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This is the transcript for "Penny Pinching," the second episode of Season 4 of One Day at a Time<< Previous Transcript Next >>

Scene 1: Restaurant

Lydia, Penelope, Elena, Alex, and Alex's new girlfriend, Nora are sitting at a table in a restaurant.

NORA: It's so nice to meet all of you. Thank you for taking me to dinner, Miss Alvarez.

PENELOPE: Well it's not everyday that Alex gets a new girlfriend, and even though that day was four weeks ago, it's nice to finally meet you.

ALEX: I'm sorry. I don't know what I was worried about.

LYDIA: So, Nora...How did you meet my papito?

NORA: It's actually a really funny story. See, Alex was at his locker and I came up and said, “cool sneakers."

ALEX: And then I said: (does a head nod)

NORA: And we've been together ever since.

ELENA: God, it's so easy being straight.

LYDIA: Has he said he loves you? No? Oh, he has said it to me.

PENELOPE: Okay, Elena's gay, Alex is a catch, and you (to Lydia) are making everyone uncomfortable. So here, let's look at the menus because we have to order before 6 o'clock to get happy hour prices. (Hands out menus) Waiter, we're ready! I'll have the sliders. Mami?

LYDIA: I'll have the pot stickers. Unless they have actual pot in them. The chronic does not agree with me.

BRYCE: You're good. (To Alex and Nora, who have the menu in front of their faces) And for you?

(Penelope pulls the menu down, revealing that Alex and Nora were kissing behind the menu)


(Alex and Nora pull away, surprised)

ALEX: Burger!

NORA: Salad!

PENELOPE: Elena, you're up.

ELENA: Yes, I have a few questions about the almond-crusted salmon salad. How is the salmon raised?

PENELOPE: It's raised in price after 6:00!

Intro plays

NORA: And then my Abuelo said "¡En esta casa no hay fanáticos de los Red Sox!"

Everyone laughs

LYDIA: I do not care if Alex hasn't said it, I will, I love you!

PENELOPE: Yeah, and I usually only say this to whatever mirror is closest to me, but you're a freakin' delight.

LYDIA: It is so nice to finally have a young Latina around who speaks Spanish!

ELENA: I speak Spanish!

PENELOPE: I'm young!

ELENA: You know what, Mom, I meant to ask. Can I borrow the car tomorrow so I can go see the Overwatch League finals, por favor?

LYDIA: You mean that thing where you watch nerds play video games?

ELENA: Jokes on you. "Nerds" isn't an insult anymore.

LYDIA: It's not a compliment.

ELENA: Anyway, my two favorite teams are playing. The LA Gladiators and the Shanghai Dragons.

PENELOPE: Yes, you can take the car to the match as long as you promise not to tell me about it after. And if you drop everyone else off for their errands first.

ELENA: The Overwatch League finals and I get to make an itinerary? Did this just turn into the best weekend ever?

NORA: (Laughs) You're hilarious!

ALEX: She wasn't joking.

ELENA: Okay, we got the check. Don't freak out.

PENELOPE: Okay, you know the words "don't freak out" usually make me freak out and cost me money.

NORA: Thank you again for taking me to dinner, Miss Alvarez. I was super nervous to meet you, but you guys are fun!

PENELOPE: (Reading the check) Are you kidding me?! (Walks to the waiter) Excuse me! Excuse me! Um, a couple of these items were charged at full price and not happy hour price.

BRYCE: Oh yeah, I put those in after 6:00.

PENELOPE: Okay but we order them before 6:00.

BRYCE: Oh yeah, but it goes by when they're entered into the system, so... (Shrugs)

PENELOPE: What's this? (Shrugs) I mean are you some genie and this (Shrugs) magically makes me a millionaire that can afford full-price pot stickers? This is happy hour!

ELENA: Yep, seems real happy.

ALEX: (To Nora) She's not usually like this.

ELENA: No, that's true. She's always like this.

