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Sylena (sometimes referred to as Sydlena) is the relationship pairing between Elena Alvarez and Syd on One Day at a Time. Elena met Syd in the episode To Zir, With Love in Season 2. They are notable as the first gay romance on One Day at a Time, and Elena's first romance. Elena and Syd, are portrayed, by Isabella Gomez and Sheridan Pierce, respectively.

Syd + Elena = Sylena

Syd + Elena = Sydlena

Background

Elena first meets about Syd in To Zir, With Love when she began her group, the Feminist Gamers of Echo Park.

Elena had a crush on Dani, and tried to ask her out, but learned Dani had a girlfriend. Syd approached Elena and asked her if she wanted to split a cookie with them, signifying that they like her.

Later, Elena asks her mom if she can go get ice cream with them, and her mom says yes.

Moments

Season 2

To Zir, With Love

  • After Elena learns that her crush, Dani, has a girlfriend, Syd asks Elena if she wants to split the cookie Elena was holding. Elena is confused at first, so Syd thinks Elena is straight until Elena says "No, wait, me gay!" and Syd replies "Me gay too!" They then share the cookie.
  • Elena asks her mother, not to get mad that she's been talking to Syd, because she knows she isn't supposed to be dating; but asks if she can go get ice cream with them. Penelope says yes.

Locked Down

  • Elena and Syd dress up in costumes, related to Doctor Who. Elena dressed up as the 4th Doctor, while Syd is the TARDIS because they were planning to go on a date to Comic-Con.
  • Elena planned their whole date so that they don't have to talk to each other because she is really nervous about Syd being her first date.
  • When the apartment is put under lockdown, Elena is upset because she has to talk with Syd, but she is too nervous.
  • Elena acts awkward around Syd when she is alone in her room with them and Alex.
  • Elena tells Syd, that Alex peed his pants once, so Syd doesn't think Alex is cooler than her.
  • At dinner, Elena is happy to join the others, because it is a group activity and she doesn't have to be alone with Syd.
  • Elena and Syd sit on the couch together, to eat their dinner.
  • When Elena gets up to tell Lydia that she is being reductive, Syd watches her and smiles.
  • When Elena finishes her rant, Syd tells Elena that she looks cute on her "high horse."
  • Elena acts nervously to Syd's compliment, which makes Syd leave to Elena's room, frustrated. Elena then follows them.
  • Elena meets Syd on the balcony of her bedroom.
  • Syd tells Elena that the message was received that Elena wasn't into them.
  • Elena tells Syd that she actually likes them a lot.
  • Syd says Elena has a weird way of showing it, then Elena kisses them.
  • After kissing them, Elena apologizes, then Syd makes out with her. The helicopter tells the "two kissing teenagers" to get back inside.
  • Syd and Elena say they will protect each other.

Exclusive

  • Elena is texting Syd at the dinner table, she smiles and laughs, as she texted them.
  • Elena says, that she and Syd would never stalk each other on social media.
  • Elena and Syd tell Alex that they've been Instagram stalking him to find out who his secret girlfriend is.
  • Syd says they like Selena Gomez, who is similar to Elena meaning that Elena is their type.
  • When Alex tells them about "Paige," Elena and Syd both say they like Alex's secret girlfriend.
  • As Elena follows Alex to the pizza place, she is on the phone with Syd.

Homecoming

  • Syd sings a song parody, of We Didn't Start the Fire, to ask Elena to homecoming.
  • Elena says yes to going to the dance with them.
  • Elena lies to Syd and tells them that she is really popular at school. She spends the rest of the day, trying to prevent Syd, from talking to other people to find out the truth that she is not popular.
  • Elena dances with Syd away from everybody else.
  • Syd says that Elena must be embarrassed by them since she hasn't introduced them to any of her friends.
  • Elena introduces Syd to her teacher, then they all dance together.

Citizen Lydia

Syd does not appear in this episode, but they are mentioned.

  • Elena gets a text from Syd, with random emojis, that she doesn't understand the meaning of. Alex helps her out by telling her what to send back.

