Netflix’s hidden comedy gem, One Day at a Time, returns for a third outing with as much humor, social commentary and Cuban-American frolics as ever!
In an age where many claim one can’t make jokes about anything in fear of backlash, One Day at a Time proves yet again in this strong third season that comedy doesn’t need to be offensive to be funny. Set two years after the events of the last season, this third installment follows the same successful format.
Picking back up with the Alvarez family single mother, Penelope (Justina Machado) struggles to balance family and love life whilst studying to become a nurse practitioner. Teenage daughter and fierce lesbian feminist Elena (Isabella Gomez), deals with learning to drive and losing her virginity to partner Syd. Son, Alex (Marcel Ruiz), struggles to navigate social cliques, and grandmother Lydia (Rita Moreno) attempts to hold onto her sense of self whilst her health diminishes.
This season is ultimately as gutsy as ever, refusing to shy away from important social and political issues. Schneider’s (Todd Grinnell) alcoholism is a heart wrenching and powerful storyline throughout the later episodes of the season, especially after a beautiful moment shared with Lydia where he proudly adds his eight-year sobriety chip to the Alvarez museum.
However, episode 2 is a particular standout, as Alex’s comments regarding women on his private Instagram account spark an emotional and brutally honest discussion regarding sexual harassment, toxic masculinity and consent. As the family discuss the matter we discover in emotional admissions, powerfully delivered by Machado and Gomez, that both mother and daughter have been sexually harassed. In the midst of the #MeToo movement this frank discussion informs characters and viewers alike on the importance of respecting women, consent and refraining from victim-blaming. It’s incredibly empowering to see a female-led sitcom bravely tackle these highly relevant issues with such openness, making such moments never come across preachy.
More light-hearted highlights of the season include guest appearances from Brooklyn Nine-Nine alum Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz. Both appear in the season premiere as members of the extended Alvarez family who are in attendance at a funeral. Other golden comedic moments follow when Penelope is introduced to her ex-husband’s new fiancee, who looks suspiciously familiar. And of course, abuelita Lydia, remains the standout star of the show, with her quick wit, self obsession and her tell-it-like-it-is attitude.
Ultimately, this latest season builds upon previous character development, refusing to shy away from shining light on serious topics whilst still providing dollops of light-hearted and silly humor. The predominately female writing team ensure that a strong feminist theme remains throughout the show, leading them to tell relatable stories that resonate with members of the Hispanic community and with families overall.
Whilst One Day at a Time may maintain some of the traditional sitcom tropes, such as slight corniness and joyful family moments, it’s also brave enough to deal with weightier storylines. When a large chunk of Netflix’s recent comedy hits, such as the likes of Sex Education and Big Mouth, have taken to being explicit and maybe even crude in their efforts to be humorous, One Day at a Time‘s approach is a pleasantly refreshing reinvention of the genre.
One Day at a Time Season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix
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