PENELOPE: Okay, you know what? I want to speak to the manager.

BRYCE: I am the manager.

PENELOPE: Oh really? The server is the manager?


PENELOPE: Oh really? Do you think it's my first time complaining in a restaurant?

BRYCE: I definitely do not. Whatever, I'll take off the charge.

PENELOPE: Oh good! And you can use my last two wishes-- Unh! Unh! -- to conjure up a better attitude and a freakin' apology! (Sits at the table) It was so lovely to meet you, Nora.

Scene 2: Alvarez Living Room

The family enters the apartment, back from the restaurant.

ALEX: I can't believe you embarrassed me in front of Nora like that for thirteen dollars and a brownie that the waiter definitely spit on!

PENELOPE: So, what, you want to impress her by making her think you're some big shot who doesn't care about money?

ALEX: No, I want to impress her by making her think I don't have a crazy mother.

ELENA: Ooh. Well, now you're just not being realistic. (Leaves)

LYDIA: If Nora breaks up with us over this, I will never forgive you! (Close curtain)

PENELOPE: Everybody relax! I was fine!

ALEX: Fine?


ALEX: I know it's good to save money. But maybe the first time meeting my girlfriend isn't the right time to threaten to "burn this mother down."

SCHNEIDER: (Slides from underneath the couch) I agree with Alex.

PENELOPE: Oh my God! Schneider, what the hell?! I'm used to you coming in the door unannounced, but now you're coming out of the furniture?!

SCHNEIDER: I'm trying to fix your janky couch because someone's too cheap to buy a new one. It's you! Come on Pen, you're making that sweet nurse practitioner money now.

PENELOPE: Yeah but I still have to be careful how I spend it. You know, it starts with full-priced pot stickers. Next thing you know, you're living in a cardboard box making soup out of cigarette butts.

SCHNEIDER: That seems a little extreme.

PENELOPE: You don't know what I know! You think MC Hammer thought he was gonna go broke? He had the biggest pants, and now he's got nothing to put in them.

SCHNEIDER: Pen, you have what's called a scarcity mindset. Even though you have money now, you don't act like it.

PENELOPE: Oh, so I should act like you? "Hi, I'm Schneider. I wipe my butt with 100 dollar bills"

SCHNEIDER: That is a hurtful rich person stereotype! I have a custom marble bidet!

PENELOPE: Well can you use it on your mouth? Cause there's a lot of crap coming out of there?

SCHNEIDER: I'm telling you, Pen. You need to change your relationship with money. Spend it on something! Treat yourself! Like, finally get a new couch!

PENELOPE: Why? This one is fine.

SCHNEIDER: Fine? It's covered in rips, lumps, and this. (Lifts a dish towel to reveal the arm of the couch is covered in water)

PENELOPE: That's just a little leak.

SCHNEIDER: Couches are not hooked up to plumbing! Pen, your sofa is crying!

Scene 3: Car

Elena is driving while Alex sits in the passenger seat and Lydia is in the backseat.

ELENA: Okay, I've got our itinerary all planned out. First, Alex, I will drop you off so you can buy your stupid sneakers. Then I will drop Abuelita off at the fish market, and get to the Overwatch finals before the first gladiator is fragged!

LYDIA: Ay por favor, none of those nerds is getting fragged. Anyway, I need to be dropped at the fish market first before all of the Cuban crabs are gone.

ALEX: Cuban crabs?

LYDIA: The strongest ones claw their way to the top so they're the first to go. Those are the Cuban crabs.

ELENA: I can't drop you off before Alex. I just got my license so I'm not allowed to drive anyone under twenty unless an adult is present.

LYDIA: Does it have to be me?

ELENA: No, any adult who can sit there and do nothing. A seat-filler. A flesh bag.

LYDIA: I have just the person.

(Later, Dr. Berkowitz enters the car.)

DR. B.: They said staring at the phone doesn't make it ring. It may have taken twenty years but I proved them all wrong! (Laughs)

Scene 4: Alvarez Living Room

Penelope enters the living room with a bag of Cheetos.

