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This is the transcript for "Strays," the fifth episode of Season 1 of One Day at a Time<< Previous Transcript Next >>

Scene 1: Alvarez Living Room

Penelope enters the apartment. Elena and Carmen are on the couch with a blanket over their bodies.

PENELOPE: Aw. The day every mother dreams of when her daughter grows a vampire head. 

CARMEN: Hi, Ms. Alvarez.

ELENA: We were working really hard on our immigration project for school, so we took a little power nap.

PENELOPE: Oh, 9:00 to 3:00 workday getting you down? Yeah, I take power naps, too. It's called blinking. (she pretends to snore, then gasps) I feel refreshed.

ELENA: Oh, can Carmen stay for dinner?

PENELOPE: Of course. 

CARMEN: Thanks, Ms. Alvarez.

Penelope walks into the kitchen and sees Lydia preparing diner.

PENELOPE: Carmen's staying for dinner. 

LYDIA: It's okay.  Schneider is staying, too.

PENELOPE: See? We take in all strays.

LYDIA: Except for cats. They steal your breath and turn you into a cucuy.

PENELOPE: Let's be happy that Elena finally has a real friend, you know, and not someone from the Internet who'd probably be a thirty-five-year-old man.

LYDIA: Under all that makeup, who knows? 

PENELOPE: Mami, I am serious, okay? Carmen gets straight A's. All they do is study. 

LYDIA: Pero[1] still, that friendship is a little bit, eh-- ¿Cómo se dice?[2] Intense. 

PENELOPE: They're teenage girls. 

LYDIA: Yeah, but no, no, no. I think there's something a little bit, uh, queer.

PENELOPE: [laughs] What? I don't even think you know what that word means. 

LYDIA: Oh, I know.

PENELOPE: You said the same thing about me and Kathy Trecker because we started sharing clothes and we both wanted to marry Ricky Martin? 

LYDIA: See? Queer. 

PENELOPE: You know what? You got us. Kathy, come out of the bedroom! 

LYDIA: [laughs sarcastically]

PENELOPE: [chuckles] 

LYDIA: Look at you. In a good mood, huh? [chuckles] It's the drugs, isn't it? 

PENELOPE: Definitely. But also, Dr. Berkowitz's birthday party. I got it all planned out. Apparently, last year, he ended up at Medieval Times by himself. 


PENELOPE: He went to pet a horse and got bit. [both laughing]

LYDIA: Pobrecito.[3]

PENELOPE: So I got Scott and Lori to get balloons and a cake.  So I got everything covered. 

ALEX: Glad you're here. It's baseball fundraiser time again. Abuelita, these are for you to sell at church. And, Mom, I guess at work, or wherever you go? Deadline is Friday. Most sales gets a PlayStation.

PENELOPE: Ooh, got a great idea. Sell them yourself.  Go! Go out in the neighborhood. Sell them out there. 

ALEX: Aren't you worried about predators? I'm very cute. 

PENELOPE: I'm not worried. Your abuelita will be three feet behind you at all times. Come on. Work up a good sales pitch. It'll be so much more gratifying if you earn that PlayStation yourself. 

ALEX: [groans] This is the worst. 

PENELOPE: There's my little go-getter! 

ELENA: Hey, Mom, can Carmen stay overnight? 

CARMEN: We're having so much fun. 

LYDIA: Why doesn't she sleep out here on el sofá?[4] It will be more comfortable than the floor. 

ELENA: Oh, she just sleeps in bed with me. 

They leave, making Penelope confused and Lydia looks down.

LYDIA: I'm not saying anything. 

PENELOPE: Good. 'Cause everyone should feel at home here.

Schneider walks out of the bathroom in just a towel.

SCHNEIDER: [sighs] Hey, guys. I fixed the water pressure and tested it. Hey, let's push dinner a smidge, okay? Ooh, rice again? Can we not? I'm doin' a little Paleo thing right now. Also, I borrowed your nail clippers.  See you in twenty.

LYDIA: I think peoples feel at home. 

[theme song plays]

Scene 2: Dr. Berkowitz's Office 

Penelope is setting up birthday decorations while Scott and Lori enter.

