Being 13 years old in junior high is one of the most awkward and eye-opening times in one’s life, and the Hulu series Pen15 paints a beautifully cringe-worthy picture of the formative time. Created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle and Sam Zvibleman, the prepubescent comedy takes place in 2000 during the TRL era of delia’s catalogs and dial-up modems. The series stars Erskine and Konkle as 13-year-old versions of themselves as they navigate the terrain of junior high.
Outcasts in their middle school, TV Maya and Anna serve full bowl-cut, brace-faced realness that will either bring back fond memories or awkward nightmares from your past as Erskine and Konkle’s show embodies the era that is a bridge between being a child and teenager. The duo stopped by the New Hollywood Podcast to talk about how they wanted to give an unapologetic and uncensored gaze of two middle school teen girls in their awkward, hormonal phases of life — something we don’t see often. They also share a story about an interesting pitch meeting (where they talked about teenage masturbation) and their first teen crushes. Erskine also talks about working with her real mom on the show while Konkle attempts to explain the very layered AIM screenname she used in her teen years.
Listen to the episode below.