“This is it!” [Is it?]: The Marketing of Nostalgia on Netflix´s One Day at a Time

Manuel G Avilés-Santiago


Netflix has been producing a nostalgic sub-genre that takes its cues from the visual culture of the past and triggers a form of sentimental longing for the past in the viewer. In shows like The Get Down, Stranger Things, Glow, and Fuller House, the narrative elements serve a larger nostalgia for the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. These and other Netflix original shows engage in anesthetics and politics of viewer reception that projects an image of these earlier times and spaces in which the critical historical viewpoint is marginalized in favor of nostos -return— which can also generate retro-futures, the futures that were once imagined in these pasts (Boym, 2001; Niemeyer, 2014). Through a critical textual and material analysis of Netflix’s original show, One Day At A Time (ODAAT), this article will consider how Netflix capitalizes on a vision of the 1970s as a marketing tactic aimed at attracting a Latina/o audience by reviving an older show, creating an emotional atmosphere out of the reception space of fandom itself, as its viewers’ anxieties about the shows cancellation and the narrative of saving a show are incorporated into the manipulated aura of the show itself. Created originally by Norman Lear in 1975, ODAAT told the story of a divorced working-class white woman from Indianapolis raising strong-willed daughters, and the family’s interactions with the handyman for the building in which they lived. Lear revived the show in 2017 and hired writer, actress, editor, and producer Gloria Calderón-Kellet as the showrunner and cultural translator of the show. The publicity around the revival leans heavily on the concept that this is a Latina/o remake/reboot/reimagination/twist of the older sitcom. The selling point is to reimagine a show linked to 70s popular culture sieved through a 2010s emphasis on diversity. Several deployments of nostalgia produce this effect: the marketing, the narrative (storyline), and the storyline provoked after the announcement of the possibility of an eventual cancellation of the show, creating identity anxiety among its fans. My interest is to explore whether nostalgia can be deployed as a source of creative renewal or as a means of critiquing present conditions of production, circulation, and consumption of Latina/o representations.


Netflix, nostalgia, One Day At A Time, Latinidad, Norman Lear

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Journal of Latin American Communication Research - 2014