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This is one of my all-time favorites except for the last couple of seasons.
The early years were great, funny, insightful, and pretty original. Ann
dealt with some pretty heavy problems with her kids, found work she liked,
and became an old pro at the dating game. It was neat to watch the
character mature along with her daughters.
However, like a lot of shows with children/teenagers, they had to come up with a way to keep things going after the kids had grown too old for the story lines. In this case, they brought in a little boy with a pretty contrived plot line to be the new "son". It didn't work well.
Just like Ann Romano (Franklin), this show's a survivor.
"One Day at a Time" is one of those great shows that came out in the '70s that showed how far women had come in TV terms. In the '60s, you'd never have seen a show about a divorced woman who moved to Indianapolis with her daughters (Phillips, Bertinelli) to start a new life for themselves.
And what a great character they had in Ann Romano: spirited, opinionated, a fighter and someone who didn't take the bull that men fed her and fought tooth and nail for everything she had. A lot of that strength was from anger, naturally, but she modulated it well.
Then there was always Schneider (Harrington), the apartment super where she lived. Something of a ladies' man, he was always around to fix someone's pipes (if you know what I mean), but Ann wisely kept her distance. She knew a goof when she saw one, and Schneider's scenes were largely played for laughs. Good choice.
In fact, the whole series had a great run and never lacked for story lines (women's rights, divorce, suicide, runaways) but was a real showcase for Franklin, who was terrific. Hey, TV suits; give her another series as good as this one!
Ten stars for "One Day at a Time", a TV series whose "Time"-ing was perfect.
How can a four year old remember the pilot episode of a show? I don't know, but I do. Groundbreaking at the time, it actually featured a divorced mother with her two kids. Very topical, and sedate by today's standards, this show was a huge hit. Of all the people on this show who would have thought Valerie Bertenelli would have the biggest career? And who knew McKenzie Phillips was on heroin? Totally watched during the seventies but everyone pretty much was over it by the early eighties. Still one of the coolest shows of the seventies.
This show was a revolutionary in the women's movement. Bonnie Franklin played red head divorcée and mother of two teenage daughters who moves from Loganport, Indiana to the big city of Indianapolis. Her daughters are played by the wonderful, Valerie Bertinelli, and Mackenzie Phillips. They played Barbara and Julie. Remember Schneider who frequented the apartment as the building handyman. Nan Fabray who played Ann's mother. I loved Richard Masur as Ann's first boyfriend after her divorce. I thought he should have stayed on but it wouldn't work if Ann remarried so soon after the divorce papers were inked. I remember Shelley Fabares on the show as one of her co-workers as well as Mary Louise Wilson as a cocktail waitress neighbor. It was one of the few shows that I could recall was set in Indianapolis. I thought the show was well-written most of the time and the acting was worthy of the Emmys it received. They don't make shows like this. I remember the apartment layout most of all. Despite Phillips' substance problems, Valerie was truly a star in the making. The show grew and evolved and was well-loved by its audience.
"One Day At A Time" is one of those great shows that came out of the
1970's that showed how far women had come in terms of equality. This
was the first sitcom to show a divorced woman who moves to
Indianapolis,Indiana with her two daughters to start a new life for
themselves. Created by Whitney Blake along with her husband Allan
Manings and executive producer Norman Lear,this was one the CBS-TV
network's successful shows that had a strong running staying power of
nine seasons producing 209 episodes from the groundbreaking premiere
episode on December 16,1975 to the final episode of the series on May
28,1984. This was a sitcom that broke the mold in television history
and it came out during the status of the women's movement and not to
mention the first series to deal with divorce and more importantly its
effect on the children. More important,the show was revolutionary in
taking on subjects head on and dealing with those situations which
basically all or some were solved within a half-hour. "One Day At A
Time" is right up there with the other Norman Lear classics and like
those other shows it took on relevant issues head on which was
something from the likes nobody wouldn't expect when the series
premiered in 1975. And it did this in grand style where a single woman
can have a career,raise a family without the support of any man and can
raise awareness concerning those issues affecting other women and her
surrounding community. Revolutionary for its time when it premiered in
late 1975 from Norman Lear,the man who brought us "All In The
Family","Maude","Sanford and Son","Good Times",and "The Jeffersons".