PENELOPE: The perfect Sunday. Just me. The TV. And my boyfriend Chester Cheetah. (Takes out a Cheeto) "What's up girl? I'm about to get all up in yo' mouth."

She bites into the Cheeto, and the couch breaks into two pieces and she falls.

PENELOPE: Oh God! That's not good...

Scene 5: Couch Store

Penelope and Schneider enter Sofa So Good, a couch store.

PENELOPE: Alright, I—okay alright! I know I agreed. But I thought about it and I don't need a new sofa.

SCHNEIDER: It broke in half, Pen!

PENELOPE: Yeah, now I got two love seats!

SCHNEIDER: Come on. You can afford it. It's gonna be okay.

PENELOPE: Will it? Then why am I sweating like a couch?

SCHNEIDER: They're not supposed to be wet! Trust me, I know you don't like to spend money frivolously. So I did a ton of research about where we should go, and I made sure to pick the store with the funniest name.

SHAWN: Welcome to So-fa So-Good.

SCHNEIDER: Ha ha ha! So good!

Scene 6: Car

Elena is driving down the road with Alex.

ELENA: Can I just let you off here?

ALEX: If you stop first.


Elena stops, Alex gets out.

ELENA: Alright. This is working. I'm gonna make it to the Overwatch League.

DR. B.: I love it when a plan comes together.

ELENA: Oh my God, right. You're still here. Um, I mean, at least now we can use the carpool lane.

DR. B.: Yes! Flesh bag to the rescue! Your grandmother told me about my new nickname. I'm fine with it.

ELENA: Okay, Um, so when we get there, you can just hang out in the car.

DR. B.: Well, actually, I was hoping to join you for the match.

ELENA: Do you know anything about e-sports?

DR. B.: Do you know anything about loneliness?

ELENA: Alright, let's do this! (Cellphone rings) Oh, hello?

LYDIA: (over the phone) I need to be picked up. It is an emergency!

ELENA: What?

Moments later, Lydia is in the car holding a cooler.

LYDIA: I told the bus driver I have a huge case of crabs and he just drove away!

Scene 7: Couch Store

Schneider is petting an orange couch whole Penelope watches.

SCHNEIDER: See? It's okay. He's not gonna hurt you. He's friendly.

Penelope skeptically pets the couch.

SCHNEIDER: Okay, good. So which one do you want to take home?

SHAWN: Can I help you find something?

PENELOPE: I am definitely not ready for you, Shawn!

Schneider lays on a black leather couch.

SCHNEIDER: Hey Pen, how about this one? Oh yeah. Come on in, the leather is warm.

PENELOPE: I'm not getting a black leather couch. I'm not a movie producer from the 90s.

SHAWN: I was.

PENELOPE: You see? Shawn lost all his money!

SHAWN: Thanks for that trip down memory lane.

Shawn leaves. Schneider gets up and directs Penelope to a dark blue couch.

SCHNEIDER: Come on Pen. Just try sitting on one of these.

Penelope sits on the dark blue couch.

PENELOPE: Ooh. My butt likes this one.

SHAWN: Your butt has good taste. And check this out.

Shawn spills soda on the couch

PENELOPE: No, don't do that!

SHAWN: Oh no, no! Don't worry! See, the sofa's treated with Spillgaurd and the liquid just pools harmlessly on it.

PENELOPE: Yeah but you wasted a perfectly good soda!

Shawn leaves again and Schneider sits next to her.

SCHNEIDER: Just picture it, Pen. Our family sitting on this couch, juntos. "Hey Pen, will you pass me the remote?"

PENELOPE: No Schneider, get the hell out of my apartment! (Gasps and stands up) This feels right! (Looks at price tag) Oh-ho yeah. That's pricey, but I think I can swing it.


SHAWN: Terrific! Now a lot of people get the sofa-bed option just in case you want to have a guest over, so--

SCHNEIDER: Yes, we want that!

