The first episode of season four of One Day at a Time is locked and done, and I am happy to tell you that the show is as good as ever.
Actually the show is more popular than ever, with a crowd I’ve never seen before wanting to see them. Personally that’s the best thing ever, as it’s recognition that people wanted this show to return.
They film in a totally new studio, which means everything had to be rebuilt. I remain in awe of everyone who was able to put the Alvarez’ living room back together again, and you couldn’t tell a difference. While there were a few nerves and bloopers from them, it was really like being in a time machine.
Isabella Gomez literally felt like she’d been in a pocket universe, stepping out and being Elena without any work. That kind of consistency in work on the show was only surpassed by the estimable Justina Machado. Scene after scene, take after take, they know where they’re going and exactly how their characters need to get there.
Of course there were some changes. Marcel Ruiz has grown again, both in height and in ability. Every year this young man gets better and better. Also better, and I didn’t think this was possible, were Rita Moreno and Stephen Tobolowsky, whose comic timing and casual brilliance were perfect. Todd Grinell’s Schnider was even funnier, too, with his cis-white ally-ship excellence.
A New Home
Of course, things are new. As you’ve heard, Ray Romano (of Everybody Loves Raymond) fame was in the first episode as Brian the Census Taker. His character serves a brilliant function and I think manages to set the tone for the overarching theme for season four, as well as an introduction to everyone who doesn’t yet know the Alvarez family.
Also some things have changed a lot for our characters. Alex is 15, Elena is almost 18 and will be off to college next year (will she go to Yale?). Can you imagine what Penelope’s life will be like if it’s just her and Lydia? And speaking of Penelope, she’s achieved her dream of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, but is that going to be enough?
Your Favourites Are Back
Besides the new guy and our beloved regulars, a number of the amazing guest stars are back. You’re going to see the return of Penelope’s therapy group, which includes the amazing Nicky Endres again.
Sheridan will be back too, and Syd and Elena had an argument that I’ve had myself with friends.
But What About ….
Now that we’re on PopTV, the show is absolutely different. I’m not going to lie to you. I was surprised at how different the flow was when they shifted from no-commercials to having them. Instead of having super long scenes and letting things flow to a natural point, they had to tighten up each scene to make sure it told the right story in the right beats.
There were a couple blooper jokes like “Can we say that on PopTV?” and a meta joke or two in the episode itself. Speaking of, I know everyone wants to know about Cuba and are Schnieder and Avery really okay and what about Max showing up at the end of season three?
All I can tell you is that you’re going to enjoy what happens next. There are conclusions to some stories and beginnings of others.
I mean … Alex get’s a girlfriend, y’all! How will Lydia handle that?
This is it, folks. This is our show, and let’s have a ball.