Pen15 Season 2 Will End The Series

Sad news for my mutual fans of nostalgic coming-of-age shows about junior high in the 2000s starring full-grown adult women, as Hulu's Emmy-nominated "Pen15" is closing up shop following the release of the second half of season 2. The series created by and starring Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as their 13-year-old selves will come to a close on December 3, 2021. The decision comes not from Hulu or Awesomeness TV, who produce the show, but from Erskine and Konkle, who are looking to take a break from the series. Allegedly, Hulu is still interested in working with the duo on other projects and are allowing for the possibility of future seasons of the show if Erskine and Konkle ever feel the need to return to the characters.

In a profile released in The New Yorker, the comedy team noted they had planned on "Pen15" ending after three seasons. But with the pandemic delaying filming and releasing the now final seven episodes, that time is being cut short. "Pen15" was a critical and audience success, exploring the trials and tribulations of middle school, but given the respect and nuance only possible with adult reflection. Fortunately, Erskine was recently cast in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" and Konkle recently had a supporting role in the romantic-comedy "Together Together."

The Catharsis of Cringe

Inspired by the work of Todd Solondz, Erskine and Konkle co-created the series with Sam Zvibleman, which stars a roster of appropriately aged actors, with the exception of the mid-30s duo playing teens. Erskine wears a bowl cut wig that resembles her own bowl cut given to her as a fifth grader and Konkle sports a set of braces to mimic the ones she had to wear as a teenager. But their transformation to junior high students isn't just in costuming and accessories. Much of "Pen15" comes directly from the duo's own experiences, mining through their adolescent memories to serve as the beating heart of the series.

As was discussed in the profile, the name of the show comes from the childhood prank of asking if someone wants to join the pen15 club, and if they say yes, the phrase "Pen15" (which looks like penis, if you haven't figured that out, yet) gets written on your hand in sharpie. "It felt appropriate to name our show after the thing that rejects get branded," Erskine told The New Yorker. I must confess, I was absolutely bamboozled by this prank in grade school, and it was mortifying.

And that's the brilliance of "Pen15," it's a show about the mortifying realities of growing up from the perspective of people who survived it. No one should ever have to revisit the traumatic time capsule of puberty, but Erskine and Konkle did, and "Pen15" was the healing nostalgia so many of us needed. Smell ya later, fellow BSBs. We're gonna miss you.