One Day at a Time may in fact be the best sitcom that I have ever had the good fortune to lay my eyes upon, and I’ve seen every episode of friends. This is a Netflix Need to Watch for sure.
It isn’t quite a reboot, where all the characters are shouting Ole & downing sangria, nor is it a remake, it hasn’t brought back old characters with rehashed plotlines no it is far superior.
This is a story of a military veteran, Cuban-American nurse, who also happens to be a single mother, Penelope Alvarez, dealing with trials and tribulations that all of those things bring. This is a story about family, the family you have and the family you choose.
Sure it’s a reimagining of a classic white American sitcom, but this Latin comedy doesn’t just tick the “ethnicity required” box. Rita Moreno plays the traditional religious grandmother who cooks and fawns over her grandchildren, and that is the closest you will get to a stereotype on this show.
There are no gangbangers, or wise-ass sidekicks which tend to dominate the Latin representation in TV land. No not here. This is a realm where being Latin adds depth to the characters instead of diluting them.
One Day at a Time fights the stereotypes that are so often projected onto the screen, there are Mexican goths, Cuban LGBT nerds, female veterans and even, an illegal Canadian.
This is diversity at its finest, representation matters, and it makes it clear that this isn’t a Latin bubble. Some shows ensure that all POC characters stay within their POC designated zone, whereas ODaaT is rooted in real life. There are white neighbors & colleagues, there are Asian children, African-American friends and more.
This is in no doubt that the writers room isn’t just a bunch of white guys assuming how Latin people live, no there is a truly diverse writing team, half of which is Hispanic, with people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban & El Salvadorian origin. There are LGBTQ+, POC & female writers, which is refreshing.
Laugh & Cry
One Day at a Time is a juggling act, with joy in one hand and sorrow in the other. Don’t get me wrong, the show is funny, in fact, it’s downright hilarious, See-Schneider’s Quinoa.
But, I have literally been brought to tears by this program. Proper face leakage. See-Buying a Car. ODaaT does a good job at making you care for the characters, for making them multi-faceted and deeply layered. It gave me reasons to care for each and every one of them.
There are aspects of this show that will hit home with you one way or another. Whether it’s a teenage girl discovering herself, a woman fighting for a pay raise or an old man getting a second chance at happiness, it is a beautiful sight to behold.
Is One Day at a Time Feminist?
Yes. Oh sorry, I suppose you’ll be wanting an explanation.
Elena, the 15 year old social justice warrior is the epitome of modern feminism, and the most overt use of it on the show. She fights gender norms, she’s respectful but not submissive to the opposite sex, she opposes sexual oppression & she watches porn.
Schneider, the building owner & manager, manages to be that white guy, like Joey, but smarter, and with glasses, but he is caring and sensitive and he shows it without fear, without regret.
Penelope is strong, physically and emotionally, except she isn’t always. She’s dealing with an injury, her divorce, her mental health and the wage pay gap.
Each character is flawed and that’s a good thing. No one person is superior to any other, there are no “perfect” characters. When a character is being an arse, they’re usually called out immediately.
It’s okay n not to be okay, you’ve just got to take it one day at a time.