I sat here with a blank screen for a while. I consider myself a good writer, but putting pen to paper, as it were, to explain how I feel about this news is complicated.
The not complicated part is that I’m upset. The show is great! It has amazing representation and depicts life in that perfect way that makes you laugh and enjoy the story.
On the complicated side, 2019 has been a series of personal ups and downs like a rollercoaster, and it’s only the middle of March. There are some really awesome things coming up this month and next, but at the same time there has been a lot of pretty horrible things.
So when I say I’m heartbroken, I am. I feel like a life-preserver I’ve been hanging onto this year has been ripped away.
There’s Personal Pain
The Monday night before season 3 dropped, my dad died. It was completely unexpected and necessitated we fly out to where he lived — Japan.
Dad and I were close. It was just me and him for a while. We had family that lived with us, helped us, and we made it through the 80s together. He was a great Dad and I wouldn’t be here with LezWatch.TV without him. I’m certainly an emotional mess from his death, and I won’t be over it for a while.
The night the season dropped, I was hiding in the living room of my Dad’s apartment trying to come to terms with this horrible reality that I hated. I tried reading. I tried writing. I couldn’t sleep. So I lay on a futon and watched some of season three of One Day at a Time. It was calming and welcoming. I was safe for a couple hours. It was okay to laugh. It was an emotion I could be comfortable with.
I struggle sometimes when I try to explain to people why I love this show. It’s funny, it’s family, and there’s just something about it that comforted me. It’s just a good comedy, and I don’t like most comedy shows.
Comedy peaked around Jack Benny for me, where you had a flawed comic lead. The standard fair of comedy shows on air punch down. Even when the nerds are the stars, they’re the butt of the joke. You laugh at Sheldon, not with him.
Unlike that, Norman Lear created a world where you laughed at the stars because you were supposed to. Archie Bunker was the hero, but he was also flawed and sometimes a terrible human. When we laughed at him, we did it because he was in the wrong in a comical way.
The humor was inclusive. We were not just in on the joke, we were part of the joke. We could laugh at the characters for their oddities and laugh at ourselves for ours. That kind of humor was brought back in One Day at A Time. When we laughed, we were laughing with everyone.
Did We Do Wrong?
Reading the news, I sit here and I wonder if there was anything else I could do. Could I have gone into debt and made a billboard? Should I have rallied fans more? Could we have organized more?
And then I wonder why Netflix did this. Why did they make it so hard to find the show? Where were the billboards and the subway cars? Why did it fall on fans and journalists to promote the show? Why did Gloria and Mike have to say, time and again, that their show needed watchers?
Looking at how it played out, with Netflix promoting inclusivity and telling us that our stories matter, I think there’s only one realization: Our stories matter, but they don’t make enough money to be worth being made.
The people who need to watch the show to see themselves were too small, and the people who needed to watch the show to learn empathy for the rest of us weren’t enough. In short, we didn’t matter. Money mattered. And while I fully understand that money is a necessary evil, it sure looks like Netflix is trying to have their cake and eat it too.
It’s been a great honor to work with the legendary Norman Lear on One Day at a Time. I’ve personally spoken with Norman, and co-creators Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce, to express my gratitude to them, all the writers, the dedicated crew and the cast including the brilliant Justina Machado and dazzling Rita Moreno for creating a series with such humor, heart and humanity. This was a very difficult decision and we’re thankful to all the fans who’ve supported the series, our partners at Sony, and all the critics who embraced it. While it’s disappointing that more viewers didn’t discover One Day at a Time, I believe the series will stand the test of time.Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix
There’s no replacement for this show. There’s no other lesbian Latinx with a non-binary sydnificant other. There’s no other multigenerational family in LA dealing with racism, romance, and growing up. There’s no other safe place to laugh when we need it.
We Need to Laugh
I don’t know that I can say it better than Norman Lear did, so I’ll close this out with his words, and a hope that someone else picks up this show. Whoever does, we will be there and we will watch this show.
But It May Not Be Over
Here’s the thing. Sony (the studios who product the show) and the show runners are actively looking for a new home. We got the first hint from Mike Royce:
And the next morning, Gloria Calderón Kellett tweeted a call out to networks:
To my friends who work on this show, know you have me in your corner. There’s a chance another network might pick up One Day at a Time and if they do, you know I’ll be there.