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The Real Reason Pen15 Is Ending After Two Seasons

Most people are desperate to forget about their embarrassing middle school moments, but "Pen15" co-creators and costars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle have embraced their tween woes. Their coming-of-age Hulu series follows semi-fictional versions of their younger selves as they learn to navigate seventh grade in the year 2000.

While most of the show's cast is made up of actual tweens and teens, Erskine and Konkle play themselves, further heightening the idea that their characters are misfits among their peers. "The conceit of the show was that they think they're in seventh grade forever," Erskine explained in November (via The New Yorker)

To date, "Pen15" has received four Emmy nominations, including one for Outstanding Comedy Series (via IMDb), and has struck a chord with millennial women, in particular, for perfectly encapsulating an era filled with AIM flirtations, denim tankinis, and the kind of cruel insults only middle-schoolers could come up with. Unfortunately for fans, the emotionally vulnerable yet mortifyingly hilarious show is also ending with its second season.

Although the news is surprising given how beloved the series is, Erskine and Konkle have offered an emotional reason for why there won't be a Season 3 of "Pen15."

Pen15 was always meant to span just 'three chapters'

At an early screening showing the first two episodes of "Pen15" Season 2, Part 2, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle held a Q&A session where they revealed why their critically acclaimed show is ending so soon. "When we first talked about making the show 10 years ago, we talked about it in three chapters," explained Konkle. "And even though [these episodes] are called [Season] 2B, this feels like a third season to us" (via IndieWire).

Konkle went on to say, "It feels like we did it. For now. The other part of it is, we've learned that showrunning, acting, producing, it's all the most creatively fulfilling experience I could ever imagine in my entire life and, like, a recipe for burning out."

Konkle and Erskine told The New Yorker that the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed to them that they were making the right decision to end the show. During their time off from shooting it — which led to the animated special, "Jacuzzi" – both actresses continued to work and also announced their respective pregnancies. "Pen15" fans were, predictably, delighted by the news, and some have even openly imagined what it might be like if Konkle and Erskine's children end up experiencing middle school together.

"It's gonna be really sad," Erskine said of the show's ending. "But I'm excited to think about us 10 years from now, where we'll be and how we'll look back at it."

Season 2, Part 2 of "Pen15" premieres on Hulu on December 3.