For the “One Day at a Time” actors, there have been some sharp adjustments.
The first was the notion of having a studio audience. “I was terrified,” Justina Machado recalled.
And the second is NOT having one. On March 10, “One Day” became the first situation comedy to forego a studio audience because of coronavirus concerns.
By then, the show was taping its fourth season and actors were comfortable. “I could not even imagine this show without an audience,” Machado had told the Television Critics Association in January.
That’s been one or many changes for “One Day.” It was canceled by Netflix and then rescued by cable’a Pop network, where it starts its season Tuesday.
Viewers will notice a few more changes: Scenes will be a tad shorter; so will the total running time. And the theme song by Gloria Estefan will be gone. “We don’t have that 50 seconds (to spare),” producer Gloria Calderon Kellett said. “We need it for the show.”
The no-studio-audience difference, however, won’t show up until later in the season.
Virtually all Norman Lear productions – going back to “All in the Family,” a half-century ago – have had a studio audience. That lets viewers hear realistic laughter. It also lets writers and actors make adjustments … and can make life difficult.
“It terrified me at first, because of my age and the memorization that has to take place,,” said Rita Moreno, now 88, who plays Machado’s mother. “(And) the writing changes from day to day … and sometimes even during your performance in front of the live audience.”
She’s in a show that ranges from Marcel Ruiz, 16, and Isabella Gomez, 22 (as her grandchildren) to Lear, still a producer at 97.
In the original “One Day” (1975-84), Lear said, “we never did anything, that I recall, that related to the Latina community. And now this is 100 percent a Latin family.”
It also has a Latina showrunner. (Kellett, whose parents were Cuban immigrants, runs the show with Mike Royce.) Like many Lear productions, it takes periodic dives into topical issues; unlike most of them, it has a key character (the teen daughter) who is gay.
There are also a couple of non-Latinos. All of the relationships are explained in the early minutes of the season-opener, when a census-taker (Ray Romano) arrives.
After that, viewers will have to catch “One Day at a Time” a week at a time. This isn’t like Netflix, when the entire season arrived in one whoosh.
Kellett recalled those days semi-fondly: “At 6 a.m., the following morning after launch, people would be like, ‘We binged the season. When is the next season?’
“We’re like, ‘What? It took so long to make that.’”
–“One Day at a Time,” 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Pop
– Opener, March 24, reruns at 1 a.m.; also at 6:30 p.m.Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday
– In each of those cases, it follows “Schitt’s Creek”; that will be the lead-in until “Creek” has its series finale April 7
– The first three seasons will stay with Netflix for many years