One Day At A Time

‘One Day At A Time’ 4×05 Review: “Perfect”

Every week, I think, well, this will be the week One Day At A Time makes me just laugh, the week where the message they’re trying to send, the part of my culture they’re trying to showcase, won’t hit as close for me. Every week I’m wrong, and One Day At A Time 4×05 “Perfect” is a perfect example of why this show is – and should be considered – required viewing.

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There’s a lot to the stereotype of “perfection” as it relates to latinx families, a lot to the notion that second and third generation latino kids face not just a regular burden of expectations, but that they also carry the burden of the sacrifice all of who came before them. I’ve seen it a lot, and at times, I’ve even related to it.

But I’ve never felt it was speaking to my very soul, not till Alex and Penelope were talking about it. Because it wasn’t even about the expectations she was placing on him, it was more about the expectations he was placing on himself, just for being who he was. And I am intimately familiar with those.

I think we all are. This is an issue that feels very real for me – as much of what One Day At A Time does – and an issue that I think they nail as well as they do because of the diversity of their writers room, but it’s not a latinx issue by any stretch of the imagination.

One Day At A Time
(L-R): India de Beaufort as Avery, Todd Grinnell as Schneider and Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Berkowitz in ONE DAY AT A TIME, “Perfect”. Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/POP TV.

And that’s the beauty of this show – the way it manages to re-frame what some people might think are issues that only affect one community, and make them universal, or at least, remind us that they are universal. Yes, we might react differently to some things depending on our background and our culture, but in the end we are all people, and the things that happen to us …well, they’re not that dissimilar.

Plus, the show always manages to do that without forgetting that these are still people whose every existence, in the United States of today, is pretty much an act of rebellion. The thing is, rebellion isn’t always fought by outwardly rebelling and being loud – though Elena will do that too – sometimes it’s fought by being you, and being happy and successful and existing.

One Day At A Time
(L-R): Justina Machado as Penelope, Marcel Ruiz as Alex, and Isabella Gomez as Elena in ONE DAY AT A TIME, “Perfect”. Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/POP TV.

Where others don’t want you to.

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I lost my north a little bit, but the point is I really love this show, and every week I think they won’t touch me this deep, and every week I find myself back here, trying to find different ways to praise the kind of entertainment I wish I had when I was a kid, the one I’m glad I can one day show my future kids.

The kind that’s funny, and the kind that takes the stereotypes of our culture and instead of making fun of them, dissects them and explains them, even as we laugh at them. The kind that’s thoughtful, and insightful and who never puts people or characters down for the sake of an easy laugh.

You know, the one that makes you believe that this world can still be good. That people are still worth it.

That kind.

Things I think I think:

  • Elena’s not gonna get into Yale or something, right? Right?
  • “This being a house of gender equality.”
  • Congratulations, Alex, you really did play yourself.
  • OMG NO THAT CLOWN NO.
  • Schneider is looking very very attractive today.
  • I don’t know why.
  • Aw, Alex. He’s finding what he wants to do and be.
  • No one has ever made me laugh harder than Rita Moreno.
  • NO ONE.
  • Schneider, my baby, I love you, but what the fuck?
  • Oh, no no Alex. If you hate it, fine, quit. If you love it, you don’t get to quit cause it’s hard.
  • “You can’t be afraid to fail.”
  • I hate when Schneider has no scenes with his family.
  • “There’s no ticket”
  • I cackled.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “Perfect”? Share with us in the comments below!

One Day At A Time airs Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on Pop TV.

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