Not only did the crowd at Netflix’s One Day at a Time Television Critics Association presentation on Sunday nearly keel over from laughing so hard at Rita Moreno’s colorful commentary, but one lucky journalist even got serenaded! Maria Elena Fernandez received the surprise of her life when the legendary singer and actress sang the tune “Maria Elena,” written by Spanish composer Lorenzo Barcelata in 1941, during the Cuban-themed luncheon.
Moreno’s outspokenness was fully on display during the panel as journalists questioned the cast about various topics including Roseanne Barr and her recently cancelled sitcom revival. The EGOT winner said, “We work in a strange business that’s contrary in some ways.” Before admitting sassily, “I don’t like her anyway,” referencing Barr, who was fired by ABC after writing a racist Tweet against Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama in May. Adding, “But you didn’t ask me, so I didn’t tell ‘ya.”
Not even curse words evaded the 86-year-old’s mouth while discussing co-star Marcel Ruiz. The Puerto Rican-born actor was asked about shooting the season two episode where his character Alex was a victim of racism. Ruiz similarly experienced racism in Los Angeles after his family moved to the Southern California city six years ago while not knowing any English.
“Marcel, you came here six years ago,” she asked her young co-star who she shares a special on- and off-screen relationship with. “That is impressive, wow. He’s also so fucking cute.”
She added, as the crowd laughed hysterically, “Yes, I’m a dirty old lady just like Lydia, where do you think they got all that stuff?”
As the presentation came to end, the legendary actress proved that no one is safe from her, including 96-year-old executive producer and TV legend Norman Lear, who she wanted to compliment.
“Shut up, old man,” Moreno exclaimed as Lear tried to wrap-up the panel while the audience roared with laughter. “I was simply gonna say that he shows up every Monday for the table reading. He shows up for run-throughs, and he shows up and talks to the audience on shoot day. He’s very involved. It’s important that you know that.”