Movies In My Collection #185: Netflix’s One Day At A Time

Many of my older readers will remember the 70s sitcom One Day At A Time:

Created by Norman Lear of All In The Family fame, One Day at a Time is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984. It starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising two teenage daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, in Indianapolis.

Well, over 30 years later, Netflix, of all networks, decided to reboot One Day At A Time for a whole new generation and with a little bit of a twist:

One Day at a Time is a Netflix original sitcom “based” on the 1975–84 Norman Lear series of the same name. However, other than the name, the show basically has little or nothing to do with the original series. The series is written by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce and consists of thirteen episodes. Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Rita Moreno star in the series, with Pam Fryman directing the pilot episode. It was released on January 6, 2017. On March 4, 2017, the series was renewed by Netflix for a second season.

Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado), a newly single Army Nursing Corps veteran is raising her two children: Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz) with the support of her colorful Cuban mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno). She is currently a nurse for Dr. Leslie Berkowitz (Stephen Tobolowsky), that provides her with a regular shift so she can return home to her loving family at the end of the day. However, being back for Penelope has been difficult as she faces a lot of unresolved issues from her time in the Army. She has not been in contact with her estranged husband, Victor Alvarez (James Martinez), who is also an Army veteran. He is a alcoholic with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury, that is working for a private contractor in Afghanistan, which is what made Penelope leave him and choose to raise her children alone.

To be perfectly fair, I never saw the original One Day At A Time and I’m coming into this new, but I’ve gotta say, I’m really loving this show.

The show does a great job of returning to the classic sitcom format of the show’s original inception.

The performances by Justina Machado and Rita Moreno are excellent and the two work off each other really well but you also have legitimately great performances from Stephen Tobolowsky, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, and Todd Grinnell.

The comedy and the topical material are also surprisingly on point much like if the original series and that Norman Lear style that was in those original shows were done in today’s world.

And best of all, the series feels very much like an authentic classic style sitcom where the laugh track isn’t solely just used on a stupid joke that’s not funny at all, the laugh track is legitimately used very well here and not like a horrendously bad CBS comedy series airing today where they just use a laugh track on a terrible joke. The laugh tracks are genuine and they actually do feel like there’s a purpose to them being there for some of the jokes they use.

This is definitely one you’ll want to check out on Netflix even if you’re not into the original series itself, like I was, it does such a good job of bringing this TV staple into the modern age and not feel like a simple retread, they take chances and use the changes to the storyline to suit the type of stories they want to tell and they succeed for the most part. Definitely give this One Day At A Time reboot a chance and you won’t be disappointed.

MOVIES MENTIONED IN THIS POST

One Day At A Time

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