“It’s awesome to get all this love and all this appreciation,” said Justina Machado about celebrating the Netflix series “One Day at a Time” with the cast and crew as they prepare to shoot season three, which will premiere in 2019. We talked to Macahdo and her co-stars Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, and Stephen Tobolowsky, along with series creators Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, on the red carpet for a special Emmy FYSEE event for voters in Los Angeles on June 2. Scroll down and follow the links at the bottom of this post to be taken to our interviews.
“One Day” re-imagines the classic sitcom that originally ran on CBS from 1975 to 1984. The new version follows the lives of Penelope Alvarez (Machado) and her Cuban-American family in Los Angeles. There aren’t too many TV shows currently on the air exploring the Latin-American experience, but “it doesn’t feel like pressure in a negative way” to Calderon Kellett, who is honored “to be able to finally talk about stories through the lens of my family and my Latinx experience.”
Though it’s a multi-camera comedy, the emotions run high as the series tackles issues like racism, homophobia, immigration and mental health. “We get to make people laugh, and then we try to make people cry,” said Royce about the show’s impact, especially on the live studio audiences who experience the show firsthand. “We’ve had episodes where multiple members of the audience are crying, and we feel like we’re really touching those people.”
Gomez plays Penelope’s daughter Elena, a politically outspoken teenager who came out to her family as a lesbian. The actress has “learned so much” from her character, who has made her “a little bit more of an activist” herself. “The young people are going to be the change, and I really think my generation is doing amazing things, so to be able to be a part of that is so cool.”
Grinnell plays Schneider, the Alvarez’s landlord and the only major character carried over from the original series. Pat Harrington Jr. originated the role and won an Emmy for it in 1981, though Grinnell’s version is markedly different. The new version is a rich playboy with a history of addiction, but it was still “daunting” to play the role Harrington made famous. Harrington died in 2016, so it was an “emotional” experience for Grinnell to speak with his children before undertaking the role, and “I actually keep a picture of him dressed as Schneider in my dressing room.”
Also orbiting the Alvarez clan is Dr. Leslie Berkowitz (Tobolowsky), Penelope’s down-on-his luck boss who begins an unlikely romance with Penelope’s mother Lydia (Rita Moreno). For Tobolowsky, “one of the most fun things you can do as an actor is fall in love,” and “falling in love with Rita Moreno is one of the easiest things in the world to do. I think the audience just wants to see a little victory in the stories, and any love story is a victory.”
Justina Machado, as Penelope Alvarez
Todd Grinnell, as Schneider
Isabella Gomez, as Elena Alvarez
Stephen Tobolowsky, as Dr. Leslie Berkowitz
Gloria Calderon Kellett, creator/writer/producer
Mike Royce, creator/writer/producer
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