This Is It is the first episode of season one of One Day at a Time.
Penelope tries to convince her feminist daughter Elena to have a traditional quinceañera to celebrate her 15th birthday and to honor her Cuban roots.
We first meet Penelope Alvarez as she is examining a patient named Carl. She's an army vet who went to Afganistan. Her husband currently does private security over there as they are separated. Carl attempts to ask her out but after finding out she has kids decides against it. Penelope goes home to her family where she intends to cook dinner. She arrives to her daughter Elena Alvarez complaining about how she doesn't want to have a quincenera. Lydia Riera, her grandmother, asks Elena how are they supposed to know when she becomes a woman if they don't have a party. She also points out that if she doesn't have one then she is throwing away her Cuban heritage. Elena says that only the bad parts. Penelope tries to convince her that it's just a fun party but Elena goes to her room.
Meanwhile, Alex Alvarez, Penelope's son, asks for her credit card information so that he can buy sneakers for school. She tells him that he can only buy one pair of sneakers and he asks if they're poor. Penelope tells him that they're fine and yells for all of them to gather for family dinner. The three of them share a look and Penelope learns that they already ate. Penelope is upset but concedes that they will begin family dinners next week. Upset, she goes to cook her own dinner but instead sneakily eats the one Lydia made.
Schneider, their landlord, comes over to fix Penelope's sink. He gives her a package of pills that he found in her trash and asks if everything's okay. She says that they are antidepressants her doctor gave her but that she isn't going to take them and doesn't want her mom to find out about them. Lydia greets Schneider before calling Elena to come to the family room. There she shows Elena Penelope's quincenera album. This leads to Penelope challenging Elena to a debate. They each pretend to be the other and talk about why they don't or do want a quince. Penelope wins which means they're going to have a quince. This causes Elena to storm off.
At work, Penelope talks with Doctor Berkowitz, the doctor she works for. He asks if she ever took the antidepressants he prescribed her and she says no. She gets an alert on her phone notifying her that Alex had ordered multiple shoes instead of just the one pair. At home, she scolds Alex for ordering shoes. He asks if she gets money from Dad and she says yes but not a lot. She makes it clear that she is the provider of this family. She tells him that they are going to return the shoes. Elena walks in and shows Penelope that she got a D on her test. She purposefully failed because now that she's having a quince she doesn't need to be smart. This upsets Penelope who sends Elena to her room. Before she leaves, Elena tells her that isn't she always encouraging her to be independent so why is she getting punished for doing just that.
The whole situation upsets Penelope who goes into the kitchen and pulls out the antidepressants. She tells Lydia that she's going to be taking them from now on. Lydia tells her that she doesn't need those pills, that what she needs is a husband. Penelope goes off on her and tells her did she think that she wanted to do this alone without a partner. She says no and that all she wants is for someone to hug her and tell her that they got her. Lydia takes her into her arms and tells her that she's got her.
Penelope goes to see Alex and tells him that he doesn't have to worry about being the man of the house. She also gives him a pair of shoes that he bought that were under 40 dollars. Penelope then goes to tell Elena that she doesn't have to have a quince. But that if she pulls that crap again with her school work that she's going to put her tiara on Elena and post it to Instagram. Penelope says that in reality she was making the quince about her so that she could prove that a single mom could pull off such a big party. Elena says that she's been looking for a good reason to have a quince and that that's a good reason. She agrees to having a quince. This makes Penelope happy. She tells Elena that she'll use the photos they take to scare her children. Elena says she isn't having children. Penelope goes to bed and soon after Lydia comes to spoon her.
- Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez
- Todd Grinnell as Schneider
- Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez
- Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Leslie Berkowitz
- Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera
- Erik Griffin as Carl
- Elena is made captain of the debate team.
- The jokes about Schneider's mustache are in reference to the original Dwayne Schneider and the mustache that made him easily recognized.
- Schneider mentions getting his five years sober chip.
- The Alvarezes have lived in their apartment for 10 months.
- According to their uniform polos, Alex and Elena attend St. Bibiana Academy.
- Elena is shown reading a book by or about Dorothy Parker and has pictures of Sonia Sotomayor and Hillary Clinton pinned to her wall.