Season 3

Outside

  • In the beginning, Syd and Elena are sitting on the couch, playing video games.
  • Elena and Syd try to find out what relationship name they want to call them because Syd didn't want to be called Elena's girlfriend since they are non-binary.
    • Syd suggests "my everything" but Penelope doesn't like it.
    • Penelope suggests "better half" but Elena doesn't want to call Syd half of a person, so Elena suggests "better whole." Penelope shuts that idea down fast.
    • Schneider suggests ""Main Squeeze," "Person Friend," "Gay of Sunshine," "Partners," "Lovers," and "Longtime Companions," but Elena and Syd do not like any of them.
  • Elena gets frustrated when Syd accidentally suggests that Alex had a Finsta.
  • Elena knows Syd's favorite Harry Potter book is Chamber of Secrets.
  • Syd says Elena's cosplay as Wynonna Earp is "Wayhaught" in reference to the ship name between the characters Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught from the series Wynonna Earp.
  • Schnieder suggests Elena and Syd more names later, her "Queer Dear," "Non Bino-saur," and "Mighty Morphin Power Gay-nger." Elena and Syd dislike all of these names. Syd dislikes it because it's "too 90s"
  • Elena and Syd get angry about Alex's Finsta posts being disrespectful to women.
  • Elena and Syd explain to Schneider that consent has to be more than a yes, but an enthusiastic yes.
  • Elena tells Alex, about how a scary public experience, where she and Syd were being harassed by men who wanted to see them kiss.
  • After Penelope suggests Elena should become a lawyer, Syd says Elena would rock a pantsuit in a courtroom.
  • At the end of the episode, Elena and Syd announce that they found the perfect relationship name, "Significant Other." Schneider suggests "Syd-nificant Other," and Elena and Syd loved it.
  • Syd and Elena go outside on a date at the very end of the episode.

Nip It in the Bud

  • Elena asks Doctor Berkowitz if she could use his extra opera tickets, so she could take Syd to the opera.
  • At the opera, Syd and Elena make opera puns with each other.
  • Syd talks with Elena, about how the opera is gender-nonconforming.
  • Syd and Elena notice Lydia acting crazy, after she accidentally took a pot lozenge, thinking it was a cough lozenge.
  • Syd and Elena take Lydia home after they were all banned from the opera.

Dressed for the Valentine's Day Fun Run

One Valentine's Day at a Time

  • Elena makes Syd dress up with her, with hearts on their heads, and do the Valentine's Day Fun Run for heart disease.
  • Syd hints that they want to go to Benihana, but Elena didn't understand it.
  • When it started raining, Elena and Syd come home all wet, and the paint from their papier-mâché hearts ran over their faces and clothes.
  • Elena mocks a magazine that says "32 Questions to Make You Fall Head Over Heels." But Syd takes the magazine because they want to know what they are.
  • Elena and Syd get into a fight because Elena only wants to do things she wants and didn't take into consideration what Syd might have wanted.
    • This is their first fight.
  • Elena and Syd reconcile in Elena's bedroom. Elena says she will consider the things that Syd wants to do.
  • Elena gives them a Valentine's Day card that she thought was corny. It was a group of zeros and ones except for the heart which is made out of all the other numbers, making it a "non-binary heart." Syd loves it, saying it was the nicest thing anyone gave them as a gift.
  • Syd tells Elena for the first time "I love you."
  • Elena says, she will promise to take them to Benihana.

