Justina Machado: One Day at a Time makes serious issues funny
If you’ve been missing Norman Lear’s brand of comedy, never fear! The television legend has returned to television with a reimagining of his original series One Day at a Time on Netflix.
“It’s a Cuban American family,” explains Justina Machado of the differences (and similarities) on Entertainment Weekly: The Show. “It’s still a single mother, but now she’s an army vet and she has PTSD, and a daughter and a son. And she lives with her mother.”
And just like any of Lear’s previous productions, the sitcom is not afraid to mix tough topics with its jokes. “It’s classic Norman Lear,” says Machado of the show’s ability to balance serious themes with jokes. “I don’t know how they make it funny!”
Lear isn’t the only icon working on the series. The character of Lydia Alvarez — the mother of Machado’s Penelope on the show — is played by none other than Rita Moreno (West Side Story).
“She’s kind of the queen. She’s the person who broke the doors down for Rosie Perez, J. Lo, Salma Hayek, Me, Gina Rodriguez, the list goes on. She’s the one who did that,” Machado says. “She’s fiercely intelligent, really funny, and a great partner… It’s like a match made in heaven.”
The Netflix sitcom is a reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic show, but with a Cuban-American family at the center. Machado plays separated military veteran Penelope Alvarez, who lives with her mother and two kids.
Watch the interview above and catch the full episode of Entertainment Weekly: The Show, available now, on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS, and Android devices.