One Day at a Time is a charming remake of the sitcom with the same name which aired from 1975 to 1984. A witty and cleverly written portrayal of a Cuban-American family. The Alvarez family consists of army veteran Penelope, a divorcee with two children, Elena and Alex, and along with their grandma, Lydia, who’s recently lost her husband. To balance out the female to male cast ratio is Schneider, their neighbor who is an illegal alien and also a talented handyman and business owner. Now Penelope must balance family, work, personal life, and a very religious mother who still speaks to her deceased husband.
What makes One Day at a Time unique is how realistically it deals with the topics of being a Caribbean Hispanic in modern day America. As a Hispanic, I can’t state the amount of times I saw myself reflected within the characters’ behavior displayed on the show. The Cuban food, idioms, family closeness, religion, humor, and customs in the show are very similar to the Puerto Rican culture after all. It is because of this that I can review the show on a cultural spectrum and not simply as an entertainment medium. Yet, it’s not simply about the culture, but about the issues that currently exist in America for those of Spanish heritage.
The show does not shy away from topics such as immigration, institutionalized racism, homophobia, and sometimes more humorous ones such as the difficulty Hispanics have with certain word pronunciations. The drama also never really feels forced, thus it’s really easy to identify with the characters from the show. It’s important to note that while it never stops being an overall funny show, the seriousness by which it deals with the topics of each episode are handled with the respect it deserves. This is all helped by a very strong performance by the cast, and especially from Rita Moreno who portrays Lydia. Never have I seen a more accurate portrayal of a Hispanic Matriarch in television before her, and I watched the George Lopez show.
One Day at a Time is definitely one of the rising stars of Netflix and a worthy addition to any Hispanic family’s library.