One Day at a Time (2017) – Season 1-2
In the age of IP revamps, remakes and revivals; Netflix’s Cuban-American remake of One Day at a Time shines bright on the sitcom front. Based on the idea of the 1975 CBS show following the life of a single mom and her children; we now follow newly-divorced Penelope (Justina Machado) dealing with her brand new life, which includes her two kids— Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz) [nicknamed Papito xD]; Abuelita Lydia (Rita Moreno)… and their busybody landlord, Schneider (Todd Grinnell).
This new version of One Day at a Time is a fresh way to follow the premise of the original story, allowing a more fluid cross-generational interaction than Fresh Off the Boat had been able to manage with their grandmother-grandchildren relationship. In here, of course, Rita Moreno is a show-stealer. Justina Machado is solid in her performance; she’s sarcastically funny and the worry for her children anchors the whole show, but EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that comes out of Moreno’s mouth makes me burst out laughing.
As with many of the American shows one tends to watch, the first season feels better than the second, with the highlight of Ep.01×10 Sex Talk, which finds Penelope worrying about all the Alvarez children when she finds their laptop being used to watch a pornographic video. The whole episode is a riot, and hits a high with Penelope entering Elena’s new boy friend’s house through the doggie door. But it also allows for dialog with Elena, changing the course of the last few episodes (Ep.01×13 Quinces) in the season and carries on to the second one. The slight shift in tone makes One Day at a Time less of a breeze to watch, but it allows a place to talk about sexuality, racism, mental illness, patriotism and civic duty; with the highlight episode of Penelope who has a mental breakdown when she decides to stop taking her meds, on top of stopping going to therapy for her PTSD, leading to a heart-to-heart with Schneider.
The series needs to stay away from the preachy Will & Grace revival thing, though. It just gets really annoying.