PENELOPE: No, we definitely do not want that!

SHAWN: Okay, uh, would you like to open a store credit card?

PENELOPE: Does it have zero interest? Because I do.

Shawn leaves.

SCHNEIDER: You did it!

PENELOPE: I did it.

SCHNEIDER: You bought a new couch! How do you feel?

Penelope laughs, then throws up behind an orange couch.

SCHNEIDER: I guess we'll take that rug, too.

Scene 8: Car

Elena is driving with Lydia and Dr. Berkowitz in the back.

LYDIA: Maybe I can still take the bus and tell the driver these are emotional-support crabs.

ELENA: Forget it. I am not stopping again for anything. (Cellphone rings) No!

Moments later, Alex enters the car.

ELENA: What do you mean, you decided not to buy the shoes? Shoes are your entire personality!

ALEX: Okay, I thought about it, and I realized, these ones are what brought me and Nora together. I couldn't replace them.

LYDIA: Aww, qué romántico.

DR. B.: I also can't replace my shoes. Mostly because I have a condition called "raptor foot." I'm very hard to fit.

ALEX: Anyway, just drop me off at home.

ELENA: Uh, no! I've already missed the first two matches, and we're almost at the arena, so we're all going. Great, the parking lot's full.

LYDIA: Well, just park somewhere else.

ALEX: Yeah, like at home.

ELENA: I'm not gonna miss the final.

DR. B.: Ohh! Spot! Spot! (Points to the right)

ELENA: Ohh! Oh, you're right! An open meter, and it's Sunday? Free parking! We're gonna make it! Whoo!

EVERYONE CHANTING: We are gonna make it! We are gonna make it!

ALEX: Wait! I don't want to make it!

DR. B.: Yes! Yes, we do! I can't go home, there's nothing waiting for me except darkness! Let's do this!

ELENA: Alright, I'm getting that spot, hold on!

Makes a sharp turn and Lydia knocks her cooler over and the crabs land on Dr. Berkowitz's shoulder.

DR. B.: If these are emotional-support crabs, they're not working.

Scene 9: Alvarez Living Room

Penelope is sitting on the new couch.

PENELOPE: Yeah. Just like that. Aha, you know how I like it.

Schneider enters.

PENELOPE: Oh, you know what to do with that butt.

SCHNEIDER: That's exactly what I say to my bidet. Feels good to spend a little coin, huh?

PENELOPE: I know, I did it! I did it! I made peace with money! I'm good! We're good! We're more than good! We're lovers, now leave us.

SCHNEIDER: Okay. So I did what you asked and I put the old couch on the curb but doesn't it really belong in the Alvarez Museum?

PENELOPE: The Alvarez Museum is just a couple of awards and knickknacks in the hallway.

SCHNEIDER: Oh, right... It's definitely not a collection of memorabilia from your family that I set up in an empty apartment on the sixth floor called the Alvarez Museum Norte.

PENELOPE: Okay, I am too happy to be creeped out. I love this couch! I love it! I had the best nap of my life! And look, my drool just wipes right off!

SCHNEIDER: See? Spending a little money didn't set off a chain of events that led to some doomsday scenario.

Elena, Lydia, and Alex open the front door.

ELENA: Okay, don't freak out.

Schneider sighs.

Commercial break

PENELOPE: Don't freak out? I don't need this today. I already barfed on an area rug!

ELENA: Maybe you should sit down.

ALEX: Whoa, love the new couch! It must have been really expensive!

PENELOPE AND ELENA: You're not helping!

PENELOPE: What happened?

ELENA: First of all, as you can see, everyone's okay, except maybe Dr. B.

Dr. Berkowitz enters, wearing e-sports clothes and merchandise.

DR. B.: It was exhilarating to watch athletes with the same body type as me! "Shields up! (claps twice) Shields up!" (claps twice) That's the LA Gladiators slogan. I stan them!

