Hulu’s coming-of-age comedy series PEN15 is about to get a whole lot more surreal and strange. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, cocreator, writer, and Anna Kone actress Anna Konkle revealed the upcoming season two episode “Jacuzzi” will be entirely animated. The episode hits Hulu on August 27, hopefully not too long before the series returns with the second half of season two.
According to Vanity Fair, the episode takes place immediately after PEN15‘s midseason finale and follows best friends forever Anna (Konkle) and Maya (Maya Erskine) as they take a family vacation to sunny Florida. According to Konkle, the episode digs deep into her own memories of family vacations to Florida and how it was “never really […] what you thought it was going to be.” Konkle expanded, saying:
“I grew up going to Fort Lauderdale, where my grandparents lived in a retirement facility. I was excited to go, but then I would get there and remember, Okay, Anna, you’re sleeping on a mattress in the sunroom. So you’re going to wake up in a pool of sweat on rubber. And you will not see a person your age for a week, and if someone agrees to play cards with you, you’re lucky.”
While “Jacuzzi” was initially supposed to be a 40-minute live-action special utilizing “camera tricks and prosthetics” to better showcase and represent how Maya and Anna internalized their bizarre vacation, the team ultimately settled on switching over to animation even before COVID forced their hand. However, despite the pivot to animation, the episode will still be framed around Maya documenting the trip on her camcorder. When asked why, Konkle said the inspiration came from her own experiences with her dad being “really f*cking annoying with his camcorder,” as well as to better convey the episode’s message.
“It feels more true to the minutiae of everyday life, kind of dirty and alternative,” Konkle told Vanity Fair. “And we could direct in any way that [we wanted] to make the use of the VHS cool, not being limited to live-action camcorder.”
The Emmy-nominated series has yet to announce when the second half of its second season will hit Hulu, but here’s hoping the upcoming special means it’s not far off.