One Day At A Time’s Season 2 premiered January 26 on Netflix and everyone has been talking about it.
The show, as usual, focuses on a lot of important topics, mixed with its typical comedy and drama. As expected, the whole season is a gem, and I could go on and on about how great it is but, today, I want to highlight one topic only.
On Season 1 we get to see Penelope breaking the Cuban stereotypes about mental illness. Throughout the season, we see Lydia bashing Penelope saying that “therapy is for the locos” and mentioning that even her cousin Consuelo who wears her underpants on the outside didn’t go to therapy. Due to this and to Lydia also not approving that Penelope takes anti-depressants (which she refers to as “las drogas”) and trying to talk her out of taking them, Penelope hides the fact that she goes to therapy, for the first session, telling her family she’s going on a date instead.
However, in the second season, we see the way that Lydia feels about therapy change to a whole new level. By episode 9, things for Penelope might be the best they’ve been for a while. She’s in a healthy relationship, both of her kids are happy, her mom isn’t getting on her nerves and, quite honestly, it was about time. That being said, Penelope believes it’s finally time to stop taking her meds and quit therapy. This, of course, makes Lydia glad, and physically, Penelope looks just fine. Though the truth is, she isn’t.
Like every other medication, Penelope’s anti-depressants are needed to prevent the worst-case scenario. Of course, it isn’t going to stop Penelope from getting anxious or depressed but it makes it bearable. Nonetheless, as some people who are on anti-depressants, Penelope thought that when things are good, you’re allowed to stop.
Of course, she proves herself wrong. After stopping taking her medicine, Penelope feels unmotivated, unhappy and overall depressed. In the beginning of the episode, when Penelope attends to therapy, one of the women counsels her to record her outing feelings, and so, when Penelope’s feeling depressed she does. After recording it, she goes to Schneider’s place and asks him to listen to it with her.
To comfort his friend, Schneider tries putting the situation in perspective. As Penelope expresses her frustration over taking anti-depressants forever, Schneider remembers the time he attempted to have just “one beer,” which turned to two and so on. The situation led him to wake up “three days later in an alley.”
This can be compared to the presentation at Alex and Elena’s school going weird, which led to Penelope not wanting to get out of bed, eating and eventually having suicidal thoughts.
Now, while in the beginning of the episode, we see Lydia’s content about Penelope leaving therapy and antidepressants, we get to see her development throughout the episode. We get to see Lydia being as supportive to Penelope with her depression, as she was when Elena came out to her and, for me, that really is something special and important.
As someone who has struggled with depression for many years now, I can say the representation was the most accurate I’ve ever seen in the media. In this episode, we get to really see most of the aspects being portrayed and people like me really get to feel understood and less alone, and I hope it’ll do the same for everyone else too. As usual, the writers did an incredible job and Justina Machado was amazing.