All One Day at a Time‘s Penelope wanted was a little “alone time” to catch up on Outlander — but her “ménage à moi” was disrupted when Alex made the mistake of opening her bedroom door without knocking.
Yep, that’s right! During Tuesday’s episode, the teenager walked in on his mom while she was masturbating. (“I haven’t seen terror in a man’s eyes like that since Afghanistan,” Penelope revealed to her PTSD support group.)
“Turns out masturbation’s funny!” executive producer Gloria Calderón Kellett tells TVLine. “That whole week was one of the funniest weeks in the [writers] room. We had a lot of fun talking about that, and that opening scene is a scene I [originally] pitched to [co-showrunner] Mike Royce three years ago. We just needed to find the story to support doing it.”
The story that ultimately came together was one about boundaries — or rather, a complete and total lack of boundaries among the Alvarezes. Case in point: an awkward chat between Penelope and Alex about a “completely normal expression of human sexuality” was disrupted by Penelope’s traditional Catholic mother Lydia. She entered the living room and declared that masturbation was “a dirty, sinful habit for sad, ugly people.” Then, after granddaughter Elena listed off the health benefits associated with self-gratification, the family matriarch stated that “sex is between people who are married… It is Adam and Eve, not ‘Buzzzzzzz’ and Eve!”
“It was perfect that it took this long to find the story because all the characters are at an age where it was much easier to have that conversation with this family,” Kellett says. Adds Royce, “I think the episodes that Gloria and I love the most are the ones where every character has a point of view that is extremely well defined — and extremely opposite to somebody else’s point of view.”
After Lydia discovered that it was Penelope and not her little papito who was caught in the act, she took it upon herself to find her daughter a man. She joined Tinder on Penelope’s behalf, and even embarked on a date to suss out a potential suitor named Danny (played by Criminal Minds grad Adam Rodriguez). While Danny seemed like the perfect guy, Lydia eventually stumbled upon an even better (and familiar) match: Penelope’s ex-boyfriend Max (played again by Ed Quinn). After running into him at the grocery store, Lydia invited the hunky EMT — who has recently returned from a stint with Doctors Without Borders — over to rekindle his relationship with Penelope.
As for whether Max’s previously stated desire to have children will impede on this “new” relationship? Kellett assures that Max has “filled that need with helping children abroad, and he’s really found his purpose doing that.” As such, “his feelings have changed.”
What did you think of ODAAT Season 4, Episode 3: “Boundaries”? Grade it via the following poll, then hit the comments with your reactions.