“It’s crazy that we’re back,” exclaims Gloria Calderon Kellett about the return of “One Day at a Time.” The re-imagined take on the classic late seventies sitcom was cancelled by Netflix in 2019 after a three-season run. Following a vociferous outcry on social media, the show has landed on Pop TV, which began airing the fourth season in late March. In our exclusive interview with show runners Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce (watch above), discuss the transition to cable from streaming as well as maintaining the show’s commitment to telling stories that are both entertaining and timely.
Both showrunners prefer the show airing week-to-week over the entire season dropping at once, giving the cast and creative team a greater opportunity to interact with viewers on social media. “The week to week of it has been so awesome,” Calderon Kellett says. “I’ve loved it so much interacting with fans every week.” Royce adds, “It feels like an event every time. To watch all the tweets is really fun, people reacting to it in real time.”
The season four opener reintroduces the audience to the Alvarez family, aided by a guest shot by Ray Romano, with whom Royce worked as a writer and producer on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Despite their long working history, Royce was hesitant to contact his Emmy-winning friend. “I’ve waited a long time because Ray did a sitcom for nine years” he explains. “He does not want to do another sitcom, and so I really resisted trying to get him to guest star on this one. Everything what we did creative on ‘Raymond’ he just did again in a microcosm which was really fun.”
Calderon Kellett and Royce are particularly proud of the season’s third episode “Boundaries,” which turns the tables on the classic parent-child sex talk. The episode involves Penelope (Justina Machado) having to have an uncomfortable conversation about masturbation with son Alex (Marcel Ruiz) after he walks in on his mother “self-gratifying” while watching “Outlander.” The episode has been acclaimed by critics, with Vulture calling it “an all-you-can-eat buffet of sitcom greatness.” Calderon Kellett says that she had the idea for the episode several years prior, but needed to find the right story to talk about women’s sexual health. “Normally it is the mom walking in on her teenage boy, and how funny would it be if the reverse were true.”
With the show back on television, both Royce and Calderon Kellett say that they have more ideas for the future of the show than they know what to do with. “There’s so much more that we want this family to experience and go through,” she proclaims, “and we look forward to getting the opportunity to do it.”
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