One Day at a Time Wiki

"Boundaries"[1] is the third episode of Season 4 of One Day at a Time. The episode aired on Pop TV on April 7, 2020.


Alex catches his mother in a compromising position, motivating Penelope to talk to him about healthy human sexuality while defending herself against Lydia's old-school judgments.


Penelope is in her therapy group, telling them about how Alex walked in on her masturbating and that he was traumatized. She explains Alex had gone out with Lydia and Elena but had forgotten his phone at home, which is how he caught her. She asks them how she should approach talking to him about it, but they all suggest that she doesn't. However, Penelope insists on doing so because she wants him to know that masturbation is perfectly normal and healthy.

When Penelope comes home, she finds Alex at the table doing his homework and tries talking to him about what happened, but Alex really does not want to, draping the same knitted orange Afghan over his head that he did in Season 1 during the episode "Sex Talk."

Lydia overhears them and fights with Penelope over whether masturbation is okay or not. Lydia thinks masturbation is horrible, sinful, and dirty while Penelope thinks it's a perfectly fine expression of human sexuality. Elena enthusiastically chimes in with her two cents about the health benefits of masturbation. Alex says that this is not a normal conversation a family should be having and that families need boundaries. Penelope counters this insisting that there is no such thing as privacy from your mother.

Later, Lydia is in a restaurant on a "date" with an engineer named Danny, however, she catfished him using Penelope's pictures. She interviews him to see if he is a good suitor for her. He says he actually thinks it's sweet and that he is close and talks with his mother every day. Lydia says he is her top contender.

When she comes home, Elena tries to talk to Lydia about the female orgasm and tries to give her a book about self-pleasure, but Lydia throws it in the trash. Penelope enters and Lydia tells her that she set up a Tinder profile for her. Schneider comes in and says he helped her. Penelope then gets angry about how her mom invaded her privacy and meddled in her love life. She decides that maybe Alex is right and that the family may need some new boundaries. Lydia and Penelope have a big fight while Schneider watches and Alex leaves.

The next morning, Penelope sees the kids eating and Lydia is standing in front of her room. Penelope tries asking how Lydia slept, but Lydia refuses, saying that Penelope said she wanted privacy. Then Dr. Berkowitz opens the curtains to her bedroom in a bathrobe, poorly acting, saying that they caught him leaving in his "post-coital glow." Lydia says she knows they have a lot of questions, but she will not answer them because Penelope wanted boundaries. However, Penelope knows that they are acting, and says it was "the world's worst breakfast theater" and then she leaves for work.

After work, Penelope goes to Schneider's apartment to talk about how crazy Lydia is being. Schneider points out Penelope's hypocrisy because she wants boundaries between her and her mom, but none between her and her son. Penelope realizes they were both doing the same thing and goes back to her apartment.

She walks in on Lydia, pretending to talk on the phone to Leslie, saying that she is "late." But Penelope notices that the "phone" is actually the remote to the TV. Penelope apologizes to Lydia, saying that understands that she meddles in her life it's because she loves her. Lydia said she would do anything for her happiness. Penelope decides they are back to no boundaries except she is putting locks on the doors. Lydia says she met the most perfect man at the grocery store but was told by her daughter not to interfere in her love life, so she said nothing. A knock at the door is heard and Lydia then asks “or did I?”

Penelope is angry at first, saying she knew her mom would never respect her because of boundaries. When she opens the door, she is shocked to see Max is there, saying he is back from Indonesia. Max comes in and tells Penelope she ran into her mother at the grocery store and Lydia overshared about a lot of things. They both admit they missed each other. They start kissing and Schneider walks in and is also happy to see Max is back and tries to high-five Penelope, who swats his hand away and grunts trying to indicate she wants to be left alone to continue kissing Max. However, Schnider misunderstands and thinks she is sharing his enthusiasm for Max's return.





Boundaries Transcript


  • There is a goof when Alex is first talking to Penelope where he is first seen wearing his uniform hoodie and then he is not wearing it a few seconds later.
  • This episode discusses the topic of boundaries in families.
  • This episode also explores the topic of masturbation from the viewpoint of three different generations of women: Lydia being more conservative and believing it to be "sinful and dirty," Penelope being of a modern mindset that it is normal and healthy, and Elena trying to turn it into a cause and educate everyone else on the health benefits.

Notes and references

Episode Guide