Why Canceling One Day at a Time Is A Mistake

On March 14, 2019, Netflix canceled the show One Day at a Time, and here’s why that was a mistake.

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For one, One Day at a Time was an amazing show, hands down. The only reason Netflix canceled it was because not enough people were watching. There are tons of shows on Netflix that don’t get that many views, but One Day at a Time was an inclusive show that spoke about many important issues, from intersectional feminism to immigration, to rape, to racism.

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This show was a sitcom about a Cuban American family, simply living their lives “one day at a time.” I have never been so passionate about a show before and it makes me so angry just writing about how this show got cut. Why would Netflix keep a show like 13 Reasons Why, with its romanticization of suicide, and Insatiable, with its revenge plot, when they could have kept this inclusive show that challenged societal norms and controversies?

Let’s start with the character, Schneider. He was the Canadian landlord for Lydia, Penelope, Elena, and Alex. Despite Schneider’s affluent background, he struggled with alcoholism and was sober for most of the show. It wasn’t until season 3 when he spiraled back, breaking his long period of sobriety. One Day at a Time could have approached this issue in an incredibly judgmental way, but they have Schneider surrounded by his beloved “family” – the Alvarezes. He was neglected by his father and although he grew up very privileged, his struggles in life were not ignored. They were beautifully addressed, and he was given a spotlight, highlighting that even though an individual comes from a lot of money, their life isn’t always necessarily easy.

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Lydia was the eccentric grandmother that escaped Cuba during the 1960s. Coming to America, she didn’t know English and experienced a lot of sexual harassment and racism. She is so proud of being Cuban, which resulted in her decision to keep her citizenship in Cuba, never becoming an American citizen. With the help and convincing of her granddaughter, Elena, she became a citizen with her landlord, Schneider. Her love and commitment to Cuba are admirable, for she knows to never forget where she came from and what she did to get where she is. Her love for her late husband is really endearing too, for I have never seen someone so dedicated to another. Lydia’s story also addresses her struggle with her physical health, more specifically her strokes. Despite her constant denial, the whole family knows her struggle. This show highlights her struggles in a beautiful (and sometimes comedic) way.

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Next up is Penelope, the mom of Elena and Alex. A hardworking nurse who is taking care of Elena and Alex by herself (with some of Lydia’s help, of course). She is dedicated to her family and friends. On top of struggling with an injury and PTSD from her army days, she also has depression and anxiety. At first, she refuses to take the medication her doctor friend prescribes her but eventually takes it anyway. One day, she decides she doesn’t need to take it anymore, but the repercussions are immense. Because of this, she realizes that she will need it for the rest of her life. One Day at a Time goes about addressing the importance of mental health in a very serious way. Penelope’s struggle with both her physical and mental health takes a toll on her life, but it doesn’t stop her from trying her best. Despite adversity, she goes on to become a nurse practitioner and a wonderful friend to Schneider and caring mother to her children.

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Up next is Elena, Penelope’s daughter. She is a strong intersectional feminist who makes sure her opinions and values do not go unheard. As a woman of color from the LGBT community, she faces a lot of discrimination, whether it be from sexism, racism, or homophobia. While she may be criticized by her grandmother for being ‘annoying,’ she always stands up for herself. She deals with a lot, from the loss of her best friend due to the deportation of her parents to the isolation from her father, who hates that Elena is gay. Her story, along with everybody else’s in the show, is inspiring. Facing so many challenges, especially as someone so young, she doesn’t stop from being undeniably herself.

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Last but not least, is Alex, the youngest of the Alvarezes. He is confident and values popularity and his appearance. But despite his confidence, he too faces racism and discrimination. With the help of his mom, he has to try to channel his anger. Penelope said, if POC get mad, they win, and if POC are calm, they still win. It’s a lose-lose situation, and One Day at a Time addresses subtly why this is wrong, for change needs to be made. Although he may care about superficial and material things, he cares a lot about his family and friends. He has an incredibly close relationship with his grandmother, he yelled at his dad for not accepting Elena’s sexuality, he loves his mother very much, and he even was the first person to report about Schneider’s alcohol relapse. He values family more than anything.

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There you have it. Canceling this show was a mistake. I’m calling you out, Netflix. You say how One Day at a Time lacked viewers, but that is due to you not promoting this show. It addresses so many important issues, but you tend to promote shows like Insatiable. Not only is there Latinx (gender-neutral term) representation, but it is relatable to all groups of people, for it addresses topics like immigration, sexual assault, racism, sexism, mental health, and substance abuse. Netflix would rather update shows with a majority of white, heterosexual characters (like Riverdale), but refuses to continue One Day at a Time. How is everyone going to relate to some hot, white adults who are pretending to be rich high school students with murder on every corner? It sends out the wrong message to viewers, showing how people don’t care about the kinds of issues One Day at a Time combats. If Netflix had even attempted to promote this show, it probably could have been filming the fourth season right now. But sure, keep paying for shows that romanticize and promote, fatphobia, pedophilia, and suicide, and violence. No tea, no shade.