Entertainment

Queer Latinas Have A Very Relatable Character In ODAAT’s Elena Alvarez

Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” is truly one of the only sitcom comedies so many people have been able to relate to. Based on the CBS sitcom of the same name, Netflix upped its relevance by basing the story around a Cuban-American family. The show features a single mom, who is also a veteran suffering from PTSD; an abuelita Cuban immigrant; her pet grandson who can do no wrong; and Elena Alvarez, a teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality.

Watching a gay Latina, well-played by straight ally Isabella Gomez, navigate teenagehood in an overprotective Latino home is a world of difference from similar shows targeting white audiences. Often, our experiences don’t come close to the loving response Elena gets, but seeing it come to fruition for a fictional character is everything. Here are some of the times Elena was the queer Latina representation that has been missing for too long.

We said it to our mami’s over and over again and they thought we were wacky feminists.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Well, it was all true. Elena’s mom’s response was like all of ours: “I know, honey, but you’ll find the right boy and then you’ll know.” Nope. There never was a right boy.

We all had one best friend that we called wifey and held hands with.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

You didn’t have romantic feelings for them (or maybe you did), but the intimacy you craved most was with girls and your lesbian heart knows no depths of love for your BFF. 

IRL, Gomez is besties with her on-screen bestie, played by Ariela Barer.

You were excited about saving the planet as a teenager.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Sure, the activist lesbian is a stereotype, but I haven’t found a fellow queero who wasn’t either vegan, plastic-free, or concerned about world affairs as a teenager. The world needs us.

You were the feminist authority in the house.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Before Elena’s sexuality ever came into question on the show, she was teaching Feminism 101 to all the generations that came before her. Same.

And you were never trying to be ladylike.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

The “how are you going to get a husband with Cheetos for fingers?” worked nothing on us. No me importa.

You were a constant disappointment for your lack of enthusiasm for beauty products.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

My mom threw away my skater Vans in a public dumpster to force me to buy different shoes or walk home barefoot, HBU?

Your reaction to kissing a boy for the first time was something like this:

One Day At A Time / Netflix

I mean, it usually wasn’t, right? ????Elena thought that if there was ever a boy that she would like, it would be cutie pie Josh. Raise your hand if you gave yourself this test before just letting yourself be gay? ????‍♀️

Your abuela or tías kept trying to force boys onto you.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Or Elena onto Josh, in this case. Or your cousins kept calling you a snob for not being into the cutest boy on the block. “What, are you too good for him?” Uh, probably, yes.

When Elena justifies her attraction to Josh because he likes “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

One Day At A Time / Netflix

These are solid reasons, Elena. Most people don’t have to write a list of nice things about a person to convince them they like them. Take note, baby gays.

“I feel more when I see a photo of Kristen Stewart than I do when I’m kissing him.”

One Day At A Time / Netflix

During Elena’s official coming out to her mom, it all clicked for Lupe right here in this moment. For my mom it was, “I had a feeling. You always made a disgusting face when I mentioned cojones.”

It’s like, you’re my mother. Who wouldn’t make a face?

When it’s so complicated figuring out if the girl you like also likes girls (and you)…

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Sometimes, you have to revert to cave speak. Let’s be real, coming out at any age is like resetting the clock to a 12-year-old boy. Eyes up, eyes up.

ODAAT devotes so much good screen time to getting Elena’s S.O., Syd’s pronouns right.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

They identify as they/them and when Elena’s mom starts calling them girlfriends, these two set everyone straight. They spent half an episode trying to figure out a gender neutral, affectionate term for each other. 

And the right amount of awkwardness when Lupe gives Elena the ‘sex talk.’

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Lupe goes to her “lesbian Yoda”, played by Judy Reyes, for advice and comes back with this. K…

When Elena’s dramatic abuela tells her how to come out of the closet.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Apparently, flamingo style and with lots of flair. Lydia proves to be a priceless element of what it means to be queer and Latina.

Having to explain to her abuela identifying as gay is important by bringing up her Cubanidad.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

How many times have we heard someone’s abuela complain about why the gays have to have their own parade? But, yeah, we’re here to build the floats for all your Cuban parades, too.

When the abuela is in pure denial about the other gays in the family.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

“How is that gay?”

Literally, they all went to her wedding but Lydia eventually confesses she thought it was just a “very affectionate BBQ.” 

When Elena asked if she could wear Docs with her quince dress. ????

One Day At A Time / Netflix

I’m dead. When her abuela surprised her with a pantsuit instead of a poofy dress on her big day, I was sobbing right along with Elena.

Of course, what’s being a queer Latina without a homophobic dad to throw into the mix.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Luckily, he ends up coming around, but not before bailing on her at her own quince. ODAAT isn’t the fantasy world of what we all wish our childhood could have been. The machismo is real, and it made her dad bounce during the father-daughter dance.

Seeing Elena dance the father-daughter dance with her mami had us all ???? ???? ???? 

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Above all, this is a show about strong, empowered women, of all sexualities, ages, and interests coming together. There’s a reason why therapists are prescribing this show to their lesbian Latina clients (it me.)

We ultimately get to see Elena become comfortable and confident in her identity.

