PEN15: Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle Share Why They’re Ending the Show.. School’s out for PEN15. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle’s critically adored comedy, in which they play 13-year-olds in the year 2000, will end on December 3, the day the second part of season two hits Hulu.
The series’ conclusion comes as a surprise, given its nomination for the outstanding-comedy-series Emmy earlier this year.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Konkle and Erskine “were ready to take a break from the series” and that Hulu “is leaving the door open for more” seasons in case inspiration strikes the duo. The fact that Konkle and Erskine each welcomed a child in early 2021 and completed the season amidst pandemic-related delays also expedited PEN15’s end, as noted in a recent New Yorker profile.
“When we first talked about making the show 10 years ago, we talked about it in three chapters. And even though [these episodes] are called [season] 2B, this feels like a third season to us,” Konkle said at a recent FYC event in West Hollywood, as reported by IndieWire. “It feels like we did it. For now,” she continued. “The other part of it is, we’ve learned that showrunning, acting, producing, it’s all the most creatively fulfilling experience I could ever imagine in my entire life and, like, a recipe for burning out.”
Erskine also noted that because the characters of Maya and Anna are forever trapped in seventh grade, continuing the show for much longer would cheapen its premise. “It’s gonna be really sad,” an emotional Erskine said at the FYC event. “But I’m excited to think about us 10 years from now, where we’ll be and how we’ll look back at it.”
Konkle added, “To write and work and manage a business together and a creative endeavor and all that, it’s challenging and fulfilling and complicated and beautiful and all these things. And it’s been a whirlwind. Life has not stopped, it’s been 15-hour days for years. So there’s a part of me that’s scared to stop. And I haven’t fully processed that it’s over.”
The first seven episodes of PEN15’s second season dropped in September 2020, with an animated special landing in late August this year. As for the show’s final act, Konkle told Vanity Fair in July that the series would take a mature turn. “It deals interestingly with more adult subjects: We remembered for the first time grappling with death when we were kids and it not seeming real,” Konkle explained. “Then at the same time, I think it’s a little bit more absurd and there’s a bizarre kind of humor that’s back in there, with more echoes of season one.”
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