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Friday, February 16, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 4 - A Snowman's Tale

This week's episode of "One Day at a Time" is structured a little bit differently, as it uses flashbacks to tell the tale.  Thank goodness there are little subtitles telling us when the events take place, or else I would really be screwed!

This is
Episode 4: A Snowman's Tale.  And yes, there is a reason for the title which is actually quite clever - and funny!  For now, let's pop in at Echo Park, Los Angeles on a Saturday night at 6:40pm where we see Penelope applying some bright red lipstick in the back of an Uber driven by Jerry

Penelope is really excited about going on a date, and she tells Jerry all about it even though Jerry looks as if he'd rather drive off the side of the freeway.  But hey, given that this review is being posted two days after Valentine's Day, I guess it's almost perfect timing.  Penelope can't help it though.  It's her first date since splitting up with Victor and she's really nervous about it.

She's so nervous that she decides to call Lydia at home to talk about it.  Oh, dear.  But at least we're treated to a flashback to Lydia's youth.  In Havana, Cuba in 1958, we learn that a young Lydia first meets her husband-to-be, Berto.  And judging from the scenes where we see them dancing, it was love at first tango!

I should note that Berto is Penelope's father (though you probably figured that out).  And he passed away a few years prior to the show beginning which explains his absence in the series.

It appears as though Lydia's talk with Penelope gave her the courage to go ahead with the date...even though Schneider is a wreck.  Yeah, I guess it's official.  Schneider is part of the family now.

It's now 7:00 pm, and Jerry is just wanting to ditch Penelope so that he can continue on with his merry Uber way, but somehow Penelope comes to the conclusion that he wants to hear more about why she went on the date in the first place, and it is here where we get our first flashback of the episode.

Friday at 12:30pm at Dr. B.'s medical office.  Dr. B, Penelope, Lori, and Scott are having lunch and talking about their plans for the weekend.  Seems like this crew is a boring lot, as Scott plans to go bowling and Dr. B. plans on stalking innocent shoppers at Target looking for friendship.  And yes, I did just type this sentence out with a weird look on my face.

And Penelope seems to have a strange look on her face when she announces that she has no plans for the weekend, and everyone decides that she needs to start dating.  Among conversations of microwave dinners, dating apps, and Lori thinking 38 is way old (which makes ME want to give her head a shake as I'm almost THIRTY-SEVEN), Penelope is goaded into putting herself back out on the market for dating again.

Particularly after a delivery driver who has a package for Penelope arrives and gets her heart all a-flutter.  Yeah, Penelope's still got it.  Well, at least she did yesterday at 12:30pm.

It's now Saturday night at 7:18pm (wait, that conversation with Jerry took eighteen minutes - no wonder he wanted to speed away from the area), and Penelope has a new friend.   Bartender Michelle is the next one to hear all about Penelope's date, and I'm guessing based on the fact that Penelope is shooing away customers and Michelle is sucking back shots that Michelle is wanting to jump in Jerry's car so she can flee.  I think Penelope needs to chill.  And maybe take a tranquilizer dart!  But it's through her conversation with Michelle that she brings up the snowman analogy.  Penelope calls herself a snowman because right now, it's winter and everything is in place.  But when spring comes, everything melts and she'll just end up looking like a mess.  Honestly, it's much funnier when Justina Machado says it because she's just that great of an actress. 

She ends up showing Michelle a photo of her date - a policeman named Adam.  And this prompts another flashback to 5:30pm on Friday night.

You see, Penelope is freaking out about the dating app, and of all people she seeks help from, she chooses Schneider!  Oh, Penelope, why do I get the feeling this is doomed to fail before it even begins?

Turns out that Schneider is actually quite good at making dating profiles (which makes me think that he uses them quite often).  Unfortunately he's not that great at photoshopping as in his quest to cut out Elena and Alex from Penelope's photo, he adds a bicycle to the photo without removing the kids' shoes.  Personally, if a person had a bicycle with feet, I'd be intrigued to meet them, but I'm weird like that.

