Alright for those of you who are super observant, yes I missed fiction Friday last week, therefore to keep myself on my toes this week I will attempt making a post everyday, and doubling up Friday. The penalty if I don’t is pretty much the usual my own self shame. So without further or do here are my thoughts on the Netflix show One Day at a Time, which I binge watched yesterday. I’m a little over a month late, but for me that’s actually really impressive.
In case you didn’t know (in which case this review is for you!) One Day at a Time is a reboot/remake of a sitcom of the same name from the 70s-80s that featured a divorced mom and her two teenage daughters. It features a Cuban family consisting of a single mom (who’s a nurse and war vet), her mother (who came to America from Cuba), her teenage daughter (who very proudly wears the title feminist), and her preteen son (who is clearly abuela’s favorite). I’ve never seen a single episode of the original, and honestly if I did I don’t think it could compare. When people talk of remaking something this show should be the model, because it stands very strongly on it’s own, and it covers issues that are very very relevant in a way the doesn’t feel like ‘a very special episode’.
It doesn’t feel that way because for most of the story lines all the characters are dealing with ongoing issue’s and very rarely are they learning life lessons because of a neighbor or one of the kids friends. The teenage daughter, Elena, (sorta spoiler alert) is actually gay (not a random kid from her school) and that storyline flows through several (in fact arguably all) episodes. The mother, Penelope, deals with mental health issues related to her stress and status as a veteran the whole season, and very relatably has trouble getting her mother to understand them. A lot of POC can relate to being taught to bottle their feelings up for whatever reason. It’s a bit of a survival tactic, which does not have a place in our changing times. The entire family deals with being latinx in a country that lumps them all together and doesn’t always know how to handle the struggles they face.
In fact if I had any negative criticism of the show show it’d be that not all the main cast are actually Cuban. I myself am not Cuban so I won’t get too deep into it, but you run into the same type of issue if you cast a Japanese person to play a Korean person, maybe a general american audience might not know the difference, but the cultures are not the same. Some people I’ve seen also voiced displeasure at the ‘laugh track’ (in quotes because it might be a live audience), but that didn’t really bother me, possibly because I was laughing at the same time as everyone else.
Overall it’s a show I recommend watching because it made me laugh, cry, and think in equal measure and I’m not sure a sitcom has done that for me in a long time. Despite not being Cuban I found it very relatable coming from immigrant parents (on my mom’s side) and living with my mom, sister, and grandma after my parents divorced. The show is currently on Netflix and I don’t know if it’s going to get a second season, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed because some shows don’t reach this level until they get to their third season and One Day at a Time definitely has more stories to tell. See you tomorrow for my continued punishment ✌🏽