Toxic Masculinity and consent are taken on, and while the episode is too short to address the problem fully, it hits the topics as hard as they can to make it count.
Mike Royce, Gloria Calderon Kellett
Introduced This Episode
Finsta: Alex, Scott, Penelope, Elena
With Alex and Chloe officially together, Penelope is happy her kids have found relationships. However, with Elena revealing that Alex has a private Instagram, she feels left out and questions his need for privacy. But what really gets to her is not only that Scott has access to Alex’s private Instagram but what Alex is posting. A lot of which offends her, especially seeing him grope Chloe and not being sure if it was a wanted touch or not.
Toxic Masculinity & Consent: Lydia, Alex, Elena, Penelope, Syd
Penelope is pissed, Elena disappointed in her brother and Lydia? Well, she doesn’t see the big deal. Being that she is used to machismo men and catcalling, she finds everyone else to be overreacting. This is especially true when Elena and Syd show an ideal form of consent, and Syd reveals their first kiss did not have it. But that note doesn’t stop Elena from criticizing Alex’s actions and talking about a situation that happened to her to change his mind.
It Could Happen To You: Lydia, Alex, Elena, Penelope, Syd
To really drive home how terrible and unbecoming toxic masculinity is, both Elena and Penelope present a story of what happened to them in the past. Elena, while coming home from a date with Syd, found herself harassed just because she and Syd were holding hands. Now, the men weren’t physical, but they followed them all the way home, pushing to see Elena and Syd kiss.
As for Penelope? Her situation was, while in the army, her first Sargent, a man who was her mentor, and like a work dad, putting her hand on his crotch. Which led her to scream and kick him in the balls – but that’s it. This is noted because, for Elena, she kept her head down and didn’t say anything. Penelope may have fought, but also didn’t say anything. Leading to the why for both: It would have made a bad situation worse.
For Elena and Syd, if she went off on the boys like she did Alex, she could have turned a bad situation into a possibly violent one. Then for Penelope, while she had the right to speak up, and could of, then she would have to deal with the consequences as much, if not more, than her former Sergent. For one, she would end up being defined by that report, possibly forced to transfer, and ultimately be left with a damned if she did and damned if she didn’t situation.
So, Elena Is Still Second Fiddle?
Since season 1, when we got what seems to be the pattern of “You’re my mature daughter, so I don’t have to dote and worry about you” Elena hasn’t gotten Penelope’s attention much. It seems things haven’t changed for when Elena offers her Finsta, Penelope is dismissive of what’s on there. Mind you, Syd notes how hot it is, could very well be something risqué maybe, but Penelope seems to lack any noteworthy investment in Elena’s life unless it is something big. That is, anything on the level of coming out to what she reveals this episode.
Despite A Time Length Which Rushes Everything, The Major Points Get Hit
There will always be an issue for shows like One Day At A Time for spending 15 or so minutes, after setting up a situation for 5 to 10, makes it feel like it is rushing a big issue. How can you fit a discussion about consent and toxic masculinity in such a short span? While still presenting enough story to build off of for the next episode? Not to forget, One Day At A Time is a generational show, so you have to also factor they are showing how attitudes changed.
It usually begins with Elena, presenting an end tail Millennial, early on Gen Z social activist point of view. This is followed by Penelope, who is middle of the road, and Lydia who often doesn’t see the big deal. Such as her talking about a family member being kidnapped and eventually falling in love with said kidnapper. Making things feel a bit all over the place at times, but one thing One Day At A Time does well is make the most of the time it has. Ultimately getting the point across, even if sometimes in a mad dash to do so.