One Day at a Time co-showrunners Mike Royce and Gloria Calderon Kellett, alongside actress Isabella Gomez, sat down with reporters at ClexaCon 2018 to discuss inclusivity both in front of and behind the camera as they reflected on the show’s impactful first two seasons and how they can continue their inclusive approach to Season 3.
(Watch the full video below.)
This Netflix series is one of very few shows that puts diversity first both in front of and behind the camera, so when asked about if they had met resistance in order to do so both creators were open about how other shows could continue the movement.
“People I just don’t think try, so if they would try, we would see more of it,” Mike Royce answered honestly.
“I mean I think really it’s an issue of representation of actual agents. We have to have a conversation before the material gets to us in how we get people of color and queer representation represented, so when we get scripts we don’t have to do a special ask,” Gloria Calderon Kellett added.
“That’s an issue I have because most of the writers that are sent to me are older white guys who have been around and who are great,” Calderon Kellett went on to explain. “But it’s a special ask to ask can we read women, please? Can we read queer writers, please? Can we read people of color, please?”
“We don’t want to be a special ask anymore,” she acknowledged. “So I think it’s holding the agents accountable — to holding them accountable to finding LGBTQIA+ writers. That’s where it starts.”
One of the most poignant scenes in Season 2 was in the finale when each person had a different monologue for Lydia while she was in the hospital.
“I didn’t even perform the monologue the first time we read through it. I just sort of sobbed through it hysterically and barely got the words out,” Isabella Gomez confessed. “I thought it was so beautiful and touching, and it’s a part of their relationship we don’t get to see.”
“We usually see Lydia loving on Papito and Elena kinda being brushed to the side, so it was really awesome to see that connection and to see Elena adore her grandma so much and be affected by her,” Gomez said.
That decision to show the depth of their relationship was part of the multi-layered approach to these two powerful women, which was carried on from Season 1 as they discussed how Lydia would react to Elena coming out.
“I think the original conception was just that she was going to get over it very quickly, and we had some different notions about how best to do that,” Royce admitted.
“Rita [Moreno] didn’t want Abuela to be okay with it right away. She wanted it to be a journey and the original script was like a minute,” Calderon Kellett added. “That was, for me, something to highlight with religion.”
“Everything we write, it’s the whole writers’ room, and we all come together to write this,” Royce said.
Inclusivity is a big part of their process as they have noted throughout the show’s progress.
“What is more helpful than saying ‘I don’t like this’ is ‘I love this,’ Gloria Calderon Kellett noted. “So we at least know what’s resonating.”
“We have 13 episodes with 20 minutes – we can’t do it all. But we do want to hear what works for people,” she continued.
“We want to honor our family and their journeys and everything else hopefully folds into that and hopefully we can keep doing it,” Mike Royce said.
Check out our full interview from ClexaCon with the exceptional Mike Royce, Isabella Gomez, and Gloria Calderon Kellett:
One Day at a Time Season 1 and 2 are currently available to watch on Netflix.
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