PEN15 Season 1 refresher: What to remember before Season 2

The first half of PEN15 season 2 debuts on Hulu tomorrow; refresh your memory on earlier episodes with our PEN15 season 1 recap!

After more than a year of waiting, we’re finally getting brand new episodes of the hilarious PEN15 on Hulu. The second season will consist of 14 episodes total, but the streaming service has opted to split it into halves. On Friday, Sept. 18, the first seven episodes will debut. We’ve created a handy guide to remind you of what happened last season. Check out our PEN15 season 1 recap!

The series revolves around two middle school girls played by comedians Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. Part of the show’s charm is that Erskine and Konkle are both adults playing 13-year-olds while surrounded by actual 13-year-olds.

Maya Ishii-Peters (Erskine) and Anna Kone (Konkle) are best friends in seventh grade who complement each other and go through the ups and downs of middle school life together. It’s one of the most realistic depictions of pre-teen life I’ve seen on television, especially for girls. Those delicate years of early adolescence are hard to get right, but PEN15 succeeds and makes it hilarious.

PEN15 season 1 recap: Big events from season 1

Throughout the first season of PEN15, Maya and Anna dabbled with cute boys, tried whippets, learning about masturbation, and generally tried to navigate through middle school unscathed. Anna gets her first boyfriend, Brendan, who is as awkward as she is, and Maya tries to impress her rival and neighbor Sam by learning a solo during the choir concert.

Later, Maya and Anna discover AIM, and Maya starts chatting with a mysterious stranger online.  Toward the end of the season,  Maya realizes she might have feelings for Sam just as Anna ends things with  Sam. But beyond school life, their friendship hits its first real test when Anna stays with the Erskines as her parents struggle to save their marriage.

Jealous of the attention her parents give Anna, Maya lashes out at her, and the two have a “best friend breakup.” It’s especially difficult as Maya gets her first period and doesn’t have her friend there to share it with while Anna has to deal with the reality of her parents splitting up for real.

PEN15 season 1 recap

PEN15 — “Dance” – Episode 110 – (Photo by: Alex Lombardi/Hulu)

PEN15 season 1 recap: Where we left off with Maya & Anna

In the season 1 finale, Anna tries to make Maya jealous by attending the school dance with Heather. She’s still upset that Maya wasn’t there for her during the moment she found out her parents were getting a divorce. As for Maya and Sam, things come to a head after he dumps his girlfriend and pursues her, admitting that he is her secret AIM messenger.

Maya is disgusted by this revelation, and the two don’t have the big romantic moment she was anticipating as she feels duped and betrayed by Sam’s lies. Ultimately, Maya and Anna reunite on the dance floor and make amends. The finale veers into awkward territory as they share another “first” in the janitor’s closet.

One of the boys who taunted them offers to feel them up in the closet. It’s weird, but it works. In the final moments of the episode, Anna tells Maya how sad and upset she is about her parent’s divorce, and the two share the hidden cigarette they’d kept stashed away for most of the season.

PEN15 season 1 recap: What to expect from season 2

According to Vulture, “the second season of PEN15 is going to break your heart.” Don’t worry; it won’t be a depressing season, just one with as much authenticism and laughs as we’ve come to expect from the series as the girls do a little bit of growing up and maturing.

During the new batch of episodes, anticipate seeing Anna and Maya practice witchcraft, navigate more crushes, parental problems, and even try out for middle-school theater. They’ll also meet a new girl named Maura, who will somewhat change the dynamic between the best friends.

Vulture also noted that the focus of the second season would broaden to focus on some of the boys on the show. For instance, Gabe is struggling with his sexuality and budding feelings for his best friend, Sam.

“As it did in its first season, PEN15 does a superb job of evoking turn-of-the-millennium culture,”  says the outlet. And we can’t wait!

Next: Ratched Season 1 primer: Before you watch

The first seven episodes of PEN15 season 2 premiere on Hulu on Sept. 18. The second half will air in 2021.