Streaming Recommendation: Pen15

 

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If you didn’t experience enough trauma from your middle school years, no worries. There’s now a show for that. Relive the trials, triumphs, dial-up internet connections, and cargo shorts in Hulu’s new 10 episode series, “Pen15.” Named after the schoolyard joke (my boyfriend had to explain it to me – clearly I was not asked to join the Pen15 club for which I count myself lucky), this wonderful throwback follows the hauntingly realistic portrayal of Maya and Anna, best friends and 7th grade outcasts, as they battle raging hormones, creepy AOL chatrooms, soggy first kisses, racism, warring parents, and more. As if middle school wasn’t tough enough.

Actresses Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle wrote and star as their younger 2000s selves, highlighting some of the growing pains they experienced in a time when every day at school can seem life or death. Erskine and Konkle pinpoint such familiar emotions I found myself shuddering at the sound of their screams at their parents. “I know I sounded exactly like,” I moan. Their age, 31 if you’re curious, only makes their young male co-actors seem even more like children. Erskine and Konkle so accurately capture the emotional roller coaster and child-like logic that we’ve all experienced, you can’t help to witness your own vivid flashbacks as Maya and Anna prepare for their first dance or shave their legs for the first time *shudder*. Pen15 is a trainwreck of adolescence and you can’t help but watch.

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