The season premiere of One Day at a Time proves that while the show may be on a new network, its spark hasn't burned out. In fact, it's brighter than ever.
The playful banter between family members, recurring inside jokes, and the humor in the first few minutes remind the audience why this show is so beloved, and how happy we are that Pop TV saved it.
And it only gets better from there.
While One Day at a Time Season 4 Episode 1 never loses its humor, it also provides us meaningful insight on some themes, and we shouldn't expect anything less of the show.
They do it all the time and usually nail it. Tonight was no exception.
First, there was Penelope's mini journey. One that she had to take, especially considering the way things left off on One Day at a Time Season 3 Episode 13.
She decided that she's happy with her life and doesn't mind the fact that she doesn't have a great love like her parents did.
Now she's voicing new concerns, set off by Lydia's story about a friend who was utterly alone in life.
A series of events prompts Penelope to reach out to Max, her ex-boyfriend. She genuinely misses him, but by the end of the episode, it was clear that although a part of her will always miss him, she's more worried about being alone.
Despite everyone around her saying that she's independent and doesn't need a man.
Elena: How do you do it?
Penelope: Do what, honey?
Elena: Be alone, go through life without a partner who cares about you.
Penelope: Okay, well that's one way of putting it. Actually, I've been talking about this in therapy, and I love being alone, it's the best. And we're strong women who don't need a partner to define us.
She knows that, but she knows that it's also okay to want a significant other. It doesn't make her any less independent.
Penelope doesn't need a man, but she's no longer afraid to admit that she would still like a companion. And definitely not the way Leslie phrases it.
Leslie: Let me just clear up some things. I am Dr. Leslie Berkowitz. Penelope's boss, and also I'm Lydia's exclusive, non-sexual, platonic companion.
Brian: What does that mean?
Leslie: I don't know.
Furthermore, this valuable lesson couldn't have come at a better time.
With most of us on lockdown, it's easy to feel lonely and insecure, especially when we're not surrounded by people we love.
The One Day At A Time Season 4 premiere reminds us that it's okay to feel lonely. You can be independent and still want to have a life partner.
And it's okay to admit that you miss someone you once loved, even if they are an ex. It doesn't make you any less independent, any less strong, and not any less of a "feminist badass."
Alex: Listen, Mom, you're a strong independent woman who doesn't need a man.
Penelope: Yup, got it, I agree. But it's okay for me to admit that I can still be a feminist badass and want a boyfriend.
The other half of "Checking Boxes" revolved around Elena and Syd's challenge -- to prove that they can go two days without speaking in preparation of their inevitable breakup before college.
Elena and Syd refuse to be one of those couples -- people who are naive enough to think that their first relationship will be their last.
Ultimately, they failed, thanks to Lydia intervening, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Elena and Syd may be attached at the hip, but this experienced helped them both realize that it shouldn't matter what other people think about high school couples.
Syd: But no high school couples make it through college. Are we just fooling ourselves? We don't wanna be those people.
Elena: You know what? Screw it. Let's be those people.
They love each other, and that's what counts. As long as Elena and Syd's feelings remain, they're going to try and be together.
Despite the episode focusing on Elena and Penelope's storylines, the other main characters were just as relevant to moving the story forward.
One Day at a Time always works in their characters flawlessly, even if they aren't the focus of the episode.
Lydia made an iconic grand entrance at the beginning of the episode, bringing absolute delight and humor to the scene.
An episode of One Day at a Time wouldn't be right without Lydia being her most authentic self -- something that is extremely appreciated, as she's easily one of the show's most beloved characters.
Schneider and Leslie may have had smaller roles during the episode, but they didn't go unnoticed.
As usual, Schneider nails his role as the overbearing hilarious landlord/family friend, and comforting confidante when needed.
Penelope needed his best friend, and he was there for her, in his usual funny and reassuring way.
And then there's the fact that Penelope admitted to her group therapy that she didn't want to date; she just wanted to skip right to the part where they already know everything about each other, and they can just be together.
Well, at that moment, we all thought of Schneider.
But he's happy with Avery, who we find out is moving in after Schneider asked her. Besides, Penelope is still hung up on Max a little bit.
The great thing about their relationship is that we'd truly be happy no matter what route the show decided to take -- whether Penelope and Schneider eventually fall for each other, or simply remain best friends, we'd be just as happy with either option.
As for Alex, he was integral to Elena and Syd's storyline.
He was the one who jokingly came up with the idea that Elena and Syd should spend some time apart as a test.
Although he wasn't as comforting as Schneider was to Penelope, he provided the comedic relief needed as Elena and Syd got serious.
Alex: Why don't you do a trial run? Like, you go to the bathroom, and Syd, you try not to file a missing persons' report.
Elena: Haha. We can be apart, Alex.
Syd: And they make you wait twenty-four hours.
Finally, the only thing that was disappointing was the unaddressed cliffhanger from the One Day At A Time Season 3 finale. Right now, it looks like the show is ignoring how Lydia and Leslie ended up in Cuba.
Perhaps a change in networks could be the reason, but it was still unsatisfying to have to wait all those months for "Checking Boxes," and then, nothing.
Here's to hoping that the show will return to the Cuba storyline on a future episode.
Turning to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of the season premiere?
Was it everything you hoped?
Were you disappointed by the lack of Lydia and Leslie in Cuba?
Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.