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Young Lydia and Berto, meeting for the first time in 1958.

Berto Riera is a character on the Netflix Original Series One Day at a Time. He is portrayed by Tony Plana.

Bio

Berto was a loving, romantic, and passionate husband. He was old fashioned but cared for his wife and family. He was the late husband of Lydia, the late father of Penelope and Tito, and the late maternal grandfather of Elena and Alex.

He appears twice in "A Snowman's Tale," once in a flashback as a young man when he met Lydia and once as a "ghost." Lydia still talks to Berto regularly. He came to Lydia when she was in the hospital to take her to heaven, but she did not go with him because she felt she had to care for her family.

He appeared in a flashback in "What Happened," during 2001, after Elena's birth, and Penelope and Victor were planning on moving to the apartment.

He appeared in "Not Yet," when Lydia is in her coma, she appears outside her body and Berto enters he asked her if it's her time to go yet. She says not yet.

He appeared in "Ghosts" in apparitions with Penelope as she is at Victor's wedding. He also appears at her graduation to become a nurse practitioner.

In "Supermoon," it is revealed he had a love for gardening and his ashes are buried in the rooftop garden where he would spend hours, even late into the night when he was alive.

Lydia makes the decision that she and Berto's home is no longer in Cuba after going there and realizing it's not home anymore and she can't step back into a photograph, so to speak. Lydia tells the rest of the family that it was Doctor Berkowitz's idea to bury his ashes in the garden as a symbol for the life Berto and Lydia created in America and also for his love of gardening.

The family all go around saying a few words about him and take turns scooping his ashes from his urn into the garden.

Storyline

Season 1

In "A Snowman's Tale," Lydia has a talk with her dead husband Berto and tells him about how Penelope didn't go on the date. They both wonder what they are going to do with her. Penelope and Alex walk out and hear Lydia as she talks to herself. 

There is also a scene in this episode where young Berto and Lydia meet in a flashback from 1958.

Season 2

In "What Happened," in a flashback from 2001, Lydia and Berto are helping bring boxes up to Penelope and Victor's new apartment. Lydia is complaining about how her sister stole a mantle and Berto tells her that he'll buy her a new one. That right now they need to enjoy Penelope being a new mother. Penelope rolls in with the baby.

Berto and Victor return with more boxes when Penelope realizes that some of them have Lydia's name on them. Her parents then propose that they move in with her to help out with the baby. Victor asks what's wrong with that and Penelope said she wanted to be the first who didn't live with her parents. Finally, Victor convinces her to let them stay. Lydia promises to stay out of her hair. Penelope goes to pick up baby Elena and realizes that Lydia had gone ahead and pierced her ears.

Season 3

Season 4

In "Supermoon," Elena and Alex are on the roof thinking Penelope is saying yes to an actual proposal from Max. They congratulate Penelope and welcome Max to the family. They then join in a brief group hug. Elena then asks if she can be Penelope's person of honor and Penelope says she and Max are not getting married. Alex questions if it was the sweatpants. Penelope then explains she and Max love each other very much and they are deeply committed to each other but we're never getting married. She emphasizes the "never" and Max says they get it.

Elena then questions who did it if it wasn't Max and if it wasn't them then who did it because something romantic is going down. They hear footsteps and Penelope says someone's coming. Alex explains they should hide. Alex runs towards the awning but Elena stops him due to there being a giant spider in there.

They hide behind a big solar panel. Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz come out on to the roof. Lydia tells the doctor she has waited so long to do something, it is unclear what she is referring to. Penelope, Max, Alex, and Elena are seen under the solar panel looking very concerned. Doctor Berkowitz says he's glad too and asks Lydia if she's sure he's ready and she tells him she is.

Penelope then quietly asks if they should just jump off the roof. Lydia then asks the doctor to take the top of something and Penelope peaks out and sees Dr. Berkowitz struggling to open something. Thinking Doctor Berkowitz and Lydia were about to have sex on the roof Penelope yells for Lydia to keep her top on.

Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz scream. The others get up from under the solar panel. Lydia then questions what Penelope is doing and not scare an old man like Leslie like that!

Penelope sees Dr. B. holding a gold-colored urn and asks if those are her father's ashes. Doctor Berkowitz tells her he is struggling to open the top. Schneider and Avery join everyone else on the roof. Schneider says he heard voices and asks if they are starting. Lydia then says she was about to call them to come up on the roof. She then tells Schneider, the roof is perfect and thanks him for helping the doctor decorate. Schneider then says "there is nothing we Alvarezes won't do for each other."

Penelope then questions what is going on as she thought Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz scattered her father's ashes in Cuba. Lydia explains that was the plan. But after they got there, she couldn't do it. It was not the same Cuba that she remembers from her youth. Everything was still there, but it wasn't home anymore. Taking the hands of Elena and Penelope, she goes on to explain Berto wanted his final resting place to be at home and she realized that wherever they are is home.

Penelope then tells her that's beautiful. Lydia then explains that it was Dr. Berkowitz's idea to spread Berto's ashes in the rooftop garden. He then explains ever since he met Lydia, she always spoke so lovingly of Berto's perfect zucchini. At first, it made him uncomfortable. And then he realized she was talking about Berto's garden and thought this is the place he should be.

Penelope says Berto loved coming up here. He stayed for hours, planting flowers, growing vegetables. Even at night, she'd find him working up here and she knows in her heart that this is where her father would want her to be.

Lydia hands Alex the urn. He tells his grandfather he is always told by Lydia that he reminds her of Berto. Alex says he gets it and knows Berto was a good looking man. He then says he will try really hard to live up to who he was. He scoops some ashes and drops them into the garden.

The Alvarez family burying Berto's ashes

Elena takes the urn, looks up at the sky, and solemnly says she wishes her grandfather could see her now. She goes on to say she knows he was old-fashioned. But she knows he loved her and would have accepted her and it makes her miss him even more. She scoops some ashes and drops them into the garden and tells Berto she loves him.

The urn is passed to Penelope. Penelope, with tears in her eyes, says she misses her father everyday but she sees him in Alex's smile and Elena's spirit, and therefore he is always with them and takes her turn scooping some ashes in the garden.

Lydia takes the urn and sits at the edge of the garden and says there is nothing she wouldn't do for Berto as she takes her turn scooping ashes in the garden. She tells Berto he can rest now, he is home, and she'll see him tonight.

The episode ends with Elena, Alex, Penelope, and Lydia embracing each other. Schneider approaches and starts to say his own words for Berto but Penelope tells him they are done, as she puts her hand on his shoulder.

Trivia

  • In "Checking Boxes,": it is revealed that he died in 2010.
  • In "Supermoon," the story of what happened when Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz went to Cuba is revealed. Lydia didn't end up spreading Berto's ashes in Cuba because it wasn't home anymore to either of them and Cuba was not the same as she remembered it from her youth. Berto's ashes are finally spread on the rooftop garden as a symbol for the life he and Lydia created in America and his love of gardening.
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