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  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 8, 2019
PEN15 Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

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  • Summary: The comedy co-created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle and Sam Zvibleman is set in middle school with Erskine and Konkle (who are clearly adults) as 13-year-olds.
  • Genre(s): Comedy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Jan 28, 2019
    100
    An impossible masterpiece of teen TV that is authentically raw but also dreamily weird, a goof-off LOL comedy full of traumatic middle-school melancholy.
  2. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Feb 5, 2019
    90
    It is remarkable how easy it is to forget that Erskine and Konkle aren’t actually kids. ... The most joyful thing in PEN15 is the relationship between Anna and Maya, which is a refreshing testament to the role girls play in propping each other up during a period of life when every rug they’ve ever known is pulled out from under them with little warning.
  3. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    Feb 8, 2019
    90
    Pen15 flips the adolescent script like this so many times with such clever insight that it can genuinely become disorienting after a lifetime of never seeing anything quite like it onscreen. It feels like watching a show entirely about the “freaks” from “Freaks and Geeks,” except it was explicitly written for and by women.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 6, 2019
    80
    The more physically convincing they become, the more emotionally rich and fascinating Pen15 turns out to be. It’s primarily a balls-out, Broad City-ish comedy throughout, but it also evolves to become keenly observant, wise and empathetic regarding the fraught nature of being a friend, a daughter or just a girl of that age.
  5. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Feb 7, 2019
    80
    What distinguishes the series isn’t the cringe comedy. It’s the immediate sincere-weirdo voice, which powers PEN15 through an uneven but delightfully odd first season. ... When it works, though, it’s an idiosyncratic tribute to friendship at its most possessively intense.
  6. Time
    Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Feb 12, 2019
    75
    Though some episodes read as millennial nostalgia trips or rehashes of teen tropes, standouts that challenge the best friends' relationship("Ojichan," "Community Service") suggest that this sharp duo has much more to offer. [18-26 Feb 2019, p.108]
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Feb 5, 2019
    60
    In its best moments, PEN15 is like a juvenile version of Broad City--creatively bold, out there and simple in its directness as it follows two best friends testing the bounds of friendship. ... But the downside is the repetitive sketch feel of the whole thing, which can wear thin over 30 minutes.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 2 out of 9
  1. Feb 13, 2019
    10
    Hilarious and confident cringe comedy. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are incredibly convincing as 13-year-olds. Best new comedy of 2019.
  2. Mar 8, 2019
    10
    Here to add a new demographic. I'm an older age metalhead, I watched the whole season 3 times in one week. I think this is one of the bestHere to add a new demographic. I'm an older age metalhead, I watched the whole season 3 times in one week. I think this is one of the best shows i've seen in many years. I rewound the Lunch/Dolls scene at least 25 times. A lot of laughs, sad scenes, everything was great. For all who made this, Thank you :) Expand
  3. Feb 23, 2019
    10
    Just the right amount of intentional cringe, every scene comes with floods of nostalgia.
    The show is a perfect hilarious slice of life comedy.
  4. Feb 10, 2019
    10
    An astonishing feat of nostalgia and modern comedy, PEN15 nails the realism and style of Eighth Grade while providing belly-bursting laughs.An astonishing feat of nostalgia and modern comedy, PEN15 nails the realism and style of Eighth Grade while providing belly-bursting laughs. You forget you're looking at 30 year-olds playing 13 year-olds almost immediately, and Erskine brings the effortless charm and skill she showed in Hulu's Casual to every scene. Expand
  5. Feb 10, 2019
    8
    PEN15 manages to wrap up everything that is about 7th grade, into 7th grade. It's incredible how our first impressions of these two cringe-yPEN15 manages to wrap up everything that is about 7th grade, into 7th grade. It's incredible how our first impressions of these two cringe-y and sometimes unbearable bffs (played by grown woman) turn into our love and sympathy for them. The first few episodes of the show are, indeed, hard to get through, but over time, it gets easier to adapt, and is definitely worth watching through to the end. Expand
  6. Mar 2, 2019
    8
    Thought the premise sounded weak but I was surprised how good this show was. Maya Erskine is the undisputed MVP of Pen15, she is phenomenal!Thought the premise sounded weak but I was surprised how good this show was. Maya Erskine is the undisputed MVP of Pen15, she is phenomenal! Huge things in her future I'm sure. Not every episode hits the mark, but certain situations just feel real and authentic to both the growing pains of adolescence and to that 2000 era. Highly recommended. Expand
  7. Feb 9, 2019
    0
    literally only made it through the first 3 minutes of the first episode. like nails on a chalkboard.

See all 9 User Reviews