Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 creators and stars : Bullseye with Jesse Thorn Ahead of their second season we'll revisit our interview with PEN15's Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. They are the stars and creators of the very funny Hulu show. It's about two middle school girls coming of age in the early 2000s. The show deals with sensitive topics like getting your first period or being bullied, but also has tons of heart and humor.
NPR logo

Listen to this Episode

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/912837494/912843793" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 creators and stars

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 creators and stars

Listen to this Episode

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/912837494/912843793" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Maya Erskine (L) and Anna Konkle attend the 2018 Hulu Holiday Party at Cecconi's Restaurant on November 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Hulu) Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Hulu hide caption

toggle caption
Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Hulu

PEN15 creators Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine on playing the middle school versions of themselves on TV

Middle school can be a nightmare.

For many, the memories of school lunch and braces, unrequited crushes and bullies can be enough to throw even the most serene person into a fit of hysteria.

Enter Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle.

They're the creators and stars of the coming of age television comedy PEN15. It's set in a slightly fictionalized version of the early aughts where the pair play the young teen versions of themselves.

They deal with all the joy and horror that goes along with being not quite a kid but definitely not an adult yet. Topics like getting your period for the first time, liking a classmate who doesn't like you back and juggling school and a stressful home-life. The show is at times very absurd while being grounded in a level of authenticity that never takes away from just how funny the show is.

YouTube

Real-life best friends Maya and Anna join us to talk about what it's like playing 13 year old versions of themselves, embracing the horrors of their shared middle school experiences and working with Maya's real-life mom. Plus, we'll chat about casting Al from Home Improvement to play Maya's father. All that and more on the next Bullseye!

Season 2 of PEN15 premieres next week on Hulu.