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Coming-of-age comedies are a tried and true format, which has seen success in both TV and film. Hulu recently added to this subgenre with its adult-oriented comedy series Pen15, but with a twist. Namely because creators/stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are in their 30s acting opposite actual 13 year-olds. There are some seriously awkward scenes like kissing sequences, and the Emmy nominated series pulls it off in a hilarious way.
Season 2 of Pen15 just hit Hulu, one again following Anna and Maya as they navigate middle school and various firsts. As a result, both actresses have played love and/or kissing scenes with the show's young cast. Said scenes are awesome cringe-worthy, and it might be easy to miss exactly how they pull them off in an appropriate way on the set.
Pen15 doesn't actually try to convince the audience that the the physical firsts in the show are actually happening. Per an interview with THR, the cinematography does the work with a mixture of close-ups and then very obvious body doubles. You can see this in the Season 1 finale, when the girls are simultaneously getting to second base with one of their classmates. While we see the two adult actors reacting, it's clearly the back of another man's head.
Leaning into the cringe humor and obvious editing can also be seen when Anna gets her first kiss in the Season 1 episode "Wild Things." It's a sloppy tongue-filled sequence that's meant to inspire laughter. But obviously creator/star Anna Konkle wasn't locking lips with the young actor who plays Brendan. Instead Konkle's real-life boyfriend was reportedly brought in to stand-in. You can see some stubble on him in the sequence, which the child actor is noticeably lacking otherwise.
Season 2 of Pen15 arrived last Friday, to the joy of the many Hulu subscribers who couldn't wait to return to middle school for more misadventures. Rather than a weekly release schedule, the show's sophomore season on the streaming service was released in its entirety for binge-watching purposes. And the movie has its own set of cringeworthy moments of sexual discovery for the cast.
And now that we know exactly how Pen15 manages to film, it'll likely bring an extra level of enjoyment in seeing how Anna and Maya embarrass themselves in Season 2. Can you spot all the body doubles used in the new episodes of Pen15? Sound off in the comments below.
Pen15 is currently streaming on Hulu. Be sure to check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.