During CTAM’s Virtual press tour, Anna Konkle (Rosewood, Escort) and Maya Erskine (Wine Country, Betas) discussed and debuted the trailer of the second season of Hulu’s PEN15, which they co-created, write, and star in, per Deadline. The second season will premiere on September 18th.
PEN15 is a traumedy, which is a comedy with elements of trauma. The new season deals with serious issues such as mental health and divorce, while simultaneously lightening the mood with the main characters’ awkward middle school experiences. Konkle, who plays Anna, writes her own experiences from middle school into the show, reflecting her own experience of her parents divorce into her character’s parents’ divorce. In the show, Anna’s parents split up the house, deciding to remain living as one household after their divorce.
Konkle said of her writing, “In real life, my parents split the house up for about 2 years — 2 wonderful, wonderful years — after the divorce. It was really confusing and there was an attachment to them and to us as a family of course. At the same time, it was very tense and I wanted to share the low feelings that come with that and I wanted to address mental health essentially” (Deadline). The show reflects real experiences that children can go through, allowing for an insight into how the actions of parents affect their children.
It was crucial that Konkle and Erskine struck a balance between PEN15‘s comedy and darkness. Konkle said that they “struggled a little bit with how dark to go. What I repressed was the pain associated with these stories,” meaning that she had to suppress most of the pain she felt from her own experiences in order to be able to write the story as a comedy (Rolling Stone).
Check out the trailer for the second season below: