One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

Walkyria Paz, Staff Writer

One Day at a Time is a Netflix series inspired by the original One Day at a Time aired in 1975. The story follows the life of Penelope Alvarez, a newly divorced, single parent and army veteran and her Cuban-American family. Her family includes Elena, Alex and Lydia. With the help of one another and people such as Schneider (the landlord) they navigate through the ups and down of life. One Day at a Time offers a modern-day take on the negatives and positives that families go through, but how having each other makes it all worth it.

The shows discusses and includes many real life problems. Each episode is dedicated to a unique problem or situation.

Immigration Issues

In season one, Elena’s best friend Carmen begins to stay over at the Alvarez house more and more often. At first the excuse is “oh they’re best friends.” Eventually, it starts to become weird and Penelope questions Elena and Carmen about it. The truth was that Carmen’s parents had been detained by ICE and deported to Mexico. This shows the problems caused by immigration and how separation of families can lead to homelessness.

Next, Alex ended up getting into a fight and that caught the Alvarez family off guard because it is nothing like Alex to get into fist fights, especially at school. The cause of the fight was because of racial slurs made from the other kid, such as “go back to Mexico” and “spic.”

Lastly, Lydia had lied to the family that she was a U.S Citizen, however she only had her green card and never actually took the U.S Citizenship test because giving up her Cuban residency hurt her too much. That is one of the sad parts of becoming a U.S Citizen; giving up your own citizenship to your home country.


Towards the end of season 1, Elena comes out to Alex and then to Schneider. During an argument, it slips out of one of their mouths and Penelope finds out. After finding out, Penelope acts as if everything is okay and supports Elena, as she should. However, she has a hard time processing it and feels confused, she turns to her gay group therapy friend, who ultimately helps her process this.

The bad part though was when Victor, Elena’s father finds out. He is a guy with a tough, close-minded character. After Elena tells him, he goes ballistic and accuses her of being confused and “too young to know what she really wants.” (Eventually in season 3 they make up and Victor opens up after meeting more members of the LGBTQ community and sobering up)

The importance of pronouns is also shown in season 2. Elena’s significant other, Syd, identifies as they, them and their.

Mental Health and Soberness

Penelope suffers from depression and anxiety and throughout the show we see how she tries to cope with it. She starts to go to group therapy for veteran women. In therapy she meets amazing individuals who help her navigate through life with her PTSD and depression.

We then see Penelope do something extremely irresponsible. She goes off her medications without consulting her doctor and goes haywire. At first she has a great amount of energy and is very short tempered and eventually she has a crash and isolates herself from everyone.

Things got so bad that she had to face reality and understand that without her medications, she could not function.

Victor also is a war veteran and suffers from PTSD and drinking problems. The reason why Victor and Penelope separated was because he refused to get help and even attempted suicide. However, in season 3 he does sober up and get help, and does restart his life and mend ends with his family.

Lastly, Schneider and his fathers horrible relationship cause him his downfall. After being sober for eight years he stands up to his father and can’t deal with the stress and starts drinking again. He scares Alex and eventually Penelope forces him to get help since her and her family care about him so much.

Gun controlĀ 

In season 2, Lydia exposes herself and admits she keeps a gun stored for protection and Penelope reacts with shock, disappointment and anger. She questions how she could keep a gun in a house with a veteran with PTSD and a gay teenager. However, after things calm down, Penelope’s hypocrisy is revealed by her own son when he questions her about the gun she keeps in her bed.

The show goes over other issues as well but these are the key issues addressed during the first two season. It teaches you to take things one day at a time, while living through many changes, take it easy and live through things as they happen.