Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” is in many ways unique compared to other Netflix shows. It feels out of place, like it is meant to be on cable TV. However, it is a Netflix Original. Unlike the vast majority of Netflix shows, this show is a multi-camera sitcom, with a real live studio audience providing the laughter in the background. According to Pili Valdes in her article, “What it’s Like to Attend a Live Taping of Netflix’s ‘One Day at a Time'” mentions “The first take it felt like we were watching a family understand how they’re viewed and how to react to it. By the fifth take, you felt like you were part of the family. This cast is just sublime.” This idea has been true for sitcoms for decades, where if you watch enough of the show, you can almost feel the magic of becoming part of the family in the show. The difference with “One Day at a Time” is that it does not represent what many other sitcoms represent which is a white domestic family. This show, features a Cuban family who immigrated to the United States. In addition, the show brings up many controversial topics. In a genre where many shows are aimed at conservative values, this show is very progressive while still maintaining the classic sitcom elements such as familiar camera cuts, and of course the live studio audience.
Sitcoms are often looked at as a very simple type of show. However in the Youtube documentary, “The One That Goes Behind the Scenes,” a different view of sitcoms is presented. Sitcoms, like “Friends” which is the highlighted show in this documentary, is a very hard type of entertainment to produce in many ways. Other than the simple luxuries of producing sitcoms such as a simple story line and easy camera angles, everything else is a challenge. Using the same set over and over, and being able to tell a story in a episode that is less than 30 minutes is a true challenge. Because of this, I have a greater appreciation of sitcoms and what it takes to make them. I also have a newfound appreciation for sitcoms that challenge social norms, such as featuring a family who are immigrants from a country like Cuba.
Netflix taking on shows like sitcoms also generates the thought that they can produce and type of show and sitcoms are not exclusive to cable networks. Sitcoms have always generated a community or family type feel, so if someone were to put Netflix on their big TV and watch “One Day at a Time” with their whole family, it would be nearly impossible to tell any difference between this show and any other type of show on cable. It still is a show that can be watched with the entire family, whether or not is on cable or Netflix.
Audience laughter can be cheesy at times, but it also can help remind and inform the viewers at home of what the director wants them to laugh at or appreciate. For example, Manuel Betancourt mentions in the article, “Make ‘Em Laugh Track: How Netflix’s One Day at a Time Resuscitates the Multi-Cam Sitcom” the importance of a live audience by stating, “The raucous applause that greets the beloved performer as she makes her entrance in the series’ first episode is so contagious and well-earned that any qualms you may have about the show’s live studio audience go out the window” as he refers to the entrance of Rita Moreno. This moment was key and made me smile, which is the whole point of sitcoms. “One Day at a Time” is a breath of fresh air in this sense, as it still makes you smile, even though the topics in the show are unique to TV, and very progressive compared to shows like “Roseanne” or “Last Man Standing” which are more traditional. The cast of “One Day at a Time” is highlight of the production, but these writers and directors are excellent as well, even though they can be overlooked in sitcoms often. Without them, there is no show, or laughs from the real audience watching as the actors and actresses do their magic to bring words on a page to life.