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Why You Should Watch ‘One Day at a Time’ on Netflix

‘One Day at a Time’ is an original series on Netflix inspired by a 1975 sitcom series of the same name created by Norman Lear. The show follows a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles with an Army veteran single mom, eccentric Cuban grandmother, an activist teenage daughter, and tween son. With a wonderfully talented cast and excellent writing, there are so many reasons to settle in tonight and enjoy one of the best shows Netflix has to offer.


A Proud Cuban Family

‘One Day at a Time’ represents a family that is Cuban-American and proud. The Alvarez family discusses Cuban traditions, values, and stories and how they blend and fit into their life in Los Angeles. In episode one, the family’s activist daughter Elena quarrels with her grandmother about the traditions behind having a quinceañera. Single mother Penelope often discusses what it’s like being an American veteran and dealing with issues such as previous injuries and struggling to receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite sometimes struggling with tradition vs. progressive ideals and racist situations, the Alvarez family remains a proud representation of a Cuban-American family. As anyone paying attention to Hollywood today can attest to, representation is so important.



Comedic Moments

As important as the Cuban-American representation is to the identity of this show, you don’t have to be Cuban-American to enjoy it. One Day at a Time manages to skillfully weave together multiple plot lines a season ranging from dramatic to comedic, but the base of this show is the comedy. From the unique characters to the tricky situations they find themselves in, to quick one-liners, I guarantee you will laugh every episode no matter how many other emotions you may feel. From the family’s eccentric abuelita to the goofy but lovable building manager Schneider, this family will make you laugh and relate more than you’d expect.


Rita Moreno

Latina queen Rita Moreno continues to bring us iconic characters well into her 80s. Moreno plays the Alvarez family’s Abuelita Lydia, who fled Cuba as a child following Fidel Castro’s rise to power.



Lydia is not a boring grandmother, but instead loves her makeup and heels and proudly displays her femininity. She often clashes with her progressive granddaughter Elena with her traditional values and always has an opinion for her daughter Penelope, but is nevertheless always there to love and support her family. Her stories about meeting her husband and leaving everything in Cuba while she immigrated to America will leave you in tears. If you need one reason to watch this show, let it be Rita Moreno. Dale Abuelita!


Real Issues

In between comedic moments lies the discussion of real and heartfelt issues. Penelope deals with supporting her family while struggling with anxiety and depression as a result of PTSD from serving in the Army. The series deals with delicate issues such as the stigma of taking medication for mental health and going to therapy. Schneider, who happens to be the Alvarez family’s landlord and close friends speaks openly about his struggles with addiction and maintaining sobriety. In between comedic moments and discussions of deep issues, the series also features touching moments that every family can relate to.



Representation for the LGBT+ Community (Spoilers Ahead)

As mentioned before, this show goes above and beyond in its efforts to represent many different cultures and communities and the LGBT+ community is no exception. Throughout the series, the family’s sole daughter Elena comes to terms in discovering and expressing her sexuality. From coming out to her family to finding a significant other, Elena is an authentic representation of a teen coming to terms with being gay. The show deals with coming out to family members who are immediately accepting or may take a while to accept. Elena also finds a significant other in Syd, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns, they/them. Elena and her family have many important discussions from dealing with microaggressions to understanding how to be allies.


We Need To Save It

‘One Day at a Time’ has received 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes for season one, while seasons two and three have both received 100 percent. Critics and fans alike can agree that this show remains incredibly honest and entertaining. Shortly after season 3 was released, the show’s co-runner Gloria Calderón Kellett met with Netflix to discuss the future of the show. While the streaming service expressed their love of ‘One Day at a Time’, they made it clear that for the series to continue, viewership would need to increase. The series turned to Twitter for support with #RenewOneDayatATime trending for a while. Fans such as myself are spreading the word and urging fans of quality television to watch and support this show. Give this show a chance, I promise you will not be disappointed.


No matter what your Netflix page looks like, One Day at a Time is a heartfelt, wonderfully written sitcom that will have you laughing and singing along to the theme song before you finish season one. Look no further for your next Netflix binge!


Madeline Nortz is currently a senior at Marymount Manhattan College after transferring from Tarrant County College in Texas. She is a Strategic Communications Major with a minor in Digital Journalism. She is passionate about social media and feminism and loves theatre, pasta, literature, traveling, and trivia. She hopes to one day publish a novel.
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