Television’s favorite Cuban family is coming back to our screens Tuesday night! “One Day at a Time”s fourth season might be airing amid a global pandemic, but it may just be what the world needs during these trying times. The latest season came after last year’s uncertain future for the show when it was up for cancellation from its previous home on Netflix. During the show’s once uncertain renewal, Pop TV arrived like an internet hero to pick up the show and continue the heartwarming rhythm of the Alvarez family and their real world-tackling advice, genuine laughs, and café Cubano.
“One Day at a Time,” created by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, follows the Alvarez family, a household headed by Penelope (Justina Machado), an army veteran who learns to navigate her nursing education, PTSD, anxiety, and love life throughout the series, all the while teaching her kids that it’s okay to ask for help and never be sorry for who they are.
Her son, Alex (Marcel Ruiz), and daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez) face their own lives growing up, although Alex’s arc looks to tackle more adult themes leading into season four. Elena, with her high spirited quirks and energetic activism, has learned to cope with personal hurts such as her father’s initial disapproval of her being a queer woman, what being a young LGBTQ woman in a male-dominated world means, and hereditary anxiety.
Through it all and always there for her family, no matter how traditional, is their grandmother, Lydia, played by screen legend Rita Moreno. In what looks to be Moreno’s prime time, the series has always graced her character with cultural vibrancy that both challenges and embraces the differences she faces in a household of three generations in the 21st century. She alleviates tension with stunning one-liners and also endures social adversities, brought on by familial dramas and also living in a time of anxious political flux as a Cuban-American woman holding onto her motherland and her history.
The show debuted on the streaming giant’s platform in 2017. From the start, the series has tackled critical social issues, LGBTQ+ themes, and topics that varyingly inform with every character’s perspective. From Lydia caring for Penelope as she experiences her first isolated depressive stages, to Elena wanting a proper closure from the time her father dismissed himself from her quinceañera, “One Day at a Time” is full of crucial moments to reckon with and dissect as a viewer.
It also relishes the best moments, as seen when Penelope calls out her sexist male coworker, or the tearjerker moment when the family gets up to share a slow dance with Elena in place of her father’s absence in the season one finale. It’s a show that deals with diverse real-world discussions and comforts us to grow with the Alvarez family for many episodes to come.
“One Day at a Time” premieres on Pop TV on Tuesday, March 24.