Todd Grinnell was both “excited and terrified” to play Schneider in the Netflix re-imagining of “One Day at a Time.” The original sitcom ran from 1975 to 1984 on CBS, and Schneider is the only main character who was carried over to the new version. Those are some big shoes to fill: Pat Harrington Jr. won an Emmy for Best Comedy Supporting Actor in 1984 for his performance in the original. But Grinnell plays a very different Schneider, so it was “a real privilege and an honor, not to try and fill Pat’s shoes but put on a different pair of shoes and walk the same path.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Grinnell above.
The 21st century Schneider is “a hipster from Echo Park” and “the perfect foil to this working class Latinx family.” He comes from a wealthy, dysfunctional family in Canada, and now he’s the landlord to the Cuban-American Alvarez family that lives in his building. He’s also a womanizer and a recovering addict. But “the thing that is similar about both of them is they have this sense of loneliness … The thing that brings the two Schneiders together is their need to be part of these families that they love.”
Created by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce and executive produced by Norman Lear, this “Day” uses the multi-camera sitcom format to explore a wide range of pressing topics, from racism, to immigration, to depression, to LGBT acceptance. “A lot of the things we’re able to talk about are spurred by the fact that [Schneider] has no clue about any of them,” says Grinnell. “He’s learning as much as many Americans are about a lot of issues that people of Schneider’s demographic didn’t really know about before, which is kind of exciting.”
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