REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' returns with growth spurt

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' returns with growth spurt

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One Day at a Time

The cast of "One Day at a Time," clockwise from bottom: Justina Machado, Isabella Gomez, Stephen Tobolowsky, Rita Moreno, Todd Grinnell and Marcel Ruiz.

Thanks to the Pop TV channel, there’s more than one day left to “One Day at a Time.”

In the fourth season premiere, the cast even gets in a good jab at Netflix, the streaming service that canceled the reboot last year.

While little of the comedy’s charm is missing, it does have an older vibe, largely due to the growth spurt of Alex (Marcel Ruiz). Now he’s in a steady relationship, trading barbs with grandmother Lydia (Rita Moreno) and taking a surprised view of his mom’s solo activities.

His sister, Elena (Isabella Gomez), is more comfortable with her sexuality and willing to step up when the family needs her most.


Todd Grinnell as Schneider and Justina Machado as Penelope discuss getting a new couch on "One Day at a Time."

Mom, Penelope (Justina Machado) has loosened up and, thanks to Schneider (Todd Grinnell), agrees to buy a new couch and worry less about the others at home.

In the first three Pop episodes, producer Norman Lear doesn’t hold back from addressing topics his first “One Day at a Time” might have ignored. While the “menage a one” discussion is a bit much, it does let the series move in a more adult direction.

Even Moreno gets a chance to step over the line. She offers up a couple of greatest hits (arriving like “The Ritz’s” Googie Gomez at one point, sassing like “West Side Story’s” Anita in another) and provides the kind of sass the original “One Day” didn’t have.

When the family goes to a restaurant to meet Alex’s new girlfriend (and take advantage of happy hour pricing) Machado gets a chance to show why she wears well as the lead. She gets one of her trademark trigger-point moments with the server and goes mom-o a mom-o with Moreno at their apartment.

If anyone’s different this season, it’s Grinnell, who takes a more forceful role as the one who counsels the other.


Rita Moreno and Stephen Tobolowsky make their case for not cutting back on "One Day at a Time."

He’s in control and it helps the show’s dynamic. Machado relaxes; he steps up and Ruiz and Gomez benefit from the master classes Moreno offers every time she delivers a line.

While this “One Day at a Time” isn’t as revolutionary as Lear’s early offerings (“All in the Family” is still the gold standard), it does move the needle on a number of issues. It also shows fans know better than executives.

Netflix may regret the day it let this one go.

“One Day at a Time” premieres March 24 on Pop TV.



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