TV Review: Hulu’s Animated Special “Pen15” Uses Cartoon To Highlight Body Dysmorphic Feelings For Maya And Anna


The play is over and Maya joins Anna and her father Curtis for spring break in Florida. The 7th episode of Pen15The second season of ended with the girls getting into Curtis’ car, but if you thought we couldn’t see what happened in Florida, you’ve got something else to come. The Pen15 special animated picks up where the second season left off, even starting with the final footage of “Opening Night” before moving on to animation.

(Hulu)

It’s April 2000 and 13-year-old Anna and Maya are enjoying spring break at the Tropicana Now Motel. When Curtis gives the girls money to spend, they decide to have caricatures drawn on the promenade after seeing a pretty woman look glamorous. But when the results put too much emphasis on characteristics that they are both aware of, the two girls feel more anxious than ever.

Keeping pace with the live-action series, this 40-minute special takes advantage of the animated format by transforming Anna and Maya’s animated counterparts into the caricatures they look like. Anna’s nose becomes bigger and more angular, while Maya’s face becomes perfectly round. It’s a great way to highlight each character’s body dysmorphia, although I was hoping the animated special would lean more into this new medium.

Regarding the animation style, Pen15 we have the impression of achieving the aesthetics of king of the hill. The colors are never oversaturated and the characters are not stylized like most animated series. Being unique, the quality of the animation lacks refinement, with jerky movements and looping animation whenever possible. But the most important thing is the story and the fans of Pen15 will find it not only funny, but also very accessible and heartwarming.

(Hulu)

(Hulu)

Essentially an eighth episode of season two called “Jacuzzi”, the Pen15 special animated uses the cartoon medium to convey feelings of self-awareness for Anna and Maya. If this theme is not foreign to the show itself, it is here treated in a new way. Not at all fluffy, this is perhaps one of the show’s most stand-out moments for viewers.

The Pen15 special animated premieres on Friday August 27 on Hulu.


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