Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount: PEN15 and best friends

Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and the writing of Tina Fey gave us the expression “mean girls” in the early 00s, and we have so internalized it that we barely even think about it when we use it. Without a doubt, Mean Girls was a huge phenomenon for a reason: it speaks some real truth (and it holds up extremely well 15 years later). Middle-school and high-school girls have the ability to behave in horrifying ways to each other. PEN15 doesn’t hesitate to show us how, nor does it exempt its two main characters from the pettiness and cruelty that we so commonly associate with tween girls. But what you will remember of this show if you watch the whole season is the unbridled generosity and fierce love of their friendship.

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Big Mouth is for you, too

In Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West writes that “feminism is really just the long slow realization that the things you love hate you.” I am not categorically against gross and embarrassing humor, but I have often felt that it is categorically against me. I think my trepidation about Big Mouth was rooted in this: what if I laugh at this show, only to see it, too, turn on me? But with a cast list that included Jessi Klein, Maya Rudolph, and Jenny Slate, I decided to give it a shot and trust it, if only to be able to say that I’d tried in good faith to like it.

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