Is it possible to remember our adolescent years without feeling embarrassed? The answer is unquestionably NO! We all have done embarrassing stuff while we were growing up. If you’ve watched Pen15, the new series available on various OTT platforms, then you must know the feeling. The show features Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as their 13-year selves, with real middle school students playing their roles. The on-screen chemistry between Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine in Pen15 is incredible. It does a great job of drawing the audience into the show’s realism.
Pen15 immortalizes common teenage experiences such as first kisses, body image problems, and self-satisfaction. The show was first intended to be a way for people in that age group to relive the secrets, errors, and struggles that they had gone through, and many of them still do. In addition, it’s a time capsule from the beginning of the 2000s, including handwritten gel pen love messages and dial-up internet.
You’ve probably already binge-watched the entire season and are ready for your next embarrassing and nostalgic fix. If you have enjoyed Pen15, here are 9 similar shows that you will enjoy.
1. Stranger Things (2016 – Present)
Stream on Netflix
Dramatic science fiction explains the Stranger Things rightly. It features a cast that includes Millie Bobby Brown playing Eleven, Finn playing Mike, Gaten playing Dustin, Caleb playing Lucas, Noah playing Will, and many more. The main focus of the show is Eleven and her companions battling Demogorgon from a parallel universe and Eleven’s superpower. However, it also explores the complexities of how relationships change as kids approach adolescence.
In addition to a lot more, they are talking about their first romance, love, breakup, crush, kiss, and more. Beyond the sci-fi element, the show has a lot of other aspects that accurately depict puberty and the problems that come with being an adolescent.
2. The Inbetweeners (2008 – 2010)
Stream on Prime Video and Channel 4
The Inbetweeners is similar to the show Pen15. It employs awkward humor in a school context. However, unlike Pen15, the protagonists of Inbetweeners are a little older and the primary cast consists entirely of men.
Will McKenzie was transferred from a private to a public school as a result of his parent’s divorce, as shown in the first episode of the show. Though the comedy comes from the cultural shock, the show takes off when Will befriends Simon, Jay, and Neil, and the four of them go on a series of embarrassing excursions.
3. Dollface (2019 – 2022)
Stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV
The American comedy series Dollface had its debut on November 15, 2019. Jordan Weiss is the creator of the show, which features Kat Dennings in the title character of Jules Wiley. Jules has ended things with her boyfriend of 5 years, and she is suddenly faced with the fact that she is friendless.
She writes fantastical scenarios that are utterly strange and unreal while simultaneously finding it difficult to be acquainted with her gender. Even though the show isn’t about a normal 13-year-old, it does discuss the fears a girl has when starting a new relationship.
4. Derry Girls (2018 – 2022)
Stream on Netflix and Channel 4
Amid the Troubles, Belfast serves as the backdrop for the Netflix series Derry Girls. Although the show is amusing, this may sound melancholy. As Erin and her friends enter high school, the political environment only serves as a backdrop. When it comes to going to concerts or on dates—for those who are fortunate enough to receive one at all—bomb threats are nuisances.
A tongue-tied Erin tries to flirt with her crush in Derry Girls, just like in Pen15. She can only put together a phrase that is half-English and half-Gibberish, despite the million ideas racing through her mind.
5. Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)
Stream on Hulu, Apple TV and Amazon Prime
Adolescence is perfectly reflected in this cult show, which evokes feelings of nostalgia for the 1980s. Freaks and Geeks lets us relive our childhood via these nuanced characters, providing us with gut-busting chuckles.
When the protagonists in these episodes go too far in seeking revenge on an attacker or leave their best friends behind in favor of a crush, they undoubtedly make mistakes as they begin their journey toward maturity. Even though Sam and his friends, Maya and Anna, wanted to be famous, they were fortunate to have them.
6. Red Oaks ( 2014 – 2017)
Stream on Amazon Prime Video
Red Oaks features the summers in the arrogant David works at the posh country club of the same name while attending college. Despite being well past puberty, David and his buddies find themselves in an awkward situation. Even though David and his companions are adults and should act accordingly, they nevertheless attempt—and fail—to navigate the dangerous waters of living with their parents. The show highlights important relationships, and attempting to find their identity in the wider society.
In an episode, David is trying to win over his fiancée when he returns home to discover that his parents, who are high on drugs and partially nude, had consumed the Champagne he had been saving. Our early 20s can be just as awkward as our teenage years.
7. Awkward (2011-2016)
Stream on MTV and Amazon Pime
The comedy-drama series Awkward debuted on MTV on July 19, 2011. Ashley Rickards plays the principal character of Jenna Hamilton in Lauren Lungerich’s creation. Being a social misfit, Jenna finds it difficult to fit in with the hectic high school lifestyle.
Although she has had an accident, some interpret it as an attempt on her life. She uses this as a chance to launch her blog, where she discusses a variety of topics, including guys, bullying, and peer -pressure. The show depicts the real-life challenges faced by an adolescent misfit in contemporary society, along with strategies for overcoming them.
8. Sex Education (2019 – 2023)
Stream on Netflix
The teen comedy Sex Education made its Netflix debut on January 11, 2019. Teens’ concerns about sex and their developing bodies are among the most pressing ones that they avoid discussing. The program finds the most interesting approach to discussing certain issues.
The mother of the protagonist works as a sex therapist and the son, Otis is an insecure teenager who has mixed feelings about having sex. He forms his sexual counseling group at school with Maeve. Many people find that treatment makes it easier for them to embrace their sexual beliefs and come out to others without feeling uncomfortable.
9. Atypical (2017 – 2021)
Stream on Netflix
High school can be like getting lost in a forest without a navigation device. Sam, an autistic teen at Atypical, is a prime example of this. Even if Sam’s life has been different from ours, he still has the same desires as the people in Pen15 and the society have like friends, a sense of community, and a love connection.
The feeling of being alone and different, which paradoxically is what unites everybody, is perfectly captured by Atypical. Evan, a buddy of Sam, said that nobody is normal, which is practically true; everybody is weird in their way.