The First Time

  • Elena confesses to Penelope that the unknown charge on her credit card was because Syd and Elena got a hotel room together.
  • Elena confesses that she had sex with Syd, in the hotel room the previous day.
  • In the flashback to the previous day, we see Elena and Syd making out in Elena's room. Penelope barges in and they stop. Elena promises to keep the door opened.
  • Elena asks Syd if they can go to their house, but Syd tells her that they're homeschooled and their parents are holding football tryouts for their brother.
  • Syd says they want to do more than fumble with Elena's bra whenever her mom isn't checking on them.
  • Syd and Elena go to get a hotel room at the Fountain Hotel.
  • In the hotel room, Elena asks for Syd's consent to engage in sexual activity with her. They give her their consent. Syd asks for Elena's consent and she gives them her consent.
  • Elena jokes and asks Syd when was the last time they got tested. Syd replies it was last year when they were with their ex-girlfriend, Selene. Here, Syd was showing that they are honest with Elena.
  • Elena didn't know that Syd had sex before.
  • Syd says they weren't in love with Selene, but they are in love with Elena now.
  • Elena freaks out, but Syd says they don't have to have sex if she isn't ready. Elena calms down and they start making out. They presumably have sex offscreen, and the flashback ends.

A Penny and a Nicole

Syd does not appear in this episode, but they are mentioned.

  • While meeting her father's girlfriend Nicole, Elena tells Nicole that her significant other Syd uses "they/them/theirs" pronouns.

Drinking and Driving

Syd does not appear in this episode, but they are mentioned.

  • During a panic attack, Elena freaks out that if she doesn't get her license, Syd will leave her for a "soft butch with a Subaru."

Season 4

Checking Boxes

Elena and Syd decide not to break up before college in "Checking Boxes."

  • Elena introduces Brian to Syd and mentions they are non-binary.
  • They mention that they plan to break up the day they leave for college, so they aren't "those people" who think their first relationship will be their last.
  • Elena is planning to go to Yale while Syd is going to one of Elena's backup schools.
  • Alex is surprised that Elena and Syd are planning on breaking up the day they go to college because they rarely spend the day apart.
  • They admit they hadn't talked it through.
  • Alex thinks Syd would file a missing-persons report if Elena went to the bathroom without them. Syd tells Alex that they wouldn't because it takes twenty-four hours to file one.
  • They try to spend two days apart.
  • After one day, Elena is terrified Syd will break up with her. She starts spiraling into a panic attack and states she may go into a rebound relationship with the hot barista that lives downstairs. Then she proceeds to freak out, saying, "Oh my god, what if Syd's dating the barista?!"
  • Syd comes over after Lydia calls her, pretending to be Elena. Syd didn't buy Lydia's attempts at pretending to sound like Elena, however, they wanted a reason to come over.
  • Syd said the moment they left, they felt an ache in the bowels of their bowels.
  • Syd and Elena argue whether the Borg are gay or non-binary.
  • They kiss on the couch.
  • They decide to be "those people" and not break up when they leave for college.

Elena as Greta Thunberg and Syd as a melting iceberg in "One Halloween at a Time."

One Halloween at a Time

  • Elena and Syd both wear complementary costumes. Elena is dressed as climate change activist Greta Thunberg and Syd is a melting iceberg.
  • Elena says Syd was a melting iceberg because she thought they were hot.
  • They plan on going door to door and informing people about climate change and asking them to sign a petition instead of trick-or-treating.
  • When they go door-to-door, people mistakingly think they're trick-or-treating or misinterpret what their costumes are supposed to be, like Anna and Olaf from Frozen, Dorothy and the tornado, and the Swiss Miss girl and mashed potatoes.
  • They decide to have fun trick-or-treating. When they get home, they dump the candy on the table saying it will give them the energy to try their crusade again the next day.
  • Syd was almost convinced the pregnancy test was Elena's because they thought she was a saint.
  • Syd calls themself a ti-x of Schneider and Avery's new baby, assuming they see themself as a long-term partner of Elena or a close member of the Alvarez family.

Perfect

Syd does not appear in this episode, but they are mentioned.

  • On Elena's board of college essay topics, there is a card topic about Syd.
    • "My Syd-nificant Other - I met Syd through a non-binary gaming community. They offered me a cookie. It was perfect. It has been love ever since. They have been able to teach me so much about love and life."