One Day At A Time / Netflix

When she confronts her father again and someone made a hat that said V.A.G. (short for Victor Alvarez Guapísimo), he refused to wear it. This. ???? 

And watch her family climb on board…

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Granted, Lydia had to become accidentally super duper high to make this realization, but, yes, the opera is gay. ; ) If you are, too, we highly recommend “One Day at a Time,” now streaming all three seasons on Netflix.

READ: The All-Time Best Quotes From Lydia On ODAAT That Are Too Relatable

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‘One Day At a Time’ Has Been Canceled (Again)

Entertainment

‘One Day At a Time’ Has Been Canceled (Again)

Photo by Robby Klein/Getty Images

Fan-favorite sitcom “One Day At a Time” has, once again, been canceled. The rebooted show that centered on a Cuban-American family in Los Angeles originally streamed on Netflix and then moved to the Pop network after Netflix pulled the plug in 2019.

But now, Pop has also decided not to renew the series, disappointing fans everywhere.

Like the first time the show was cancelled, viewers took to social media to grieve. “You know how there are only some jokes that only your Latino friends get?,” wrote one Twitter user. “ODAAT was that one show where we got that humor. Like those conversations with each other where we open up about things we can’t even tell our parents. Mental health, identity, etc. It’s so important.”

Just recently, the show’s producers talked about their plans for the upcoming season. “We have so much more to tell, and especially with everything that’s going on in this world, every day, I’m like, oh my gosh, Elena would say this. Elena would say that. Elena would say this. It’s just ripe with things that this family would be talking about,” producer Gloria Calderon Kellett told Deadline. “This family, we have so much for them to go through still.”

Like in the aftermath of the last cancellation, the cast of the series took to social media to kickstart a campaign to keep the show on the air.

“I can and have written essays on how much this show means to me, but it boils down to #RepresentationMatters and man does ODAAT do that for so many, myself included,” Tweeted actress Isabella Gomez, who played rebellious teen Elena Alvarez on the show. “Maybe we can make magic happen again? Tell us why you want the Alvarez family back with #SaveODAAT”.

Back when ODAAT was canceled by Netflix in 2019, the show fans as well as its fans rallied together to make #SaveODAAT trend. Shortly after the hashtag went viral, the show was picked up by Pop. But Pop was acquired by a different company and it seems like ODAAT has become collateral damage in the merger.

Justina Machado also posted her reaction to the news on Instagram.

Machado expressed her sadness at the turn of events, but also remains hopeful that the show will find a third life somewhere else.

“Sadly, the news is out,” she wrote on Instagram. “And we weren’t so much canceled as we were a byproduct of a business model changing at the channel that bought us.”

“I’m not sad just yet, y’all,” she continued. “We still have some hope for new homes. Hang tight, my loves. You know that if I go down, I will go down swinging for this show (& cast & crew) I love.”

Crossing our fingers that this important show finds the permanent home that it deserves.

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It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Entertainment

It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, beloved (and not to mention, underrated) actress Justina Machado sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In it, Machado covers everything from her lengthy career, to the sad state of Latinx representation in Hollywood, to the offensive phone call she had with a tone-deaf TV exec in the ’90s.

Finally, after almost 25 years of hard work in Hollywood, Machado is dominating America’s Monday nights with two high-profile gigs: a spot on “Dancing With the Stars” and the return of “One Day At a Time” to CBS after it was unceremoniously dropped by Netflix.

Naturally, with so much on her plate, the Puerto Rican actress in not only mentally, but physically exhausted. After all, “Dancing With the Stars” is notorious for its grueling practice and shoot schedules. “Every day when I come home, my routine is dunking my feet in [an ice bath],” she told the LA Times. “The first week and a half of rehearsals, forget about it–I was crying.”

But Machado is glad that she took the DWTS opportunity for what it means in terms of Latinx representation on network television.

“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is it reaches so many more homes than [‘One Day at a Time’]…,” she told the publication. “I know they’ve had Latinas on the show, but they need a whole lot more. And so I was like, ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to be that Puerto Rican woman that’s on that show.’”

Throughout the interview, Machado gets candid about what it’s like to be a Latina in the American entertainment industry–which is an unforgiving business.

She described the beginning of her career as plagued by insecurity. Before she began a professional acting career, Machado was convinced she couldn’t make it as an actor because professional acting “wasn’t a part of [her] world.” “Nobody was an actor in Chicago that I knew, in my neighborhood, in the inner city of Chicago,” she explained.

After she finally established her footing in Hollywood, she was then met with further doors slammed in her face in the form of racism and anti-Latino sentiment.

Like when an executive called her to tell her why her TV show wasn’t moving forward, back in the ’90s.

“He literally called my house, nice man… and said, ‘My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don’t think America is ready for a Latino family.’”

What’s depressing about this story is that Latino representation onscreen still hasn’t gotten much better over 20 years later. But Machado is hopeful that the tides of change are turning

“That was acceptable for him to say…Like, what? And that was the ’90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we’re here. We’re here.” We know that if Machado has anything to do with the future of TV, we’ll be seeing Latino families more and more often.

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