by Bikini Kill
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||27–29 minutes|
|Original release||February 8, 2019 –|
PEN15 is an American comedy web 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.
PEN15 is described as "middle school as it really happened. Erskine and Konkle play versions of themselves as 13-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual 13-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen."
Cast and characters
- Maya Erskine as Maya Ishii-Peters, a shy and sensitive Japanese-American seventh-grader who is best friends with Anna and is primarily raised by her mother
- Anna Konkle as Anna Kone, an seventh-grader who is best friends with Maya and has her family due to divorce during the school year
- Mutsuko Erskine as Yuki Ishii-Peters, Maya's stern but caring mother
- Richard Karn as Fred Peters, Maya's musician father who is often gone touring
- Taylor Nichols as Curtis Kone, Anna's father, whom she occasionally finds sleeping on the couch after a fight with his wife
- Melora Walters as Kathy Kone, Anna's mother, whose New Age spirituality and high-strung personality clash with her husband
- Taj Cross as Sam, a low-level antagonist of both leads who develops a crush on Maya
- Dallas Liu as Shuji Ishii-Peters, Maya's older brother and sometimes defender
- Dylan Gage Moore as Gabe
- Sami Rappoport as Becca
- Anna Pniowsky as Heather
- Ivan Mallon as Ian
- Hannah Mae as Connie M
- Tony Espinosa as Jafeer
- Brady Allen as Brendan
- Jill Basey as Ms. Bell
- Lincoln Jolly as Alex
- Brandon Keener as Mr. O
- Allius Barnes as Evan
- Marion Van Cuyck as Terra Newback
- Jessica Pressley as Jessica
- David Bowe as Albert
- Diane Delano as Jan
- Jonah Beres as Brandt
- Nathaniel Matulessya as Skyler
- Katie Silverman as Stevie
- Brekkan Spens as Ben Field
- Bernadette Guckin as Mrs. Tooler
- Tim Russ as Mr. Wyzell
- Isaac Edwards as Dustin
- Jennifer Steadman as Suze
- Carmina Garay as Jenna
On April 19, 2018, it was announced that Hulu had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman who were also set to executive produce alongside Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Becky Sloviter, Marc Provissiero, Brooke Pobjoy, Debbie Liebling, and Gabe Liedman. Erskine and Konkle were also expected to write for the series and Zvibleman was set to direct multiple episodes. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of The Lonely Island, Party Over Here, Odenkirk Provissiero, and AwesomenessTV. On November 19, 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere on February 8, 2019. On May 1, 2019, it was reported that Hulu renewed the series for a second season.
Alongside the announcement of the series order, it was confirmed that Erskine and Konkle would star in the series as well.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"First Day"||Dan Longino||Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, & Sam Zvibleman||February 8, 2019|
|Anna Kone and Maya Ishii-Peters are best friends who want to do everything together as they start 7th grade. Anna tries to get the attention of her crush Alex, while Maya is led to believe that Brandt and Dustin, the two cutest boys in school, are both in love with her. After Maya finds out Brandt and Dustin were just playing a cruel trick on her, labeling her the "UGIS" (Ugliest Girl in School), Maya convinces her older brother to teach her how to stand up for herself.|
|2||"Miranda"||Dan Longino||Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, & Sam Zvibleman||February 8, 2019|
|After finding out that they were childish when they play with their Sylvanian Families toys, they decided to fit in with the cool kids, Miranda and her friends.|
|3||"Ojichan"||Dan Longino||Maya Erskine||February 8, 2019|
|Maya discovers masturbation, and lets it begin controlling her life while Anna believes Maya is ditching her. Meanwhile, Maya's mother tells her that her deceased grandfather, Ojichan, is watching her always, causing Maya to become ashamed of her newfound pastime.|
|4||"Solo"||Andrew DeYoung||Sam Zvibleman||February 8, 2019|
|Maya and Anna both vie for solos in the school band and choir respectively, for the fall concert. While Anna wins her solo and hopes to get Alex's attention with it, Maya takes it upon herself to learn an impromptu solo from her neighbor and rival Sam so that she can impress her musician father, who is coming home from his tour to see her perform. Meanwhile, Anna might be getting her first boyfriend, an awkward but well-meaning kid named Brendan.|
|5||"Community Service"||Andrew DeYoung||Jessica Watson||February 8, 2019|
|Anna and Maya perform in a community service fashion show alongside popular girl Heather and her mother, when they accidentally fall into possession of Heather's thong. They begin wearing the thong to school until Maya realizes she doesn't want to give it back.|
|6||"Posh"||Andrew DeYoung||Andrew Rhymer & Jeff Chan||February 8, 2019|
|While practicing for a Spice Girls-themed school project, Maya calls dibs on being Posh Spice but is told she cannot because of her race. The other girls then begin hurling more racially-charged taunts at Maya while Anna is too afraid of her reputation to step in to help.|
