Under its casting, Hulu’s original series “PEN15” challenges its viewers to suspend their
disbelief from the first minute on. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, who star in the series,
play Maya Ishii-Peters and Anna Kone. However, whereas Erskine and Konkle are both in
their 30s, their characters in “PEN15” are in their middle school years and younger. As well
as playing younger characters, the actors representing their classmates are far younger than
the two stars.
Erskine and Konkle don’t bring emphasis to the fact that their characters are young and
awkward. Instead, they seek funny scenarios because they’re reminiscent of actual, relatable
teen experiences. One of the best sitcoms on TV is born as a result!
During a midseason break, “PEN15” is presently in production. As of September 2020, the
first half of the second season has been completed, but the specific release date for the second
half has not been disclosed. As reported by Vanity Fair, the series will continue in animated
form in a special episode named “Jacuzzi.”
Before the pandemic, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle had the idea for a “Jacuzzi.” A 40-
minute live-action episode was the original plan for the plot. However, I wanted it to look
like it was shot with a handheld camera to imitate the aesthetic of footage from a family trip
in the 1990s before smartphones wiped out the analogue video. Konkle’s father, who
routinely filmed even the most mundane family situations during her upbringing, was the
main inspiration for this project, she told Vanity Fair. As a bonus, the show planned to use
prosthetics to convey certain strange plot elements.
The outbreak of the pandemic stopped the “PEN15” crew from filming the episode on
schedule. Erskine and Konkle, however, didn’t give up on their goal and instead hired an
animator to bring their strange thoughts to reality. A new animated version of “Jacuzzi”
debuts at Hulu on August 27.
According to Anna Konkle, “the main idea” for the show was going on vacation in Florida
and not turning out to be as expected. Like genuine family holidays, Konkle is first delighted
about a trip to an exotic location, only to quickly become disillusioned with the environment.
She said, “I spent a lot of time in Fort Lauderdale, where my grandparents lived.” “You’re
sleeping on a mattress in the sunroom! In a pool of sweat on rubber, you’re going to wake up
in the morning! In a week, you won’t see anyone of your age, and if you’re lucky, someone
will agree to play cards with you!”
She didn’t go into specifics about the storyline. Still, given that her own Florida vacation
served as the main inspiration for “Jacuzzi,” it’s probable that some of the details Konkle
mentioned in her interview with Vanity Fair would feature into Maya and Anna’s trip in some
manner. From Konkle’s memories of her trips to Florida, it’s safe to assume that the hot tub in
the episode’s title won’t be especially spectacular but rather sad and neglected.