justina machado

Photo Credit: Netflix.

By Nate Millado

This is it: Norman Lear's critically acclaimed reboot of his classic sitcom is coming to CBS! One Day At A Timereimagined to center on a Cuban-American family—makes its CBS network debut with back-to-back episodes on Oct. 12.

The first three seasons streamed on Netflix, while Season 4 aired on Pop TV (and will soon air on CBS). So if you've never seen an episode—and honestly, why haven't you?!—or just need a refresh, here's your primer for all things Alvarez.

One Day At A Time premieres Monday, Oct. 12 at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Season 1: Meet the Family…

Rita Moreno Justina Machado

Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera and Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez in One Day At A Time.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/Netflix.

Newly single mom Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado) is taking it "one day at a time" with her Cuban-American family in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Quirky, confident, and no-nonsense, Penelope is a nurse who aspires to be a nurse practitioner. She's also a military veteran dealing with PTSD.

Snarky and stylish son teenage Alex (Marcel Ruiz) feels obligated to be, as he puts it, "the man of the house" now that his mom and dad are divorced. Daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez) is a nerdy teen who's passionate about social issues. The first season builds toward her quinceañera (15th birthday party)—though feminist Elena doesn't want one at first.

She also comes out as lesbian, which the whole family—even Penelope's mother, the devoutly Catholic Lydia (played by EGOT winner/living legend Rita Moreno)—makes an effort to support.

…And Meet the Extended Family

The cast of One Day at a Time

Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera, Todd Grinnell as Schneider, Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez, Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez, Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez, and Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Berkowitz.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/Netflix.

Penelope may be the head of the family, but abuela Lydia is its heart. The cast is rounded out by Penelope's boss, Dr. Berkowitz (Stephen Tobolowsky), and the Alvarez's wealthy hipster landlord—and loyal friend—Schneider (Todd Grinnell).

Penelope's ex, Victor (James Martinez), reenters the picture, but refuses to accept Elena's sexuality. When he bails on the father-daughter dance at the quince, Penelope swoops in, and the season ends with an awww-worthy group hug/dance between the Alvarez fam, Dr. Berkowitz, and Schneider.

Season 2: Citizenship…

\u200bIsabella Gomez Rita Moreno Marcel Ruiz Justina Machado

Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez, Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera, Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez, and Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez.

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix.

ODAAT tackles timely issues without ever being preachy. Alex punches a school bully for telling him to go back to Mexico. "You can't control the jerks," Penelope tells her son, "but you can control your reaction to them."

Canadian Schneider and Cuban immigrant Lydia become U.S. citizens. In relationship news, Lydia starts a no-strings platonic companionship with Dr. Berkowitz; out-and-proud Elena finds a girlfriend named Syd (Sheridan Pierce), aka her "Syd-nificant Other"; and Penelope gets involved with a recently divorced old friend, a hunky "stallion"—Lydia's words, not ours!—named Max (Ed Quinn).

…And Relationships!

Ed Quinn Justina Machado

Ed Quinn as Max and Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez in One Day At A Time.

Photo Credit: Mike Yarish/Netflix.

But their relationship hits a rough patch when she discovers Max wants to have children. After Penelope breaks up with Max, she gets into a fight with Lydia, who suffers a stroke. Lydia's late husband, Berto (Tony Plana), appears at her hospital room to accompany her to the afterlife. But when Berto asks, "So, mi amor, is it time?" Lydia chooses life. "Not yet," she says, as the studio audience goes wild.

Season 3: Highs and Lows…

James Martinez as Victor Alvarez and Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez

James Martinez as Victor Alvarez and Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez.

Photo Credit: Mike Yarish/Netflix.

Alex gets caught with pot and is grounded. Elena reconnects with Victor—yes, her jerk of a dad who left her hanging at her 15th birthday celebration—who apologizes for reacting so horribly to her coming out. They get a redo of their father-daughter dance when Victor remarries.

…And Lydia's "Bouquet" List

Rita Moreno with hands on hips in One Day At A Time

Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera in One Day At A Time.

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix.

After years of sobriety, Schneider falls off the wagon—no thanks to his jerk of a dad. Lydia uses her near-death experience to check things off her "bouquet," er, bucket. list. She finally returns to Cuba—with Dr. Berkowitz in tow—to scatter Berto's ashes in their home country. Oh, and Penelope is a nurse practitioner now! So who needs a man, right?

