Fans have been looking forward to PEN15 season 2 after the first 10-episode season of the show launched on Hulu on February 8.
PEN15 follows grown-up actresses Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle portraying fictionalized 13-year-old versions of their seventh grade selves in the year 2000.
Maya and Anna struggle to cope with the trials and tribulations of puberty, stumbling through middle school with all the embarrassing awkwardness of 13-year-olds before the age of SnapChat, Instagram, Kik, WhatsApp and Tumblr.
PEN15 portrays the cringe-worthy moments of middle school in a way that is relatable. For adult viewers who grew up in the Y2K era, PEN15’s exploration of the all-too-familiar but embarrassing moments of the middle school experience — first school dance, first date, first kiss, first masturbation, first cigarette, first internet — evokes nostalgic memories.
Hulu dropped all the 10 episodes of the inaugural season of PEN15 at once and fans who have binge-watched the entire season are already asking whether there will be PEN15 season 2.
To answer your questions, here is everything we know so far about PEN15 season 2, including likely release date, plot, cast, trailers and plot.
This page will also be updated over time with the latest information about PEN15 season 2.
PEN15: Audience response so far
The inaugural season of PEN15 was met with favorable audience responses and positive critical reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series earned an approval rating of 92% based on 25 critical reviews. On Metacritic, the series earned “universal acclaim” with a Metascore of 81/100.
Will there be PEN15 season 2?
PEN15 season 1 followed 13-year-old best friends Maya and Anna going through the ups and down of the early teenage years.
Fans who have seen the inaugural season on Hulu and enjoyed it will no doubt be delighted to learn that we will likely see more of the bumbling pair.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle revealed during a February 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that they and Sam Zvibleman already have storylines for multiple seasons mapped out, meaning that they planned for multiple seasons right from the start.
Thus, if Hulu is willing, fans can expect to see more of Maya and Anna over multiple seasons. Although Erskine and Konkle could not confirm whether Hulu will pick up PEN15 for season 2, the positive response to the first season makes it very likely that the streaming service will renew PEN15.
But while waiting to hear from Hulu whether there will be a second season of PEN15, Erskine and Konkle, who met in NYU in the 2000s, say they are happy to continue writing and developing the series, and working on other plans as part of their creative partnership.
Pen15 season 2 release date
Hulu has not officially renewed PEN15 for season 2, so the announcement of a release date for the upcoming season isn’t coming yet.
Although it is likely that PEN15 will get a second season, we must wait until Hulu announces the renewal and release dates to be certain that we will see Maya and Anna on our screens again.
Hulu released the first season of PEN15 on February 8, 2019, so if PEN15 season 2 happens, it possible that it will be released in February 2020.
We will update this page when the streaming service announces the release date for PEN15 season 2.
PEN15 is a web TV series created and written by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle with Sam Zvibleman. The inaugural season featuring 10 30-minute episodes premiered on Hulu on February 8, 2019, and stars Erskine and Konkle as their 13-year-old seventh grade selves.
The production companies behind the series are AwesomenessTV, Party Over There, The Lonely Island and Odenkirk Provissiero.
Erskine, Konkle and Zvibleman are executive producing the series with The Lonely Island trio Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Other executive producers include Gabe Liedman, Marc Provissiero, Brooke Pobjoy, Shelley Zimmerman, Becky Slovita, Brin Lukens, and Jordan Levin.
Zvibleman also directed several episodes of the series.
Besides Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 stars Mutsuko Erskine, Dylan Gage, Taj Cross, Taylor Nichols, and Anna Pniowsky.
PEN15 season 1 summary
The series stars Erskine (34 years old) and Konkle (24 years old) playing bumbling 13-year-old seventh-grade versions of themselves with a cast made up of real seventh grade actors and actresses in supporting roles. The two adult women use the series to recall their early adolescent selves.
The series is set in the year 2000 with Maya (with a bowl haircut) and Konkle (sporting braces) replicating what they looked like when they were 13-years-old.
PEN15 follows the two best friends Maya and Anna in seventh grade, stumbling incompetently through the familiar adolescent milestones. And although the actresses are much older than their 13-year-old selves, they portrayed their younger selves plausibly.
Going by the testimony of the series, their seventh grade must have been hell even without social media.
Watching the series will bring older viewers memories of hormone-fueled misadventures linked to the most cringeworthy, embarrassing and traumatic experiences of middle school.
The first episode introduced viewers to two dedicated friends who do everything together, including struggling to imitate the adult world around them with energetic awkwardness typical of their age.
The series follows the girls trying out the latest dance moves from music videos and learning how to swear like adults while pursuing their newly awakened interest in the opposite sex with an intensity of reckless self-abandonment that only the “burgeoning sexuality” of middle schoolers could muster.
It gets excruciatingly awkward when Maya and Anna made a fool of themselves during their first week in seventh grade by trying to hang out with the coolest kids in school and asking out boys they fancied.
Many viewers have remarked that Anna’s gangling frame among smaller middle school actors evokes memories of GOT’s Brienne of Tarth, but it is Maya who is voted “Ugliest Girl in School (UGIS).”
PEN15, which has been compared with Netflix’s Big Mouth, doesn’t offer a plot-heavy storyline. Most of the challenges the girls face might appear — from an adult perspective — to be largely trivial and sometimes downright silly issues complicated only by pubescent awkwardness, raging hormones and the overall incompetence of inexperienced youth.
