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PEN15 is an American cringe comedy streaming television series, created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman, that premiered on February 8, 2019, on Hulu. The series stars Erskine and Konkle, who also serve as executive producers alongside Zvibleman, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Becky Sloviter, Marc Provissiero, Brooke Pobjoy, Debbie Liebling, and Gabe Liedman.
In May 2019, Hulu renewed the series for a second season of fourteen episodes, the first half of which premiered on September 18, 2020.
This comedy series depicts middle school as it really happened. Comics Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play versions of themselves as teenage outcasts in the year 2000, during a time when the best day of your life can turn into the worst with the stroke of a gel pen. Adult Maya and Anna -- as their younger selves -- are surrounded by actual teenagers as they re-experience some of the ups and downs of middle school life. They get a lot of unexpected attention on the first day of school and later face the temptation to do drugs.
Why It Rocks
- Some scenes can be very heartwarming like the scene where Anna said "You are my actual rainbow gel pen in a sea of blue and black writing utensils."
- The clothes represent on what fashion in 2000 looks like.
- Great songs being heard in episodes like "Candy", "My Own Worst Enemy", "Thinking of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)", "Unpretty", "E.I.", "All My Life", "You Gotta Be", "As I Lay Me Down", "Smile", and "Rollercoaster".
- Not only it can relate to all middle schoolers like seventh graders in the 2000s, but also in the 2010s and 2020s.
On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a "Certified Fresh" 93% approval rating with an average rating of 8.04 out of 10 based on 46 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Viewers willing to suspend their disbelief will find much to enjoy in Pen15, wherein Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle reprise their adolescent selves – stirring up plenty of yucks and pathos amidst the farce." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 82 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
On Rotten Tomatoes, season two holds a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8.82/10. The critical consensus reads, "An excellent showcase for Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and their well-cast classmates, PEN15's sophomore season goes deeper into the nuances of middle school life without losing any of its cringey charm." On Metacritic, season 2 received a score of 93 out of 100 based on 11 critical reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".