      Syd and Elena on the rooftop in "Supermoon"

Supermoon

  • The couple expresses their happiness about staying together through college.
  • They simultaneously say the name of the scientific name of the supermoon is perigee-syzygy and Elena tells Syd she loves it when they talk nerdy to her before they kiss.
  • They talk about watching Batwoman.
  • They tell each other their crushes.
  • Things get awkward when Elena says she has a crush on Tanya the barista when Syd was only talking about celebrity crushes.
  • They hide under the awning when they hear Alex and Nora coming onto the roof.
  • As they are leaving, Elena says they were never there and Syd tells them to enjoy the perigee-syzygy.

Similarities

  • Syd and Elena are both a part of the LGBTQ+ community, both identifying as gay.
  • They are both older teenagers.
  • They are both feminists.
  • They are both into gaming, nerdy, and geek culture.
    • They're both into Doctor Who, Wynonna Earp, and Batwoman.
  • They are both passionate about saving the environment.
  • They both have brothers. Although it seems that Syd's brother is older than them.
  • They have long brown hair.
  • They both have androgynous, casual fashion choices.

Differences

  • Elena is a cisgender woman, while Syd is non-binary.
  • Elena uses she/her pronouns, while Syd uses they/them pronouns.
  • Syd has bangs where Elena does not.
  • Elena is slightly more passionate about social justice than Syd, to the point where Elena would rather do protests with Syd than dates until Syd begged her to things they wanted to do as well such as a dinner date at Benihana.
  • Elena attends St. Bibiana Catholic School, while Syd is home-schooled.
  • Elena is Latinx and Cuban, while Syd's ethnicity is unconfirmed.
    • Their actor, Sheridan Pierce is half-Mexican.[1]
  • Elena speaks some Spanish, while Syd has not been confirmed to know Spanish.
  • Syd had a relationship with someone named Selene, while Elena never had a significant other before Syd.
  • Elena is a main character, while Syd is a recurring character.
  • Elena's last name is known, but Syd's is not.
  • Elena wears glasses, while Syd does not.
  • Elena plans to get into Yale, while Syd plans to get into one of Elena's safety schools.

Timeline

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

  • Syd and Elena tried to be apart for a trial period in Checking Boxes as they were planning on breaking up before college. Later, the couple decided not to break up before college after all as they realize they were not as mature as they thought and would miss each other too much.

Sylena Song (You Set My Heart On Fire)

Syd's "big ask"

In the episode, "Homecoming," Syd asks Elena to the homecoming dance with a song parody of "We Didn't Start The Fire." The irony in this is that Elena previously was talking about how she hates school dances and that "big asks" were obnoxious in her opinion. Alex notes that two seconds ago, she said they were obnoxious, but she tells him to shut up and says "yes" to Syd.

Lyrics:

Harriet Tubman, Mass Effect, Frida Kahlo, full respect!
Queer theory, gender theory, Notorious RBG!
Women's march, science march, labor march, tax march, equal rights, bathroom rights, diversity on TV!
(Lydia: Do we have to watch the rest of this? That is a big ask.)
Slam poet, Supergirl, you're the cutest in the world!
Bell Hooks, Pokémon, cookie! Om nom nom nom nom!
L-Word, Will and Grace, RuPaul's Drag Race!
Shantay, you stay, what else do I have to say?
You set my heart on fire.
On that day when I didn't know if you were gay!
You set my heart on fire.
So please say yes! You don't even have to wear a dress!
Will you go to the dance with me?

Trivia

  • Syd and Elena are the first LGBTQ+ couple on One Day at a Time.
  • Syd and Elena are the longest-running couple on One Day at a Time.
  • Syd and Elena both tend to say odd words when in awkward or uncomfortable situations. While asked if she was fine, Elena said, "Sure-bly burbly" to her brother Alex. And Syd told Alex that they were, "Supe-dy dup-dy mature."
  • By the time they begin working on Season 4, writer Gloria Calderón Kellett wanted to write some serious dating and graduation stories for Elena and Alex, meaning that Syd has returned in Season 4 and will likely have some large storylines with Elena.[2]

Notes and references

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