Ok, I know, I waited waaaaaay too long to write about “One Day at a Time”. The thing is, I’m a completist by nature, and our family is still just partway through the recently released third season. But when the news dropped yesterday that Netflix is cancelling the show, effectively ending hopes for a fourth season, I knew I had to spread the word as much as I can.
The classic 1970s Norman Lear sitcom about a single mom, her rebellious teenage daughters, and their overly protective superintendent Schneider was lovingly rebooted in 2017 by Lear’s production company. This time around, the series focuses on a Cuban-American family: single mom Penelope (Justina Machado), a nurse and Army veteran; her children Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz); and the very welcome addition of the always-delightful Rita Moreno as Penelope’s mother, Lydia, who lives with the family in their crowded apartment. There’s still a Schneider (Todd Grinnell), but now he’s a rich millennial lothario who owns and lives in the building.
The series has been critically lauded for tackling important and timely issues like mental illness, addiction, immigration, institutional sexism, and more with thoughtfulness as well as humour. And it has gently and realistically depicted the process of discovering one’s sexuality, as Elena gradually realizes in the first season that she is attracted to women, then comes out as gay to her family.
In the second season, we get to see Elena develop a crush, fall in love, and have a steady girlfriend. One of the highlights of the season for us was the scene in which Elena’s girlfriend stages a hilarious “promposal” to ask Elena to a school dance! It’s delightful to see a show that prominently features a healthy, positive, and age-appropriate gay relationship.
I’m really disappointed that Netflix couldn’t find the budget to continue the show, especially considering how much money they seem to be throwing around on other projects these days. “One Day at a Time” is a rare piece of entertainment that addresses current issues while still keeping the laughs coming at a regular pace, and also happens to feature an out gay character up front, not as a sidekick or recurring character. Although we’ll still have the three seasons currently on Netflix, it’s sad that it won’t continue.
Update: it’s alive, it’s aliiiiiiive!