Review of Netflix Original: One Day at a Time

Disclaimer: this article may contain spoilers

It’s hard to choose what to watch next on Netflix; so many variables are weighed and taken into consideration before deciding. Should you embark on the mini-series with four, two hour long episodes? Do you really have the commitment to start an eight-season long drama? Ugh, are some of these obviously low-budget Netflix Originals even worth a glance? Finally, the most important question, is this show even good?

As I filtered through Netflix one night, I came across the trailer for the Netflix Original Show: One Day at a Time. I will admit, I was very hesitant at first, but I eventually decided to give it a look. As a Latina woman, I was initially intrigued by the fact that the sitcom follows the life of a Cuban-American family. *Also, each episode is only about 20 minutes long, which didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice. * The show was inspired by the CBS sitcom of the same name, which aired from 1975 to 1984 starring Bonnie Franklin who played a newly single mother trying to raise her two children in Indianapolis, Indiana. In Netflix’s rendition of the show, the mother is a spunky Cuban-American woman and retired military veteran, who recently separated from her husband and with the aid of her mom, is readjusting to civilian life and raising two kids in Florida.  

Let me be honest, I was a hater at first. I thought the pilot episode of One Day at a Time was boring and typical. I am so used to seeing the media portray Latino families composed of single mothers and crazy grandmas, that I thought this was going to be just another stereotyped entertainment disappointment. *Ughhh Jane the Virgin is the bane of my existence*

Man, was I wrong. I gave the show a chance, and by the second episode I was hooked.

One Day at a Time manages to balance comedy while still touching real topics many families undergo.

For instance, Penelope, the mother, faces many challenges as a retired military veteran. One episode clearly depicts the nuisance many veterans endure due to the disorganization and lack of help received from VA hospitals. Also, the stigmas against mental health disorders which still reside in many communities are seen when Penelope admits that she simply cannot “just handle” her PTSD and is shamed by her conservative, Latina mother for “giving up” and taking medication.

I was constantly reminded of Penelope’s strength not only as a veteran, but as a woman, and a mother. In later episodes, it is further explained that despite her deep love for her husband—who is also a military man—Penelope made the decision to separate from him due to his alcoholism and reluctance to find help for his PTSD. In the end, she decided what was best for her and her two kids, and stood by her decision.

The show also touches on further topics such as the deportation of immigrants, as well as the sacrifices many Cubans made as they left their homeland during Castro’s revolution. My respect for the show rose even more during an episode in which Penelope’s daughter, Elena, comes out to her mom. Although shocked at first, Penelope supports her daughter, despite the backlash from her husband.

Now, I hope I don’t make the show seem like it’s really heavy. Most of the time, they’re laughing, cracking jokes, and salsa dancing.

I think that’s what I loved about One Day at a Time: it was relatable. It was like most households: filled with challenges but lots of love.