Our Thoughts On: The Pen15 Finale

“The series is a loving, painful homage to the things that make us grow up and the people alongside us while we do.”



“This show has always known how to pack a one-two-laugh-cry punch, but these final episodes stung in a new way. Anna and Maya grapple with death, diagnosis, coercion, love, heartbreak, and more. It felt like adolescence overload, but in a good way. This series was a loving, painful homage to the things that make us grow up and the people there alongside us while we do. Goodbye to a wonderful, hilarious series that showed love to those middle school years that most of us probably try to forget.” - Lizzie Racklin

PEN15's careful dissection of middle school life and its avant-garde, comical setup bridges humor and sympathy as we travel back to a place we'd all prefer to forget: middle school. It flips the adults-playing-kids trend (I'm looking at you, Euphoria and Sex Education) on its head. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle don't just revisit the growing pains of being a newly minted teen to turn a quick laugh, though—they explore the inner turmoil brought on by adults, mean kids, and self-discovery. The premiere episode of Season 2, Part 2 promises much of the same antics but is also an apt goodbye to two girls I've grown quite attached to.” - Natalie Duerr

“When we meet Maya and Anna in Season 1, they’re freshly minted 7th graders on the precipice of teenagehood, immeasurably eager to grow into themselves. But by the last season, their intense growing pains have led to a rapid loss of childhood innocence, which they both desperately welcome and vehemently reject. The series as a whole explores the idea of, “This is what I’m supposed to do and this is who I’m supposed to be,” and Season 2, Part 2 is the explosive culmination of that. From Maya’s difficult reckoning with her identity as an Asian-American to Anna’s sobering realization of imbalanced power dynamics in romance, the final episodes comment on the harsh truths of coming of age as a young woman. Although this commentary is borderline bleak, the unbreakable bond between Maya and Anna emphasizes the relationships that keep us afloat through it all.” - Sydney Kim