One Day at a Time

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One Day At A Time title screen.jpg

Classic 1970s sitcom created by Norman Lear, focusing on an Indiana woman and her two daughters moving to Indianapolis to begin life anew after a rocky divorce, and the trials they face adjusting to their new life. Oh, and their Casanova Wannabe super named Schneider joins in the wacky adventures.

One Day at a Time is probably best remembered nowadays for its Ear Worm theme song, a preponderance of Very Special Episodes, and the offscreen travails of cast member Mackenzie Phillips.

In 2017, Netflix began broadcasting a Lear-helmed Continuity Reboot set in the current day, also entitled One Day at a Time.


Tropes used in One Day at a Time include:
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Ann: You know what your problem is, Francine? You have never raised a kid, you are insensitive, selfish, thoughtless... and skinny.
Francine: And you are dull, jealous, uptight... and short.

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  • Big OMG: Ann Romano turns it into a Catch Phrase.
  • Bob Haircut: Ann. And for some seasons Julie.
  • The Bus Came Back: Julie, after Mackenzie Phillips' well-documented drug problem and subsequent rehabilitation. Then she got put back on the bus when it didn't take.
  • Catch Phrase: Schneider's "Please always remember and don't ever forget..." (or sometimes the other way around) followed by some mangled aphorism or observation.
  • Christmas Episode: A regular feature, including among others the episode mentioned in Snowed In, below.
  • Contractual Purity: As Valerie Bertinelli put it in the Reunion Show, "I had the pressure of being a virgin."
  • The Couch
  • Cousin Oliver: Alex, who was added to the show during one of the times Mackenzie Phillips had been fired.
  • Dawson Casting: Notably averted with Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips, who were almost exactly the same ages as their characters.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Schneider and his "words of wisdom", preceded by his Catch Phrase.
  • Double Entendre: Schneider kept trying to make them...
  • Drop-In Character: Schneider.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Dwayne Florenz Schneider.
  • Fangirl: Barbara, for Elton John, in the earlier seasons.
  • Good Bad Girl: Julie. Although at least once early in the show she chose not to lose her virginity, on more than one occasion afterward it was strongly implied that she had in fact become sexually active, usually by way of an answer given without thought to someone else's question.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: At least one sequence with Ann and Barbara working their way through a coffee table covered with pint containers of ice cream.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: The first time it was to save their building; later it continued happening for murkier reasons. And as the cast kept gaining singers and dancers, the shows got more elaborate.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Schneider in one Christmas episode (and of course he kept the mustache).
  • Indianapolis: Setting of the show and seen in the opening credits, but very little of it actually appeared in the episodes themselves.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: See Acting for Two, above -- Pat Harrington's alternate character Guido Panzini, who also had also made appearances in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and McHale's Navy.
  • Landlord: Although Schneider was technically only the building superintendent, we never heard about anyone else involved in the building's management.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Schneider -- see Catch Phrase, above.
  • Older Than They Look: Valerie Bertinelli. She and Mackenzie Phillips are the same age; she was cast as the younger sister because she looked younger.
  • Off-Screen Breakup: So very averted with Ann and David.
  • Parental Substitute: Schneider had a sort of surrogate father complex regarding Julie and Barbara -- and later Alex. And even though he frequently irritated her, Ann recognized this and trusted him with them.
  • Porn Stache: One of Schneider's trademarks.
  • Put on a Bus: Several characters from the early seasons, including Ann's divorce-lawyer-cum-boyfriend David and cocktail-waitress neighbor Ginny Wrobliki. Mackenzie Phillips, too, in a later season when her drug problems grew too severe, although when she cleaned up a few years later, The Bus Came Back. Unfortunately she didn't stay clean and got put back on the bus for good.
  • Raised Catholic: Ann shows many little Catholic touches without being a strict follower.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Barbara, in the first few seasons, had long, straight hair reaching down to her waist.
  • Reunion Show: In February 2005.
  • The Rival: Francine Webster, initially, for Ann. Eventually they become business partners, and seem to grow to something close to Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Mackenzie Phillips' drug problems.
  • The Runaway: Julie in one episode.
  • Seventies Hair: Fading into early Eighties Hair.
  • Snowed In: One Christmas Episode has Ann and the girls getting snowed in at a mountain cabin with no heat.
  • Thigh-High Boots: An early episode had Barbara, during a try at being a "bad girl", rocking a pair of these with tight jeans. Oddly, when she reached college age, her usual look involved a nice dress and knee-high suede boots.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: At the show's start, Barbara was the tomboy jockette (the original opening credits show her in gym clothes bouncing a basketball in the apartment), and Julie was the boy-crazy one. They slowly swapped places over the course of the show's run -- helped, no doubt, by the change in focus when Phillips was fired.
  • Unperson: Insofar as someone who never appeared on the show can become one: in the first few seasons, Barbara was a rabid Elton John Fangirl, to the point of "swearing by Elton" and performing a number in Elton costume for one of the "musical" episodes. Then Elton revealed his sexuality, and suddenly Barbara never mentioned him again. (Barbara's obsession wasn't entirely stalinized from the show, though; a clip of her dressed as Elton remained in the opening credits until the end of its run.)
  • Visit by Divorced Dad
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kinda sorta between Ann and former rival Francine Webster, after the two of them teamed up to open their own advertising agency.