By Erin Caine

Lifestyle Editor

The modern “One Day at a Time” isn’t afraid of tackling a few difficult topics—or a lot of them.

Though Netflix’s continued silence on whether or not the 2017 sitcom dramedy will be renewed for a fourth season has fans a little on edge at the moment, the heaps of approval and praise the series has picked up during its two-year run is undeniable.

The series is written by Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce. Royce is known best for penning the 1996 sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards.

The first season of “One Day at a Time”  holds a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while its second and third are both at a solid 100 percent.

Molly Long of the New Yorker said in her review of Season Two, “If the show breathes new life into archetypes, it also succeeds in turning abstract political issues into deeply personal experiences.”

Long added, “Ideas that would normally be relegated to an ‘issues episode’ … are part of the emotional fabric of the show, and handled with a light but sensitive touch.”

Far from the realm of safe and mindless fun, “One Day at a Time” easily blends comedy and charm with regular discussions about social issues plenty of other series would prefer to tune out, such as homophobia, sexism, racism, immigration, and mental illness.

The show takes it name and inspiration from a sitcom that aired in the 1970s and 80s, about a single mother raising two daughters.

The original wasn’t shy about hot-button issues, either, addressing love and relationships often through a second-wave feminist lens.

The members of the reboot’s Alvarez family each navigate unique identities and personal journeys.

Penelope (played by Justina Machado) is a single mom and Army veteran dealing with PTSD, who moves in with her Cuban mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno).

Lydia seems to have cemented herself as a fan favorite character due to her wit, heart, and singular flair.

Linda Holmes of NPR said that Moreno’s performance “can … crack your heart right open.”

“One Day at a Time” has perhaps garnered the most attention from the way the show has sensitively handled the self-discovery (and self-acceptance) arc of Penelope’s outspoken teenage daughter, Elena.

Elena, after realizing she’s a lesbian, gradually starts having more and more conversations with her family about sexuality and identity—even finding herself a love interest in season two.

Kelly Lawler of USA Today said that Elena’s arc is praiseworthy for its “unique, realistic, and refreshing take on  [coming out]” and adds that “the depiction of   a young, happy Latinx lesbian comes as a hopeful sign for many.”

Hopefully, Netflix will recognize, as well, the massive importance the series has to a lot of people—to those dealing with mental illness, to immigrant families, to LGBTQ youth, to single mothers—and keep let- ting “One Day at a Time” tell its story.

The Elm

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