Thursday, March 23, 2017

Un Dia A La Vez

No, you didn't hit the Spanish button on your computer.   I'm just trying to join the diversity bandwagon.  Of course, if you're watching any TV show these days, you can't avoid that diversity bandwagon.   So many people have climbed on board that the wheels are starting to come off.

The latest example is a new Netflix series that is a reworking of the popular Norman Lear sitcom of the 70s and 80s, "One Day At A Time."   You probably know that if you read Spanish and saw today's blog entry title.  Indeed, Lear is working actively with Sony and Netflix to re-imagine and re-engineer all those famous "social content" sitcoms.   I am sure in short order that Archie Bunker will be a Black conservative, George Jefferson will be a Muslim, and Maude Findlay will have just gone through a transgender process.

Everything old is diverse again in 2017.

Okay, so first up for a 21st century update is the old "single mother in Indianapolis" concept that starred the late Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, the late Pat Harrington Jr, and Valerie something or other.  All right.  I admit to watching that show but largely due to raging hormones for something or other.

Now there are those that will argue the original was loud and shrill and I won't put up an argument to that.   It's amazing how raging hormones will tone down what others hear as histrionics.  Indeed, I did enjoy that show when it was not preaching from Norman Lear's political soap box and concentrating more on typical teenage issues like dating.  

To those of you who thought the first edition of "One Day At A Time" was loud and shrill, well, cover your ears if you want to sample Season 1 of the reboot.  It will challenge your auditory senses in ways not imaginable.

Right from the get go, you know this is "One Day At A Time."  The opening credits feature the old theme song but with a salsa twist.   The apartment set is virtually same, although it has been moved from Indianapolis to a Hispanic neighborhood in East LA.  There is even a lummox of a handyman named Schneider, albeit a trifle younger.  And, in even better news, the show is once again shot in front of a live studio audience, many of whom must be amped up on sugar because they scream delight at every joke.

But, in 2017, the old Romano/Cooper household has been replaced by a Cuban-American family.   Elena is newly separated from both the military and her husband.   Now she's doing her best, earning a living as a doctor's assistant and raising two snarky teenagers.   Instead of two girls, the kids are now a girl, Penelope, and a younger boy/con artist named Alex.  

Also deviating from the original is the inclusion of Lydia, their feisty live-in grandmother.  Rita Moreno has scored this role.   Rita's in her 80s but playing 70 and actually pulling that off.   The only problem is her character is so super annoying that she will get old in a hurry.   She's trying to be the same comic relief that Estelle Getty provided on "The Golden Girls."  Except Moreno's delivering every line like Manny Pacquiao in the 8th round of a prize fight.   How do you say "oy" in Spanish?

I've sampled four episodes so far and the tone is typically loud and overbearing when it comes to social issues.   Again, just like the original, the series is a lot more interesting when the plots are kept simple.  And the screaming is kept to a minimum.  But, as I've said, this is 2017 and we are going to have this type of content crammed down our throats like it is castor oil.  Indeed, another diversity box is supposedly clicked later on in Season 1 when I hear that Penelope announces that she is...  Okay, you connect the dots.

At the end of the day, I really have nothing against reboots like this "One Day At A Time" especially if they continue to push the multi-camera, live studio audience format.  But, this one feels like change for the sake of 2017 change and, while mildly entertaining, it's really pointless.

And trust me.   There are no raging hormones as I watch this one.

Dinner last night:  Spicy cashew chicken at the Cheesecake Factory.

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