Okay, first of all, I love this show. I’m currently not caught up on season 3, which just came out like a week ago, but I’m really close to finishing season 2. This is such a great show and I felt it was the perfect thing to review since it just came back.
The first thing about the show that I want you to take special note of is the fact that it stars a Cuban-American family! It’s really refreshing to see diversity and a culture different from my own. It follows a mom living with her two kids and mother and also their weird and rich landlord (Pat Schneider; played by Todd Grinnell) of the building tends to stop by a lot as comedic relief.
The story hits on many different subjects, such as sexism, homophobia, mental illness, immigration, and what it’s like to live as latino in the US. One aspect that I really loved was that the daughter, Elena Alvarez (played by Isabella Gomez) is very much like a lot of people in my generation. She is a feminist, is very passionate that everyone be treated equally, and her storyline of being an open lesbian encourages the discussion of gay people of color (more specifically Latinx) and coming out to christian families.
The mom, Penelope Alvarez (played by Justina Machado), is a veteran (currently a nurse) dealing with anxiety and depression. She attends group therapy meetings and is on anti-depression medication. I like how they put a lot of emphasis on the fact that veterans do deal with a lot of problems when they come back from serving and a lot of people don’t realize the extent of it. We are told on several occasions that it affected Penelope’s husband in a negative way (he is also a veteran), so much so, that it messed up their marriage leaving Penelope to take care of her two kids only with the help of her mom.
Alejandro “Alex” Alvarez (played by Marcel Ruiz) is your typical teenager. He likes hanging out with his friends, playing video games, and making fun of his sister. What I really love about him is no matter how much he does make fun of her, he will always have her back. When someone very close to Elena didn’t accept who she was, he tried desperately to defend her and make them see it from her side. He has had his fair share of life lessons, but one that really stood out to me was in the beginning of season 1 when he hated being called his nickname, “Papito” because his classmates at school made fun of him using different stereotypes and called him awful names because he was Cuban. That storyline really showed what it was like to be a minority in everyday life as a kid.
Lastly, Lydia Riera (the grandmother; played by Rita Moreno) deals with her own situation of trying to become an American citizen as she often reflects on how she came to America, the troubles she has dealt with being Cuban, and being very traditional (christian). I love how dramatic she can be sometimes, but she really is an overall amazing person. She cares very much for her daughter and grandchildren and although sometimes her beliefs conflict with situations around her, she finds it in her heart to understand what other people are going through.
One Day at a Time is a truly an amazing show and although it is based off of a sitcom of the same name years ago, it is special and making such a big impact now in its own way. I would highly recommend watching this show, if not for the important issues talked about in it, but also for the laughs.
~I give it a 10/10 (and not just because I love it…)~