Of course, this causes Penelope to have a panic attack as she doesn't know what her family will think.  After all, Lydia thinks that she and Victor will get back together again, and she doesn't know how Elena and Alex will react.  Schneider simply suggests that Penelope doesn't tell them, and this prompts her to set up a date with this Adam guy for Saturday at 7:30pm.  Wow, Penelope must really want this date!

Three minutes before the date is set to start, Penelope is in the bathroom with her "new best friend" Abby, who seriously just wants Penelope to spare a square or two of toilet paper.  Okay, now Penelope is sharing her date story with women who have to pee?  Wow, I'm beginning to understand why she hasn't been on a date in twenty years!  Just saying.

But I must say, Penelope does look stunning in her jumpsuit.  She even boasts about shaving off her "lady 'stache" in preparation.  First off, kudos to the show for having a strong female lead admitting that she has lip hair.  And secondly, she must have done a great job shaving it off because I don't see any trace.

But Penelope's admiration of herself in the mirror is interrupted when Abby begins crying in the stall.  She's bummed because her boyfriend Benji won't propose to her.  Considering that her boyfriend has the same name of a dog from a 1970s film series, maybe she's better off.

Penelope starts to comfort Abby, but when she sees that Abby is a six foot tall, 22-year-old drink of water that could pass as a contestant on "America's Next Top Model", she laughs and tells her that she will get over Benji, marry rich, and be on the Real Housewives of Whatever County.  Yeah, like THAT'S something to aspire to!  But it does cheer Abby up, and Penelope tells her that she will now say the last thing her mother said to her before her date - "Good luck".

Of course, Abby is confused because she recalls Penelope telling her that she didn't tell them that she was going on a date.  Flashback to Saturday morning where Lydia informs Penelope that "red lipstick is for putas!"  Yeah, I don't need a Spanish translator to tell me what THAT word means!

It seems as though both Lydia and Elena aren't as clueless as they let on.  Thanks to Penelope's peach fuzz free lip, they know that she has plans tonight, and both have different reactions about it.  Elena is happy that Penelope is going on a date and happily reminds her that at 38, she is at her sexual peak - something that grosses both Lydia and Penelope out!  Lydia, meanwhile, is more blunt.  She calls her a hoochie!  Harsh, but keep in mind that Lydia is old-school and believes that separation is unheard of.  Ah, so my mistake, the couple is only separated and not divorced as I first thought.  See, that's why I watch every episode three times when I do these reviews.

Of course, Alex is not in the loop, and Penelope doesn't want him to know what is going on, so they play an awkward game of mannequin leaving Alex wondering what the heck is going on.  But when Alex asks Penelope for a hundred dollars, that unthaws Penelope and she tells him that there is no way that she is giving him that much money.  Alex claims that he needs it to hang out with his friends, but that's all the information he wants to share.  I'm guessing that Penelope said no. 

We also see a little bit of an interesting tradition that Lydia embarks in.  Even though Berto has been deceased for years, she still talks to him occasionally as if he is still alive.  And while Lydia is annoyed that Penelope interrupted her and "ghost Abuelito" (as Elena calls him), Lydia does relent and wishes Penelope luck on her date.  She even offers to let Penelope borrow her tube of "Scarlet Sunrise" lipstick!  But wait...I thought red lipstick was for...oh, nevermind.  We should be getting back to Penelope's date which should begin right!

Well, okay, she is actually harassing who I believe is the maitre 'd of the restaurant she is supposed to meet her date at.  We don't know much about her except that her name is Kristen and that she probably wants to call up Jerry at Uber to take her anywhere but where she is right now.

Once Penelope is seated at her table, we meet another new person, Tyler.  At this point, I'm thinking this is the fifth person Penelope has encountered and she hasn't even met her date yet!  They must have had a huge budget for guest stars during the 4th episode!  Tyler also looks familiar...isn't he that guy in that insurance commercial that comes out and sees that his car has been stripped by thieves?  I swear it's the same guy.  Anyway, Penelope starts to babble on about her date, but somehow when Tyler asks her what she wants, it causes her to stop talking!  Oh, thank goodness.  Maybe now we'll finally see her on her date.

