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"No one gets buried with a mantilla! We're Cubans! Not ancient Egyptians!"
—Mirtha, The Funeral

Mirtha is a minor character on the Netflix Original Series One Day at a Time. She is portrayed by Gloria Estefan.

Personality

Mirtha is just as dramatic and stubborn as her sister, Lydia, and often fights or competes with her to try to seem better than her. She loves to dance and sing and is concerned with her appearance, especially her hair. She thinks very highly over herself and is very religious, saying that she talked to God and said that he was creating her hair on the last day of creation instead of resting.

Physical Appearance

Mirtha has long, curly, brown hair. She wears heavy makeup and earrings, and dresses.

Bio

Mirtha was first mentioned in "What Happened," in Season 2 when in 2001, Lydia thinks Mirtha stole her mantilla and that she will never forget it, (ironically enough, in the present, she cannot remember why they were fighting). In the present, when Alex finds a mantilla and asks Lydia what it was, she realizes she had it the whole time and tries to hide it.

In the first episode of Season 3, "The Funeral," the family gets news of Tia Ophelia's death. Lydia is not looking forward to seeing Mirtha at the funeral because they were fighting over who had the mantilla. Lydia stuffs the mantilla in Ophelia's coffin when nobody is looking, so she can frame Ophelia.

However, Mirtha knows Lydia stuffed it in there because Cubans do not get buried with a mantilla. They notice there are no names, so the piece of lace was not actually the mantilla. They learn that Pilar had the real mantilla the whole time because she got her and her wife Susan's name stitched on it. Afterward Lydia and Mirtha finally truly reconcile and end their fight.

In "She Drives Me Crazy," Lydia doesn't want to write down her recipes in case that Mirtha tries to steal them. She put them in the Bible because she thinks Mirtha cannot burn them without burning her hands.

Background

Season 3

In "The Funeral," Elena and Alex are sitting solemnly with Lydia on the couch. Penelope comes in with pizza, celebrating the fact that she bought one and got two free. Penelope then questions if they hate pizza now or was it the song. She asks them to please say pizza because she felt that jam really worked. The three of them don't respond. Lydia then says that Tía Ophelia is dead.

Penelope says that that is terrible and asks who she is again. Elena comes over and says that they can't remember either. Elena then asks if she's the tía who always wears yellow. Penelope says no, that's Tía Big Bird. Alex then asks if she's the one who always finds new ways to insult you. Penelope makes a face and rolls her eyes saying that's Tía Bitchy. Penelope then asks if none of them can remember who she is.

Schneider comes in and is upset over Ophelia's death and calls it a tragedy. He says that they danced all night at Elena's quinces. Schneider then says Ophelia had scarlet fever as a child and lost her right eye. Coming to a realization, Elena says she was the tía with the eye patch. Alex then calls her Tía Jack Sparrow. Penelope then says she called her Tía Blackbeard but then that got confusing because there is another Tía who had an actual black beard. All of them laugh at this except Lydia who bangs on the table they then apologize crossing their chests.

Penelope says that at least they will get to see the family at the funeral and names of some of them. Lydia says that it will be good to see everybody, except La Diabla, who is her younger sister, Mirtha. Schneider then asks about Tía La Diabla and Elena explains she is Lydia's little sister, Mirtha. Penelope points out that Lydia has been mad at Mirtha for twenty years over a stupid mantilla. Alex starts to point out that Lydia has it, but she interrupts him calling Mirtha a liar. Alex then starts to ask if Lydia had the mantilla the entire time but she cuts him off saying she rightfully accused Mirtha of having it all these years because she does.

She then tells Alex to go fix his hair and then messes it up. He runs off screaming. Schneider asks what a mantilla is, and Elena explains that it is a lace veil that is passed on from bride to bride in the family and the couples' names are stitched into it. Lydia then says it's a Spanish tradition and that's why they will never speak to Mirtha or her family ever again. Lydia then asks Penelope if she's right and Penelope tells her no and that this feud between the two sisters ends now.

Penelope then tells her the reception after the funeral will take place in their home. Lydia then questions La Diabla being at her house and says she will never make it past the cross. Penelope says the only things they are burying is the feud and Tía Amelia. The rest of the family and Schneider correct her to say her name is Ophelia. An agitated Penelope then says "whoever."

Lydia then asks how Penelope can not take her side, saying family is everything, and she has to hate her sister. Penelope then says she is sick of this old lady beef and that cost her the relationship she had with her best friend, Estrellita. Schneider then says that Estrellita is Mirtha's daughter and Penelope's cousin. Penelope then threatens to tell the whole family that Lydia had a stroke if she doesn't end the feud with Mirtha.

The family is entering the funeral. Lydia and Alex are hug Tía Bitchy and another woman, while Penelope and Elena are greeted by Tía Bitchy.

