Due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the live-action multicam show One Day at a Time was put on hold. However, the show’s producers found another way to produce a new, original episode in this time of quarantine: animation.

The original idea was to film the episode traditionally as live-action with instered fantasy elements. When the pandemic health crisis shuttered TV production, the producers began to explore animation as a unique way to tell the story, and with that in mind the script was rewritten.

Using Animation To Tell a Story in a Unique Way

Executive producer Norman Lear expressed his excitement about the prospect of an animated episode. “In my 97 years, I’ve never known of a multicam comedy to animate a single episode as a special,” said Lear. “Even this I get to experience!”

“As we all know, it’s hard to keep One Day at a Time off the air,” said Gloria Calderón Kellett, the show’s executive producer and co-showrunner. “During this unprecedented time, we wanted to find a way to keep our family — on camera and behind the scenes — together and create more entertaining content for our fans who are self-distancing at home. This animated special gives us an exciting opportunity to imagine the Alvarez family in a colorful new way while continuing to tell important and relevant stories.”

The sixth episode, “Supermoon,” was the last episode to complete production before the shutdown. That episode now serves as the mid-season finale until production resumes on the remaining seven episodes.

According to Pop TV, the animated episode will center around Penelope’s conservative family coming over for a visit. With the election coming up, she dreads they won’t be able to avoid fighting over politics. The Alvarez family spends the episode discussing strategies of how to get through it, illustrated with fantasy sequences.

The show’s stars will voice their own characters and will be joined by celebrity guests announced at a later date. Jonas Diamond, executive producer and co-owner of Smiley Guy Studios in Toronto will oversee the animation.

Production on the episode will be completed remotely and will premiere later this spring.

The Sony Pictures TV series stars Machado, Rita Moreno, Stephen Tobolowsky, Todd Grinnell, India de Beaufort, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz. Act III Productions, Inc., Snowpants Prods. and GloNation produce, with Norman Lear, Mike Royce, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Brent Miller as executive producers.