One Day at a Time
By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Worthy update of classic sitcom has heart.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers may learn new things about Cuban culture: quinceañeras, ropa vieja, other Spanish words and traditions.
A loving family anchors this drama, with a grandmother living peacefully in the same apartment as her daughter and grandchildren. The family freely discusses Cuban heritage and traditions, with generations clashing over such things as speaking Spanish (or not) or remaining married (or not). Racism and misogyny are called out and criticized by the family in several scenes. Family problems are solved with arguments, then honest discussions, then heartfelt hugs.
Positive Role Models
Single mom Penelope is sometimes impatient and yells at her mom and kids, but she's respectful of their feelings and opinions. When her middle school son expresses a need to be "the man of the house" with his dad gone, Penelope tells him to "just concentrate on being a 12-year-old." She also allows her daughter to choose whether or not to have a birthday party. Grandmother Lydia can be judgmental but supports her daughter emotionally and in practical ways (cooking for the family). A main character comes out as a lesbian to a mostly supportive family (eventually everyone comes around).
Violence & Scariness
Occasional playful scuffling: A mom throws paper towels at son's head to get his attention.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Main characters are interested in developing a romantic life; they flirt and talk about dating. Jokes about a girl getting her first period.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Mild cursing, generally for emphasis instead of insult: "badass," "crap." An offscreen character is called a "d--k." The Spanish insults are harsher than those in English, but might go over non-Spanish speakers' heads.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Brands are mentioned and shown on-screen: Apple, Zappos, Café Bustelo coffee.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character argues with another that "taking drugs" (antidepressants prescribed by a doctor) is not the answer to her problems.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that One Day at a Time is a reimagining of the classic 1970s–1980s sitcom about a single woman raising her two children. In this version, a Cuban woman raises her son and daughter while living with her mother in the same apartment. The family is loving and always there for each other when needed; mom Penelope listens to her children and treats their concerns with respect. Mild cursing includes "ass" and "crap"; a man is called a "d--k"; and an older woman is called a "vieja" in a disparaging tone. All the show's main characters are single; they flirt and talk about dating on-screen, and there's sexual tension between two main characters. Jokes occasionally veer into the vulgar, with throwaway lines about a girl getting her first period. The family is deeply invested in its Cuban heritage; viewers not familiar with Cuban history and traditions will learn more. Family fights occur but often end in meaningful discussions and heartfelt hugs.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
One Day at a Time
Based on 34 parent reviews
Hearfelt and funny! I highly recommend even for kids 12 and up!
Report this review
Should be TV-14
Report this review
What's the Story?
Loosely based on the classic 1970s–'80s sitcom by revered producer Norman Lear, ONE DAY AT A TIME revolves around a multigenerational Cuban-American family. Penelope (Justine Machado) is a former soldier and currently a nurse who's recently separated from her husband. She lives in an apartment with her tough-minded traditionalist mom Lydia (Rita Moreno), her radically feminist teen daughter, Elena (Isabella Gomez), and smooth-character tween son, Alex (Marcel Ruiz). Her apartment building's louche handyman Schneider (Todd Grinnell) drops by to flirt with Penelope and fix things up, too. The updated sitcom was written by Gloria Calderon Kellett (How I Met Your Mother) and Mike Royce (Everybody Loves Raymond) and produced by Lear.
Is It Any Good?
Sweet and fitfully amusing, this sitcom redo could have been a painfully awkward throwback, but appealing actors and good writing give it new life. Fans of the original sitcom may get a bit nervous during the show's theme song, same as the original but given Latin instrumentation and played while "Latin-y" images of salsa dancers and rosaries show on-screen. Uh-oh -- is this going to be stale old sitcom jokery with the occasional Spanish word thrown in?
Thankfully, no. Though many of the lines have old-sitcom beats (and are punctuated by the laugh-track-ish giggles of the live studio audience), they're imbued with enough heart to make them land. When Penelope has a tough couple of days arguing with her daughter over her upcoming quinceañera and with her son over school clothes, she rants to her mother about how miserable she is without her husband: "Sometimes you just need someone to give you a hug and say 'I got you.'" Her mother, a priceless Moreno, holds out her arms. "I'm very strong," she tells her daughter. "I've been doing my yoga." Even cynical viewers might find themselves misting up a little. The dilemmas and lines in One Day at a Time may be sitcom-y, but the family togetherness is sweet, making this update great whole-family fare with both laughs and feeling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how One Day at a Time compares with other family-centered shows. Does the content seem more or less realistic than that in others? Do the central relationships seem nontraditional to you? How are they different from other sitcom families?
How do the characters in One Day at a Time demonstrate empathy, communication, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?
Have you watched the original sitcom on which this is loosely based? Why would the update center on a Latino family? How does this make the show more modern? How does this show fit in with other popular shows about families about ethnic or racial minorities such as Black-ish, The Goldbergs, and Fresh Off the Boat?
- Premiere date: January 6, 2017
- Cast: Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Sitcoms for Your Next Family Binge-Watch
Great TV Shows with Latino Characters and Creators
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate