The Women of One Day at a Time

As March 24th approaches so does the season 4 premiere of One Day a Time on Pop Tv. I’m excited to reminisce about the 3 generations of Latina women living under one roof!

The reboot series run by Gloria Calderon and Mike Royce was originally on Netflix from 2017 -2019. The sitcom delved into the lives of the Riera-Alvarez family living in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Strong-willed Cuban immigrant and Matriarch Lydia lives with her army vet go-getter daughter Penelope, “Lupe.” Lupe now works as a nurse practitioner while raising her 17-year-old nerdy gay daughter Elena, and her charming young son Alex “Papito.”

I wrote extensively about this reboot, and it’s importance in the Latino community. My immigrant Spanish-speaking mother and I would watch the Spanish dubbed version of the show. ODAAT accurately captures the new and old issues families, particularly Latino families, are facing today. The show is a great way to start tough conversations on topics such as depression, religion, and immigration. ODAAT also celebrates the strong, independent, and smart Latina women in our lives.

The Latinas of the past, present, and future!

undefined Lydia Riera (Rita Moreno) reminds us of our humble beginnings, of where we started. This proud immigrant is the tale of many of our parents and grandparents: immigrants and asylum seekers coming to the US in search of a better life. She represents old country/cultural values and gender roles. Though we may dismiss her as antiquated, Lydia demonstrates that even though women and Latinos had fewer rights in the past, they were still strong, dedicated, persevering, and resilient!

undefinedPenelope “Lupe” Alvarez (Justina Machado) represents the constant and sometimes all-consuming inner turmoil between the new and the old. This first-generation Cuban American re-imagines those old school values and tries to adapt them to live in the US. Like many of us, she had to create her path, not having a role model for what she wanted to do in this country. She is continually trying to reconcile her strict upbringing with her ever-evolving parenting. Living with her mother Lydia, and her teen daughter Elena, this tough, hard-working, single parent, is pulled in multiple directions. Not letting her mother’s trauma dictate her present but always remind her children of their roots, keeps Lupe on her toes. Lupe is all of us, trying to compromise between both cultures that make us who we are.

undefinedElena Alvarez rounds up the women in the house. She usually mocks both Lydia and Lupe’s ideals while bringing them into the present and future of the US. Elena doesn’t feel the same cultural struggle as Lupe; she embraces the hybrid of the cultures. Elena is overly informed, “know it all” millennial. Though she brings in new issues and opinions on topics we Latino always dealt with like sexism and undocumented immigrants, she often forgets why and how these aspects shaped her family’s life. Her limitations in understanding and sympathizing with the past generations always produces exciting conversations between the three Latinas. Elena may represent the future of Latinas and Latinx in the US, without the struggles of Penelope and Lydia, Elena is bound to repeat the same mistakes of the women that came before her.

Watch a sneak peek of the 4th season premiering on Pop TV March 24th:

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