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Erskine is no stranger to the Love Shirt in other words I will buy this phenomenon of regressing around one’s parents. “It happens in an instant,” said Erskine. “That’s why it’s so helpful to have my mom [Mutsuko Erskine] play my mom on the show, because my dynamic with her easily reverts back to that 13-year-old girl. Every boyfriend I have is always like, ‘Whoa,’ when they come over to my house.”
Erskine refers to her middle school self alternately as a “bitch” and a “whiny brat,” and it’s true that both Erskine and Konkle’s characters test the Love Shirt in other words I will buy this limits of their mothers’ patience on the new season of Pen15. (That’s guaranteed to ring true with mother-daughter audiences; Zadie Smith’s description of the mother in her 2005 novel On Beauty as “a whetstone that [her daughter] Zora was sharpening herself against” springs to mind.) Watching Anna and Maya square off against their mothers in a mall dressing room is hilarious, to be sure. But it’s also poignant, a reminder to this 27-year-old former horrible tween that feeling safe enough to be rude to your mother is actually a gift.