Or, maybe it's Saturday night at 10:41pm and we see Penelope arriving home AFTER her date!  I don't know about you, but I feel cheated.

And apparently so do Elena and Lydia because once Penelope reveals that the date didn't go well and that she won't be seeing him again, they are quite disappointed.  I get the feeling that there's more to the story here, but that will have to wait for now as Alex has arrived and has heard everything.

At this point, Penelope decides that it is time to have a chat with her youngest child, and she sends Lydia and Elena away so she can do exactly that.  It's interesting to note that Alex has a bandage on his face, and Alex explains that a kid pushed him in the bushes.  But that's not the REAL story here.

Of course, before we do that, Penelope tells Alex about his date - and the real reason why the date didn't work out.  As we flashback to three hours earlier, the waiter leaves, and so does Penelope!  Yep, she stands her date up!  Her explanation to Alex is simple.  Up until that moment, nobody had ever asked Penelope what she wanted.  She took advice from colleagues, family members, and five random strangers, but nobody asked her what she wanted.  Turns out that what she wanted wasn't a date at all, and she came to the conclusion that she wasn't ready to go out on a date yet.  She spent the last three hours at the movies watching a horrible chick flick.  But she did send Adam an apology text, and squared things up. 

This prompts Alex to share the truth about what happened on HIS night out.  Turns out his friends purposely abandoned him so that he could be alone with a girl named Anna thinking that they would find a love connection!  But, Alex just wanted to be friends with her.  Though he does admit that he tried shaving before he left (which explains the bandage), and Penelope seems to suspect that maybe Alex really does have some feelings for Anna (though he won't readily admit to them just yet). 

And this of course leads to a rather unusual bonding moment between Penelope and Alex in which Penelope teaches Alex how to shave.  Again, props to the "One Day at a Time" crew for showing women that it's okay if you have facial hair and to not be ashamed of it!  This show is actually quite progressive, and I think that's why I enjoy it so much.  Not because of just the shaving scene, but because of how well Penelope handled the dating nerves.  Sure, she wasn't ready yet, but she did tell Alex that one day she would be.  Thankfully, Alex offered his blessings, and I'm sure that as the show progresses, we'll see Penelope involved in more romances.  After all, 38 is when women reach their sexual peak, or so the show states.

There is one final scene which is quite touching.  We finally get to see what Lydia imagines when she pictures herself in Cuba with her beloved Berto (this time as an old man portrayed by Tony Plana).  It's very much like the scene we saw back in 1958, but with them as adults.  And let me tell you, it is clear that no matter how much time passed, and despite the fact that one of them crossed over to the other side, these are two people who will forever love each other.  It's actually a great way to end off yet another fantastic episode.

And now here are some of the funniest lines from episode four.  Enjoy!

SCOTT:  Doc, you're forgetting about the best part about being single.  Dating apps.  Oh, they're great.  There's guys like me out there.
PENELOPE:  Oh, I didn't know there was an app called 'Disappointment'.

PENELOPE:  I'm a snowman.
MICHELLE:  I don't wanna be racist, but does that mean coke dealer?

PENELOPE:  How the hell do I do this?  Do I like?  Do I swipe?  Do I put someone in my cart?
SCHNEIDER:  It's like watching a baby bird learn to fly.

PENELOPE:  I'm not looking to have sex with someone!
SCHNEIDER:  Yeah, let's not put that in your profile!  I get it, you mean a real date.
PENELOPE:  Yes, it's been 20 years.  You know, back then, online dating meant hooking up while waiting in line to buy Boyz II Men tickets.  I helped turn a couple of boys to men.

ALEX:  Anyway, stupid Finn pushed me into a bush and I got scratched.
PENELOPE:  Why do you like that kid again?  Because he seems like a ---
ALEX:  Like a dick?
PENELOPE:  Yes, but that's not okay that you said that.

Tune in next week where we tackle the subject of immigration.  I get the feeling that this might involve Elena and Carmen.  Just a hunch.

In closing, I want to pause to give a moment of silence for the seventeen people who were killed in the Florida school shooting on February 14, 2018.  Seventeen hearts for seventeen souls.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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