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"One Day at a Time" deserves to live on

"One Day at a Time" cancelled by Netflix.
Photo credit:
Netflix

Netflix has decided to pull the plug on one of the best shows on TV; "One Day at a Time." This is actually a quality reboot of the popular 70s Norman Lear sitcom starring the late Bonnie Franklin.

But Franklin didn't have to deal with anything the new show did. The prolific Norman Lear has a production credit on this one too, which makes sense since it pushes the envelope as far as dealing with hard issues but softens the awkwardness with rapid-fire jokes; one landing about every 30 seconds. Think "Maude" but with a broken Latin family and less sleeveless, sheer Bea Arthur housecoats (God will get me for that). 

Given Netflix's commitment to adding LGBT content to the on-demand menu, one wonders why they would decide to cancel this gem which was just beginning to get its polish. The streaming giant may have finally made their first sacrifice in making room for an ever-increasing lineup. It certainly wasn't because of quality. If that were the case, milquetoast and insipid "Fuller House," should have been yanked in its first season. Does Netflix have a cap on content? 

Lead actress Justina Machado who plays the matriarch Penelope on "One Day at a Time" tweeted, “I’m so grateful to have played Penelope Alvarez. I don’t even know how to begin to express my gratitude to everyone. Truly, I am so honored that we got to tell our stories. Yes it was a Latinx family but it was a universal story about family and love. An American Familia."

Her attitude and tenacity in that statement reflect who she was on the show as well: a strong war veteran who suffers from stifling depression, PTSD and living while Latinx. All of this and she has to be a single mother, a doting daughter to her live-in traditional mother (legendary Rita Moreno), and a career woman. 

Machado should have been nominated for an Emmy on any one of three seasons, her seamless emotional range was impeccable and set the tone for the ensemble including Moreno to react in kind. It's sort of amazing what Machado can do. 

But even though the show dealt with the darker side of Penelope's life, it also crammed its grab bag full of topics with contemporary fare such as coming out, non-binary people, racism, deportation, and alcoholism. Spoiler alert, their apartment owner, manager and adopted friend Schneider relapses in a time of weakness.

Insight into the modern lower-middle-class Latinx family culture that "One Day at a Time" was founded on, is as relevant as maybe the more dramatic and popular "Pose" on Fox. 

All of "One Day at a Time's"  plots points may sound too dire for a sitcom, but writers such as Janine Brito kept the cadence witty, ironic and genuinely clever.

If Netflix is canceling the show because of the lack of viewership, it may be because of its lackluster promotional tactics. 

As with most Netflix content, there is no advertising, they rely on the temperamental logarithm of social media feeds and steady word-of-mouth.

"One Day at a Time" appeared in the Netflix scroll out of nowhere in 2017 but gained a loyal audience purely by word of mouth after they finally got curious enough to hit play. 

The problem may lie in the pure saturation of streaming entertainment. Someone may suggest a show, but the busy person they are recommending it to may have their own viewing priorities and just never got around to watching it. They think it will always be there. It is Netflix after all. The difficulty is if they wait too long, they don't get counted.

Netflix tweeted out a response in regards to the canceled series saying, "To anyone who felt seen or represented — possibly for the first time — by ODAAT, please don’t take this as an indication your story is not important. The outpouring of love for this show is a firm reminder to us that we must continue finding ways to tell these stories.” 

The irony in that response is why would they need a new way to tell the story when "One Day at a Time" already does it, and does it impeccably. 

A hashtag campaign has already gone viral, #SaveODAAT is trending big time. There are talks of the show being shopped to other networks, but that could be an uphill battle. 

There's a modern joke in Hollywood which is if a show gets canceled on one network, "Netflix should pick it up."

This may be the first instance where a Netflix show should be "picked up" by Netflix.