One Day at a Time tackles timely issues in new season

Photo courtesy of WP:NFCC#4, Wikipedia

Fans of Netflix’s sitcom “One Day At A Time” have been raving that the new season is the best one yet. Season 3 debuted earlier this month on Feb. 8, leaving viewers already demanding season 4.

The reboot of the 1975 sitcom centers on a Cuban-American family, their flighty landlord, a pushover boss and more importantly – their community. The show stars EGOT award winner Rita Moreno, up and comers Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz and highly underrated Justina Machado.

Every episode addresses social issues that some would consider as controversies, but “One Day At a Time” never shies away from hot button topics like sex or politics.

No different than previous seasons, season 3 is liberally outspoken as ever. For a twenty minute sitcom, “One Day At A Time” was jammed pack with need-to-talk about topics ranging from rape culture to addiction. Tackling such prominent issues is one of the many reasons the show is so highly celebrated.

The very first episode, “The Funeral,” is not only one of the best episodes of the season, but arguably one of the best episodes yet. It is packed full of guest stars, like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actors Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz as relatives.

Not exactly a perfect happy family, the cast depicted sibling rivalry between Estefan’s and Moreno’s characters, and how their daughters – cousins Penelope (Machado) and Estrellita (Fumero) – have not spoken in years in result of their mothers’ feud.

One of the most touching moments of the season premiere is Penelope’s heart wrenching admission of keeping her cousin’s letters when she was deployed overseas and how they helped her feel less alone on tour.

A big plot line for the “The Funeral,” was outing in the LGBTQ community. Bisexual icon Beatriz’s character aunt Pilar had a heart-to-heart with Elena played by Gomez about being accepted as a lesbian in an ignorant family, bringing up the importance of having both LGBTQ role models and family. Full of well-written lesbian jokes, “The Funeral” laughed off hate, and brought new meaning to being gay and proud.

Followed up by episode 2, “Outside,” the three generations of the Alvarez family end up in a tense debate of consent, toxic masculinity, the angry feminist stereotype and rape culture. Though not the best-shot or best written, “Outside” was by far the most progressive episode of the season.

The storyline of the son Alex’s (Ruiz) inappropriate social media postings of his girlfriend Chloe was a bad lead into the discussion. Instead, the episode should have acted out some of the stories of harassment the female characters were confessing to fully impact the constant threat of being a woman. Nonetheless, “Outside” is an episode everyone, both men and women, should watch.

Besides the core cast, supporting characters had phenomenal development this season. Fan favorite guest star Haneefah Wood, who plays Jill, had one of the greatest lines of the entire season in episode five, “Nip It in the Bud.”

Her veteran character that is used mostly for comic relief briefly broke the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera to mention Black Lives Matter, saying, “Weed makes me paranoid, like everyone’s out to get me. ‘Cause when your black, everyone is.”

Supporting character Schneider took an uncharacteristically dark turn this season. In past seasons, the landlord’s underlying issues, like his alcoholism, have always been hinted at, but never explored. It was rare to see some much needed depth to this character.

Season three dug deep by having the eight-year sober Schneider go back to drinking. It was difficult to see such a light-hearted character spiral out of control. It was even harder to watch Schneider start the AA process all over again.

Actor James Martinez who plays Penelope’s ex-husband Victor, father to Elena and Alex, had a moving redemption arch. Compared to his first appearance in the season one finale, when he walked out on Elena coming out at her quinceanera, season three did him justice by recreating the father-daughter dance from season one.

It's such a moving scene and is incredibly difficult for anyone to watch without tearing up. Gomez’s acting alone was more than convincing in this scene and she should be properly recognized for such a touching performance.

Netflix has not yet confirmed if the show will be renewed for another season, but season three was a stellar performance all-around; the streaming company should highly consider signing on for more than just another season.