These 7 Scenes From PEN15 Will Make You Cringe With Nostalgia

These 7 Scenes From PEN15 Will Make You Cringe With Nostalgia

Remember middle school?

PEN15Hulu’s newest original series, reminds you of everything from 7th grade that you’ve pushed to the back of your brain.

Even the smallest details about middle school life–things you totally blocked out–are highlighted in this show. I mean…the cringiest moments from your past are relived in this show…and it’s just…too much to handle.

1. The eyeliner, the excessive use of lip gloss, the over-done straightened hair, the crimped hair, the tattoo choker….

Everything about their look makes my face tighten in embarrassment.

It just…hurts…to look at them. That’s middle school. I don’t even know what else to say because…it just….oh my god.

2. Awkward first kisses. YIKES.

Not only did Maya take out her retainer just as the boy was leaning in to kiss her, but she pretended to be scarecrow and an owl. “Hoot! Hoot!” Oh, yikes.

I remember my first kiss being first nerve-wracking and awkward but not this awkward. When some people get nervous, they get quiet, while others just talk too much… like Maya.

3. Talking to the middle school hottie = stressful AF.

Everything about this scene just brought me back to my science class in 7th grade. The open folders with worksheets, the microscope, the random pairing that the teacher assigns, the nerves you get when you’re paired up with your crush.

But the cringiest thing about this scene? Anna tells her crush Alex, “If I was your girlfriend, I would not be anywhere unless you wanted me to be somewhere, and then I’d be there on time.”

I wanted to scream and crawl under a blanket because of how much it made me embarrassed. Like…why were we so bad at letting our crushes know that we liked them?!

4. When your crush rejects you…on AIM.

Screen names?! AIM?! Away messages?! The sound of someone logging in or logging out – ya know, the door opening and closing. Oh man, that takes me back.

Imagine messaging your crush and having them immediately sign off when they realize who they’re talking to. Aka you.

5. Rejecting someone’s kiss… ugh.

This adorable couple, with his puka shell necklace and her striped polo shirt and brace-face, are about to embark on a moment that will probably sit with them for a long time: when he leans in to kiss her for the first time and she rejects him.

ACK. It’s just so painful to watch someone get rejected. It’s sad to watch it happen to middle schoolers knowing we were once in that position too.

6. The first kiss…

Anna’s first kiss was so wet, so sloppy, and so awkward with both of their eyes opening throughout this moment.

The camera pans back and forth between their faces and I just want to hid my face behind a pillow and forget about the grossness for a while.


7. Did we all dance like that?

I specifically remember my first school dance and how much I hated it. My favorite memory though, was wearing green crocs and crying in the bathroom because the straps on the back were giving me blisters.

I remember how awkward the dancing was, the way the girls huddled in a separate group from the boys and if we mingled and mixed together then it was a really big deal.


Think about those embarrassing moments.

Don’t worry, I’m cringing too. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Kelly Peacock

Brooklyn-based poet, writer, avid coffee drinker, and music lover.