TV

Netflix Has Cancelled ‘One Day At A Time’, And Here’s Why That’s A Tragedy

Fans of the show are rallying to save it.

One Day At A Time Netflix

Netflix has just announced the decision not to renew the beloved sitcom One Day At A Time for a fourth season, their reasoning being that “simply not enough people watched to justify another season”.

This is a crying shame — because honestly, one of the best decisions of your binge-watching career is to sit down and watch One Day At A Time on Netflix. There’s still three seasons to enjoy.

A reboot of a 70s sitcom (though this a rare real-life plot twists where the reboot is better than the original), One Day At A Time is a Netflix original drama-comedy, with each 30-minute episode following a working class Cuban-American family as they navigate the ordinary spectacle of the everyday.

But the Alvarez’s are not your typical modern white-with-a-dash-of-spice sitcom family.

There’s Penelope, single mum, Veteran, nurse with PTSD and a PHD in general badassery. She’s raising narcissist with a heart of gold tween son, Alex, teen daughter (adorkable, social justice loving lesbian), Elena, and raising all three of them is the machette-wielding, salsa-dancing, widowed matriarch, Lydia, played to perfection by legend, Rita Moreno (Singin In The Rain, West Side Story).

There’s also their landlord, Clueless Hot Hipster White Guy, Schneider; a recovering alcoholic who treats the Alvarezs like family and their apartment as his home away from home, despite his actual home being one floor above them.

So, even despite the lack of a fourth season, should you bother kicking back and watching some Alvarez family shenanigans?

Pros:

This Life Is The One You Get So Go And Have A Ball!

Aside from having the catchiest theme song ever, One Day At A Time gets that life isn’t always getting along with family, witty friends, lattes, and feeling great.

One Day At A Time paints an all too accurate picture where the day to day is full of dealing with groceries, ageing parents, kids, money, your annoying dudebro co-worker at the job you’re not paid enough for, dating and family — with a side-helping of casual bigotry if you’re not a straight white cis man.

Sometimes life is awful and downright depressing, other times life’s a blessing and hilarious, or sometimes all these things in a day.

The show takes all that and doesn’t just run with it but celebrates the general hectic nature of the everyday for all it throws at you and reminds you that all that chaos is normal. The realistic optimism and humanity the show approaches its narrative and characters with makes ODAAT a more genuinely uplifting 30 minutes than, say, a sitcom you’d watch where ridiculously manicured co-workers get breakfast together before work, as if anyone anywhere has time for that. 

Schneider

Every character in this show is criminally endearing, but arguably none more so than resident Hot Clueless Hipster White Guy, Schneider.

A trust-fund man-child with no obvious employment beyond whatever menial task gives him an excuse to mooch off the Alvarezs’ cooking, Schneider is a living fixture of white-privilege in constant contrast with the Alvarezs.

Episode 9, for example, sees him casually stride into their apartment sporting a Che Guevara shirt, not realising entering a Cuban household wearing Fidel Castro’s right-hand man is in extremely poor taste. Only when he understands he’s committed the equivalent crime of wearing a Kanye shirt into Taylor Swift’s home does he toss the shirt to the floor, revealing a surprisingly jacked physique, and all is forgiven.

Despite his most heartfelt efforts to be counted as an Alvarez, his obliviousness to his own privilege keeps him a step back — but the redeeming appeal of Schneider is he’s never too far away when needed.

As the series progresses, he learns to be better and assumes a supportive role in the lives of the Alverezs that sees him do everything from helping Elena fail to build videogame live-streaming empire, to taking a break from shredding the mandolin to help Penelope through an anxiety attack, even needing some support in return when his addiction comes back to haunt him.

In short, Schneider will have you asking the question, “where’s my loyal sweet well-meaning rich white shredded dude that randomly comes to eat my food?” 

The LGBTIQ Representation

The coming out storyline is done to death, but ODAAT has one of the best ones ever and I am not the only one that thinks so, and ODAAT’s thoughtful LGBTIQ representation doesn’t stop with her coming out. Without giving too much away, Elena’s partner (Syd) is non-binary and is consistently referred to as ‘they’ by everyone.

What’s more, the show has entire episodes dealing with homophobia within immigrant communities, safe sex for LGBTIQ folk, internalised homophobia, and respecting pronouns. Not to mention, Penelope’s hilarious 100% done, lesbian, ex-pyromaniac friend from her Veteran support group, Ramona (played by Scrubs/Devious Maids’ comic queen, Judy Reyes) steals every scene she’s in.

Entertainment, But Make It Topical

One Day At A Time is proof you can make a show that deals with everything from sexism in the workplace, to sneaking food into the movie theatre, to substance abuse, deportation, colourism, mental illness, gun control, ageing, dating at different stages of life — even 9/11 — and still be hilarious, without being disrespectful.

For instance, the scene where Elena explains the concept of preferred pronouns and gender identity to her mother and grandmother, as she’s attending a protest with local LGBTIQ group, is a seamless part of the episode’s storyline and hilariously sympathetic as her Cuban grandmother misinterprets “pronouns” for “pronounce”.

One Day At A Time offers similar treatments for many current issues like consent, mansplaining, and white privilege that are woven into the fabric of the show’s plot and provide the set-up for some fantastic comedy. It’s as entertaining as it is educational.

Why not learn something you may never have considered while you’re laughing?

 Cons:

Emotional

For all the boundless energy ODAAT approaches life with, there is a sobering reality underpinning the comedy.

While the show uses this to deliver teachable moments, handled with the upmost care, about gender, race, homophobia consent, anxiety, depression, addiction and more, small elements of the show maybe triggering for those who have experienced any of the above.

Episode 8 of season 2, for instance, offers a realistic telling of a depressive episode when Penelope goes off her anti-depressants without the supervision of her Doctor. She spirals and ODAAT’s writers don’t sugar-coat the darkness that follows, but eventually allow Penelope the bittersweet conclusion that, despite what she may want to think, she needs anti-depressants for the rest of her life and that is perfectly okay.

Part of what makes the show so irresistible is­­ its determination to give you a light at the end of a dark tunnel. For all the angst and heartache, the emotional pay-off does, (I promise) make it all worthwhile.

Cancelled

Sometimes it’s hard to invest in a show when you know it’s going to end!

Netflix has announced the “very difficult decision” to not renew One Day At A Time for a fourth season, due to low viewing numbers. A lot of people are questioning the logic behind that: Kevin Hart gets a comedy special, but a beloved, representative sitcom doesn’t?

One has to wonder if the fan base is going to rally, much like they did for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Hopefully!

So, Is One Day At A Time worth watching?

Search the deepest darkest corners of the internet and you’d be hard pressed to find anything less than a glowing review of this series. Armed with a talented cast, a good sense of humour, an even better moral compass, and a finger on the pulse of current issues, One Day At A Time balances comedy and drama with a thoughtful yet fearless grace that is nothing if not addictively hopeful.

Let’s face it, we can all use a little hope, right?

All three seasons of One Day At A Time are up on Netflix. You can try to help save the show with the hashtag .


Merryana Salem is a 20-something Lebanese Indigenous Australian masquerading on most social media as @akajustmerry. She’s also a freelance critic, writer, teacher and waffle addict who hopes you ate something nice today.