One of the reasons Justina Machado agreed to do "Dancing with the Stars" this season was because it gave her the opportunity to talk about her show "One Day at a Time," the fourth season of which is currently airing on CBS.
A reboot of the Norman Lear original, it's been one of the most consistently funny comedies on TV - and one of the only to feature a Latinx family at its center. The show began at Netflix, which wasn't able (or perhaps willing) to give the show the kind of high-profile promotion it needed. When Netflix pulled the plug, Pop TV stepped in and greenlit a fourth season - shot this past spring - which was truncated because of the pandemic.
Which leaves the show's fate up in the air. How well it does during this run on CBS will determine if it has a future.
The stories unfold in a cheerily modest apartment in LA. Machado plays a divorced mother of two who also lives with her own mother, played hilarious verve by Rita Moreno. "Hold on tight/we'll muddle through/one day at a time," the infectious theme song promises. Talk about encapsulating a moment.
Machado is a Chicago native and we spoke recently about "Dancing with the Stars," her hopes for "One Day at a Time" and the dearth of Latinx representation on TV.
Q: Why do you think it's been challenging to build a groundswell of awareness around "One Day at a Time"?
A: We haven't had enough marketing and that's a huge deal. But also I think that people get so caught up in thinking that it's a Latino show that they can't relate to. Which, to me, always blows my mind.
I'm born and raised in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents - I'm first generation - and I grew up watching quote-unquote "white" shows and I always found something to relate to. So we're trying to change that narrative of what you think our shows are about. What you think we're about.
I have people coming on my Instagram, now that I'm doing "Dancing with the Stars," and saying, "Oh my gosh, I didn't even know who you were and I didn't even know what this show was, but now I'm going to watch." I have people on "Dancing with the Stars" who are like, "What's that show?"
Q: Does that bug you, though?