  Yeah, but by now I bet Mr. Resnick's traded her in for a younger model.

PENELOPE:  (noticing Lydia's mask) What are you doing, Mami?
LYDIA:  This is supposed to make your skin glow.  It's called a sheet mask.
PENELOPE:  Mami, "sheet".  It's called a sheet mask.
LYDIA:  That's what I said, "sheet".
ELENA:  So, would you say you are sheet-faced right now?
PENELOPE:  Ah, stop.  Or the sheet will hit the fan.

 SCHNEIDER:  Connie Merkelson told me she's never seen anybody slice apples with such grace.  Not gonna lie, she was throwing me some red hot heat.
PENELOPE:  Connie Merkelson is a gay lady.  But...thank you for taking Alex.  And actually, I have another favor to ask.
SCHNEIDER:  Okay, but with Connie, I think she might walk both sides of the street.  I'm gonna stay on the case.

(After Schneider demonstrates the pen technique)
SCHNEIDER:  Guess who just got a large latte for the price of a small?
PENELOPE:  I'm trying to buy a car, not impress a white girl with dreadlocks who likes flat asses.

(Reading Lydia's dance classes ad)
ELENA:  Experienced Latina will make your body do things you didn't know it could?