Let me begin this article by openly saying that I am old enough to recall the original Norman Lear sitcom, One Day at a Time. The storyline chronicled the trials and tribulations of a single mom (played by Bonnie Franklin) and her two daughters ( Valerie Bertinelli and MacKenzie Philips). For the 1970’s, it was considered “edgy”, but also very realistic. This show was another great example of the “signature” programming that Lear loved to develop – using humor to spotlight serious and timely subject matter.
Fast forward to 2017, and again along comes Norman Lear, as Executive Producer, sitting alongside a creative team and cast that is par excellence to recreate One Day At a Time – 2.0. The core theme remains virtually the same – a single mom with two children make every effort to survive and thrive during good times and bad. But, here is where the series veers off the original story – our “every day” family is Cuban-American. And the topics that are filmed in front of a live audience, reflect 21st century issues, including politics. Kudos to the writing staff who have put in to the laps of the One Day At a Time characters weighty dialog and matters of the heart that I am sure serve as a catalyst for important discussions taking place in homes, schools and the workplace.
While One Day At a Time (2017) is compiled of a cast and crew that are top-notch, for me, the stand-out role goes to Isabella Gomez and her very honest depiction of being a teen coming out to her family as a lesbian. I applaud the program creators, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, for bringing contemporary issues that face families every single day to the forefront in their scripts. Having this screen family create a “safe space” for LGBTQ discussions speaks volumes to the integrity of this program and opens the doors for families’ watching to feel that they can do the same.
Read more about the LGBT response in media via Pride.com
I would be remiss to not mention that Rita Moreno appears on this studio stage with much humor and candor in the role of “Aubela/ Lydia”. You know that a production is very much worthy of attention when an EGOT, a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, signs on to play a key role. As Lydia she is GENIUS! (No surprise there!) And off camera, she entertains the studio audience as if she was the Energizer Bunny!
I was privileged to be invited as a guest to a filming of an episode. I have sat in many audiences of many film productions before. This set felt different. More like a block party in your hometown neighborhood. The camaraderie of the cast and crew was palatable. There was laughter – a lot of it!
Netflix will release One Day At a Time’s Season 3 starting February 8th.
One Day At a Time also has caught my attention on social media, using their handle as @OneDayATime and hashtag #ODAAT . They have a robust cast and production crew that tweet, post and ‘gram’ with frequency. I love following the engagement that Gloria Calderon Kellett has with her social media audience. Here is a woman who is using social media for social good to spotlight women directors, causes and to educate those interested in the film industry. Bravo, Gloria! (She tweets as everythingloria).
So, if you are looking for programming that the family can watch and may spark dinnertime / carpool discussion – catch One Day At a Time in less than two weeks. I will be tuning in! And, fingers and toes crossed that Netflix gives the show a fourth season option!!
Mike Royce: Twitter
The writing team tweet, too! @ODAATwriters
Netflix : Netflix.com & @NETFLIX