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Friday, February 09, 2018

Recapping One Day at at Time - Episode 3 - No Mass

Welcome to the next installment of "Recapping One Day at a Time".  We're about to start episode 3 - "No Mass".  And this episode appears to be a Lydia-centric episode, so if you love the adventures and one lines of Abuelita, this is one episode that you should watch.  And if not...well, watch anyway.  Now, this episode does touch on the subject of religion - which can be quite the touchy topic this day and age.  But overall, I liked the way it was presented.  You'll see what I mean as we go ahead with this recap.

For now, it's a typical morning with Lydia waking up to a serenade of Cuban music.  I'm not sure who sings it or what the song is called, but it's certainly a song that makes you get up and dance.  And dance is what Lydia does very well as she makes the coffee, cooks breakfast for the kids, and makes sure Alex's uniform pants are nice and clean. 

We also learn that Lydia is a devout Catholic, and even posts a picture of Pope Benedict on the refrigerator.  Penelope jokes that she has two other photos of the Pope in her room and takes the picture down, but Lydia just brings another one up and sets it on the kitchen counter.  This will be a key element in today's episode.

The opening credits roll and before you know it, it's dinner.  Lydia has made dinner for Alex and Elena (and Schneider who apparently is part of the family now).  Penelope has had another long day at work and has nearly missed dinner.  At least Lydia has managed to make enough to feed her, and as she serves Penelope, Schneider talks about his unusual family arrangements which include a father and four step-mothers.  Yeah, I'm starting to understand the reason why Schneider is the way he is.  You'll see more when I post the funny lines of the episode (which has a surprisingly high amount of laugh out loud moments).  Oh, and we also meet Elena's best friend Carmen, who apparently is best described as a cross between Lydia Deetz and Selena Gomez.  She's moody, she's depressed, she's dark...essentially she's your typical fourteen year old these days.  And fair warning, she's got a recurring role throughout the rest of season one.

Penelope is a little concerned that she isn't spending a lot of time with her kids, and she wants to make it up to them on the weekend.  Unfortunately, Saturday is out as Elena and Carmen are working on a school project and Alex and Lydia are going to watch a wrestling match.  Penelope makes the suggestion that they go for a hike on Sunday morning, but Lydia ixnays that idea, as they have to go to church.

Penelope thinks that they can skip church for one day because she really wants to spend time with her kids, but Lydia scoffs at that idea.  Schneider offers a compromise by suggesting that they go for the hike after church, but Penelope dismisses the idea, claiming that by the time they say hello to everyone there and sing all the hymns, it's already evening!  I'll have to take their word for it since I'm not one for organized religion and the last time I was in a church was for a wedding I attended three and a half years ago.

And this sets up the conflict for the episode.  Lydia is insistent that the family attend church as planned on Sunday, but Penelope is insisting that spending time with her children is more important than church.  Lydia tries to get the kids involved, and Alex sides with Lydia saying that he finds church fun.  Elena, on the other hand, seems to side with Penelope - which could likely explain some of the reason why Lydia and Alex have a closer relationship. 

At this point, Penelope has had enough and sends the kids and Schneider away so she and Lydia can hash it out.  But as Penelope and Lydia get talking, they get angrier and angrier with Penelope getting upset that Lydia is trying to turn her apartment into Jesus' Pinterest page, and Lydia upset that Penelope won't let her have an opinion.  The fight ends with Lydia storming to her living area and angrily closing her curtain - since she doesn't have a door!

The next morning, the Cuban music starts to play, and Penelope goes into the kitchen, but notices that Lydia isn't around.  She is confused, but decides to try and make breakfast herself - and gets so caught up in the beat of the music that she throws coffee all over the floor!  Whoops!

Elena and Alex wake up, wonder where Lydia is, and Penelope is wondering why Alex doesn't have his pants for school.  She goes to investigate what is going on and Lydia isn't here.  Apparently she has run away from home!  But where could she have gone?

Penelope and the gang think that Schneider might know something about it, so they go to his apartment to find out more information.  I have to say that Schneider's place is a typical man cave with record albums and comfortable furniture...

...and a half naked woman wandering through the place without a care in the world.  Wow, this really IS a man cave!

At first, Schneider denies knowing anything about Lydia's whereabouts, but when Elena smells plantains and coffee, Schneider is forced to reveal that Lydia spent the night after their fight.  He doesn't know where she went after that though.  All he remembers is that he called an Uber for his one night stand, and it hasn't arrived yet.  Meanwhile, Alex gets a zinger in when he asks if Abuelita forgot to give Schneider's girl her pants too!

It appears as though Penelope isn't the only one who is fighting with a family member.  After getting into an argument with his thirty-seven year old daughter whose main ambition is writing a vampire erotica fan fiction, Dr. B. is at his wit's end as well.  This prompts Penelope and Dr. B. to have a heart-to-heart over what is happening with Lydia.  It takes a little bit of bluntness in the Dr. B. way for Penelope to understand what is going on, but she's maybe starting to see the point that Lydia was trying to make about how Penelope might be taking her for granted.

