Hulu Cancels Major Series

The Hulu original series Pen15 just dropped a new season this month, but sadly it will be its last. According to The Hollywood Reporter, series creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle decided to end their cringe-comedy series here. The final season premiered on Friday, Dec. 3.

Pen15 stars Erskine and Konkle as fictionalized versions of their adolescent selves, acting out all the awkwardness of middle school as if they aren't adults. The rest of the cast is played by age-appropriate actors, which was apparently a big factor in their decision to finish the show before the cast begins to age out. However, sources close to the production said that Hulu is still hopeful that this is just a break, not a finale, and that more Pen15 content of some kind could come back around in the future. Either way, Erskine and Konkle are now breakout successes with a chance to chart their own course in the streaming industry going forward.

Erskine and Konkle play 13-year-old versions of themselves on Pen15, though they were both 31 years old when filming actually began. The rest of the cast is aged more accurately, and the series follows Erskine and Konkle through the awkward misadventures of middle school surrounded by actual middle-schoolers.

The series has been labeled a "cringe-comedy," but it has been a critical and commercial success. It has a 97 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at the time of this writing, with an 87 percent score among fans. It has also received three Emmy nominations, among many other awards and honors.

Right now, neither Konkle or Erskine have an overall deal with Hulu – or any other outlet, so far as we know. The duo has said that the COVID-19 pandemic put a particular strain on their show, especially when filming ceased for over a year and the teenage cast continued to age noticeably. In an interview with The New Yorker, they also said that they had always envisioned the series running three years, just like middle school in real life.

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While Pen15 may be ending – temporarily or otherwise – we'll only be seeing more of Erskine and Konkle. Erskine has secured a role in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, while Konkle is in this year's unconventional rom-com Together Together. Both have had a number of big roles since Pen15 put them on the map – notably on the other middle school cringe-comedy Big Mouth, where they voiced the "Cafeteria Girls" in Season 4.

Pen15 Season 1 and Season 2 Part 1 are streaming now on Hulu. The last batch of episodes – called Season 2, Part 2 – premiered on Friday, Dec. 3, and is streaming now.