Lydia's sister Mirtha walks into the room wearing a veil on her head. Both Penelope and Lydia see her walk in. Lydia says that La Diabla herself has arrived with her lizard eyes, vulture claws, and grey roots. Mirtha removes her veil and dramatically and says she's here. She walks up to Ophelia's open casket and says she can finally rest in peace. Lydia then says she could take on Mirtha.

Penelope then reminds Lydia she said she was going to apologize. Lydia then walks up to Mirtha and gives her a hug. Penelope then goes up to her cousin Estrellita and tries to talk to her and catch her up on her life. Estrellita reminds her they are not allowed to talk due to the feud between their mothers and it's not safe. Penelope then explains she talked Lydia into smoothing things out with Mirtha and they will be able to hang out like old times.

Just then, Mirtha comes by and walks past this saying if Lydia gets close to the coffin, she will push her in. Estrellita then says "really?" Penelope then says no and says she doesn't know what just happened but the feud will end that day. Estrellita then tells Penelope not to make promises she can't keep.

Penelope then tries once again to confront Lydia about Mirtha. Lydia tells her this will all be over soon which Penelope doesn't like the sound of.

Lydia is about to sneak the mantilla into the casket when she is approached by Pilar. In order, not to get caught Lydia puts the cloth back in her purse and starts fake crying and is comforted by Pilar. Pilar then compliments Ophelia on her rhinestone eye patch calling it a nice touch before knocking on the coffin and walking away.

Lydia then calls Alex and says there are too many people around, she has him create a diversion by showing the Tías his homecoming pictures on his cell phone. He says went to homecoming with a Cuban girl he might marry. All the Tías then run towards him so they can look at his phone.

Penelope then sees Lydia stuffing the mantilla in Ophelia's casket. Penelope then questions if she had the mantilla the whole time. Lydia then points to Ophelia and says no she had it. Mirtha then walks up to Ophelia's casket and says Ophelia was the only one who understood her. Mirtha then picks up the mantilla and calls Ophelia a thief. Lydia pretends to look shocked and asks if Ophelia had the mantilla the whole time.

Penelope gives Lydia a look and says that it makes sense. Lydia then claims Ophelia had her eyes on it for a long time, until 1952 then she had her eye on it. Mirtha then says all these years she blamed Lydia. The two sisters then grudgingly make up both saying they'll never actually say they are sorry out loud. They then hug.

Estrellita and Penelope celebrate and hug at being able to spend time together again.

Lydia takes the mantilla from the casket and Mirtha asks what she is doing. Lydia then tells her they don't want the mantilla going down in the dirt with Ophelia. Mirtha then says she's right as their great grandmother got married and executed in it. Lydia then says that was quite a quinces that Mirtha also agrees to.

During the reception in the Alvarez home after the funeral, Lydia says she wants to kill Mirtha for telling a story about her cancer. Penelope tells her cancer is scary. Lydia tells her Mirtha only had a mole the size of a tic-tac and the whole story is exaggerated. Penelope says Lydia can tell people about her stroke. Lydia's pride, however, will not allow her to let the family know about her stroke. Lydia then says she is surprised Mirtha is not singing.

Mirtha then starts singing a song dedicated to Ophelia and Lydia buries her face in her hands. Lydia then says she sings like a donkey and goes to approach Mirtha. Mirtha then invites Lydia to sing with her. Lydia tells her she doesn't think she can sing as beautifully as she can. The two then start singing together.

Lydia and Mirtha hold hands and finish their song and everyone applauds. Penelope then tells Estrellita she is glad the stupid mantilla crap is behind them, Estrellita agrees and asks where the mantilla is, saying she wants to get her and her husband Juan's names stitched into as they didn't have it at their wedding. Penelope takes it out of Lydia's purse and asks if she will give it back after.

Estrellita then asks if she's getting remarried. Penelope says she might but she wants to save it for her kids as they are the next oldest in the family. Estrellita says that doesn't make sense because Elena is gay and Penelope retorts saying her son Flavio is super gay. This then leads to the two women fighting over the mantilla and Estellita says Penelope and Victor's names should be removed as they are divorced.

They then realize it's just a piece of lace that does not have any names on it. Pilar comes up and says she and Susan used it at their wedding and she has it. She then pointedly tells the family they were all at the wedding which confuses them because they had not realized the event was a wedding. Lydia even goes so far as to say she thought it was an affectionate barbeque. Penelope then says they should at be ashamed at themselves for fighting over nothing. Lydia finally admits she had a stroke and she and Mirtha makeup and apologize to each other.

Penelope then says just because they have their differences doesn't mean they will stop being family. Estrellita then proposes a toast to Ophelia and says at least she was alive to see the president make America great again. Everyone else looks uncomfortable and the episode ends with Penelope saying "I'm, sorry. What?"

The Politics Episode

The episode begins with Penelope, Schneider, Alex, and Elena in the living room. Lydiacomes in from behind the curtain with her phone and says Chago's daughter Margarita is getting baptized, and they're all invited. Everyone else gets excited over the news. Penelope then says the baby's real name is Alice but her nickname is Margarita because that's how she got made.

