If you are not a fan of Netflix sitcoms, then I advise you not to continue reading this. However, if you are a fan of a show that discusses LGBTQ+, Colorism, Racism, Latin Stereotypes, and more, then proceed to read on.
One Day at a Time is a sitcom tackling modern times with modern complexities in society. Netflix rebooted the show form a famous 1970’s comedy. The new spin on the show features a single mother who is an Army veteran suffering from PTSD. The teenage daughter recently came out as a lesbian, and she is also very vocal on issues in society. The grandmother is an old school to the tee women who is from Cuba and won’t let you forget it. The teenage son is a pretty boy who has a minimal storyline, so he’s not a real key factor honestly. You have a rotating cast, but our primary focus is the women in this show.
The series focuses on these women and their storylines mostly. The men are there to provide for comedic relief. When the series debuted in season 2, I knew I had to see what happened because season one ended with Elena coming out as a lesbian and her father disowning her at her own Quince. It broke hearts, but it has shown a real issue most LGBTQ+ members deal with when it comes to coming out to their “traditional” family members.
In season 2 we see that Elena’s character is more confident about her choice and feels more sure about identity. She even found herself a partner that chooses to be non-binary. Now to those who don’t understand non-binary, it is a person who does not conform to titles of he/she. They prefer pronouns such as they/them. In the episode, Elena explains this term to her grandmother who is against it but willing to accept it. Which is weird because in a prior event she fails to realize that Afro-Latinx exists in Cuba?
Anyways, the way the family handles their daughter’s sexual identity is very welcoming and yet, rare. When hearing stories from your friends who identify as Queer or Gay, they hold a tremendous amount of pain within them from their family who has shunned them. The series displays to us what a real support system looks like and somehow what we all kind of wish we had when it came to families accepting their children as they are.
It is very common to hear stories of Latin families from strong Catholic backgrounds not accepting their LGBTq+ children. Being open about your sexuality is still very taboo in most Hispanic/ Latin families. To see one openly embrace their daughter and not view her as someone different was refreshing. Could this help open the eyes of those in the community who have a family member who is struggling?
Another episode that captured me was when they were discussing their son’s issues in school with his racist peers. The show went into how Elena doesn’t experience those issues because she is a “passing” Latinx. “Passing” ideally means when you are a Person of color who resembles white features. Therefore, no one truly sees you as an “ideal” Latinx. That discussion is heavily needed in the community because we are going through a time where we are just now realizing that those from Latin/ Hispanic countries aren’t all caramel, wavy hair, and fluent Spanish speakers. That those from Latinx backgrounds show in all skin tones, features, and body shapes. That maybe we should acknowledge the racism as well in our communities.
The last episode that made me say “oh wow” was the episode Penelope was suffering from depression. Discussing mental issues is something that we shy away from in society. Now in 2018, we start to acknowledge that our mental health is important. Seeing how Penolope’s “I am Cuban, I am too strong to be depressed” watched her PTSD Veteran daughter breakdown was eye-opening. Penelope didn’t know how to vocalize that this is a problem and why these emotions took control of her. Mental health is something we should truly be concerned with in these times. The number of Latin Americans suffering from mental depression in America is 15%. Can we start addressing these issues without someone saying ” we are making it up?” These numbers are a scream for notice, and we need to wake up. Let’s acknowledge all of the issues in all of our communities and start to discuss a solution towards free health assessments.
Overall, the women’s storylines in this show are phenomenal and hilarious. Each episode doves into their comedic version of modern-day issues and they don’t hold back. Could they go more in depth? Yes, of course, but I get it. It’s a comedy, and they have to make sure that humor is still the primary focus. Plus, the iconic Rita Moreno is the grandmother. Who can’t support that?!
One Day at a Time is exclusively on Netflix, and you can watch season 1&2 now.