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Relive the Mortifying Mess of Middle School With Hulu’s PEN15 Trailer

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play themselves at 13 in this raunchy comedy series.

Middle school is a time most of us would like to forget. Luckily, Maya Erskine (Casual) and Anna Konkle (Rosewood) are all too eager to dive back into the hot mess of hormones and hilarity that was seventh grade. Their new Hulu series PEN15 features the adult actors playing their 13-year old selves, opposite child actors, as they relive seventh grade in the year 2000.

The synopsis for the series reads “PEN15 is middle school as it really happened. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.”

The series is produced by the Lonely Island crew Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and was co-created by Sam Zvibleman (Take My Wife). PEN15 promises an awkward, horned up exploration of adolescence during the time of dial-up internet and boy band mania. It also joins the recent slate of sex positive coming of age shows alongside Sex Education and Big Mouth. Both series do an excellent job of exploring sexual foibles from a female perspective, a perspective that has long been the domain of boys.

In an interview with Vulture, Erskine and Konkle were inspired when they attended a party with friends that Erskine had gone to middle school with. “We both reverted to our ­middle-school selves … Not cool enough, wearing the wrong things. We turned to each other and were like, ‘Wow, how am I still dealing with the same insecurities I had when I was 13?’”

By having the two adult women play their 13-year old selves, the series highlights how awkward and out of place adolescence can make one feel. The same device was used in the hilarious Australian series Summer Heights High and its spin-offs, Ja’mie: Private School Girl and Jonah from Tonga, which feature comedian Chris Lilley playing high school characters opposite actual kids.

Stay tuned for a review of the series, which premieres on Hulu on February 8th.

(via Vulture, image: screencap)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.