Schneider then questions if he can be the baby's godfather and Penelope tells him he can't because he is not Cuban, Catholic, or family. Lydia then says she needs to spritz the apartment with holy water because her sister Mirtha is coming with Estrellita and the rest of the family from Miami. She then goes on to say Mirtha is La Diabla and the room darkens and thunder flashes behind her.

Lydia then proceeds to spritz Febreeze, which startles both Penelope and Schneider. She then explains the Febreeze is only temporary until she can get actual holy water. Elena then questions this, saying she thought they settled the mantilla feud and are all good now. Alex then says no, that Mirtha made a comment about Lydia's croquettes being dry and now it's back on.

Lydia then says the only thing that will be dry is every eye at Mirtha's funeral. Penelope then says their old lady feud won't be the problem this time. Alex then questions what the problem will be this time.

They imagine Mirtha, Estrellita, Juanito, and Flavio in the living room, wearing red hats and repeatedly chanting "Make America Great Again!"

Elena remarks that she always forgets the Reyes family is conservative because they are Cuban like the Alvarezes. Penelope then says they should be fine, as long as they stay away from the topic of politics. She then goes on to say it's a baptism and after the service, they can gossip about how Chago and Valentina got married seven months ago and Margarita is a miracle baby.

Lydia then questions what they will do after, as the Reyeses are staying with them. Penelope starts to protest this, saying she knows they are family but simultaneously everyone says they can't send family to hotels like cold Americans. Lydia then says it's good that they get it.

Penelope then says they have to make an exception this time because the best way to keep the family together, is to keep them apart. Lydia then says the family will stay with her in her bedroom.

The Alvarezes imagine their guests sharing Lydia's bed with her and Mirtha sleeping on the floor. In the fantasy, Lydia tells Mirtha she hopes the floor isn't as hard as her breaded steak. Mirtha then retorts that if she wanted to hear from a screeching old bag she'd play with the zipper of her sleeping bag. Lydia then says the only thing she wishes had a zipper was Mirtha's mouth.

Lydia then says the Reyeses have to stay because they are family.

Schneider says he loves how the Alvareses talk about everything. Elena then asks why he's telling them what they already know. Schneider then says they should use his dysfunctional family as a guide and just not talk to each other.

Lydia says that's impossible and Penelope elaborates, saying that Lydia Facetimes her while she's using the restroom. Lydia then clarifies that is only when she's cooking otherwise, she would just walk in.

Later, Lydia tells Penelope she is worried about nothing and they just have to be polite. Penelope then asks what that would look like and they imagine the family wearing royal baroque-style clothing and speaking in British accents. In the fantasy, Estrellita says she is nervous Penelope ad her family will steal her musket. Penelope then reassures her she will keep her musket. Elena then says "crumpets." Alex then says he is hearing rumblings about Hamilton. Juan then gives him money.

This fantasy causes Alex and Elena to laugh and Elena says she thinks they are confusing politeness with Britishness. Lydia then thinks back to the time Mirtha borrowed her lipstick and used the whole tube. Lydia then questions if it's her fault Mirtha has the lips of a pufferfish. Penelope then says once again they are screwed.

Lydia then says the only way to settle this is with a talent competition. In her fantasy, the living room has a blue banner that says “LYDIA’S GOT TALENT” and a microphone. Mirtha and Lydia try to one-up each other as they fight for the microphone and sing their song. Lydia images Gloria Estefan judging the talent show and declaring her the winner.

Lydia continues dancing and says Gloria's name. Elena then questions why Gloria Estefan would be there and Lydia replies that it's because everyone knows that if a Cuban closes her eyes and swishes her hips three times, she appears. Penelope then tells her mother she's lost her mind. Lydia replies that the whole situation is stressful and she's been drinking rum as she takes another swig of rum from her bottle.

Penelope imagines herself and Estrellita getting into a physical fight while the family watches her act it out. In the fantasy, Mirtha tells them to stop fighting but then winds up in a fight with Lydia.

Back in reality, Penelope says they are screwed.

Penelope imagines herself and Estrellita each giving their perspectives on the current president.

Back in reality, Elena tells her she is ready and Alex gives her money. Penelope says she wishes they didn't have to talk about this, but now she knows she can. The Alvarezes hear a knock at the door. Lydia asks if they were expecting someone and says she had a little rum holding up the bottle. Penelope then says she knows the Reyeses are nuts but they are family and the Alverezes love the anyway, despite their different beliefs.

The Reyeses are seen standing in the hall having a similar conversation, saying they know the Alverezes are crazy liberals but they love them anyway.

The episode ends with Penelope opening the door and everyone greeting each other and the Alvarezes, Schneider, and the Reyeses embracing in a group hug.

Trivia

  • She is sixty years old, according to her niece, Penelope.
  • Lydia thinks Mirtha is the devil referring to her as La Diabla, saying she can't make it past the cross in the living room or touch the bible without burning her hands.
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