SCOTT: [laughing] Hey.

PENELOPE: Hey, where have you two been? Where's the cake? Where are the balloons? 


LORI: Sorry, I forgot to get the balloons last night. 

PENELOPE: So why didn't you get them on your way in? 

LORI: I didn't want to be late. 

PENELOPE: But you are late! 

LORI: But I didn't want to be. 

SCOTT: [laughing] You know the bakery where you told me to pick up the cake? I was there getting coffee this morning. 

PENELOPE: Okay, this? This is why we have two stars on Yelp.

DR. BERKOWITZ: Are you guys getting any service? I haven't gotten a birthday call or email or text. 

PENELOPE: Well, the office is kind of a dead spot.

LORI: I've got four bars.

DR. BERKOWITZ: My daughter did call. 

PENELOPE: There you go. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: She wanted my Netflix password.  My birthday didn't come up, and my password is my birthday! But at least you guys remembered. Uh, I believe I store sheet cake? You guys forgot, too?

PENELOPE: No, we... we didn't forget. (Points to a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner that wasn't put up all the way) 

DR. BERKOWITZ: "Y birthday?" Well said, banner. Well said. 

PENELOPE: Wait, wait, wait, wait. [stammers] I have, um... [snaps fingers] You got me. I am having you over for a birthday dinner. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Tonight? 

PENELOPE: Tonight? 

DR. BERKOWITZ: I'm free! 

PENELOPE: Great! Tonight! It's happening! 

DR. BERKOWITZ: So it's a party? I can invite all my friends? 

PENELOPE: Uh, sure. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Great! Lori, Scott, want to come to my birthday party? 

PENELOPE: No, no, no, not them! I mean, I'm sure they're busy. 

LORI: Nope. My husband has couples counseling with the dog, so I'm free. 

SCOTT: I got kicked off Tinder, so... so am I. 

PENELOPE: So it's gonna be this? But in my home? Great! 

Scene 3: Alvarez Living Room 

The family is setting up for Doctor Berkowitz's birthday party.

 PENELOPE: All right, I got the party box. I got some, uh, birthday candles, party hats. This cowboy stuff is no good to me. Oh, look, look. Decorative plates leftover from Lisette's baby shower. They say, "it's a boy", so, technically, it works.  Okay. Give me a status report. 

LYDIA: Rice is on the stove, costillas[5] in the marinade[6], and I look fantastic!  

PENELOPE: Schneider! Where's that centerpiece you promised me?  

SCHNEIDER: The gourd is drying, as is the glitter. Got away from me a little bit, I'm not gonna lie.  

PENELOPE: Sounds like a train wreck. Go get it. 

Alex enters with his chocolate boxes. 

PENELOPE: Oh, no, no, Alex, you gotta put that away. 

ALEX: You said I have to sell them. We're about to have a house full of customers. 

PENELOPE: Oh, you know what? They got money. Clean 'em out, papito. 

LYDIA: I made my sangria[7].

PENELOPE: Two pitchers? Last time I drank that, I woke up naked in the tub with a French braid. And I don't know how to French braid.

LYDIA: Don't worry. It's going to be a very classy night. (She dips her finger in the sangria and tastes it) Papito, crawl onto the fire escape and put this on the grill. Oh, oh, and take this stick in case of the raccoon. 

Elena and Carmen enter, with the blanket over them. 

PENELOPE: Oh, Carmen. 

ELENA: We're taking a little break from our immigration project. We're really hitting a wall. [chuckles] 

CARMEN: You're not as funny as your mom. 

PENELOPE: Guys, guys, oh, my—-I'm sorry. I'm throwing a sad man a stupid party. [chuckles] It's going to make him really happy,  but I don't think Carmen needs to be around for it. 

ELENA: What? 


CARMEN: Elena, it's fine. I'll go get my stuff. 

ELENA: No, no, no. It's not fine.  She has to stay. This isn't fair!

PENELOPE: She's been here most of the week. Can she only survive in this apartment's atmosphere? You guys can take the night off. 


PENELOPE: You better watch that attitude. This is not a big deal, so why are you making it one? (Elena starts to leave) And during the party, you can't just hide in your room. You have to participate. 


