‘PEN15’ Has An Entire Episode About AIM Chatrooms, And We’re All Cringing From Embarrassment

"I binged PEN15 last night and now I'm having PTSD flashbacks about the time my crush said I was "lame" for using the word "random" on MSN in 2003."

Pen15's AIM episode has sent Twitter into a cringe-fest

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PEN15, a new series about two awkward 13-year-old girls navigating middle school in the year 2000, is incredibly cringe-inducing, sweet viewing.

The show, which is streaming on Stan, was created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman, and executive produced by Andy Samberg.

It stars Erskine and Konkle, who are in their 30s, as versions of themselves at 13, though the rest of the cast is age-appropriate. Some people don’t quite get the joke.

Of all its episodes, it’s ‘AIM’, an episode entirely dedicated to the long-dead chatrooms of the early 2000s, that has really thrown people into a head- spin. In ‘AIM’, Anna and Maya create accounts to talk to school-friends and strangers online, using their living-room computers and dial-up internet to connect to the World Wide Web.

Just try to watch this scene and not die a little inside.


Watching Maya falls in love with ‘FlyMiamiBro22’ and Anna try to talk to boys from school has prompted a lot of people on Twitter to recall their own awkward AIM/MSN/Omegle days.

For many of us, it’s the particular AOL visuals and sounds that are really triggering memories.

The accuracy of the episode — the petty fights, the anxiety you’d feel logging in to see your crush online, how you’d talk to people online you’d ignore at school — is absolutely crushing people.

Most of all, it’s making us reflect back on repressed memories, dumb things we said, and the weird-but-fine internet friendships we had online.

Meg Watson, editor of Crickey (and once upon a time, of Junkee) felt a need to spread the cringe by asking her Twitter followers to share their most mortifying AOL/MSN stories. You can find them all over on Watson’s Twitter thread, but here are a few of our favourites.

Meanwhile, some are reflecting on what could have been.

Pen15‘s first season is now streaming on Stan.