Hulu renews comedies PEN15, Ramy for second seasons
Hulu announced renewals for the freshman comedies — about two adorably awkward girls navigating middle school in the year 2000 and a Muslim American millennial trying to find his way — at its upfront event Wednesday in New York City.
PEN15 creator-stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle (as well as co-creator Sam Zvibleman) will return for 14 episodes of the coming-of-age program, in which they play teenage versions of themselves. (Both actresses are in their 30s.) The show, which debuted Feb. 8 on the streaming service, has received enthusiastic reviews from critics and fans alike, particularly for the way its candid writing captures the authenticity of friendships among adolescent females.
Also starring Melora Walters, Taylor Nichols, Richard Karn, and Erskine’s real-life mother, Matsuko Erskine, PEN15 is co-produced by the Lonely Island comedy troupe’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, as well as AwesomenessTV, Odenkirk Provissiero, and Party Over Here.
“We wanted to show middle school in an R-rated way,” Erskine, who can be seen on the big screen this summer in the romantic comedy Plus One, previously told EW of the reasoning behind casting herself and Konkle as the youngsters leading the project. “When you have adults playing these kids going through traumatic experiences, there’s a little more distance to be able to laugh at it.”
Ramy’s 10-episode renewal comes just 12 days after the A24-produced comedy’s series premiere, which features creator-writer-star Ramy Youssef playing a young, first-generation Egyptian-American man on a journey of self-discovery in his New Jersey neighborhood.
“I knew I wanted to make something about Arab Muslims,” Youssef told EW of his inspiration for the series. “I try to be as specific as possible when saying ‘Arab Muslims’ because there are a lot of different Muslims. I’ve never really seen stories about us in America, at least where you had versions of our characters that weren’t framed by violence.”
In addition to renewing its slate of comedies, Hulu announced a straight-to-series order for Nicole Kidman’s David E. Kelley-produced adaptation of author Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers, unveiled a two-year development deal with Chrissy Teigen (including a cooking show, tentatively titled Family Style, with Ugly Delicious host David Chang), and greenlit the limited series The Dropout, starring Kate McKinnon as infamous Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, whose meteoric rise and subsequent fall from grace inspired the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.
Release dates for the second seasons of PEN15 and Ramy have yet to be announced.