Last January, Netflix released a remake of the 1970s sitcom One Day at a Time, which, this time around, centers around a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles. The main characters include Penelope, a recently-separated army nurse veteran who is raising her two teenage kids, Elena and Alex, with the help of her mother, Lydia (and their comedic landlord, Schneider).
Already, One Day at a Time has been celebrated for its incredibly timely commentary on everything from sexism in the workplace to the horrors of deportation, while remaining a feel-good sitcom for the whole family.
My Kid Is Gay co-founder, Kristin Russo, sat down with Michelle Badillo, one of the writers of the show, to talk about Elena’s coming out storyline, and how it’s different from how many other coming out stories are portrayed in TV and movies.
If you haven’t read Part One yet, check it out here, and stay tuned for Part Three coming soon!
Kristin Russo: Ok, I would love to talk about Lydia, and her thoughts on religion after Elena comes out. First of all, she’s played by Rita Moreno, who is a legend.
Michelle Badillo: We had so many different ideas for how Lydia would receive Elena’s coming out. We kind of didn’t know where she fell, so it was kind of up to us to decide. We really wanted the dad to be the one to have the issue, but it did seem like she would probably have some issues as well. But, at the same time, we were also like, “She was a dancer in Cuba, she probably knows gay people.” Initially, we had it written so that Lydia doesn’t have a problem at all, which would throw Penelope off. Then at the first table read, Rita was like, “I just don’t see this going down this way. This is an older religious woman from Cuba. There is no way she would be comfortable with it right away. There’s this big God thing.” So, we wanted her to be okay with it, and we wanted to get her there as quickly as possible in a way that makes sense for her. And then she freaking kills it with her monologue on the couch.