Netflix Original: One Day at a Time

Title: One Day at a Time
Network: Netflix
Airs: Streaming
Starring:   Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Stephen Tobolowsky, Isabella Gomez
Rating: PG
Reviewer: Lori Twichell
FA Scorecard: A

Penelope is a newly divorced single mom. That would be pretty much enough for anyone to handle, but throw in that she is now raising two kids on her own and living with her mom and you’ve got some serious potential for heavy drama. Or comedy as it were.

I grew up watching Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. As a latch key kid, these were the people I hung out with every day after school. So when I heard they were going to remake it I wasn’t necessarily a happy camper. I mean I get some of the fun things from my childhood coming back (Star Wars anyone?) but there’s also some concern for overkill. For each successful throwback that’s been rebooted there are just as many that have ended up as littered little pieces of attempted revivals. (Bionic woman, Knight Rider anyone?)  So where is this one going to end up?

I’ve only watched two episodes of One Day at a Time, but at this point, I’m leaning toward impressed.  I say this cautiously because we all know that shows tend to out one way and then veer a different one. The two episodes that I watched with my family the other night had a few off-color jokes, but for the most part, they worked for everyone in my family. I appreciated that. There’s little that I love more than laughing out loud with my kids. (Yeah, this is where I get mushy…) It warms my heart to join them in laughter. So I was really happy to see that happen with One Day at a Time. I hope the show keeps up that pace!

Now, one thing I should point out is that from the first second it started playing on my screen, I removed it completely from my 70’s show. I didn’t want to compare the two and stand them up side by side. This allowed me to watch it from a fresh perspective rather than critical. I loved the updated theme and that gave me a nice little punch of nostalgia. I loved that they still have a Schneider. Those are the two biggest similarities. But watching the show as a new entity and not a remake let me really love it.

Rita Moreno is BRILLIANT. The woman is a genius and always has been. I think it’s nearly impossibl for her not to steal a scene. If she’s on the screen, you’re watching her and laughing with her. She’s great. My kids had no idea who she was (I’m old enough to remember her from the Electric Company. And Morgan Freeman too!) but shortly after we watched, I pulled up her performances from West Side Story and the kids were clapping along to “America.” Her presence on this show elevates it to a new level.

And before I go, a quick word about Justina Machado. Well, maybe more than just one word. She’s fabulous. She handles being a single mom with grace and style and I am so thankful that they are using One Day at a Time to address veteran’s issues. I’m married to a vet. I volunteer with wounded soldiers regularly. This is close to my heart. It doesn’t dominate the show, but it’s in there just enough to make sure that it’s not a throwaway issue. It also helps anchor the viewer into deeper issues in the characters without turning it into a heavy drama.

So far, One Day at a Time has two thumbs up from me! Here’s hoping it stays on that path!

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