With the new season of One Day at a Time coming out last Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Todd Grinnell about himself and the show.
What’s a quote that you live by?
Always follow the fun.
If you could go back to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?
Relax, be careful, fear nothing and have fun. And, I’d probably warn everyone that Donald Trump will be running for president in 10 years.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
A musician or international human rights attorney.
So to begin, do you want to just summarize what “One Day at a Time” is about for anyone who’s reading right now and hasn’t watched the show?
It’s about a strong Cuban-American mother who’s raising her two kids in Los Angeles with the help of her mother. Through tears and laughter, they navigate through every issue that a family could face in today’s society.
Obviously, the show has tackled so many important societal issues and impacted so many young people positively, so how does it feel to be involved or a part of something that has that sort of impact and has helped so many?
It’s an incredible honor to be a part of a show that inspires and supports people and sparks important conversations about all the issues we face in today’s world. We are a show about the strength that everyone posses to grow, change and preserve in such an often unforgiving world. So, the fact we can help people find that strength within themselves, while also entertaining, is the most an actor can hope for in their career.
What’s it like working with all the other actors on the show?
It’s sublime. I get to work with the most talented people, who raise my game every day. We all have such great chemistry with each other, and we’re lucky that our amazing writers have given us all such unique voices and created such relationships between each of us that allow us to play so many different things while having so much fun with each other.
Do you think you share any similarities to your character, Schneider — for example, if you were to meet him in real life, would you get along?
Schneider and I would definitely be best friends. We’d be like two of the Three Stooges. I’ll let you decide which two.
With the show being so comedic and light-hearted, have you got any funny on-set stories to share?
We laugh all day every day on set. There are a bunch of stories, but I had a ton of fun pranking Jay Hayden — who played Penelope’s love interest in season one — with Isabella (Elena) and Marcel (Alex) by putting all of the furniture from his dressing room in the bathroom.
If you could put your character, Schneider, in any other TV show, which would you put him in?
Black-ish or Derek.
I was reading about your non-profit organisation This Bar Saves Lives, so do you want to talk a bit about that and how people can help or get involved?
This Bar Saves Lives is a company that I started with a few other actor friends. For every moment granola bar you buy, we give life-saving nutrition to a child suffering from malnutrition. Our bars are available in stores all over the US, and to date, we’ve sent enough food aid to help save the lives of over 20,000 children. I’m incredibly proud of this company.
What was your favourite moment or scene from the show, overall?
There’s a scene in an episode in the middle of season two between Penelope and Schneider that’s my favorite of the series so far. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s in the episode that deals with Penelope’s PTSD.
To end on a more light-hearted question, what is your personal favorite Netflix original show?
I really love Derek. Like our show, it’s full of so much heart, reality and tragedy, which allows for beautiful moments and truthful, natural comedy. It’s so good and funny, I definitely recommend.
Be sure to watch the new season of One Day at a Time, which can be found on Netflix — it’s funny and light-hearted, while still addressing hard-hitting topics. I definitely recommend it.