|7||"AIM"||Sam Zvibleman||Gabe Liedman||February 8, 2019|
|Anna and Maya get AIM names, and Maya ventures into a singles chat room where she strikes up a flirtatious friendship with a mystery man who may be closer to Maya than she realizes. Meanwhile, Anna and Brendan try to add physical elements to their new relationship.|
|8||"Wild Things"||Sam Zvibleman||Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, & Sam Zvibleman||February 8, 2019|
|Maya realizes she might have feelings for her rival, Sam, just as he begins dating another girl. Anna and Maya are invited to a showing of an R-rated movie in a friend's house. Anna and Brendan have their first kiss, but it leads to more tension than romance, and Anna considers dumping her beau.|
|9||"Anna Ishii-Peters"||Sam Zvibleman||Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, & Stacy Osei-Kuffour||February 8, 2019|
|Anna stays with Maya's family while her parents go on a retreat to save their marriage. Maya gets annoyed at the special attention her family gives Anna, and later gets emotionally elevated when she discovers she is having her first period. Anna learns that her parents are splitting up at the same time, and the stressful events with both girls lead to a dramatic best-friend breakup.|
|10||"Dance"||Sam Zvibleman||Anna Konkle||February 8, 2019|
|Maya is upset Anna is choosing to go to the fall dance with Heather instead of her. At the dance, Heather tells Anna she's only letting her tag along because her mother told her to be nice. Anna and Maya reunite and get invited to be felt-up in the janitor's closet by Brandt, who awkwardly admits he has a real crush on Maya. Meanwhile, Sam breaks up with Jenna because he realizes he may want Maya instead, and he confesses to Maya that he was her secret AIM boyfriend this whole time.|
On November 19, 2018, a video was released announcing the premiere date of the series. On December 20, 2018, a teaser trailer for the series was released. On January 18, 2019, an official trailer and poster were released.
On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a "Certified Fresh" 94% approval rating with an average rating of 8.15 out of 10 based on 31 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".
Awards and nominations
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series||Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle & Stacy Osei-Kuffour (for "Anna Ishii-Peters")||Nominated|
|Gotham Awards||Breakthrough Series – Short Form||PEN15||Won|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Comedy Series||Jeff Chan, Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Gabe Liedman, Stacy Osei-Kuffour, Andrew Rhymer, Jessica Watson and Sam Zvibleman||Pending|
- Rolli, Bryan (2 February 2019). "'PEN15' is a painfully accurate cringe comedy with an emotional core". www.dailydot.com. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
- Emily Todd VanDerWerff (2019-03-07). "PEN15". Vox. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- Benjamin Lindsay. "Partners in 'Pen15'". Backstage.com. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- Petski, Denise (April 19, 2018). "Hulu Picks Up Middle School Comedy Series 'PEN15'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Nemetz, Dave (April 19, 2018). "Hulu Orders Twisted, Adult-Themed Middle School Comedy PEN15". TVLine. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Goldberg, Lesley (April 19, 2018). "Hulu Picks Up Middle School-Set Adult Comedy 'PEN15' From Lonely Island (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Arthur, Kenneth (April 19, 2018). "Hulu Picks Up New Comedy Produced by The Lonely Island". Splitsider. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Franklin, Garth (November 20, 2018). "Lonely Island's "PEN15" Revealed Feb 8th". Dark Horizons. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
- Pedersen, Erik (May 1, 2019). "'Pen15' & 'Ramy' Renewed For Season 2 On Hulu". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- Wright, Megh (December 20, 2018). "Here's Your First Look at PEN15, Already Our Favorite Show of 2019". Vulture. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
- Petski, Denise (January 18, 2019). "'PEN15' Trailer: First Look At Hulu's Middle School Comedy From Lonely Island". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "PEN15: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "PEN15: Season 1". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (July 16, 2019). "Emmys: HBO, 'Game of Thrones' Dominate Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "'Marriage Story' Sweeps Gotham Awards; Full Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
- Turchiano, Danielle (December 8, 2019). "'When They See Us,' 'This Is Us,' 'Schitt's Creek' Lead 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards TV Noms". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
- McNary, Dave (December 5, 2019). "Writers Guild Unveils 2020 TV Award Nominees". Variety. Retrieved December 5, 2019.