PENELOPE: Because I am raising a polite human person. And if I don't get to hide in my room, no one does. 

CARMEN: It's cool. I didn't mean to be any trouble. 

PENELOPE: No, honey, no. You're not trouble. The trouble's arriving in ten minutes. I'm sparing you, trust me. 

ELENA: [sighs] Text me later, okay?

CARMEN: You know I will. 

They share a long hug. 

PENELOPE: I feel like I'm watching the end of Titanic. 

LYDIA: Queer.

Schneider enters with a large centerpiece.

PENELOPE:  Ugh! That's the centerpiece? It's not his memorial service.

SCHNEIDER: You only gave me five hours and no theme.

PENELOPE: [knock at door] Oh, god dang it. Okay. You know what? Just... put it down. [grunts] Okay. Okay. Now listen. This is a very sweet and lonely guy. I've seen him riding a tandem bicycle by himself. Are we ready? Are we ready? 

LYDIA: Espérate, espérate.[8] (she hits herself) Ay, ay! Dale.[9]

PENELOPE: [inhales sharply] Hey, welcome! 


PENELOPE: How are you?

DR. BERKOWITZ: I picked everybody up to make sure they'd come.

PENELOPE: Great. That's great. 

LYDIA: Happy birthday, Dr. Berkowitz. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Oh, please, call me Leslie.

LYDIA: Why would I do that? That's a woman's name. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: It is also my name. 

LYDIA: Oh, that's too bad. 

SCOTT: Brought you a bottle of wine somebody left at my house. I don't do Zin.

DR. BERKOWITZ: Oh, hi, Alex! 

ALEX: Hi, I'm Alex Alvarez. Youth sports is one of the most important activities--

PENELOPE: Okay, okay, okay. Not yet, Willy Wonka. Let them sit down. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: And, uh, where is that delightful daughter of yours? 

PENELOPE: Oh, yeah. Elena!

Elena walks in with an angry face, arms crossed, and doesn't look at them in the face.

PENELOPE: She is so excited for your party.

Moments later, everyone is sitting and laughing around the table.

DR. BERKOWITZ: And then this one (points to Penelope) says, Doc, that's not apple juice! [all laughing] That is the last time I misplaced my glasses. 

PENELOPE: And just to be safe,  I bought him a cup that says "not urine" on it. [all laughing] 

LYDIA: Yeah, yeah. So you don't drink el pipi. [all laughing]

SCOTT: I don't know if it's the sangria, but I am having a good time. 

LORI: [chuckles] It's the sangria. [laughing] Good thing you drove. Unless somebody else wants to give me a ride? (she laughs and flirts with Schneider)

SCHNEIDER: Oh, I am flattered, married lady. Always interesting to be the sober one at a dinner party. Now if memory serves, next stage is dancing. 

LORI: [gasps] That's a great idea! Whoo-hoo! (She dances)

PENELOPE: We should probably put some music on to make this less weird. 

SCOTT: No, let this ride a while. (Films her with his phone)

ELENA: [sighs]

LYDIA:  It makes me sad to see americanos[10] dance. 

LORI: I've got the looks. I've got the body, yeah...

ALEX: Mom, I got this. (Lori sees him and stops dancing) Hi, I'm Alex Alvarez. Youth sports is one of the most important activities in building character—

LORI: I'll buy five. (gives him money) [laughs] [whispers to Schneider] We can share. 

SCHNEIDER: Oh, that's really sweet, but I'm kinda doing a little Paleo thing right now. 

LORI: Ooh, it's working. (pinches his stomach) [chuckles] 


DR. BERKOWITZ: This is so much fun, Penelope. 

PENELOPE: Well, I'm glad you're having a good time.  But it's not over yet. 

Lydia walks in with a cake with lit candles. 

LYDIA: Happy birthday to you. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: [laughs]

EVERYONE: [singing] Happy birthday to...

LYDIA: No, no. Just me. [singing] Happy birthday, to you. (pronounces the y like a j) 

SCOTT: Is she singing "to jew?"

DR. BERKOWITZ: Doesn’t matter. It works both ways. 

LYDIA: Happy birthday, Leslie Berkowitz! (sits down) Happy birthday... to you! 

