Why Netflix’s One Day At A Time Is So Popular, According To The Stars

The family cleaning out boxes in One Day At A Time

It's no secret that Netflix has changed the world of television production. After premiering original content with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, the streaming world was opened up and made way for competitors Hulu and Amazon. Since then, Netflix has produced a ton of new series, and the service recently began exploring new genres of TV. In addition to unscripted shows, this also includes classic sitcoms like Fuller House and One Day at a Time. The latter has proved very popular since debuting back in January 2017. I recently spoke to stars Justina Machado and Isabella Gomez about why their show has resonated with audiences. Gomez believes its the relatable stories, telling me:

I think it's because it's so real. I think we have a really diverse group of writers and show runners. They make sure that we're telling real stories, that are based on fact and truth and not just some made up thing in their mind, which is why so many people relate to it. And it's not just about the jokes, it's about showing a real family.

While TV viewers may enjoy fantasy shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, audiences generally like to relate to their media. According to Isabella Gomez, One Day at a Time does that by showing a single parent family that has its share of ups and downs. After all, who doesn't grow up having issues with their parent? Just about nobody.

Indeed, One Day at a Time does contain a family unit that contains at least one character you can relate to. Justina Machado's character Penny is a veteran and nurse who is just trying to balance her responsibilities. This includes her dramatic mother Lydia and precocious son Alex. Season 1 of the sitcom also focused on the coming out process for Penny's daughter Elena, as well as allowing Penelope's best friend Dwayne to become a bonafide member of the family.

While speaking with the duo of actresses at Netflix's recently press junket in New York City, Justina Machado also spoke to what makes One Day at a Time such a relevant and beloved part of the streaming service's programming. Like her onscreen daughter, the Six Feet Under alum believes its the relatable starring family that makes the show a success, saying:

And I think people can really identify. There's all sorts of representation on that show. You can look at that show, and somebody looks like you. You know somebody like that. I say this all the time, it's a universal story told through a Latino lense. And it's also kind of bringing back the middle class hero. We don't have that anymore. I just think this is the right time. It couldn't be a better time for this show.

She's got a point, as One Day at a Time was a sleeper hit last year. The show's second season has packed an especially emotional punch, and it's already been renewed for a third season. Clearly it's doing something right, and we should the Alvarez to stick around.

One Day at a Time is currently streaming its first two seasons on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch and our cancellation list to see if your favorite show got the chop last year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.