- One Day at a Time is the show we need right now.
- The SNL Lady Gaga impression we can’t stop thinking about.
- Who had money on the Grammys actually being good?
- Sorry, but Frozen II is all we can think about right now.
- The greatest Ariana Grande mashup of all time.
If You’re Not Watching One Day at a Time, Who Hurt You?
Throughout history, there have been times in this country when we have had to look around at the world we’ve created for ourselves, take a long, hard look in the mirror, and ask, “How did we get here?” And more, “Can we let things continue this way?
We are at one of those moments now: Somehow, unfathomably, inexcusably, One Day at a Time is not the most popular, most celebrated series on TV.
I don’t know how things got this way. It’s a TV series from Norman Lear, the legend with decades of hitmaking (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude) under his belt. It co-stars Rita Moreno as an overbearing, life’s-a-show Cuban immigrant grandmother who makes her entrance dramatically pulling back her curtain room divider as if it were the proscenium of a Broadway stage. Moreno is giving the richest performance of her career in this show, and, to remind you, this is the career of Rita Moreno we are talking about. In the premiere of season three, which launched last Friday, Moreno and Gloria Estefan play estranged sisters who sing “Ave Maria” in a comedic bit and somehow we have not treated it as a national holiday.
More, it’s a crowd-pleasing comedy series on Netflix, where things seem to fall squarely in the “everybody in the world is watching it at this very moment” or “this very good thing just premiered that you didn’t even know exists.” How is One Day at a Time in the latter category?
Right off the bat, the show takes a wrecking ball through your TV screen with its euphoric theme song, detonating each riotous episode that ensues. (“This Is It,” written and performed by Estefan, is such a banger that it is actually offensive Netflix still makes it “Skip Intro?” option available for this series.)
The rest of the show plays like the same music, festive and with a joie de vivre, despite reminders that in “life, the one you get,” not everything is easy, be it a daughter struggling with her sexuality, a war veteran single mom working through PTSD, or a grandmother grappling with her mortality and legacy. These are heavy things, but they’re dealt with joy, care, and humor. Again, as Estefan, as in life.
Phrases like “the show we need right now” have been used often these past few years to describe series that bring a little sunshine to audiences in dark times. But this show, which directly tackles issues that we should be confronting right now, not retreating from—and does so with such warmth and beauty—may be the only one that truly deserves that label.
Melissa Villaseñor Is Far From the Shallow Now
Melissa Villaseñor is one of those fascinating SNL case studies, in which she is always, without fail, absolutely hysterical whenever she is on screen or the star of a sketch, and yet, in any given episode, she is rarely on screen or the star of a sketch. She’s made her biggest impression, then, with her impressions, with eerily flawless takes on Gwen Stefani, Sarah Silverman, Owen Wilson, and more, stealing random scenes. But her crowning achievement, without a doubt, has been Lady Gaga, which she performed last weekend at the “Weekend Update” desk for seemingly no reason other than she has a really good Lady Gaga impression and it was damn time the world saw it. It. Is. Perfect. See it here.
Were the Grammy Awards Actually...Good?
They were! Who had money on that? Brandi Carlile made me cry. Dolly Parton paid tribute to herself. I have no idea why, when you have all the artists in the world to choose from, you select Jennifer Lopez to perform a tribute to Motown, but, controversy aside, she killed it. Then there’s Cardi B, who didn’t have to do all that for her Grammys performance, but hell yeah she did.
The Frozen II Teaser Is My Marvel Movie
The teaser for Frozen II is 119 seconds long, which means that by rough estimation I have spent roughly 17 hours of my life watching it. First of all, it’s so good. Second of all, don’t act like Frozen didn’t just come out of nowhere and blow your hair back like it was Elsa in a fit of existential rage-angst throwing a gust of frigid wind right out the screen and into your unsuspecting face. “Let It Go” might have worn out its welcome and maybe your niece could cool it with her Anna costumes, but that movie is a glorious animated feature that completely revitalized Disney and deserves your damned respect.
You basics have those superhero movies. I have Jonathan Groff and his goofball reindeer. Now let us dissect appropriately.
Right off the bat, the teaser shows that the original’s feminism, so casual it was profound, is back, once again making matter-of-fact history. Elsa is attempting a seemingly impossible athletic feat, using her powers to freeze in order to escape some hellion stormy wasteland—need to know everything about this—by running on water through waves. Before she does it, she ties her hair up into a ponytail, like a girl actually would, but a Disney princess never does.
Next, after a series of quick flashes we see Anna dramatically running to a castle balcony where there are literally frozen fractals all around. Yes, the iconic “Let It Go” vocabulary lesson now appears to be a crucial plot point, at least as hinted at by actor Josh Gad, who voices Olaf and tweeted that the snowflakes on the film’s poster—which showcase pictographs on those fractals—mean something. One theory: the four distinct pictographs represent the four seasons, or the four elements. That would make sense, as potential plot predictions for a Frozen sequel include exploring how Elsa’s powers hold up when it’s not winter, or whether there are others with seasonal powers someone out there, too.
Then there are the two new characters we are given very quick glimpses of: a red-headed girl in a forest and a boy who seems to whip up in a pile of leaves in a tornado of wind. There are two theories identifying these characters. One is that they are Kristoff and Anna’s children, which based on their appearance and blink-and-miss-it penchant for adventure checks out. Another is that the girl is Elsa’s girlfriend, an answer to the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend movement—and the boy is still little Kristanna.
In any case, the trailer ends in a startlingly beautiful Terrence Malick-like shot of the four leads on a cliff gazing out at what appears to be a looming threat...autumn. Laugh all you want, but fall is truly a menace. (Do I need a coat? Just a sweater? Pick a temperature!) Frozen II is already a masterpiece.
Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” Finds a Very Special Guest Star
This clip (in this tweet from @DavidLevitz) will be hilarious to a very finite population of people, and if you are among those who squealed with delight at the big reveal, let’s have brunch.
What to see this week:
At Home With Amy Sedaris: An indescribable delight and possibly the last truly original thing on TV.
Documentary Now!: The meticulous attention to detail in this documentary spoof is outrageous, absolutely unnecessary, and entirely responsible for its brilliance.
Fighting With My Family: A charming movie starring The Rock. (Copy and pasted from my review of every movie starring The Rock.)
What to skip this week:
Isn’t It Romantic: I did not like this at all!
The Umbrella Academy: It’s fine enough, but who has time for that?
Alita: Battle Angel: So many reviews slam this as entertainment for 13-year-olds, which, I don’t know if 13-year-old deserve that much disrespect but it does make me certain I have no interest!