DR. BERKOWITZ: I, uh, want to thank all of you, uh, especially Penelope, for this day. And thank you for making me feel like I belong.  [chuckles]

LYDIA: Ah, y?[11] Aren't you going to blow out the candles?

DR. BERKOWITZ: If I don't, maybe this moment will last forever.

LYDIA: Aw. But it won't. Blow them out.

DR. BERKOWITZ: [blows]

LYDIA: Bravo!

ELENA: All right. Is it over? Can I go to my room now?

PENELOPE: Please, Elena, lighten up. We did a good thing here. Have some cake. Forget about Carmen for one second.

ELENA: [sighs]

PENELOPE: Oh, Mami, you forgot the knife.


Penelope looks for the knife in the cabinet. Behind her, the others can see Carmen sneaking in through the fire escape.

LORI: [gasps]

PENELOPE: Where's that cake knife? Remember that fancy one we borrowed from Marie Callender's

LORI: There's a Walking Dead on your fire escape!

Penelope sees and Carmen climbs back down.

DR. BERKOWITZ: Is this part of my birthday, like a singing Grim Reaper?

PENELOPE: No, Dr. Berkowitz, that's actually Elena's friend.

ALEX: I don't get it.  Why was Carmen trying to come in through the window?

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, that was a little, uh...

LYDIA: Queer? 

PENELOPE: (to Elena) You come here. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Is—Is everything all right? 

PENELOPE: Yeah, everything is great. Mami, cut the cake, please. And, uh, you guys go ahead and eat. (She takes Elena to the hall) What are you two trying to pull? 

ELENA: Nothing. [sighs] You don't understand. 

PENELOPE: Text her. Make sure she gets home okay. And after the party, we're gonna talk about you and Carmen. 

Elena leaves to her bedroom and Penelope enters the living room.

DR. BERKOWITZ: Oh, now that I've bought all this candy, I'd love to see some of your ballgames.

ALEX: Um, that'd be weird. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: He sounds like my kids. 

PENELOPE: [chuckles] I'm sorry, everyone. It's, uh, teenage girls, you know. Everything is very dramatic.

LORI: It must be about a boy.

LYDIA: [sing-song] I don't think so. 

PENELOPE: No, I think they're both stressed about their big immigration project for school. 

SCHNEIDER: Immigration project? Why haven't they come to me?

PENELOPE: Why would they go to you? 

SCHNEIDER: Oh, boy. [sighs] Well, there's no stopping now. [exhales] 

Schneider dramatically stands up. 

PENELOPE: What's happening?

SCHNEIDER: I immigrated here illegally. I'm a Canadian. [mock gasping] Shocking! I know. Oh, I thought you were all gonna do that.

SCOTT: So you're a illegal alien?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we prefer "undocumented." But yeah, born in the 'Couve, overstayed my student visa, forced to live in the shadows of Pepperdine University. Took me a while to get rid of the accent, but now I can say [in a strong American accent] I am sorry about that.  

PENELOPE: Wow. You must have been brave, Schneider. Coming here with... everything. Knowing only the entire language... and struggling to unlearn the metric system.  

SCHNEIDER: I sense a liter of sarcasm. Anyway, it's fine now. My lawyers made it all okay.  

PENELOPE: Well, that's good. 


PENELOPE: But if you want to hear a real immigration story-

LYDIA: (Dramatically stands up) Havana, 1962. I came here as a child, fleeing an oppressive regime, with only my natural charm and perfect legs.

PENELOPE: Here she goes. 

LYDIA: And you know, it was written that I was Cuba's greatest dancer. 

ALEX: Whoa. Who wrote that?

LYDIA: Just because I wrote it, doesn't mean it wasn't true.

DR. BERKOWITZ: I bet you were fabulous. 

LYDIA: Oh,  completamente. And then... [sighs] Castro. 


LYDIA: La Revolución.[12] The Catholic Church had a program called Pedro Pan that invited the Cuban children to come over. And they gave us our papers. And I RSVP'd "Yes." (laughs) It's my little joke. There was no RSVP. [all laughing] 

SCOTT: Oh, that's great. At least you did it the right way. 

