When the reboot of Norman Lear’s iconic 1975 television series “One Day at a Time” began airing in 2017, audiences across the country fell in love with the premise and its cast, who kept us laughing and crying with their candid (yet comedic) portrayal of a Cuban American family navigating life in Los Angeles. The show stars Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez, a single mother and army veteran who juggles raising her two kids with the stressors of daily life. Aided by her mother, Lydia — portrayed by the fabulous Rita Moreno — Penelope grapples with the responsibility of maintaining a household of three generations on two shoulders, though with her charisma and wit, the job would almost seem easy.
But it’s not, and “One Day at a Time” never shields from that fact. The sincerity with which the series showcased the Alvarez family’s struggles garnered the sitcom a cult online following. Through Penelope, audiences saw an honest portrayal of the challenges of navigating single parenthood, depression, sexism, and more. More broadly, the show sensibly tackled topics of immigration, mental health, addiction, homophobia, racism, and more. Not all Latinx communities are the same nor do we all share the same experiences, but these are all familiar issues. “One Day at a Time” gave Latinx communities good representation by shining a light on that reality through Penelope and her family, without ever losing its characteristic comedic and good-natured tone.
Despite all it did in terms of onscreen representation, the show faced multiple battles to keep running. It was eventually canceled by Netflix in 2019 and then canceled again by Pop TV in 2020, after being picked up for a fourth and final season. Fans were understandably upset, taking to social media to voice their disbelief and disapproval. The show officially ended after no new networks revived it. While we dearly miss Penelope’s wit, Lydia’s melodic laughter, Elena’s passionate rants, and Alex’s schoolboy charm, we can’t help but wonder — where is the cast of “One Day at a Time” now? If you couldn’t get enough of this cast when the show was airing, here’s what our beloved Alvarezs are up to now.