One Day At A Time is hands down the best show on Netflix right now and if you don’t agree you can fight me

Written for The i Paper.

One Day At A Time on Netflix has been renewed for a third season which proves that there is some good in the world after all. This earnest multi-cam sitcom about a Cuban American family is one of the best things on TV right now. It’s setup is sweet and simple, a single mother living in L.A. trying her best to provide for her family, but it completely flips the script on you with its savage and often poignant commentary on social justice issues. The show casually challenges some of the more touchy subjects in our society with nuance and grace while still being really funny.

The lead character, Penelope Riera Alvarez (Justina Machado) is an army veteran who now works in a local doctors surgery as a nurse. We see her deal with depression, PTSD and government bureaucracy. Recently separated from her husband, Penelope tries to adjust to life raising her children alone, with the support of her formidable mother. In the first season the Alvarez family start preparing for a quinceanera. Penelope’s daughter, Elena, is coming of age and everyone is excited to celebrate. Except Elena.

Elena (Isabella Gomez) is a child formed by the world of 2018. She is politically engaged, enjoys a good protest and isn’t afraid to make herself heard. She deems the quinceanera a patriarchal institution and wants nothing to do with it – much to her grandmother’s alarm. Elena is passionate and slightly obnoxious, desperately wanting people to care about her most recent crusade, but is often be foiled by her own hypocrisy and naivety. Elena is a strong and intelligent young woman and it’s a pleasure to watch her character grow as the episodes go on. Rita Moreno plays the endearingly dramatic Lydia Riera, a beloved Puerto Rican-American star with an EGOT to her name. She plays her with such aplomb and vulnerability that it’s hard not to break out into a cheesy grin every time she comes on screen. Lydia came to America through the “Pedro Pan Initiative,” leaving her parents and siblings behind in Castro’s Cuba. She wears her sense of humour like armour to deflect the pain from her heartbreaking past.

Alex (Marcel Ruiz) is a confident and charming kid going through puberty. He is the youngest Alvarez and is regularly fussed over by his grandmother. His relationship with Lydia is a useful but not so subtle vehicle which shows how often we treat boys as little princes while grooming young girls for a life of domesticity.  The dedication to exploring what it means to hold dual identities is thorough and extensive. We cover what it means to be a “white passing” minority as Elena learns that her light skin affords her privileges not extended to darker Latinos. We touch on immigration and the fear sweeping through Trump’s America which pushes Lydia to apply for citizenship in case the unthinkable happens because it is happening. The Netflix Originals commitment to highlighting the LGBT community is admirable. It doesn’t shy away from facing tricky issues head on. The spectrum is wide with the inclusion of young lesbians and trans people. They discuss the importance of  respecting pronouns and watch as different generations in one family attempt to adapt to change.

Alex (Marcel Ruiz) is a confident and charming kid going through puberty. He is the youngest Alvarez and is regularly fussed over by his grandmother. His relationship with Lydia is a useful but not so subtle vehicle which shows how often we treat boys as little princes while grooming young girls for a life of domesticity.

The dedication to exploring what it means to hold dual identities is thorough and extensive. We cover what it means to be a “white passing” minority as Elena learns that her light skin affords her privileges not extended to darker Latinos. We touch on immigration and the fear sweeping through Trump’s America which pushes Lydia to apply for citizenship in case the unthinkable happens because it is happening.

The Netflix Originals commitment to highlighting the LGBT community is admirable. It doesn’t shy away from facing tricky issues head on. The spectrum is wide with the inclusion of young lesbians and trans people. They discuss the importance of  respecting pronouns and watch as different generations in one family attempt to adapt to change. One Day At A Time (Netflix) One Day At A Time is highly entertaining and it does not shy away from tackling complicated issues. It’s exceptional, and there isn’t much like it in the TV world right now. I hope it paves the way for more productions like it. The creative force behind this charming show has gifted us a nuanced and heartwarming insight into a Cuban American family and we are all the better for it. I tuned in not expecting much but by the time I finished the first season I was a convert. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure. It gave me hope.

One Day At A Time is a sleeper hit slowly but surely stealing everyone’s hearts.

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