PENELOPE: Oh, Scott. [chuckles] Don't ruin the night by being you.

SCOTT: I'm just being honest. There's a right way and a wrong way, and a lot of people are doing it the wrong way. 

PENELOPE: How come when people say, "I'm just being honest," something terrible always comes next?  You know, it's never like, "Hey, I'm just being honest. You look hot".

SCOTT: I said that to you once. You got mad at me. 

PENELOPE: Because it was in the workplace. Do you understand anything? 

SCOTT: So I can say it now? 

PENELOPE: Technically, but don't. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Such stimulating dinner party repartee. 

SCOTT: Anyway, what's so wrong about saying people should follow the rules? You wanna come to America, get in line. 

PENELOPE: Oh,  the one that's ten years long, full of hard-working people that'll do jobs that some Americans won't do? Like picking fruit? Or remembering to buy balloons and a cake for a birthday party? 

LORI: [crying] I'm so sorry. 

She hugs Schneider. 

SCHNEIDER: Oh, yeah. We're at this stage now.

LORI: [continues crying]

SCHNEIDER: The next stage can't happen! 

SCOTT: It's just the country's full up. Like a bar. It was free before 8:00pm, but now you gotta pay a cover. Sorry, but we can't take everybody. 

PENELOPE: [scoffs] 

LYDIA: El bobo[13] is right. 


LYDIA: Everyone should follow the rules! I did, Schneider did. 

SCHNEIDER: I did not, actually. Lot of lawyers, lot of fines. 

PENELOPE: Mami, seriously? What you went through was terrible. But at least, you had a place to go, and you were welcomed with open arms. There are persecuted people all around the world who would love the opportunity to come here, but they can't. Because the rules are different for different people. So some of them break the law and they do what they have to do to fight for better lives for themselves and their families. And you know what? I get it. 

Elena enters. 

ELENA: Mom, can I talk to you for a second? 

PENELOPE: Yeah. Uh, excuse me, I'll be right back. 

They walk into the kitchen. 

ELENA: [sighs] Carmen's in my room right now. 

PENELOPE: What? Elena! 

ELENA: She has nowhere else to go.

PENELOPE: What are you talking about? Where are her parents? 

ELENA: Mexico. They were deported. 

PENELOPE: [sighs] All right, stay here. Hey, everyone. [chuckles] We had a lot of fun, but it's a school night. And it's way past the kids' bedtime. 

DR. BERKOWITZ: Okay, okay. There's nothing worse than a guest who overstays his welcome. But I did notice a Monopoly board. [chuckles] You know what? Let's just wrap this up. 

We see Lori has fallen asleep on Schneider. 

SCHNEIDER: We really should. 

Scene 4: Elena's Room 

Lydia, Elena and Carmen are in Elena's room. Penelope enters.

PENELOPE: Okay, they're gone. Lori threw up, but the good news is she made it to the hall, so it's a Schneider problem. [sighs] What do I do? Do I need to drive you somewhere? Is there a detention center?

LYDIA: ¿Pero, qué pasó?[14]

CARMEN: My dad got sick, and they heard of this doctor that helps undocumented people. But... he was south of the checkpoint. 

ELENA: Her parents got picked up coming back.

LYDIA: [gasps]

PENELOPE: Ay, niña.[15]

LYDIA: Dios mío.[16]  So... the immigration project?

CARMEN: I am the immigration project. 

ELENA: I was too scared to tell you. I...I'm sorry I lied. 

PENELOPE: [clicks tongue] You gotta tell me stuff, even if it's not great. Especially if it's not great. 

ELENA: We take care of people. That's what our family does, right? 

PENELOPE: Right. When did this happen?

CARMEN: Two weeks ago. 

PENELOPE: Two weeks? [sits down] So have you been staying here this whole time? 

CARMEN: Yeah. Most nights after dinner, I leave and I sneak back up the fire escape. 

LYDIA: Oh. Are you the raccoon? 

CARMEN: Yeah. But I felt bad that we didn't tell you guys.  So I've been trying to help out around here. That's why I did the laundry and reorganized the pantry. 

LYDIA: Oh, was that you? [gasps] Alphabetical order? I love it. 

