For 98-year-old Norman Lear, his career has been varied and like his life, long. His latest series, “One Day at a Time,” moves from Netflix to POP TV on Tuesday.
Recently the writer/producer spoke with the media at the Langham hotel in Pasadena, California.
Lear is known for sitcoms that have lasting impact on pop culture and the television world: “Maude,” “All in the Family,” “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son,” Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “One Day at a Time,” and others that have often depicted controversial stories.
When he rebooted “One Day at a Time” in 2017, he did so with a completely different kind of family. The original cast starred Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington Jr. That show ran from 1975-1984. This new cast stars Rita Moreno, Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Marcel Ruiz.
Why did Lear change the family dynamic?
“I will start with my bumper sticker," Lear said. "My bumper sticker reads, ‘Just another version of you,’ which is what I feel we are, versions of one another. And what we're doing now are versions of not just the shows I did years ago, but the shows that were done years ago, versions of those shows in another time, another family. In this case we never did anything that related to, that I recall, related to the Latina community, and now this is 100 percent a Latin family. So just another version of the show as we did it at another time.”
The creator/producer/writer told the journalists, “Well, I like to think that the family we're dealing with, that we're providing words for, attitudes for, are healthy people who wish for healthy society -- to live in a healthy society. I hope they're just another version of everybody sitting in this room.”
Lear was asked about his longevity.
“Here's the biggest and the best,” he responded. “This is a fact of my life, an absolute fact of my life. It has taken me every split second of the life I have lived to get here -- I've lived to get here this second. I just did this. It's taken me every split second of my life to get to do that. And I'm looking out at a crowd, and it's taken you every split second of your life to hear me finish this sentence. Is that incredible? How about this moment?”
Lear was definitely appreciative of his life and success. It’s not many people who have such an illustrious career that spans generations and affects lives as well as brings issues to the forefront of television viewing.
“Well, I never sat down to cure America of its problems," he said. "We just reflect them. And then you all do, we all do together what we do, after we get an opportunity to see our problem. I think that's what television, theater does. It reflects the problem and then we get up, walk out, and talk about it, live our lives perhaps just a hair differently as a result.”
Norman Lear has worn many hats in his long career, but he always wears his white one.
The new season premiere exclusively Tuesday on Pop TV.