Some shows begin to fall flat a few seasons in, but not One Day at a Time. The much-loved sitcom only seems to grow stronger and the release of season 3 proves exactly that.
One Day at a Time covers so much ground in each episode, and it does it effortlessly. As well as educating those who are unfamiliar with the reality of dealing with certain problems, One Day at a Time helps to normalise them. Positive representation is one of the most important things any series can give to its audience. It’s evident that the writers and producers have a clear understanding of the responsibility that comes with making a TV series.
In One Day at a Time season 3, we see the Alvarez family take on an array of new challenges whilst battling with existing ones. Throughout it all, they only grow closer and prove that no one can take on their struggles alone.
In episode 10 when Schneider stands up to his father, he tells Penelope that “family is everything”. Family doesn’t always come in the structure we expect it to and we see this throughout the course of the season. Schneider’s chosen family is better for him than his blood family. Syd is welcomed in to the Alvarez home not just as Elena’s “Syd-nificant other”, but as one of them. Leslie steps in to help whenever someone needs him. Each dynamic is different, but they’re all just as important as each other.
One of the most powerful moments in the series came in episode 2, when the topic of sexual harassment was addressed. After discovering Alex’s Instagram account and seeing some shocking images, his family intervenes.
Alex doesn’t understand why what he’s done is wrong and Lydia doesn’t either; as when she was young, that kind of harassment wasn’t spoken out against. It isn’t until Elena, Syd and Penelope share their own stories in a scene that commands the attention of everyone watching that they finally understand the gravity of the issue.
This episode delves into the meaning of the word no, the dangers of victim blaming and toxic masculinity. Their stories are powerful to hear and One Day at a Time sends a clear message to everyone watching. It emphasises why it’s so important to speak up about harrasment, as hearing that other people have gone through the same thing helps to erase the sense of shame and fear a lot of people feel as a result of it.
Watching Elena become more and more comfortable in her sexuality was another highlight of season 3. Whilst some shows push their LGBTQ+ characters into the shadows, One Day at a Time ensure Elena’s voice is heard. Her and Syd’s relationship is so endearing and gives hope to a lot of the LGBTQ+ youth watching.
It’s heartwarming to watch her family be so accepting of her too. They can talk openly and even make lighthearted jokes about her sexuality (without it being harmful), as opposed to it being an uncomfortable or never spoken about topic. Undoubtedly, the most emotional moment in the entire series came when her father finally gave her the father-daughter dance he failed to give her at her Quinceañera.
One Day at a Time also continued to tackle the subject of mental health in season 3. In episode 9, we see Penelope struggle to cope with her anxiety. Her attacks are singled out from the normal narrative by being shown in black and white. Doing this helps to give the audience a sense of how disjointed Penelope feels. The episode delves into some of the different triggers and coping mechanisms that are associated with anxiety. Not wanting to be a burden is something that a lot of mental health sufferers feel and Penelope is no different. It isn’t until she sees her daughter Elena is suffering too that she understands the importance of taking about it and breaking the stigma. Everyone’s going to cope with it in different ways and if you find your support network, they’ll always help you through it.
one day at a time’s episode about anxiety is honestly the best i’ve ever seen. they dealt with it in the best way possible. i’m thankful for this show. pic.twitter.com/lWAInKrT2o— bella (@yaelgrogbIas) February 8, 2019
On top of all of the above, One Day at a Time season 3 also covered substance abuse and addiction, sex (where Penelope tried to educate herself for Elena), consent, how a woman doesn’t need a man to be happy, men speaking out about their feelings and so much more.
Whilst doing this, it never once lost its wit. It’s physically impossible to get through an episode without a smile on your face, especially whenever Rita Moreno is on screen.
The acting only seems to get stronger with each season too. Justina Machado has incredible range and finds a way to tug on our heart strings every episode. The writing wouldn’t come out as strong if it wasn’t for the exceptional talent that was bringing it to life. Vice versa, the acting would be nothing if it wasn’t for the material they were being given.
We were also treated to an ensemble of Latina excellence in episode 1, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero guest star alongside Gloria Estefan. The enjoyment and sense of belonging the entire cast must have felt shooting that episode is palpable and brings an added spark of joy to the episode.
One Day at a Time season 3 seriously raised the bar for every other show out there. Netflix is bringing out some strong content and this is definitely one of its best. So, spread the word and get everyone you know watching.
The world needs more of this show and that will only happen if everyone makes some noise.