Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Rachel E. Dubrofsky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diana Leon-Boys, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.


Latinx, LGBTQ+, Mental Health, Netflix, Tropes


This thesis examines the tensions between contemporary Latina/x representations and problematic tropes in the sitcom, One Day at a Time (2017-2020) [ODAAT]. ODAAT centers of Elena, Penelope, and Lydia, three generations of a Latina/x family. Many entertainment reviewers and fans praised the series for its progressive and nuanced portrayals of Latina/x characters. However, I argue that while ODAAT depicts Latina/x characters that transcend some United States mainstream media tropes about Latinas/xs, the series also relies on conventional markers of Latina/x identity as tools with which to communicate progressive messages around identity. I expand upon scholarship in Latina/o media studies, feminist media studies, Black feminist media studies, and mental health representation in media. I take an intersectional approach to address how Latina/x identity intersects with issues of lesbian sexuality, straight elder sexual expression, pan-Latina/x cultural traditions such as the quinceañera, pan-Latina/x standards of beauty, and cultural stigma around mental health. I ask: How does ODAAT construct the identities of its central Latina/x characters? What tropes does the series rely on to build these characters and what tropes does the series resist?