This is a recap I wrote about one of my favorite shows. It’s final season aired on Netflix and it got cancelled, but I’m hoping with enough traction, another network will pick it up. Here is the original post.
There was a moment there last year when One Day at a Time (ODAAT) fans weren’t sure if they’d get a season 3, but thanks to some persuasive hype from fans across Twitter and the internet overall, this little show that could saw the light of day once more. You could say, it’s taking things one day at a time (okay, I’m sorry, but Elena Alvarez would be proud of that one).
Speaking of Elena Alvarez and pride, this season of ODAAT continues the energetic and quirky Latinx’s coming out and coming of age story. The show does a magnificent job of depicting her growing relationship with her Sydnificant Other and taking the next step: sex. Yes, that’s right. ODAAT tackles the quintessential teenagers and sex storyline not with a heterosexual couple, but with a queer one, and that’s just sensational.
Why is it sensational you ask? Because most shows deal with this subject from the heteronormative perspective, with parents worrying about their babies learning the logistics of intercourse, teaching them about safe sex, and just what taking that next step can mean for a 15-year-old.
In this show, Penelope Alvarez, Elena’s mom, goes through the exact same concerns and worries about her daughter, and even consults her go-to lesbian friend for advice on how to handle the situation. This is one of the many things that makes the show so special. It doesn’t shy away from the hard conversations, it makes sure to include as many perspectives as possible, and it has so much fun and heart while doing it.
One Day at a Time covers all matters, from drug use, to addiction, to rape culture, to the idea of womanhood in contemporary times. The episodes that focus on Alex’s encounters with smoking and marijuana contain the humor you’d expect from a sitcom, but also touch on a valid point of view concerning brown communities.
His mom admits that she also smoked when she was about his age, but tells the story with an experience of being the only girl in her group of friends to get arrested while the rest were let off with warnings. She doesn’t approach the matter as one of criminality, but she is realistic about the implications of Alex getting caught.
Possibly one of the most heartbreaking moments in the season is Schneider’s relapse. Since the first episode, the audience has rooted for the honorary Alvarez member, so to watch him fall after eight years of sobriety was devastating, giving fans a minor taste of what actual families of addicts must feel. Though it’s met with all the severity called for from such a situation, it is not without compassion.
The Alvarez family stands by Schneider’s side as he admits he’s fallen off the wagon. While Penelope gives him the reprimand he needed, she also gives him the love and friendship he needs to get back up. She is absolutely the perfect picture of the Latinx mom: tough, but full of love.
So much more happens throughout season 3, including a phenomenal ending where Penelope goes through a crisis of identity and comes out with the realization that she is her own happy ending, and graduates as a nurse practitioner (dale, Lupita, dale!). With each passing season, Gloria Calderón Kellett, Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, and the whole ODAAT team prove that shows about people of color can resonate across all boundaries while representing their communities.
So, someone, please, please, please make season 4 happen! If you want to get on the social media campaign to help this show out, use #SaveODAAT.