But real issues crop up occasionally, such as being voted the ugliest girl in school and having to deal with racism.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle revealed in the interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the series included plenty of moments from their own lives that they still found traumatic to revisit to even decades after. They did not shy away from delving into the some of their most embarrassing and traumatizing experiences of middle school.
“When writing it we were open books to each other, so we were going through all of our traumatic experiences,” Erskine told The Hollywood Reporter. “The trauma lends itself to dynamic, funny stories, but when we started filming some of them that’s when the trauma became really real.”
Erskine shared with The Hollywood Reporter that the most difficult moment was when the series examined the issue of racism.
Maya — who is half-Japanese — experienced awkward moments due to her mixed ethnicity. When her friends visited her at home, she had to hide some of the “weird” Japanese stuff and she was embarrassed when the girls saw the food in her refrigerator.
She suffered her first experience of discrimination when her white classmates made her play the role of Scary Spice “because you’re different from us, you’re, like, tan.”
The incident prompted Anna to consult Ask Jeeves with questions about the unfamiliar subject of racism and what she could do to right the wrong.
“I’ve been noticing some racism in society and I’d like to report it,” she later announced self-importantly to the school principal.
Konkle also talked about the experience of reliving her parents’ divorce through the divorce of her character’s parents.
“That scene [where Anna’s parents tell her they were divorcing] was straight out of how I remembered it,” she said. “There’s that masochistic element to it because we’re writing this for ourselves.”
The show also explored experiences unique to growing up in the 2000s. The dawn of the internet age brought about memorable experiences such as your first time connecting with friends and sweethearts on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).
AIM, the precursor to Blackberry Messenger, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, was the favorite online hangout of pre-teens and teenagers from the late 90s until the mid-2000s. Because the series is set in the early 2000s, it would likely connect better with viewers who were also in their early teens during this era.
Although the overall tone of PEN15 is that of a comedy, the lighter moments are interspersed with darker moments that portray real heartbreak.
The accuracy with which the series renders the experience of middle school could be discomforting for viewers who got the short end of the stick as middle schoolers. But if like the co-creators, you are brave enough to confront the trauma of reliving the mortifying memories of middle school, PEN15 could end up as a means of catharsis.
And if you are somehow able to convert the mortification to nostalgia, you may actually find most of what would otherwise be an unwelcome revisiting of painful memories to be hysterically funny.
PEN15 season 2 trailer
The timing of the release of the first teaser and full official trailer for PEN15 season 2 depends on the release date for the upcoming season. And since Hulu has neither renewed the show for season 2 nor announced a release date, we do not know when the teaser trailer and full official trailer could be released.
However, the first teaser trailer for season 1 was released on December 20, 2018, while the first full trailer was released on January 18, 2019, ahead of the February 8 launch date for the series on Hulu.
So, if, as speculated, PEN15 season 2 comes out in February 2020, and Hulu follows the schedule for season 1, fans might see the first teaser and official trailer for PEN15 season 2 in the fall or winter of 2019.
We will update this page whenever Hulu releases the first teaser and official trailer for PEN15 season 2. Meanwhile, enjoy the teaser and trailer for season 1.
PEN15 season 2 cast
The main cast of PEN15 is expected to return for season 2.
PEN15 stars Maya Erskine as Maya Ishii-Peters, Anna Konkle as Anna Kone, and Mutsuko Erksine as Yuki Ishii-Peters.
Mutsuko is Maya’s mom in real life as well as in the TV series.
Other main cast members include Richard Karn Wilson as Maya’s father Fred Peters, Taylor Nichols as Anna’s dad Curtis Kon, Melora Walters as Anna’s mom Kathy Kone, and Dallas Lui as Maya’s older brother Shuji Ishii-Peters.
Other cast members likely to return for season 2 include Dylan Gage as Gabe, Taj Cross as Sam, Anna Pniowksy as Heather, Sami Rappaport as Becca, Brad Allen as Brendan, Lincoln Jolly as Alex, and Ivan Mallon as Ian.
PEN15 season 2 plot: What to expect
Erskine and Konkle revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that they plan to keep their characters Maya and Anna in seventh grade permanently and that there are currently no plans to move on to high school.
“Before we even pitched the show, we had set up arcs for the characters because as of now the goal is that they stay in seventh grade forever,” Erskine said.
In order to explore the characters’ growth despite remaining permanently in middle school, Erksine said they will make them experience some of the things that the creators went through in high school.
Erskine also said that after the inaugural season established the childlike innocence of Maya and Anna, season 2 will explore more mature and darker content. The girls experimented with cigarettes during the first season, but Erskine revealed they will experiment with drugs in season 2.
“In the second season maybe they experiment more with drugs or we go through things that happened to us later on in middle school and then high school and just place that in the frame of seventh grade,” Erskine said.
“We [saved much of the darker content] for the second season,” Erskine continued. “We were trying to shape and have them be more innocent — at last for the first season. We’re going to explore more mature, darker content in the second season. The girls will probably experiment more.”
PEN15 season 2 will also delve deeper into the divorce of Anna’s parents. The two friends talked about it briefly after the dance, but season 2 will focus more on the painful issue.
Maya and Anna share a cigarette at the end of season 1. Maya discovers the forbidden pleasures of masturbation and has her first period in season 1 but she did not tell Anna about it even after they made up on the night of their first school dance. But, according to Erskine, Maya will share the news with Anna in PEN15 season 2.