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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?  

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