Last we saw Pen15’s Maya and Anna (played by co-creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle), they were crying with the top down in Anna’s dad’s midlife crisis convertible. Things don’t look to be going much better in the trailer for the show’s animated special, which finds the girls in sunny Florida and turned into boardwalk caricatures. It’s nice to see that the girls haven’t lost their awkward touch even in this altered state.
Written and directed by star Anna Konkel, the girls are rained out of the pool and feeling especially insecure after getting a caricature done. However, some good does come out of it, like Maya doing the worm. The trippy cartoon style, which also blends some animated VHS perspective for good measure, was a COVID necessity.
“We got really excited about prosthetics. Before COVID, we were on the track. We were getting fitted for prosthetics; we had all these amazing digital pictures made of what we were going to look like. It was killing me, I was so excited,” Konkle told the Vanity Fair. “We had the choice when COVID happened: Should we try to wait and do this when things open up, or should we get this out sooner and just do it animated? We needed to be passionate about it being animated to do it; it couldn’t just be like second fiddle to the ideal. So we started digging in creatively.”
Don’t get it twisted, though. This 40-minute special is still a part of season 2, the first half of which ended last September. Hulu still hasn’t announced when the back half will premiere, but hopefully, this will scratch that itch for Austin Powers impressions and vacation beads.
The first half of Pen15’s second season was a favorite here at The A.V. Club. We even put it on our 25 best shows of last year. Writing for The A.V. Club, Shannon Miller summed up why perfectly:
With season two, Pen15 co-stars and co-creators Erskine and Konkle synthesized the complicated business of growing up without sacrificing the cringeworthy synergy that makes these two best friends work. For a coming-of-age comedy that was already rather brilliant, Pen15 continues to deliver all-too-relatable growing pains, with a side of amateur witchcraft, in the sharpest and most recognizable ways possible
Pen15’s animated special premieres on August 27. The whole series, though, is available to stream right now. So don’t wait. Stream today!