One Day at a Time (1975–1984)
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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.
"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.
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.
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!!
I loved this show as a teenager. And i was forbidden to watch it when it started, so i had to sneak it when i was 13, with the volume way down low in my parent's bedroom, constantly watching the doorway to make sure mom or dad didn't come in. I loved this show. It did get a little old once everybody grew up, but i still watched it. Anybody out there remember when the show shifted focus to a house that Barbara and her husband shared with another couple? Was that couple Julie and her husband? I think this may have been the last season of the show.~~Linda
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.
I thought Ms. Franklin did an exemplary job by the way as the head of the Romano/Cooper/Royer household, and how she handled her rambunctious daughters Julie and Barbara played by Phillips and Bertinelli. Another example of her craft was the way that she portrayed how "so" many of our mothers overreacted and spun around like a crazy top when we angered them. How many slammed their fists purple because we caused them so much grief...and her little catchphrase "oh my god" wasn't all that bad considering what "most" of our 70's/80's mothers said, which was usually "much" worse and with less restraint on the severity of the tongue lashing. She also made light of her failings as well such as "depression" and just being a grown-up and a human...and how no matter how hard you try...you can and will make mistakes. And like real life mothers she did, she was forthright enough in her acting abilities to make you believe that it was real.
She (Franklin) became a kind of power behind the throne and nothing really was done on the show without her tacit approval. She was noted as being responsible for the dismissal of a "filler actress" who played the Ginny Wroblicki character, due to her interference and upstaging of Ms. Romano (Franklin).
It saddened most viewers that she chose to leave the series after 1983 to pursue "other" interests, but she and Bertinelli were tired and wanted to do other things...and the show had really lost half it's steam by the last season. But by no means was she a bad actress or even a poor one...who would you have chosen?
My parents used to watch this and I always wondered 'why'? Bonnie Franklin was a HUGE downer to watch, just was like big bummer stick-in-the-mud TV mother. Then there were the two daughters who as they each became more famous, also became more annoying than ever to watch ie: Valerie Bertinelli wearing her dopey VH 'Van Halen necklace on the show? How ridiculous.
There were some bad shows in that era but this one is way up there on the garbage scale.
First problem with this fake puke inducing "sitcom" is Bonnie Franklin with her lame "bob" Patty Duke haircut. Second is Mackenzie "Let me snort that for you" Phillips. Third is the cliché Pat Harrington Jr., who is apparently supposed to be funny based on the laugh track, but never is. And speaking of laugh tracks, that would be fourth in the problems with this show. But, fifth, and most repulsive, is the character David "I need a man bra" Kane.
How can anyone find Pat Harrington Jr. funny? How can anyone believe Bonnie Franklin as the character she so desperately tries to portray? How can anyone stomach more than 5 seconds of Mackenzie "Let me shoot that in my arm" Phillips? How can anyone not want to throw a brick at their TV the second Richard Masur enters the scene?
Several reviews say how this show didn't age well. Truth is it sucked back then and still sucks to this day. It actually set the standard for suck, by which all other shows are measured. In reality, the only reason it lasted as long as it did is because there were enough teenage geeks and losers that had a crush on Valerie Bertinelli to keep the ratings up. But I'm not sure why, because her tomboy character wasn't exactly one that would desire a male, if you know what I mean.