Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Emmy Catch-Up: Pen15 (Season Finale)

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. Last year, I started watching the entire season of each show to get a better idea of the quality I missed, and I’ve decided to continue that this year.

Pen15: Season 2, Episode 7 “Opening Night” (B+)

The actual performance of the play went about as expected, with Maya not necessarily finding her light but doing a pretty incredible job of conveying the material that most of the audience didn’t seem to realize was definitely not appropriate for this age group. Gabe covering his mouth when they were supposed to kiss threw her, but overall things went pretty well. I like that, at the end of the show, everyone went out together and we got to see the dynamics at play. Maya, as usual, was worried about her parents embarrassing her as she left, which her mother definitely did when she reminded her to brush her teeth. Anna wasn’t at all nice to her mom when she rejected the flowers she had gotten her since that’s apparently not a tradition with the stage crew, and then she heaped praise on her father for getting them when he then too criticized her mother for not picking out the nicest possible arrangement. The fancy car he got was a great setting for Maya to find out from Gabe that he didn’t feel the butterflies, an unfortunate development but one that he delivered somewhat nicely, and after she was flirting with her own potential boyfriend who seemed completely clueless (or likely just too old for her), Anna sweetly stepped in to check on her best friend. Even more uplifting was that she went to check on her mom, who did need that, and then the episode ended with her finding out that things are about to change in a big and irreversible way. I did enjoy some of this season more than I expected to, and though it’s still not my favorite, I will plan to continue watching it when it returns with the second half of its second season, at which point I’ll also watch the animated episode that just dropped last week.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle

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