Bonnie Franklin played the red-haired divorcée Ann Romano who was the mother of two hysterical teenage daughters;the oldest daughter Julie (Mackenzie Phillips),and the youngest Barbara(Valerie Bertinelli). The apartment handyman,Schneider(Pat Harrington,Jr.)was also somewhat of a protector and sometime mentor of Ann and her girls and came to help out in times of troubles or crisis. Nanette Fabray played her mother,and Richard Masur played Ann's boyfriend after her divorce. Mary Louise-Wilson was the feisty sex symbol and Ann's next door neighbor Ginny Wrobilcki.Overall this was a groundbreaking series that not only focus on divorce,but teen issues,drug abuse,alcoholism,the dangers of unprotected sex,rape,teen pregnancy,spousal abuse,and emotional problems.One episode dealt with the oldest daughter messing around with a junkie which was an episode(and a very good one I might add)that went toe to toe with the dangers of drugs and not to mention suicide where Ann risked her life to save her daughter from a neighborhood drug pusher in the community,which was Julie's total loser of a boyfriend.
When the show premiered during the 1975-1976 season,CBS aired it on Tuesday nights opposite the mini-series "Rich Man-Poor Man"(on ABC)and went up against the competition of Angie Dickinson's "Policewoman"(on NBC). However,"One Day At A Time" did very well in ratings during the first season which was on that Tuesday night line-up that CBS had which consisted of Tony Orlando's musical-variety show and M*A*S*H. During the 1979-1980 season,the network moved the show to its powerhouse Sunday night line-up which included "60 Minutes","All In The Family", "The Jeffersons","Alice",and the medical drama "Trapper John,MD". From there the show was in the top ten of the Nielsen until its final season during the 1983-1984 season,where it moved to Monday nights opposite "Newhart",and "M*A*S*H" where it ended its nine year run at CBS on May 28, 1984 after 209 episodes.
Even as a kid, I knew that I was watching something that had never been done before. It made me want to watch it more, if only to see my mother that uncomfortable with the messages conveyed; messages about birth control, the ERA, per-marital sex....can you see where I'm going here? Ann Romano was the divorced mother of two girls, one a potential beauty queen, one not so cute (but you got the idea that was her choice somehow). The chaos in their eyes was, we now know, genuine. The actors were in as much a state of flux as our nation. Women were emerging as independent beings who didn't need a man to make their way in the world. The entire sit-com was played out, probably 90%, in the Romano living room. I think they wore the same 5-6 outfits through-out the entire show. The mostly absent father was played as a philandering, abusive, schmuck and largely only used as a way to man-bash. The maintenance man, Schneider, made phallic gestures with his ever present hammer and was never really fleshed out as a character but at the end of the run he was suddenly more evolved and flirted around with Anne...never made any sense to me at all. I loved the complicated teenage angst, as I was approaching that age myself, and the questions that as a young girl I never realized I was even entitled to ask. It was the 1970's and women were cutting their hair, burning their bras, tossing their inhibitions to the wind...but at my military family household you would never have known it was happening. If I have one criticism of this show, and it's been a 'thing' with me for 30 years, it's the physical language used in the portrayal of Anne by Bonnie Franklin...I never understood her intense anger. She wasn't just driven to make it on her own, you got the idea she was capable of violence if her rights were challenged. It might have been because she was petite but her chin always seemed to be up and stuck way forward...unnauturally posed so that you could actually see her neck rather than her face, and during those shots she was typically photographed from the side...you'd never have seen her face-on otherwise...it was truly 'in your face' and she'd effect that pose while grinning...it was almost maniacal. Again, the actress and the character were both up against a wall. The show had it's critics but refused to back down. A lot was on the line and everyone was watching. There were moments where she seemed less frantic, less controlling, and had touching moments with her daughters...but they were few and far between. By far, the daughters were the central characters, especially Mackenzie Phillips character, Julie. She was too tall, too thin, had acne and was a perpetual wreck...she embodied the way a lot of teen girls felt back then. Everyone wanted to be Barbara; organized, clean, funny, beautiful. A lot went on in that living room!
This was one of my favorite shows, at least for the first few seasons that it was on. This was one of the first shows that dealt with divorce and more importantly how it effects the children. Bonnie Franklin did a wonderful job as Ann and Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli were great as Julie and Barbara respectively. However, the character that really made the show was immortal Dwayne F. Schneider played by Pat Harrington. He brought a wonderful sense of humor to offset the more serious moments of the show. However complaint I do have a few complaints about the show. One is that I think that once Julie was written out of the show it should have ended there. Another is that like so many other shows that struggled for ratings, they fell into the trap of bringing on the cute kid character in the form of Alex. Also, if Ann was truly trying to be the modern independent woman, why did she wind up getting married towards the end of the show?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not exactly sure what year I started watching One Day at a Time but
I am sure that in terms of quality,it's right up there with the other
Norman Lear classics that ran between 1971 to 1985. It may not have
gotten the Emmy nods like those other shows but that doesn't mean that
it lacked in quality.
Much like my own mother back in 1977,in 1975 Ann Ramano was divorced and moved her children to a new city to start over. I know some here say Bonnie Franklin is not that great an actress but what I feel is that she was chosen because she wasn't a household name and that makes her character more convincing. A well known actress might have overshadowed what the writers were going for.
