The Show You Have to Binge Watch This Summer

Summer break can mean a lot of things: time with family, days at the beach, or often long hours working, just to name a few. But for many, it also means no homework! (Cue High School Musical 2 somewhere in the distance). If you are looking forward to time to sit back and binge watching some new shows, there is one you absolutely cannot miss - and that is Netflix’s One Day at a Time.

 

One Day at a Time is like if Full House dealt with actual real world issues instead of corny ones, and was actually funny. A somewhat-remake of a 70’s sitcom, ODAAT is the story of the Alvarez family: Penelope, a single mother and veteran, Elena, a social justice-fueled older teen, Alex, Elena’s younger brother, and Lydia, Penelope’s mother, played by the great Rita Moreno. There is also Dr. Leslie Berkowitz, Penelope’s boss and Lydia’s friend, and Schneider, the landlord who is pretty much an Alvarez at this point. Living in southern California, The Alvarez’s are a proud Cuban-American family, living everyday life - both the ups and the downs that come with it.

 

It is impossible to make a list of every serious topic that the show discusses and makes approachable, without making fun of, but for starters: coming out, mental illness, PTSD, immigration, sexism, religion, divorce, and substance abuse - and most of that is just in season one. Generally, each episode centers around an issue and has some sort of message, but it never feels forced. They are always built into the real lives of these real people, and therefore it just feels like great storytelling.

 

I mentioned before that ODAAT is seriously, for reals, funny. I rarely laugh out loud at even The Office or Parks and Recreation - and yet, every. single. episode. I laugh out loud at this show. Whether it is Schneider being the “token straight white man” trying to grasp mansplaining or Lydia dancing around the apartment, the laugh track does not feel like an annoyance, because I usually need that time to stop laughing myself.

 

I already mentioned that the show stars Rita Moreno, but it has also had many impressive guest stars, from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero, to Gloria Estefan, who also sings the show’s theme song. The cast is so incredibly talented that you do not feel like you are watching Netflix, you just feel like you are sitting in their living room - that is how real the acting and the stories are.

 

There are currently three seasons available on Netflix, 39 episodes total. Netflix unfortunately decided to cancel the show, meaning that a fourth season is a bit in jeopardy - but many fans, including high profile ones like Lin Manuel Miranda, are working to save it. For an actually funny comedy with a heart of gold, just take One Day at a Time one episode, at a time.