The conversation is interrupted by a call from Schneider, who reports that Lydia still hasn't come home which makes Penelope worry even more because Lydia has never been not home when the kids come home from school.  She is struggling to figure out where she could have gone.  Luckily, Dr. B. seems to have a train of thought on the subject - which sort of derails a bit - but eventually Penelope figures it out and stops by the one place where Lydia would feel closer to God.

At the church, Lydia sees Penelope in one of the pews, and she attempts to start conversation with Lydia about what happened (though a nosy churchgoer named Birdie seems to be overhearing everything and Lydia cautions Penelope to speak softly).

It takes a while to convince Lydia - and in between the conversation is an analogy of Lydia's mother slicing onions as well as Lydia mistakenly believing that Penelope plans on putting her in a retirement home - that Penelope is sorry for what she said.  But when Penelope mentions that Lydia is the glue that holds the Alvarez family together and that she is needed.  And Lydia ALMOST agrees to come back home...

...until Penelope mentions that she plans on never going to church again, which really sets Lydia off!  When Birdie tries to interject, Lydia rings a bell in her ear, and tells Penelope that she will come home when she is ready - in an Uber.  (Yeah, I guess we know who stole the Uber that Schneider called for his lady love of one night.)

Penelope comes home where Schneider has prepared a meal for Elena, Alex, and Carmen.  I have no clue what the dish is except that it has nettles and it prompts Penelope to thank Schneider for the Caucasian meal.  Ouch!  I'm Caucasian and I haven't even heard of nettles!

Fortunately, Lydia arrives back home and Schneider immediately gives her a humongous hug!  And Lydia wonders who threw up on the table!  Oh, poor Schneider...the butt of all jokes.

Of course, Lydia tells everyone that Penelope has decided to stop going to church and declares that while the rest of the family will go to church every Sunday, Penelope will be going to hell.  Wow!  Harsh!

But then Penelope drops a truth bomb of her own when she declares that she doesn't even know if she believes in God!  Now that's a show stopper!  As Lydia stares at Penelope in shock, Penelope explains that she is happy that God brings Lydia comfort, but she doesn't see a need to include God in her life.

This prompts what could be considered one of Rita Moreno's most brilliant monologues.  Breaking into tears, Lydia recounts how when Penelope went away to Afghanistan, she went to church every day and prayed to God to keep her safe...and the very fact that she did come home proves to Lydia that there is a God, that God is real, and that she loves God.

Cue the Kleenex and the tears.  Penelope is so moved by the tale that she gives Lydia a hug and a sorry.  Penelope does reveal that she does have a connection to God via the cross necklace that Lydia gave her.  And while Penelope still doesn't want to go to church every day, they do reach a compromise and they will go to church on major holidays and a few other they won't be known as THOSE people according to Lydia. 

But don't think that Lydia hasn't learned a valuable lesson herself.  Penelope tells everyone about a time in which she was in surgery for twenty hours at the army infirmary and she was extremely beat.  She saw Serena Williams playing a match on television and it gave her the strength to keep going, and Lydia finally understands that sometimes you just need someone to keep you in the right direction whether it's a religious figure or a tennis player.

That message couldn't be made much clearer when the following morning after Lydia wakes up to make breakfast, she posts two photos - one of the Pope...and a new one of Serena Williams!  Awwwww...the feels!

And as all is well in the Alvarez household, I have to say that the show did a bang up job with doing an episode on religion without being too preachy about it.  It was beautifully written and at times I could see everyone's points (and everyone made good points).  I even like Elena's friend, Carmen - though she does look a little too much like that disgraced X Factor New Zealand judge...Google it, you'll understand what I mean.

Now, as I said, this episode is chock full with soundbites.  Here are a few of my favourites.

SCHNEIDER:  Sometimes my nanny would join me, but only if I agreed to watch telenovelas.
ELENA:  Ooh, those are so over the top.
SCHNEIDER:  Right?  This one time, Rosa got jealous of the housekeeper 'cause she was makin' a move on her man, so she threatened to throw live scorpions on her while she slept.
LYDIA:  Sounds good.  Which one was that?
SCHNEIDER:  Oh, no.  Rosa was my nanny.  Ex-nanny.  Now stepmother.

PENELOPE:  I don't like the kids having dessert every night.
LYDIA:  Oh, come on.  Es una cosita.
PENELOPE:  But we have to watch our sugar.  Dad had diabetes.
LYDIA:  So, I killed your father?!?

DR. B.: Where would a devout Catholic woman go after an argument with her daughter about religion?
PENELOPE:  Thank you, Dr. Berkowitz.
DR. B.:  Thank you.  But we need to answer the question.

ALEX:  Did you find Abuelita?
PENELOPE:  Yeah, she's with Jesus now.
PENELOPE:  No, no!  Sorry.  She's at church.  Uh, poor choice of words.

LYDIA:  She's no longer going to church.  Ever.
ALEX:  We can do that?!?
LYDIA:  You can't.  We will all go together.  Us.  Your mother will go hiking with Satan.
PENELOPE:  Yeah, and then we'll go to Applebee's.  'Cause Satan loves the Fiesta Lime Chicken!

Coming up next week, Penelope goes out on a date using a dating app that Schneider found.  What could go wrong?

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