One Day At A Time
Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2
Esta bien, chico.
After a very long year filled with turmoil and torture, One Day At A Time has finally made its way back to air. The remake turned streaming show solidified itself as a comedic, feelgood powerhouse during its first season and season two – so far – looks to continue the same journey. While there are missteps, they are few and far between. One Day is as solid as ever in “The Turn” and “Schooled.” The reintroduction of characters is faster than the dialogue. Everyone is so happy. And their traits feel turned up to 11 (in a good way). Each episode comes off as a short form play when compared to other sitcoms. There’s no music, no other sets. The only fanfare we get is from the live audience – another aspect that helps this show stand out. In short, One Day is the show we need most.
When we return to the Alvarez household, we find the family exactly who they were a year ago. Just look at the opening scene in which Penelope is cheering Alex on during his baseball game. Being the supportive Cuban mother she is, she cheers loud and often. But young Alex is growing into his own self and finds the overbearing mother to be as annoying as it sounds. It takes Penelope a majority of the episode to come to terms with her son growing up. It’s later found out that Alex’s chip on the shoulder is coming from a kid who told him to go back to Mexico.
At the same time in “Schooled,” a failing Penelope wants to drop her pursuit of nurse practitioner. She doesn’t think it’s in the cards for her after she fails a big test. But her family thinks otherwise. Even Elena struggles after coming to terms with her sexuality. It’s made worse by the fact that the Catholic Church is more accepting of her than her own father. Serious stuff aside, the jokes are just as good as they were last season. Todd Grinnell’s Schneider is a wonderful joke scapegoat and credited writers Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce (series creators, “The Turn”) as well as Becky Mann and Audra Sielaff manage to mine jokes out of the most dismal situations. Scheider’s “call Oprah and going on Twitter tomorrow” solution to solve racism, for instance, is perfect for his character.
Season two puts forth the idea of identity and what it means to be a Cuban-American, gay woman, a non-citizen or what have you in a world that sometimes doesn’t want you. Is it possible to make it in America? Yes, as the show suggests, you take it one day at a time. But these characters have been doing that. Penelope wants to see the fruits of her labor just so she can produce the best life possible for her kids. Justina Machado is a stellar actor who can activate the water works at the drop of a hat. When you see that left eye light up, know it’s going down. Her castmates are just as talented with special notice going to Rita Moreno who hams up every line given to her and deserves every bit of laughter.
One Day At A Time is nothing short of magnificent. Season two looks to heighten the stories with promises of gun control, gender and more. This should be fun.
Should you watch “The Turn/Schooled?”
Yes. Was there ever a question?