She truly does act like a real mother in this show,imperfections and all. She right as a parent can be but she makes errors too. She's as one of many mothers of that time dealing with a rebellious teen and younger teen getting mixed messages.
MacKenzie Phillips as Julie was perfect to play the rebellious daughter,not because of her real life problems but because she had already seen these things first hand as the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas 60s vocal group. It's only an unfortunate situation that her real drug use disrupted the series,leading finally to the writers having Julie run away for good from her husband and family.
Valrie Bertenelli did a good job as the "good girl" Barbra who has to put up with big sis's attitude about her being "mom's favorite". Then,like now it's difficult being a good kid when others around you seem to do as they please. Valrie brought this out in her character really well.
Then there's the great comic relief from the serious situations at hand,the building's super Dwayne Schneider played by Pat Harrigton Jr. (look for him as the head of "The Phone Comany" in the classic comedy "The President's Analyst". ) Well remembered for his line "please always remember and don't ever forget ..etc." He originally was always trying to hit on Ann but later became a friend and ally for the family of 3 women and one of best characters.
In fact,he was the subject of the final show of the series. In May 1984,after Ann re-married and moved to England for a new career and all had moved on in the 2nd to last show....his character moves to Florida to help take care of relatives living there. (Meant possibly as a pilot for a spin-off that never happened.)
Overall,the show dealt with real issues,teen rebellion sex,drinking,drugs,emotional problems of both teens and adults and many other serious subjects. A reviewer long ago called this show a "fluke" hit. There's nothing accidental about the show's long run and popularity. Women needed a voice on TV at that time and along with The Bunker ladies,Maude Findlay,Alice Hyatt and Mary Tyler Moore...Ann Ramano and daughters were right up there in importance.
This and shows like these will never exist again,only because back then there was that need to show women as more than a housewife.
In today's TV landscape,women are strong without having it needed to be proved to the masses.
For all of these reasons I've written about,I give "One Day At A Time" 10 stars. It's one of the greatest of a great era of television...oh,and a snappy theme song to boot! (END)
04/23/2015 > Now currently airing on Antenna TV!!
There are TV shows that are timeless, and there are TV shows that are very much of their time. This show unfortunately falls in the latter category. Come with me, brave traveller, to the TV sitcom era defined by fixed indoor sets and laugh tracks, where a lull in the pace can be quickly remedied by a knock on the door and the injection of an oddball character only distantly related to the actual story. Looking back this "hit" show over the span of decades, the flaws become more obvious. Bonnie Franklin was the tofu of situation comedy -- the picked up the flavor of whatever was happening around her. Valerie Bertinelli was simply precious, and a perfect smile that was often more interesting than the dialogue. MacKenzie Phillips did a great job as the difficult and sulky child because, apparently, that's who she was in real life. (The daughter of the lead in the Mommas and Poppas, this "wild child" was tabloid fodder for decades.) Richard Masur's career seemed to both begin and end in this series, and he went on to take a senior position, I recall, with the Actors Union. As the series progressed, the producers were stymied by the fact that Harrington, cast into a secondary role, was stealing every scene he was on, AND, at the same time, scoring big with viewers. They wrote him bigger and bigger parts. Anyone watching this series today however might question why the "super" was spending so much time in the apartment of 3 women ..? Some individual episodes even tried to hint and romance between Franklin and Harrington, but the audiences were not very happy with that theme, and it died quickly.
One Day At A Time is how Bonnie Franklin took it with her new life as a
liberated woman and divorcée. This show is one of the first where women
predominate and they weren't scatterbrained fools like Lucy Ricardo.
Still there was a lot of humor in this show with Bonnie Franklin trying to raise a family of two daughters on more than just her divorced husband Joe Campanella. She got herself a job and was around as much as possible for her two daughters Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli.
The daughters were as different as could be. Phillips was a wild child and Bertinelli a good girl. That was an interesting part of the show, that two very different personality types could be with the children. Happens in a few million families across the globe. Over 9 seasons the girls went through a few boyfriends and got married, Phillips to Michael Lembeck and Bertinelli to Boyd Gaines.
Making an occasional appearance was Franklin's mother Nannette Fabray. She was an old fashioned woman, who tried very hard to understand the new feminist philosophy.
The janitor of their building was Pat Harrington, Jr. who was an alpha male, but over 9 seasons kind of softened his rough edges. I remember him addressing Franklin, Fabray, and Bertinelli as each preferred, Ms. Romano, Mrs. Romano, and Miss Romano. That summed up each of their outlooks on life.
A lot of humor and a realistic look at the problems of single mothers with kids is what One Day At A Time is remembered for.
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