“We knew that we wanted to write a show about the most kind of reject-y moments of our lives,” Pen15 co-creator and star Anna Konkle said of the initial inspiration she, co-star Maya Erskine and executive producer Sam Zvibleman had for Hulu’s middle school-set series.
“We wanted to be able to play those characters ideally,” Konkle added of herself and Erskine, both born in 1987, portraying two teen outcast in 2000 named Anna and Maya. “But even more importantly, we wanted to kind of open this treasure trove that hadn’t been super cracked open yet in mainstream media of being 13, and the real stories that we told each other that left each other on the floor laughing or crying or whatever.”
Contenders Television: The Nominees — Livestream, Schedule, Lineup
Konkle’s comments came during the Hulu comedy’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees virtual event.
About to return for an animated special on the Disney-owned streamer August 27, the first part of Pen15’s second season debuted September 18. With a cast of real teens on-camera alongside Konkle and Erskine, the series has been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series at this year’s Emmys.
That recognition is manifest in many ways for Konkle on the show itself. Not only is the Rosewood alum the co-creator and co-lead of Pen15, she and Erskine are co-showrunners too.
“It’s like 15-hour days every day and for years,” she noted of the showrunner role. “But the part that is incredible is that you’re the beginning and the end of deciding, and we have a supportive network creatively of what stories are important. We’re not being edited.”
Executive produced by Erskine, Konkle and Zvibleman alongside Debbie Liebling, Marc Provissiero, Brooke Pobjoy, Becky Sloviter and the Lonely Island trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, the second part of Pen15’s second season is set to launch on Hulu later this year.
Check back Monday for the panel video.