For some insane reason people refer to the years spent in high school as the "golden years" but, for most people, that period marks a time of our lives we'd rather forget.
Between our awkward bodies, raging hormones, questionable fashion choices, braces, bodily fluids, first kisses - first anythings, really - and the general discomfort of trying to fit in when you don't even know who you are, the idea of reliving those years is terrifying to most of us.
Yet two comedians, Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine did just that, all for the sake of quality television.
"Yep," says Konkle, with a laugh. "I think 'terrifying' is the right word."
The pair's show - titled Pen15 after the playground joke that was wildly funny the first time it clicked in our tiny tween brains - sees them strap down their chests, don fake braces and high ponies and dress as their 13-year-old selves, circa the year 2000.
They then navigate the world of high school and everything that encapsulates, alongside actual 13 year olds. It's as funny and as cringey as it sounds, but it also tackles some tough topics and some more R-rated content.
"The thing that was kind of scary about making this show was we wanted to show all the brutal aspects of it," says Konkle.
"Some of it made us laugh really hard and some of it made us want to cry a little bit but we wanted to show the brutal, cringey things that felt real. I've heard of people being like, 'I put it on and it was too cringe-worthy' but most of the time I think it's freeing … because it's really honest."
And that might be the secret to the success of the show, which recently earned itself an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Konkle and Erskine say since releasing the show in the United States, they've been inundated with feedback from people who relate to their stories. Erskine says; "It's almost opened up community for us."
"When we first started writing it, I think it started out more joke-heavy, more comedic. It was about the really R-rated, uncensored, awkward, funny things that happened in middle school that we didn't see on TV at the time. But as we kept developing it, it was like, when we actually draw from our painful experiences, these real things that happened to us that we felt ashamed about and that we thought we were the only one going through, that lends itself to comedy even better, in some cases.
"It opened up a world for us where we learned from some people who watched it that they went through the same things. That was really illuminating and really gratifying to hear, because I think we felt so alone in it for so long."
The R-rated content is still there though, make no mistake. That's very much the reason two grown women are playing 13-year-old girls instead of bringing in a young cast. They wanted to see more of "what really happened" at that age, not the Disney-fied version of growing up.
Most notably, there's an entire episode devoted to Erskine's character - also called Maya - discovering masturbation.
"It's one of my favorite episodes," says Konkle. "That was something where we intentionally wanted to tell the story through an adult playing a kid. And there were a lot of reasons for that; to keep it funny and to keep it real and to keep the audience comfortable while being uncomfortable."
Plus, Erskine adds, having adults play the roles creates a degree of separation that makes the content more digestible.
"The theory is … if you have an actual kid go through some of the things that we're showing, it's probably a lot more painful to watch, because there's not enough distance. You're watching a kid and you're thinking, 'Oh, my God, that kid must be going through that right now,'" she says.
"And when you have an adult playing out those themes you're like, 'Okay, they have enough distance from that time that it's not … dangerous,' in a way. It's sort of like you're able to laugh at it a lot easier."
The first season of Pen15 certainly does a good job of easing viewers into that, starting with the best friends exploring the lighter fodder before they slowly get caught up in their own "heavy things".
And those things are even harder for the pair to traverse because these stories are largely autobiographical. Konkle and Erskine are real best friends and, while they didn't actually grow up together, they have woven their stories together in this fictionalised world.
The masturbation episode came about when Erskine divulged how she discovered it at that age and the shame she felt but also, "the magic of it". Meanwhile, Konkle relives her parents' divorce in a scene with is "just about how it really happened".
Erskine says, "There's my first kiss ending up in tears, experiences of racism and how that plays out between kids and communities. So yeah, we kind of go all over the place, but a lot of it really happened. There are episodes that are really light and silly and there are episodes that are heavier and get into deeper content. I think we didn't know how that would feel but we like doing both."
Who: Maya Erksine and Anna Konkle
When: Streaming on Neon from Saturday