TV Draft Round 5 – Pick 3 – Paula Selects – One Day At A Time

One Day at a Time (ODAAT)

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at

Welcome back to Paula’s Power Pop reviews and a big thanks to Max for putting these rounds together. I am having fun revisiting shows from back when, and one of my favorite shows in high school was One Day at a Time (the original series, not the 2017 reboot). The premiere aired on December 16, 1975, and the show ran nine seasons until May 28, 1984. It actually surprised me to learn that it went on so long ~ I did not catch all the later episodes in the 1980s. ODAAT was hugely popular for years and had a sweet spot in the CBS Sunday night lineup.

The premise of the show is that Ann Romano (played by Bonnie Franklin, RIP) navigates her new life in Indianapolis as a single mom to two teen girls, Barbara Cooper (played by Valerie Bertinelli) and Julie (played by Mackenzie Phillips, who was fired twice and did not appear in later eps). Pat Harrington Jr. (RIP) had a key role as their building superintendent, Dwayne Schneider. Back in the 1970s, Schneider seemed funny to me, but now he seems more like a creepy stalker always hanging around the girls’ apartment. Many things have changed regarding my perspective of the show, including believing that it was the height of romance for Mark (Boyd Gaines) to kidnap Barbara and not let her out of his car on their disastrous first date. Situations like these seem romantic in fiction, when you know the cute guy is a “good guy,” and the couple will up together, but in real life this would be totally cringe if not outright criminal. Anyway, in the 1970s, I identified more with Julie and Barbara, depending on the episode, but now I would identify more with Ann.

The original series focused heavily on second-wave feminism, which occurred during the 1960s to the 1980s. This is when women had achieved basic rights (somewhat), but still had to deal with workplace sexism, relationship roles, sexuality, and gender-based family issues. The show is not heavy-handed about these topics and relies upon on humor to smooth things along. I would say the writing ended up being tame overall, not really tackling big issues in a bold way, unlike, for example, All in the Family (which I will also be reviewing). Ann, Julie, and Barbara engaged in traditional, monogamous relationships with men, including eventual marriages for all three. This is not a criticism, just an observation. I enjoyed the show very much, back in the day.

Some of my favorite eps involve Shelley Fabares, as scheming businesswoman Francine, and of course the eps with the wonderful Howard Hesseman who just passed this January (RIP). He played Mark’s father Sam and became Ann’s love interest/husband (awkward!). One of my favorite episodes overall was “Airport” (S7, E2), where Barbara, Schneider, and Alex (the son of Ann’s boyfriend Nick, played by Glenn Scarpelli and Ron Rifkin, respectively) are all stuck at the airport waiting for Ann, whose flight has been delayed. Each of the three meets someone who seems like a romantic possibility, but none of them work out, so it is much more realistic than most sitcom plotlines. As a sidenote, Nanette Fabray (RIP) plays Ann’s mother Katherine, and she is the aunt of the aforementioned Shelley Fabares. Originally, Nanette’s last name was also spelled “Fabares.”

Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, a husband and wife writing team, created the show, and Norman Lear developed it. Polly Cutler performed the theme song “This Is It,” which played in the opening and closing credits. Jeff and Nancy Barry wrote the song. Bonnie Franklin and Pat Harrington Jr. each won an Emmy in 1984 for their performance in ODAAT, and Alan Rafkin won an Emmy in 1982 for directing the episode titled “Barbara’s Crisis” (S7, E15). Pat also won a Golden Globe in 1981, and Valerie Bertinelli won two Golden Globes, in 1981 and 1982.


Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

15 thoughts on “TV Draft Round 5 – Pick 3 – Paula Selects – One Day At A Time”

  1. Thank you, Paula! Great write-up.
    This show was part of my DNA growing up. I was raised basically by my mom and sister so I could relate to the show a lot. My mother was divorced and single in the seventies and working at many jobs. It wasn’t easy but we were close to each other.

    The show…I was one of the millions of young kids with a giant crush on Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli ). Schneider was a really good tv character…because I knew a few Schneiders in my lifetime.

    I recently watched a couple of seasons of this show around a year ago…it still holds up.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Paula, I know I watched that series, I know it was a comedy, and I recognized all of their faces, but beyond that nada. Good write-up on an old show. Reminds me how old I am. So many involved with the show have passed on 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I would have guessed it ran before that and ended sooner. I watched it quite a lot for some years, like Max I came to quite like Valerie Bertinelli (who it turns out is a few years older than me). While it was never my overall favorite show, I liked it and it certainly seemed funny to me . Good point on how our views have changed over the years and now we’re not supposed to find some of the characters accceptible anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another great example of an awesome 70’s Theme song!!

    I remember seeing the show and thinking Schneider was funny, but can’t recall much about it. I remember liking it. I probably last saw it when it first ran. I don’t even know that I’ve seen it in reruns. I’m sure I’d still enjoy it today.

    I know there is that new remake, but I have no desire to see it

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I recall it as a small step forward in some ways-at the time perhaps only it and ‘Charlies Angels’ had an all female cast focus, and one of those two sure wasn’t aimed at pushing past the traditional ‘Daddy’s Home!’ standard sitcom.
    I can only wonder how the series ran for nine seasons, trying to navigate through Mackenzie Phillips true life drama playing out in real time. It felt like a three season-and-we’re-done deal. Maybe my interest faded and I switched off…
    And whatever or whoever screenwriter came up with the name ‘Dwayne Schneider’ deserves an award for getting the perfect name for the character. Dickens would be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mackenzie Phillips did cause quite a turmoil with this show. I remember being a child and the show being on the world news because of her shenanigans.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I grew up watching this. It showed up when I was nine (most of the adult jokes were lost on me) and concluded just shortly before I graduated high school. I was not a Schneider fan. He annoyed me, from beginning to end. I remember Joseph Campanella as Ed, Ann’s ex. I remember Richard Masur as Ann’s attorney/lover. I remember Jim Hutton as an older love interest of Julie’s. I remember Julie’s date that was smitten with Ann…”You’re supposed make him feel warm & welcome, not hot & bothered!” I remember Mark Hamill as Harvey Schneider. When Michael Lembeck showed up, I was in love. He had been Kaptain Kool on Saturday mornings. When Boyd Gaines showed up, I was laughing, remembering him from Porky’s. I always thought Glenn Scarpelli looked like a young Deney Terrio. And, Howard Hessman was the perfect mate for Ann. Great Show! Nice write-up!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I believe you…I just don’t remember it…I have all of the episodes…I’ll have to look that one up.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved this sitcom in my youth. That goes for the early seasons. I didn’t stay with it as they brought in new boyfriends and more grown up situations. Valerie was such a cool kid. She was cute, smart and witty; not helpless and ditzy. Nice choice and write up, Paula!

    Liked by 2 people

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