PENELOPE: That was very sweet of you, Carmen. But I wish you would've come to me. How long did you think you could keep this up?

CARMEN: A year. 

PENELOPE: What? [scoffs]

LYDIA: We're gonna need more rice. 

ELENA: She wants to graduate with her class. And she was born here. She's never been to Mexico, not even Cabo. 

CARMEN: My parents didn't do anything wrong. They both work two jobs. I'm on scholarship at St. B's, and I get good grades. We're a normal American family. We had tickets to see Frozen on Ice. 

PENELOPE: You like Frozen? 

CARMEN: Sometimes the skaters fall.

PENELOPE: [chuckles] Have you been able to speak to your parents? 

CARMEN: Yeah. [sniffles] 

PENELOPE: What do they say you should do? 

CARMEN: They said I'm supposed to go to my brother's in Texas. 

PENELOPE: Well, then I think that's what you need to do, Carmen. 

ELENA: Mom! (stands up) Texas? The worst place on the planet?

CARMEN: He lives in Austin.

ELENA: Austin! Actually, I hear Austin's pretty chill.

PENELOPE: You can stay with us until we figure out how to get you to Austin, okay?  But you need to be with your family.

Elena and Carmen hug.

ELENA: [sniffles] I can't believe they sent your family back home.

PENELOPE: They didn't send them back home. They sent them away.

Scene 5: Alvarez Living Room

Elena and Carmen are hugging in the living room. Penelope, Lydia, and Alex are there. Carmen has her suitcase.

PENELOPE: Okay, guys. I think it's time to leave. Carmen. This is my favorite duffel. It got me through war,and I'm pretty sure it'll get you through Austin. Inside are some shirts and jeans, and I'm guessing you might be interested in my old combat boots.

CARMEN: The ones I shined last week? Shut your face hole!

PENELOPE: Yeah. (Gives her money) And, um, it's not much, but it'll buy you a cauldron and a wand.

CARMEN:  I'm gonna miss this.

PENELOPE: I'm gonna miss this, too. Mmm. (they hug) But know that you'll always have a place to park your broom.

Lydia approaches Elena on the couch.

LYDIA: You know...

ELENA: [sniffling and crying]

LYDIA: This is like... when I had to say goodbye to my friends in Cuba. And my papi said, "Keep it together for your mami, or she will be so upset." And my mami said, "Keep it together for your papi." a good friend, mmm? Think how difficult this might be for her. (she kisses her forehead) Sé fuerte.[17]

Schneider knocks and Penelope opens the door.

PENELOPE: Hey, Schneider.


CARMEN: Thanks for taking me to the airport... and for buying the ticket.

PENELOPE: God bless white guilt. Or is it Canadian goodness? 

SCHNEIDER: [in heavy Canadian accent] Well, a little bit of both, eh? [in American accent] Damn it! 

ALEX: Here you go. (gives her chocolate bars) On me. Well, on the weird blonde lady who forgot to take them home. 

CARMEN: Thanks, Alex. (Lydia hugs her) Thank you, señora.[18] (To Elena) I'll text you from the airport. 

ELENA: Text me from Schneider's car.

CARMEN: You know I will. 

They have a long hug, then Schneider and Carmen leave. Elena closes the door while Penelope and Lydia cry. 

ELENA: [sniffles] I thought you said I was supposed to keep it together!

LYDIA: Well, that's you.

PENELOPE: We can do whatever we want. 

Elena pulls them into a group hug.


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  1. Pero: But
  2. ¿Cómo se dice?: How do you say?
  3. Pobrecito: Poor guy.
  4. el sofá: the couch
  5. costillas: ribs
  6. marinade: marinade.
  7. Sangria: Spanish alcoholic beverage.
  8. Espérate, espérate: wait, wait.
  9. Dale: go ahead.
  10. Americanos: Americans
  11. y: and.
  12. La Revolución: The Revolution.
  13. El bobo: the fool.
  14. ¿Pero, qué pasó?: But, what happened?
  15. niña: girl
  16. Dios mío: Oh my God.
  17. Sé fuerte: Be strong.
  18. señora: ma'am or Mrs.