Latinx communities around the US usually lean to shows that come from their home countries because they are tired of the common tropes and stereotypes that follow Latinxs. Some examples of these troupes include the maid, the cholo, the sexy icon, the lazy drunk etc. but ODAAT doesn't follow those norms.
Penelope is a single mother of two, a war veteran, and an overall badass. She decides she wants to go back to school and pursue a higher career in the medical field. She does it all and more for everyone but then it comes time for her to take care of herself. She begins to have panic attacks and heightened depression.
When this topic is first introduced she brings up the issue that many Latinx culture faces which is, it's not real and it's not actually a sickness. However, over time she begins to take care of herself through therapy and other means. She shows us that mental illness is real and its very frightening but it is also important to talk about it and not feel ashamed.
Lydia is Penelope's mother but no matter her age, she still carries passion in her veins, adorns herself in heels and looks flawless while doing it. However, she was born in a different era where the mom stayed home and cared for the kids whilst the husband worked.
These ideologies and frame of mind had to be challenged throughout the show. Lydia is also an immigrant from Cuba. There is a specific episode in which she speaks through tears of her fears of deportation and being separated from her family. This specific episode confronts a very real reality for a lot of Latinx families and other immigrant families around the US who live in fear every day.
Elena is Penelopes daughter and she is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Elena comes out to her family before her XV's and they are all pretty accepting. However, her father rejects the idea and tells her it is a phase she is going through. He then continues to not show up to her XV, which breaks Elena's heart.
The series seeks out to show that coming out stories are not always as easy as certain media tends to show. It also shows how over time Elena becomes more comfortable in her skin when she confronts her dad and explains that she is who she is whether he likes it or not. Elena is also a very "woke" character who speaks out against her family and many of the norms they have grown to accept, that is problematic.
Syd is Elena's Sydnificant other. They are a nonbinary character whose pronouns are they, them, theirs. They are a very sweet person who seeks out to make Elena comfortable in their new relationship. One specific thing that truly touched my heart was when Elena and Syd spoke about consent and its importance. They told Elena that she should not feel forced and that she didn't need to do anything she didn't want to do.
Alex is Penelope's son and Elena's brother. He is best friends with his grandma, Lydia, and he is completely pampered by her. There is a specific episode in which Alex gets into a fight at school and Penelope is mad at him but after further questioning, Alex explains how the kid was telling him to go back to Mexico and build the wall.
Elena, who is the most politically active, is enraged and explains the struggles of presidential rhetoric and how problematic it is. Then the subject of being white-passing comes into play when she mentions nothing has ever happened to her. The idea of being white-passing means you pass as white in society which comes with a sort of privilege.
Schneider is the owner of the building that Penelopes family's apartment is in, basically their landlord. However, he has become a member of the family over time. One of the main focuses of Schneider's character is his alcoholism. He is a recovering alcoholic of 8 years but in one episode where his father comes into town and makes him feel like a failure, he relapses.
The first one to notice is Penelope's ex since he was also an alcoholic and knows the signs. Ultimately, Alex is the one to find Schneider and immediately tells his mom. Lydia and Penelope then seek to help him go back to his AA meetings and help him get back on his feet. It shows that addiction is a continuing disease and it is not something that could be cured nor something to be taken lightly.
These are some of the main characters but there is many more to talk about like Carmen or Leslie or Jill or Mateo. The point is "One Day at a Time" is more than just a show, its a family. Netflix, save this family and allow out stories to be heard.