One Day at a Time: The Runaways

Here are 3 things I learned from this show that have nothing to do with the actual show.

  1. I thought this show was about two older women raising a little girl. But then I realized that it’s actually two daughters and the one I thought was the mom’s friend is actually a teenage daughter played by Mackenzie Phillips.
  2. Netflix is rebooting this series.
  3. The guy who played Veda Sultenfuss’s uncle in My Girl is the mom’s romantic interest.

600x600bb-85So here’s a quick run down of this four (4!) part episode. Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) is a senior in high school and she wants to marry her college drop-out boyfriend, Chuck. Her mother thinks that it’s stupid for her to a. get married while still in high school and b. marry a guy with no job and no education, so she forbids her to see him. They then runaway together.

After a day or so of living in a van, Julie seems to be regretting her decision a little bit but she stands firm in her convictions and distracts herself by making out with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Julie’s mom and her Chuck’s parents join forces to try to find the kids. But it basically consists of them saying that they have no idea where the kids might be and then Chuck’s parents judge Julie’s mother heavily for raising her daughter to be such a skank.

Then Julie and Chuck pick up a couple of strangers. (I guess van rent was getting too expensive for just the two of them.) After spending the night with some actual runaways, they realize they might be more like their parents than they expected. Basically, Julie tells the real runaways to get jobs instead of begging for money. And then the real runaways quietly plot to steal the van’s tape deck.

Luckily, their apartment super has an oddly close relationship with Julie’s mom. He makes friends with a bunch of CB radio-using truck drivers. Those truck drivers eventually track down the van.

But then things get a little scary. The cops bring the kids home only it’s not Julie and Chuck. It’s the REAL runaways. And one of them is wearing Julie’s necklace. So I’m thinking we have a robbery-homicide on our hand here, people.

But maybe I over-reacted because Julie and Chuck have actually moved to a motel. They’re selling blood and making money at a car wash. Julie decides to call Barbara, her little sister, to ask for money. She tries to get Barbara not to tell their mom where she is, but Barbara isn’t an ass so she tells her sister that she’s not going to play along. Very special pro-tip: it’s not nice to let your parents think you might be dead.

So Barbara sends their mother over to the roach-infested motel and Julie, for some reason, thinks she has bargaining power. She demands to come home under her own rules: coming and going as she pleases, taking trips with her boyfriend whenever, and not checking in with her mother. She wants to be treated as an adult, while her mother pays all of the bills and feeds her.

So yeah, that’s a pretty sweet deal. But her mother is actually a good mother and therefore doesn’t agree to Julie’s terms. It’s television, so the strong-arm method works and Julie comes home because she “misses showering.”

Very Special Lesson: You might think it’s all over and done with once your runaway comes home from a fleabag motel. But before you relax on the couch to the sounds of your children bickering underneath the safety of your roof, you’ll definitely want to call an exterminator. Put him on retainer. You’ll need him on standby.


8 thoughts on “One Day at a Time: The Runaways

  1. From the picture it really does look like two women around the same age. The mother must’ve had Julie when she was in high school. Also, they really made the guy (who I’m guessing is the super) look really creepy in that promo pic.

    1. Haha yeah the super is pretty creepy looking. It’s not just the picture. I think the mom did have the older daughter at like 18 or so. That’s part of why she was so adamant that she not get married young.

  2. haven’t ever seen this show. Being in Australia we get many US shows but not all and to be honest…. I tend to watch brittish and Australian shows. All the best with the rest of the AtoZ challenge

  3. I may have watched a few episodes of this show in the past, but I was not a regular. There are not too many shows that I have watched on a regular basis in the last 40 years or so.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  4. I watched this show regularly waaaaay back in the 70s. McKenzie Phillips(Julie)is only six months older than Valerie Bertinelli ,who played her younger sister Barbara. McKenzie just always looked old for her age.

      1. You’re welcome! I was just thinking about this episode today, though I haven’t seen it in years. It’s one of my favorite episodes of the series, and the fact that it is a four-parter just ramps up the suspense! I thought all three main actresses did an outstanding job in it.

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