All The Middle School Drama You Need To Remember From Pen15 Season 1

It has been over a year and a half since we met our favorite seventh grade besties Maya (Maya Erskine) and Anna (Anna Konkle) in Hulu’s comedy series Pen15. As you may recall, our heroines are played by actors who markedly (and hilariously) older than the rest of the actual pre-teen cast, as they navigate life as middle schoolers in the early 2000s. In the second season, Maya and Anna will tackle crushes, divorce, and vicious rumors. But before we move on to eighth grade, we have to back up and remember what happened on season 1 of Pen15.

Last we saw them, Pen15's middle schoolers comically learned about thongs, AIM, and bullying, but their friendship was tested in the finale. There was plenty of drama at the dance, and Maya and Anna weren’t the only two involved.  Thankfully, the BFFs reunited by the end of the night, but multiple confessions and rejections happened before their reunion, which led to breakups and an awkward second-base interaction in the janitor's closet.


If you thought you could dive into season 2 without remembering everything that went down, you were dead wrong. Here's what happened to every major character in season 1, from Maya and Anna, to the duo's crushes and frenemies.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Maya's Crush Triangle

The finale begins with Maya Ishii-Peters being upset that she wasn’t the first person Anna told about her parent’s sudden divorce. Instead, Anna confides in the the most popular girl in school, Heather (Anna Pniowsky), and starts spending more time with a different clique. Maya and Anna get ready for the dance and experience their first shave together, but it’s clear there is still tension between them.

At the dance, Maya makes her other friend Sam (Taj Cross) jealous by dancing with another boy. She also shares a scandalous moment with Brandt (Jonah Beres) in the supply closet and tells him she loves him. A love, or rather crush, triangle was brewing for season 2.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Anna's Big Rejection

Although Anna Kone arrives at the dance with Maya and their other friends, she decides to spend time with Heather. Later, she sees Alex (Lincoln Jolly), who she had a crush on the entire season, and asks him to dance. He rejects her.

When Anna and Maya hear their favorite song, “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree, they immediately start performing their special dance with each other. By the end of the track, they make up and promise not to leave each other. Afterwards at Maya’s house, Anna admits that it is hard to talk to Maya because sometimes her friend can be self-centered. She also finally acknowledges that she is upset about her parents getting a divorce. The episode ends with them comforting each other and sharing a joint. 

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Sam's Secretly Into Maya

Sam (Taj Cross) is Maya’s neighbor and “rival” who throws jabs at her constantly, but it is clear they have romantic feelings for each other. He starts dating another student named Jenna (Carmina Garay) which makes Maya jealous. At the dance, Jenna notices Sam staring at Maya so the two break up.

Sam and Maya dance together and he tells her that he is the “older” boy she has been messaging on AIM.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Shuji Is The Quintessential Mean(ish) Older Brother

Maya’s older brother Shuji (Dallas Liu) does not make an appearance in the finale, but he appeared in multiple episodes in the first season so we’ll probably see him again. He certainly isn’t the nicest sibling, but he does teach Maya how to stand up for herself when she is being bullied at school. 

He sometimes defends his sister when she needs help, but most of the time he can be found hanging out with his friends in their secret spot and smoking weed.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Anna Rejects Brendan... Hard

Anna has a major crush on Alex (Lincoln Jolly) but he is taken so she decides to go out with Brendan (Brady Allen). By episode seven, Anna and Brendan try to have their first kiss, but it doesn’t work out the way they hoped and eventually she breaks up with him.

Brendan (who must be going through a goth phase) approaches Anna at the dance and does the classic middle school grind. She rejects him and ignores him.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Brandt Is Kind Of The Worst

Brandt (Jonah Beres) is the main “villain” of the series. He spends the entire season mocking Maya and calling her “UGIS” (Ugliest Girl in School). Finally, she tells him off, using many explicit words, at the dance. 

He asks Maya to meet him in the janitor’s closet and he gets to second base with her and Anna. When he leaves, he tells them not to share what transpired with anyone and then also, surprisingly, tells Maya he loves her.

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.

Alex Was Pretty Harsh To Anna

Alex (Lincoln Jolly) is one of the most popular boys in school. Anna finds him and his suave hair irresistible. 

Despite her efforts, Alex doesn’t really notice Anna and is interested in Heather. When Alex and Heather break up, Anna shoots her shot but he turns her down.

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