Season 4: Resolutions and Revelations

Cast of One Day At A Time on living room set

Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez, Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez, Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera, Ray Romano as Brian, Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez, and Sheridan Pierce as Syd.

Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/Pop TV.

Luckily, ODAAT ties up most loose ends from Season 3, so even newbies will be able to catch up when CBS rolls out the Season 4 episodes, starting with an extremely timely census-themed show featuring Ray Romano.

Plus: Boundary Problems

Rita Moreno Marcel Ruiz Justina Machado in One Day At A Time

Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera, Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez, and Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez in One Day At A Time.

Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/Pop TV.

Alex has a girlfriend named Nora (Raquel Justice). Elena applies to colleges and grapples with what that means for her relationship with Syd.

There's a hilariously cringeworthy episode (pictured above) where Alex catches Penelope in a very compromising position. (That episode, "Boundaries," just won an Emmy for Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series.) We'll get some resolution to the Penelope and Max saga. And someone's pregnant! But we'll never tell who.

One Day At A Time premieres Monday, Oct. 12 at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Courtesy of Pop TV.

By Melissa Rose Bernardo

Animation of Penelope Alvarez say in Awww


We all think our moms are the greatest, but when it comes to TV moms, One Day At A Time's Penelope Alvarez (played by Justina Machado) is about as badass as they come. She's a proud Cuban-American; she worked as a medic in Afghanistan; she went back to school to become a nurse practitioner; and she's a single mom to two strong-willed teenagers, Alex (Marcel Ruiz) and Elena (Isabella Gomez).

She shares the spotlight

Animation of Lydia being self-deprecating.


Topping off those badass mom credentials: She doesn't mind sharing—and ceding—the spotlight to her own mom, the glamorous, flamboyant Lydia (Rita Moreno—yes, that Rita Moreno), whose curtained-off room allows her to make theatrical entrances in every episode.

Now that Pop TV picked up Season 4 of One Day At A Time—a reboot of Norman Lear's 1975 CBS series starring Bonnie Franklin—it's the perfect time to get to know the Alvarez family, especially its awesome matriarch, Penelope.

​She's good with money

Perhaps a little too good. Elena says her mom has "had the same Ziploc since I was a kid." And woe is the waiter who tries to charge Penelope full price for her happy-hour pot stickers!

"You don't know what I know!" Penelope tells her very rich landlord/handyman Schneider (Todd Grinnell), who's attempting to patch up her falling-apart-at-the-seams sofa. "You think MC Hammer thought he was gonna go broke? He had the biggest pants, and now he's got nothing to put in them."

Later, Penelope's sofa literally breaks in half…and Schneider persuades her to actually spend the money on a brand-new one.

She’s enviably self-confident

An animation of Penelope doing a little dance while seated.


We all wish we could have Penelope's poise. "I'm having the greatest hair day. I can't keep this to myself," she tells Alex and Elena. "I mean, my babies. Come on. Look, look! Look at the bounce!" Lest she get too puffed-up, Alex reminds her that not everything is bouncing and behaving. "But your brows," he says. "Qué barbaridad."

She’s open and honest

Animation of Penelope exclaiming disgust.


Especially when it comes to sex. Much to her teenage son's chagrin. In fact, Alex would prefer that she not talk about it at all. Please. He's begging her. "Boundaries? Boundaries are for white people," Penelope laughs.

She still dresses up for Halloween

Animation of Penelope dressed as Sandy from Grease.


Penelope looks awesome as Sandy from Grease, and her hunky EMT boyfriend Max (Ed Quinn) makes a pretty terrific Danny. And yes, she knows the "We Go Together" dance.

She lets her children express themselves

She's also super-supportive of her daughter's timely but bound-to-be-misunderstood costume: Elena is dressed as climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, and her nonbinary significant other, Syd (Sheridan Price), is dressed as a melting iceberg. "Ooh, you too look great," says Penelope. "This is a lot better than last year's toxic drinking water and tumor costumes."

She gives great motivational speeches

Animation of Penelope disciplining her child.


When Alex decides to try his hand at fashion design, he learns he's not exactly Project Runway material. "I stabbed my finger with the needle so many times that I needed stitches, but I didn't know how to do them," he says, admitting he called it quits after just one class. But Penelope wants him to make it work: "It's okay to be bad at some things. Dare to suck!"

Watch Season 4 of One Day At A Time from the beginning on Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on Pop TV and stream via the Pop Now App. On Mother's Day, this Sunday May 10, enjoy a late-night catch-up stack 11:30 p.m to 2:30 a.m on Pop TV.


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