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One Day At A Time - The Politics Episode - Review

With everything on hold due to COVID, we’ve missed out on new episodes of a lot of our favorite shows, including One Day At A Time. Since they couldn’t film anything yet, the showrunners decided on an animated special titled “The Politics Episode”. Now, just because this was an animated episode, doesn’t mean that the show didn’t hit difficult subjects like they usually do. In fact, the storyline in this episode was dealing with family members, the ones we saw in season 3, who don’t share the same political views as the Alvarez family. And that’s putting it mildly. 

First things first: I’m not usually a fan of animated episodes. Everyone has different styles of animation that they prefer, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I wasn’t a huge fan of the animation style used, for instance, on the finale of The Blacklist, but I did love the creative way of finishing the episode. And while it took me a minute to get used to the animated Alvarez family, I ended up really loving it. But what struck me the most was the lack of laughter. One Day At A Time is usually filmed in front of a live audience. Once filming resumes, that live audience probably won’t be back yet. But the thing is, the show really doesn’t need it. This episode has several moments that had me laughing way louder than I should. 

Let’s get down to business: I don’t get political very often (or at least I try not to) in my reviews, but that’s kind of hard to avoid this time. The show has never hidden their dislike for Trump. But with the election coming up in a few months, and the uncertainty of having new episodes to air before November, I’m glad the writers took this opportunity to really tackle the subject full-on. And yet, this episode isn’t really about him. It’s about dealing with family members that support him. I live in Europe, so I’m a bit more removed from all of this, but even I know that there are plenty of similar situations in the US. And I’m glad that the writers tried to show us both sides, even though it’s still very hard for me to understand the Trump side. I just don’t get why anyone would be against nationwide healthcare, affordable schools when they’re the most normal things in the world in my country. And look, we haven’t fallen apart. But in a way, I could understand some of it from Estrellita’s side. That these things remind them of Castro. But Penelope’s response to it absolutely nailed it. Trump won’t protect you, not unless you’re white, cisgender, straight, and rich. This episode really took inspiration from current events. I hope this episode (and the entire season) become available on a broader scale because it really sends an important message that deserves to be seen. 

Best quotes: Penelope: “Her name is Alice, but they nicknamed her Margarita because that’s how she got made.” 
Elena: “But they’re voters in Florida, a swing state, so we cannot let them leave till December.” 
Elena: “Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you facts don’t matter anymore.” Penelope: “Yeah, they had a good run but it turns out people want to believe what they believe more than they want to believe what is actually true.” Penelope: “Is that true?” Elena: “Does it matter?” 
Penelope: “You think he keeps you safe? He mishandles every crisis that comes his way. Look at Puerto Rico. A hurricane, earthquakes, the whole island without power. And that guy comes and he throws a bunch of paper towels, and then he’s like “Bye!”. Now imagine something happening on a global scale. Something so huge, it completely shuts everything down, and we’re stuck waiting for someone to lead us while we watch episodes of our favorite TV shows, but now they have to be animated. I know, it sounds crazy, but look into my eyes and tell me that that’s the guy who will get us through it. Remember when we used to joke about this stuff? “I’m a crazy liberal, you’re a stuffy conservative, ha ha ha.” I miss that. Us being on opposite sides isn’t new. But now it’s different. This guy made it different. People used to actually try to hide their racism. But the president made it cool again! We have to stand up for one another now more than ever. That’s why we need to say black lives matter, trans lives matter, brown lives matter. When he calls Mexicans drug dealers and rapists, you think that doesn’t affect you? Do you think if your son was in that Walmart where the guy said he was there to shoot all the Mexicans, he would’ve stopped to ask if Flavio was Cuban before pulling the trigger? He wouldn’t have cared. Because the president told him immigrants are dangerous and don’t deserve to be here. You want to keep us safe? How about not deporting people who fought for this country. Who served with me, who risked their lives for you? Crazy idea, what if, when people came to this country, we were like “Oh, are you fleeing a horrible situation? Please, come on in, it’s all good! Love your food, love your music. Anyway, we’re gonna give you a little help. Oh, God, you’re doing amazing! You’ve actually made this place better!” Oh wait, that’s not a crazy idea. That was literally us when our family fled Cuba! How quickly we forget! America is great because we don’t just fight for ourselves. We fight for people we will never meet. Just like when our parents came here. Strangers organized their trips, arranged for them to be safe. Strangers. We can’t benefit from the kindness of strangers and then turn our backs on the ones who need us to stand up for them. Because that’s what kept us safe. And that’s what’s beautiful about this country.” 

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