‘PEN15’ envy: why tweens are queens of TV


‘PEN15’ envy: why tweens are queens of TV

Now in its second season, the series has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Writing

Kevin Kriedemann

Set in middle school as it really happened in the year 2000, Emmy-nominated PEN15 sees thirtysomething creator-writer-producers Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine playing versions of themselves as 13-year-old outcasts ... surrounded by actual 13-year-olds playing their peers. 

Season two is an even bigger hit than its Emmy-nominated first season, with a 93% rating on Metacritic, where it’s the best reviewed fictional TV show of 2020. Season two also has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s number two on the list of best TV shows of 2020.

As The Washington Post put it: “If one has to choose only one millennial-made TV series that ventures into adolescent angst in the AOL era, please make it this one. PEN15 ... could be almost considered an act of communal therapy. In their unflinching and even brave willingness to re-enact the range of hair-trigger emotions that turn teenagers into the worst kind of people, Erskine and Konkle (with co-creator Sam Zvibleman) are offering a kind of catharsis to the rest of us: Yes, you were as awful as you remember being, but guess what? You were in the throes of becoming you. PEN15 is both an exquisite wallow in hormonal chaos and a belated act of forgiveness.”..

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