Photo: Ali Goldstein/Netflix/Ali Goldstein/Netflix
I understood it would be hard for A single Day at a Time to surpass season two’s exceptional examination of Penelope’s mental health and fitness, so although I’m not well prepared to simply call “Anxiety” remarkable to previous year’s “Hello, Penelope,” it is certainly a commensurate sequel.
This episode locations the motion squarely in Penelope’s veterans’ support team, which will under no circumstances seem on the show adequate, IMO. Needless to say, Penelope is not executing properly, as illustrated by the sequence of anxiety assaults she’s been dealing with of late. (I know it’s not likely Penelope would be permitted to dominate the dialogue in a real-daily life setting, but considering that this is a Television set show, I’m inclined to accept this kind of artistic license.)
To differentiate between Penelope’s anxiety assault and truth, the colour is drained out of the scene, and her manifestations surface to the audience in black and white. It’s a sensible transfer on the show’s component: Since we’re shifting back again and forth between the team-remedy scene and Penelope’s episodes, analyzing what is genuine and what isn’t can get bewildering.
Whilst Penelope expresses to Pam and the relaxation of the team her bewilderment more than why she’s been experiencing these attacks, as soon as she rattles off all of the aspects weighing her down, she acknowledges that she’s surrounded by triggers: Her nurse practitioner board tests are approaching, and she has a “sexually lively teenage daughter, a fragile, aged mom, and a son undertaking prescription drugs.”
“Oh, honey, you are a mess,” her pal Jill (Haneefah Wooden) great-naturedly observes. Factor is, she’s not wrong: Penelope admits to Pam that her anxiety assaults are “coming on stronger and speedier,” however like so lots of of us with depression and anxiety, she insists that she’s obtained every little thing below command.
As Penelope talks, it finally arrives tumbling out that her partnership with Mateo is also a set off. (Sorry to get egocentric listed here, simply because I detest looking at Penelope underneath extra pressure, but pay out focus to individuals warning signs, woman.) During an night in, snuggling by the Tv set, Mateo innocently muses, “I could just remain like this for good.” Right away, Penelope is visualizing her boyfriend asserting that they now have a joint account (a.k.a. a “handcuff account”), he’s moved into Casa Alvarez, and the worst aspect of all: They have “competent but unspectacular” sex.
Once more, I believe Jill sums up my feelings on this circumstance most effective: “Not all boyfriends work for all men and women.”
But the greatest signal that Mateo and Penelope are incompatible is when she discloses to the group that she does not rely on her boyfriend for assistance when she has her anxiety attacks. That’s Schneider’s task. And, golly, we could all use a Schneider.
It turns out that acquiring a “privileged, hipster, clueless male-baby” for a friend — with very little better to do all day than mime together to lute tunes — has its perks. Just as he exhibited in “Hello, Penelope,” Schneider proceeds to be his friend’s most effective mental-overall health resource outside the house of qualified remedy. When she suffers an anxiety attack immediately after accomplishing improperly on a practice exam, Penelope texts Schneider a stream of escalating insecurities that would not be out of put in my possess message archive (just switch “I’ll never be a nurse practitioner” with “I’ll never ever be a excellent mother/fantastic writer/good person” and “grey eyelash” with “grey hairs”).
Schneider deftly implements his specialized Penelope Treatment Program: First, by using text, he presents an onslaught of canine in wigs pictures and a mascara rec for the eyelash (due to the fact he would). This is straight away followed by an IRL pay a visit to armed with soaked wipes (for Penelope’s unavoidable sweats), comforting phrases, and a hug.
It is scenes like these that make me so grateful for ODAAT’s existence, since for these of us with depression and anxiety, our cure does not quit with treatment and/or therapy. We would all benefit from a Schneider-amount sort of assist from our liked kinds as well.
Being aware of that Penelope has Schneider in her corner during these episodes is evidence positive of how far she’s appear above the past few of years. On the other hand, the stigma of mental disease is nonetheless a nasty symptom she has yet to completely obstacle. In the very first two seasons, Penelope struggled to appear to conditions with her depression and anxiety, a condition exacerbated by her mother’s slim-minded angle towards psychological overall health (Lydia would dismiss her daughter’s help group as her “cuckoo party”).
Although Lydia took excellent strides towards acceptance of her daughter’s depression and anxiety in previous season’s “Hello, Penelope,” there remains an undercurrent of humiliation within the Alvarez relatives. Penelope informs the team that Lydia carries on to explain her being on antidepressants as “the wonderful relatives shame,” which has unwittingly caused a trickle-down outcome.
Penelope has adamantly been retaining her mental-well being concerns a mystery from Elena and Alex, a revelation that elicits a collective “Wuh?” from the team. Her greatest concern is that her little ones will find out that they’re not being elevated by a “stable man or woman,” a attitude that Pam instantaneously shoots down. Penelope’s counselor warns her that depression and anxiety can be hereditary, so the worst detail she can do for her children is pretend that her mental sickness doesn’t exist. This prospects to a minor freak-out about how her occupation as a mom is not to deliver extra anxiety into her kids’ lives (Justina Machado’s exasperated line looking at of how Penelope has a “very calming electrical power, and I make absolutely everyone around me extremely happy, okay?” is, just, *chef’s kiss*).
Given that existence simply cannot often acquire area in the safe area of team remedy, “Anxiety” delivers the narrative back to the Alvarez apartment for the closing act. Below, Penelope is compelled to confront her deep-seated disgrace and kick it to the control at the time and for all. When Elena undergoes a terrifying anxiety assault of her have more than her ambition to attend Yale, comprehensive with color-draining influence, a visualization of a hostile Penelope and an Ivy League a cappella team singing a barrage of insults, her mom leaps into therapeutic manner.
With her daughter now maybe heading down the identical path of mental illness (Elena admits this was not the very first time she had an episode like this), Penelope opens up to both equally her youngsters about her depression and anxiety: “It’s in our spouse and children, and it’s very little to be ashamed of. Even while I’m ashamed of it.”
But like so substantially of the hazardous mindsets permeating her household that she’s worked so challenging to overcome, Penelope is now determined that the stigma encompassing psychological disease stops with her. The first move? Becoming straightforward with her youngsters. The second phase? A meditation session with Elena and Lydia. (Eh, technically Lydia is just retaining her daughter and granddaughter organization through her rosary prayers thinking of her “Amen” seems a whole lot like “Om,” she fits ideal in.)
What Penelope doesn’t comprehend, for the reason that she’s in the thick of this nonstop task we get in touch with parenting, is that her tireless initiatives to increase Elena and Alex as decent, non-judgmental human beings is precisely why they took her information so properly.
Which is on you, Penelope. Which is all you. Perfectly completed.
• Yeah, Schneider pronounces “Hola” with an “H,” but he does so in this kind of an endearing fashion that I say he must get a move.