‘One Day at a Time’ takes it one episode at a time

Back to Article
Back to Article

‘One Day at a Time’ takes it one episode at a time

Picture Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix

Picture Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix

Picture Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix

Picture Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix

Yukta Parikh

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

May contain possible spoilers from season one and two

One Day at a Time may not have made many waves when it was first released, but it is slowly gaining momentum. The second season only proves how much people need this show and how timely it is considering the social and political climate right now.

Although it is a remake of a Norman Lear show from the seventies, the show screams 2017 from the “hipster” neighbor to the wide variety of topics discussed such as sexuality and immigration.

The show follows Penelope Alvarez, a recently divorced mother and an army veteran, and her Cuban family as they deal with the ups and downs of life. Season one focuses mostly on Penelope and how she balances work, family, and even annoying neighbors. Throughout the season Penelope deals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and with her daughter’s imminent quinceañera, which is one of the central issues in season two.

Season two, which premiered on Jan. 26, 2017, takes place a year after season one. The first episode of season two begins with the entire family attending Alex’s baseball game. Alex is Penelope’s son. Throughout the season issues such as immigration, racism, homophobia, gender, depression, and the stigma around mental illnesses are brought up and accented with biting humor, albeit cheesy.

Season two was a fantastic addition to the already fantastic show. It added more development to the characters and went further into their history. It also expanded on issues that were first brought up in season one such as Penelope’s PTSD, Elena’s sexuality, and immigration. The show delves deeper into serious topics while simultaneous lightening the mood with a wisecracking joke. One Day at a Time shows that it’s possible to talk about important issues while still keeping the mood light.

The show balances issues that many people in America are facing currently with simple everyday things such as family dinners, homework, school dances, and work. It is also filled with hilarious jokes and even references to things in the real world which make it even more relatable.

The show also makes an effort to make the storylines as accurate as possible.

“One of the things that’s so special about this show is that it’s very authentically Latino,” Rita Moreno, actress who portrays Lydia, said in an interview.

Although the show has a more comedic theme, sad moments are handled beautifully, which is due to the phenomenal cast and crew. The cast includes Moreno as Lydia, Penelope’s mother, who has starred in movies like “West Side Story” (1961) and “Singing in the Rain” (1952).

There’s also an entire episode dedicated to Penelope facing the fact that she may have to remain on anti-depressants for the rest of her life, which really puts Justina Machado’s acting skills on display. Machado perfectly captures the feelings that come with depression and honestly portrays them to the viewers.

One Day at a Time really goes above and beyond by handling important situations gently and sensitively. The show makes sure that Elena’s sexuality is further developed and doesn’t just sit in the corner. We even get to see her developing a crush and having her first relationship with another girl. It’s amazing to finally see a show that finally acknowledges a character’s sexuality and doesn’t just brush over it.

Viewers will also see a lot of growth with the characters, whether it’s learning something new or simply growing up. This is especially evident in both Alex and Elena. They’re both teenagers and viewers can really see them adjusting to new problems that arise. The relationship between the siblings is also funny to watch. They go from being at each other’s throats to being best friends in a matter of seconds.

The characters also learn a lot from each other, thanks to Elena’s political commentary and the show handles conflicts like that perfectly.

“Often on TV, an issue comes up, people fight about it, and then somebody’s mind gets changed at the end,” Gloria Calderon Kellett, a writer for One Day at a Time, “But there are many episodes we have where people don’t change their minds. I think that’s more real — we don’t [change our minds], but maybe we see the world a little differently or we understand each other a little bit more.”

All in all, One Day at a Time, is existing proof that not all reboots fall flat.