I'm Devastated by Netflix's Cancellation of One Day at a Time and Here's Why You Should Be, Too

By Maria Ordoñez


The other day I was sitting in the dining hall, watching Netflix and crying - you know, the usual - when a friend came up to me with a concerned look on her face.

"Are you good?" she asked.

I laughed and nodded, catching the tear rolling down my cheek.

"What are you watching?"

"It's called One Day at a Time," I replied. "It's a comedy, I swear!"

Since then, I've watched the three-season long sitcom from start to finish about two and a half times (round three is currently in progress). In case you were wondering, I cry every single time.

I cry because as a young Latinx woman, as an immigrant, and as an intersectional feminist, this show makes me feel seen. It makes me feel represented. It makes me feel like more than just the token person of color. It makes me feel like a person. Like the characters on the show, I am not a stereotype, I am complex and I have quirks and I also happen to have an amazing culture.

For those who haven’t seen it, One Day at a Time is a comedy series based on a sitcom with the same name that was popular back in the 80s. This remake revolves around a Cuban-American family living in LA that deals with real issues and isn't afraid to talk about them. The family consists of Penelope "Lupita" Alvarez, the mom, Lydia Riera, the grandma, Schneider, the kooky neighbor, and Alejandro and Elena Alvarez, the kids.

The show was canceled by Netflix a few days ago and fans everywhere, including myself, were devastated by the cancellation. Here's what makes the show so special:

  1. 1. All the Latinx characters are portrayed by actual Latinx actors, what a concept...

    I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been watching a show and get excited about a Latinx character, only to find out that it's being portrayed by a white actor. 

    Masiela Lusha who played Carmen in George Lopez is actually Albanian-American. Noah Centineo who played Jesus in The Fosters is Italian, Dutch and Native American. Don't even get me started on Ronni Hawk, the white actress who has portrayed not one, but TWO Latinx roles. She starred as Rachel in Stuck in the Middle and has recently been criticized for her portrayal of Olivia in On My Block

    Like, really? You couldn't find a single Latinx actor? Sounds fake, but ok...

    Meanwhile, One Day at a Time has Latinxs playing Latinxs, from the main characters to the extras. And it’s about time!

  2. 2. Lupita is a matriarch, and she don't need no man!

    The Alvarez family is led by a woman, and she is a badass...

    Let me just give you a rundown of all the qualifications that make Lupita a badass:

    She is a nurse, an army veteran, a full-time mom, and a medical student. She has survived a toxic marriage, a rough divorce, and PTSD.

    Not only is she successfully raising two teenagers and a Schneider, but she is also taking care of her elderly mother, and she's doing it all on her own. 

    Conclusion: She don't need no man to hold this family together!

  3. 3. It's a comedy, but their stance on mental health is no joke.

    The Latinx community has a hard time talking about mental health, it's true. No one understands that more than me. I mean, my mom is a psychologist, and my dad is in denial that mental health even exists, so... disagreement.

    As a matter of fact, many traditional Latinx people don’t believe that mental health exists. In their eyes, if you can't see it or feel it or cure it with medicine, then it isn't real. And if it isn't real, then you should just stop being sad or angry or moody and get on with your life. 

    One Day at a Time addresses this belief and counters it with an honest conversation about depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. 

    Anxiety is something that I've personally struggled with for a long time, and all I can say is that I wish that this show had been around when I was 16 or 17. Maybe then I would've understood what I was dealing with and would've talked to somebody about it sooner.


  4. 4. It gives us the queer Latinx representation that we've BEEN needing.

    The intersection between being Latinx and being queer can be pretty tricky for many individuals. A huge part of this is the fact that Latin American culture is heavily rooted in the Catholic religion, which is generally anti-anything-remotely-LGBTQ+. But, that's a whole other article...

    In One Day at a Time, Elena Alvarez has one of the most touching coming-out stories that I've ever seen on TV. More importantly, her character is a fierce advocate for human rights and especially LGBTQ+ rights. She teaches us about gender identities, use of pronouns, consent, and stereotypes... and she's only 15!

    I love Elena for being unapologetically herself, and for, as Lydia says, "making everything gay."


  5. 5. Every episode is written in Spanglish.

    The unofficial native language of my hometown of Miami, Florida is Spanglish. I grew up using English and Spanish interchangeably, picking and choosing the best words from each to express myself. This is the only Latinx show I’ve seen where Spanish is a regular part of the characters' dialogue, not just a couple of lines thrown in here and there. 

    Listening to the characters speak the language that I communicate in brings me an immense amount of comfort. It reminds me of home. One Day at a Time is important to me because it allows me to have a piece of my culture when I'm away from home.

The uproar I've seen on social media to #SaveODAAT is a testament to how important representation is in the media. Maybe One Day at a Time didn't get enough views according to Netflix, but the views that it did get, made a difference. 

Somewhere out there, there's a young queer Latinx girl who feels inspired to come out. There's a mom struggling with depression who feels like she can ask for help. There's a young boy learning about consent for the first time. The Alvarez family taught us these things.

And if we’re lucky, a network will come to their rescue so that they can keep teaching us!


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