Why You Need to Stop Sleeping on One Day at a Time

On February 8, Netflix’s original series One Day At A Time premiered its third season. The series stars a Cuban-American family, led by a single mom who is the epitome of a #shero; Justina Muchado plays Penelope Alvarez, who is a war veteran just trying to get by one day at a time--get it? Other members of the cast include legend (literally legend this woman has won an EGOT) Rita Moreno, who plays Lydia, the sass-filled grandma who always humbles the family; Isabella Gomez who stars as Elena, Penelope’s daughter who recently came out as gay; and Marcel Ruiz, Penelope’s son Alex. Todd Grinnell rounds out the cast as the Alvarez’s landlord Schneider who although is not a blood-relative always finds an excuse to invite himself for dinner.

While the cast is extremely unique and talented, the show also tackles important topics. Although One Day at a Time is a sitcom, they aren't afraid to dive into heavy topics such as consent, toxic masculinity, panic attacks and PTSD, as well as alcoholism. Unlike other shows who attempt to incorporate these topics into their storylines, this cast handles them so well that these otherwise stressful situations seem to come naturally. With our current socio-economic climate, it comes as no surprise that so many shows are taking on these topics which are so heavily discussed throughout our daily lives. However, it seems that more often than not their representation of this is false, especially when depicting young people.

This is why I love Penelope’s daughter Elena so much; she is so unapologetically herself. She is smart, stands up for herself, and speaks out for those who can’t. Within three seasons she has already had to face her best friend being deported, her father rejecting her for her sexuality, and her inner battles with anxiety. Despite this, she has remembered who she is and stayed true to that.

Elena does use social media, but she's not obsessed with it. Social media doesn't define her, just as being a feminist and using her voice to speak on women’s issues does not define her. She is one of the realest characters I have seen in a long time. Elena is not one-dimensional; she is flawed, she is awkward, she is getting closer to finding herself every day.  

Another reason to love the Alvarez family is their pride in their Cuban heritage. It is important to note that One Day at a Time is a reboot the original sitcom which premiered in the 70s starring a white family. I love how Netflix chose to recreate the show using a latinx family as there is not a lot of representation for the latinx community on television. The Alvarezes are proud to be Cuban and often integrate their culture into the show using different aspects and traditions such as food and decor. One Day at a Time has a lot of heart and it is a great show if you need a to laugh, cry, or just need to feel a little love.