On the day I am writing this, March 14, 2019, Netflix announced that they would not be renewing their Netflix original series “One Day at a Time.” I was in the middle of my shift at work when I found out and I couldn’t hold back the tears. This show has occupied its own little corner of my heart during its three existing seasons. For the last couple of weeks, the hashtag #RenewODAAT occupied my Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat feeds after creators of the show announced that Netflix was in the process of deciding whether or not they should renew the show. All the show’s fans united in an attempt to boost viewers, but it just wasn’t enough; Netflix released a statement on Twitter explaining, “we spent several weeks trying to find a way to make another season work but, in the end, simply not enough people watched to justify another season.”
As a media major myself, I understand that the production of a show costs an unimaginable amount of money to produce and if Netflix hopes to make any money back on the series, they need to attract a certain amount of viewers, but I think there are more important things to consider. I believe, this time, there were factors that were far more important than money—representation.
This is the first time in my life that I have ever felt properly represented in a show. I would watch this show and I would feel like my experiences were worth talking about. During the push for more views, I saw various individuals on social media talk about why they didn’t have any particular interest in the show. Some because these weren’t experiences they could relate to—I am so infuriated by those types of comments. That is what I have felt my entire life. I didn’t have the option of just watching shows that I related to because they didn’t exist. This show has done so much for the visibility of marginalized communities; it has made us more seen. This show has addressed a wide variety of important topics, in both beautiful and sensitive ways. They have acknowledged the struggles of first-generation children of immigrants, Latinx families, sexism and microaggressions, colorism and racism, the obstacles gender non-conforming folk face, PTSD of war veterans, depression and anxiety as a mother, adequate representation of LGBTQ+ individuals, the debate on marijuana legalization, among so many others stories. This show has given a voice to thousands of people who have always felt invisible when looking at TV shows and cinema films.
Whenever someone asks me why representation is important, I wish I could verbalize the feeling that watching this show has given me; mostly because they would understand immediately. They would understand that, growing up, never seeing anyone that looks, speaks, or even has similar life experiences to you is traumatizing in the most subliminal and permeating of ways. I needed this show, my people needed this show, and there is still hope. One of the shows co-creators, Gloria Calderon Kellet made a statement saying, “I believe in miracles. So, maybe we’ll find a home somewhere else. I hope we do cause Mike Royce and I have a lot more for these wonderful characters to do.” This has led myself, and others, to believe that ODAAT will be looking for another network to take the show under its wings.
I have hope. I have hope that some network, somewhere, will make representation their priority. I have faith in my Latinx brothers and sisters, we will make our voices heard. P’alante mi gente!