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‘One Day at a Time’ Team Talks Depression, LGBTQ Representation at Season 2 Premiere

The stars and co-creator of the Netflix reboot “One Day at a Time” discussed the importance of acknowledging depression and properly representing an LGBTQ love story in the new season.

One Day at a Time,” the comedic sitcom following a Cuban-American family, held a screening of its new season in Los Angeles, Calif. on Thursday. The cast and executive producer shared how the range of issues shown in the first season, from PTSD to coming out, will be further addressed when the show returns along with other topics.

“There are so many people — just beautiful people — who are ashamed when they don’t need to be ashamed,” said co-creator and executive producer Gloria Calderon Kellett. “I feel like once we start talking about these things that are taboo, it doesn’t become a thing anymore. So I really like starting that conversation. Hoping that it can change hearts and minds.”

In season one, Penelope, played by Justina Machado, is hesitant to admit to her family she battles anxiety, depression and PTSD due to the stigma that exists in the Cuban community.

“Old school Latinos don’t really believe in depression,” Machado said. “You work through it.”

But, she’s hoping the way her character handles her illness will change people’s minds. “You don’t need a high power job to have anxiety. Sometimes you just have anxiety so it’s important to talk about those things,” she continued.

Season 2 also picks up after Penelope’s daughter Elena, played by Isabella Gomez, has come out to her family.

“This season is all about: it doesn’t matter who you like it’s just who you like,” Gomez said. “We see the family trying to help her get a girlfriend. We see grandma giving her flirting tips and Alex making fun of her just like any other family would work.”

“We really tried to stick to what would be just a good love story,” Kellett added, teasing Elena’s new relationship. “What is it like when you’re awkward and nerdy the way Elena is. We just lean so much on our LGBTQ writers to make sure we weren’t falling into any tropes. I hope people will be very satisfied with the way we talk about it.”

A new conversation this season is the presence of racism, especially given the current political climate. The show tackles how to address discrimination and derogatory remarks.

“So many people are listening to so much horrible rhetoric,” Machado said. “Every day if you hear, ‘These people are bad. These people are bad,’ sometimes it sinks into their head. It’s important to show that they’re human beings. We’re human beings. We’re all immigrants. We all got here a certain way. Nobody is a straight up American unless you’re Native American.”

Machado also expressed the importance of letting people know “you’re not going to go away,” but also that “we have a lot more in common than you think.”

Since “One Day At A Time” is a comedy, there will be plenty of lighter moments throughout the season, too. Gomez talked about her funny relationship with the cast in between takes as well. “It’s so much fun,” said Gomez. “They’re really like family. We just goof around and play pranks and run around and eat and laugh the whole time. It’s a dream come true.”

Rita Moreno, who plays Penelope’s mother Lydia, echoed Gomez’s enthusiasm and praised her fellow cast members. “I think Justina is just an insanely talented woman,” Moreno said. “She’s crazy talented and funny as hell. She is just the best acting partner I’ve ever had.”

“One Day at a Time” Season 2 is available to stream on Netflix on Jan. 26.

Stars Todd Grinnell, Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz and Stephen Tobolowsky at the premiere. Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock

 

Executive producer Norman Lear posing with Sony Pictures TV Studios president Jeff Frost, Netflix VP of original series Cindy Holland and Sony TV’s co-head of drama development Jason Clodfelter. Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock

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