In the new season, Alex arrested Penelope for a compromise position, and motivated Penelope to enter into a new dialogue against Alex. It is a dialogue about a healthy human race, while Penelope defends herself against Lydia's judgments about her direction. After the census comes to their house, things seem to be turning upside down as the Alvarez family thinks about their relationships again.
The fourth-season episodes also make clear that the core cast has become a perfectly calibrated comedy machine. Offered sharper jokes than ever before, the ensemble, performing in front of a live studio audience, is wondrously friction-free.
If you're coming to it for the first time, you're watching a series that not only has some of the best actors working on sitcoms today, but they've been a TV family long enough that the chemistry among the cast is quite apparent.
Thankfully many things about One Day at a Time have remained intact in Season 4, including the show's phenomenal cast and its ability to churn out topical and compelling storylines episode after episode.
In its embrace of traditional sitcom rhythms and progressive stories about a truly modern family, One Day at a Time is of its time and for all time, and if we're lucky, will continue making joyful noise and flouting convention for many days to come.