One Day at a Time is making its grand return to television! After being canceled by Netflix, championed by social media and picked up by POP, the series that follows the lives of a Cuban-American family (starring Rita Moreno and Justina Machado) is back for its fourth season. Marcel Ruiz, who plays the over-confident teenager Alex, is reprising his role and celebrating the return of the historic sitcom. “It feels so surreal,” he tells HOLA! USA. “I mean, how would it not come back? It’s such a great show. It felt really good because a lot of time happened in between, but we were all ready to start. We were all really determined to come back and give the people what they wanted.”
The 17-year-old added: “The first day that we got back, you could really see the energy with everyone and how grateful we are for every single moment that we get. It’s really fun, and it’s such a really happy season for us.” Ahead of the premiere, Tuesday, March 24 at 9:30 pm EST, Marcel shared what’s in store for Alex Alverez and his family this season, why the return means so much and how the cast is coping with the current shut down of production.
HOLA! USA: Thanks, so much for talking to us. I have to know, how are you holding up with self-isolation? Are you going stir crazy?
Marcel Ruiz: “I mean just a little but not too crazy because I feel good that I’m being productive. I’m just staying inside and the days go by fast. The thing that makes you go crazy is when you realize that all the days are the same, and it’s like Groundhog’s day.”
How have you been passing the time? Binge-watching any television?
“Oh no, I don’t have time. I have a lot of homework to do, that’s why. I’m doing school from morning to the night. When I get a chance I do little stuff like content. I haven’t done anything for my YouTube channel for a long time, but this week I had a little time.”
Speaking of family, congrats on the return of One Day at a Time. How did it feel being back with everyone again? Was it straight to work or celebration?
“It was happiness and family. We are family, so it’s just like you’re going on a vacation to meet with your whole family again. What’s funny is, we did a table read for the first episode, and it was straight to work, but at the same time we were ready. We all felt weird after reading the first script after not being in character for such a long time. We have a great director and just being around each other, the energy helped out.”
Were you surprised when the Internet rallied around you all and got the series picked up again?
“I knew it was a great show, but at the same time I was really surprised at how many people showed up and how many people were tweeting because it went trending worldwide. People didn’t stop and kept going for a long time. We’re really, really thankful for that, but so much time passed in between the cancellation and the pick up, that usually doesn’t happen. It took a couple days to really understand what was going on.”
Rita Moreno said this is going to be the funniest season yet. What else can fans expect?
“There are some great episodes. There’s two episodes we shot so far that could have easily been in the top episodes of the four seasons. I think it has a lot to do with relationships. Everyone in the family is having trouble or having to deal with their own relationships, not only outside of the family but with the family. There are also a lot of great guest stars. It’s been really cool not only getting back and understanding we deserve to really be here but understanding that other people want to be a part of the show that’s making history.”
Alex is a little older now. Can fans expect a major change with him?
“Yeah, there’s going to be things that you haven’t seen from him before. He gets a girlfriend. Also, conversations that teenagers have at that age, which is funny but can also be awkward. He’s more mature, and at that age, you really don’t care what you look like, you’re experimenting, you get bored with something and figure things out and just want to have fun. I like the new format because I would film the show, and it would come out five months later – and that wasn’t even me anymore – because I grew like a foot. So now it will be more consistent in looks.
It seems like as soon as you got the momentum back, you have to stop production again due to coronavirus. Are you all still staying connected and helping each other through?
“Yeah! It has impacted it. We haven’t finished it, and we don’t know what’s going to happen, just like a lot of other shows in Los Angeles. We filmed a total of six episodes, so we filmed half of the season almost.”
Is it safe to say you all are a family in real life?
“Yes! We have this group chat, and we’re always texting each other there. Especially in times like this when we’re not together to support each other. We send little videos to make each other laugh or stay happy.”
Can you describe this season in three words?
“Energetic, surprising and diverse.”
One Day at at Time makes its return Tuesday, March 24 on the POP TV.