PENELOPE: Just tell me what happened.

DR. B.: I got nachos.

PENELOPE: Not you! (To Elena) You!

ELENA: Okay! Well, um, when we finally got to the game the parking lot was full, so I parked on the street, and it's important to know that at this point in the story, we are ahead 8 dollars.

PENELOPE: And then?

ELENA: And then...while we were in the game, the car was broken into and the window was smashed. Which is probably how the pigeon got in. I don't know what he ate but it did not agree with him. Anyway, we chased the pigeon away, but we probably should have closed the car door first cause it got hit by a scooter.


ELENA: No, no, no, no! Don't worry, the guy is fine! I know because he got up and scooted away. Unfortunately, the car door kind of chased him. So just to recap, I saved us eight dollars, and some other stuff happened.

Penelope stands up, everyone awaits her reaction.

DR. B.: Shields up.

PENELOPE: It's only money...


SCHNEIDER: Yes! I did this!

ELENA: No, I-I am so glad you're not mad cause I was a little worried. Because I left my laptop on the seat and that's probably why they broke in.

PENELOPE: You left your laptop in the car?!

ELENA: It's only money?

PENELOPE: How many times have I told you not to leave valuable stuff visible in the car?!

ELENA: I know, I know. I made a mistake.

PENELOPE: Yeah, you did. A really dumb one. How can someone so smart do something so stupid? We'll talk about this later.

LYDIA: This is why I took my crabs into the nerd show! Although after six hours, I don't think we should eat them anymore.

Scene 10: Alvarez Kitchen

Elena is washing dishes and Penelope approaches her.



PENELOPE: So listen, I'm sorry I got so upset. But I need you to understand where I'm coming from. Money and I have never had a great relationship. You know how Abuelita lives with us? Well, for a while there, we lived with her because when you're papi left, I couldn't afford the rent. So like, we're good now, but those feelings just don't go away. Because you're always one catastrophe away from being broke. But I know I need to loosen up. I know that thirteen dollar pot stickers is not a catastrophe. It's a rip-off, but it's not a catastrophe and neither is this.

ELENA: You're right, cause I have a plan to pay for everything. I can sell my hair or my blood or my eggs, cause they're still young and fresh.

PENELOPE: Okay whoa, don't give away my grandchildren.

ELENA: Okay but I can use all the money I have saved.

PENELOPE: You have money saved?

ELENA: Yeah. I've had a system since I started working as Schneider's assistant. For every dollar I spend, I put two dollars in savings.

PENELOPE: Really? I didn't know we were so good with money.

ELENA: I'm trying. I can show you, I track all my spending and savings on this spreadsheet... that was on my laptop...

PENELOPE: It's okay. We have insurance. And we'll figure the rest out.

ELENA: Okay, but I'm gonna work a bunch of extra shifts for Schneider so I can help pay for that new computer.

PENELOPE: Yeah, that's what I mean by "we'll figure the rest out." But I am proud of you. Hearing all this makes me feel like I've done something right.

ELENA: Yeah, well, I learned from the master. You've had the same Ziploc since I was a kid. You replaced the zipper like five times.

PENELOPE: That was your great-grandmother's Ziploc. And one day, you'll pass it down to your kids.

ELENA: In this moment I'll pretend I'm gonna have kids.

PENELOPE: Oh, thank you, baby, thank you!

Scene 11: Alvarez Living Room

Lydia is sitting on the new couch and Alex, Penelope, and Elena enter.

PENELOPE: Mind if we join you?

LYDIA: Siéntate.

They all sit down and sigh because of the new couch's comfort.

ELENA: Is it just me, or does the new couch make our TV seem smaller?

ALEX: Well, if we're buying a new TV, we're gonna need to splurge on surround sound.

LYDIA: And a state-of-the-art soft-pretzel carousel.

Penelope cries on the couch.

ELENA: Ha, Look at that. Mami's tears just bead and roll right off.

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