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In Our Final Week

It’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been a year since this podcast began. And while on several occasions my heart has skipped a few beats, the journey is one for which I am eternally thankful. It has taught me so many life lessons, introduced me to so many wonderful people, and challenged me to think outside the box and never get lazy when creating content.

That said, the cohesive and straight forward storytelling of season one was turned on its head in season two. I wanted to present the mystery and revelations as closely to how Sara and I encountered them, which, like most of life’s mysteries, was quite messy and incoherent. The story also zoomed out; it became about so much more than 4 people in one place at one time. So, season 2 was constantly moving and constantly building on the mystery that had been before us. It became as much about the genesis of this story as it did its outcome. I also wanted to challenge listeners to consider how they absorb content and how they let that content form their opinions. That has always been my greatest hope for this show, even from the beginning: Rather than judging people at face value, ask yourselves what motivates their actions, and what might be the genesis of those motivations. It’s always been about getting to know people, before we define them. And, even for me, it’s a lesson I’ve been continually learning throughout the entire Karen & Ellen story. That’s the other question I found myself asking constantly: Who does a story belong to? And where does it begin and end? I’m confident the finale will shine some light on that. And I don’t think those two principles are really all that exclusive of one another: Every story and every person is infinitely larger than what we see, and are experienced entirely different from person to person.

I wrote all the Season 2 letters between character Mark and his various associates. These letters were based on a mix of fact, conjecture, and entertainment value (as I’ve found most stories are). Here are some highlights and info:

• The letters I received included the names Mark and Bonnie, I changed the name of Albert. There were many other real names, included in the letters, that I changed for the podcast.
• David is based on two real-life people. His pieces in S2 are also based on fact, conjecture, and entertainment value. I do not know definitively what happened with the film production; I have theories, which I’ll keep to myself.
• What we do know is that Mark took the letters from the girls and with the help of others attempted to first turn them into books, and then into a screenplay.
• We also know in various versions of the letters that I have seen, he failed to change many people’s names, and made it very easy to trace his “characters” back to the people they are based on. I tried my best to avoid doing this in the podcast, but also failed on several occasions.
• We believe, very strongly, that Charles Worthington is based on a real person. We’ve been able to trace connections from him to both UCB and the Portland, Oregon area. We have not been able to trace him back to any of our girls or their families.
• CW and Charles Worthington are different people.
• CW is entirely made up and was used merely to resolve, as best we could, the film storyline. Again, that resolution is based largely on conjecture.

Helena and Dot are based on real people. Their conversations are very similar to those in the podcast; although I changed them enough that I wasn’t stealing their actual conversations. Here are some highlights and info:

• Dot really did lose a dog, who she became pretty obsessed with for a while.
• Dot and Helena really are old friends, dating back to their 20s.
• Dot has no roots in the story behind the letters, other than as a confidant for Helena to share her, very relevant, story.
• For me, this whole story begins with Helena. Through her we better understand her daughters; and through her experiences, the girls end up living together in the cottage.
• As was mentioned earlier in S2, Helena’s husband, Paul, left her for Patty with the Crystals; making Patty the step-mother to Aloha Karen & Fish Ellen.
• Ironically, Patty is easily the most accurate portrayal of a real person.

Here is the cottage timeline:
1986 – Annette moves out
1987 – Crochet Pants moves in
1987 – Shortly thereafter, Fish Ellen moves in, as Crochet Pants’s roommate
1988 – Crochet Pants moves out, so Aloha Karen can move in
1989 – Aloha Karen and Fish Ellen move out
1989 – Aloha Karen, Fish Ellen, and Aloha Rob all move into an apartment together, in Seattle.

Here are some uncertainties:
• We could find multiple pickle factory and/or cannery explosions that took place near the girls (in various years and cities). We could not trace any back to them or Rob.
• We could verify that a Christmas Tree farm in the Portland area did “explode,” but we could not confirm nor repudiate any of our folks were involved.
• We could not confirm the existence of Ellen’s drug-sniffing dogs op.ed.
• We do not know if Mark is gay or not.
• All the Yahoo message board stuff about George Bush is still a complete mystery.
• We have no idea if the mystery letter is from Annette, Helena, or entirely made-up.

Here are some things we know, but chose not to share (or changed):
• We know Mark’s relationships to Bonnie, Albert, and the people David is based on; we have chosen not to share them.
• We changed some information about Aloha Karen and Rob, in order to better protect their identities.
• We changed some information about Helena and Fish Ellen, in order to better protect their identities.
• We changed some dates, in order to better protect people’s identities.
• We have many more details on Helena’s arrest, but chose not to share them.
• We have many more details on Catfish Karen and her relationships, but chose not to share them.
• We know significantly more about the film and its creators, but have chosen not to share them.
• We know significantly more about Mark, but have chosen not to share it.
• We changed the Caldwells’ first and last names. Their actual names were included in the letters.

Other things:
• Charles Worthington was meant to have a much bigger role in S2, merely to guide the plot. However, after more research and new discoveries, we realized CW was a better agent for that.
• Many of Dot’s and Helena’s more inconsequential conversations were lifted from my grandmother’s Facebook page, including her butcher who might be a lesbian.
• Coincidentally, my grandmother also lives in Scottsdale; I feel like she would be fast friends with both Dot and Helena.
• Before we fell deep into the rabbit hole that became S2, S2 was going to be a fictional story set 7 years in the future. Mark was going to retire to a cabin (with a guest cottage) in the woods. The tenants in the guest cottage were going to be Karen, Ellen, Rob, and their baby. Some things we were going to tackle included: Bill Clinton, cell phones, homosexuality, parenthood, bigfoot, Rob & Karen on the run, and Ellen’s kooky mother.
• There is a lot of (unrecorded) storyline that didn’t make it into S2, because it just didn’t have enough narrative importance. It may eventually become a Patreon-exclusive.

All in all, I am incredibly proud of S2. I know it was hard to follow and required an entirely different approach to listening, which alienated and pissed off a lot of people. I’m sad about that, but ultimately had to tell the story in a way that satisfied me and felt true and authentic to me. I am so blessed to have worked with so many amazing, generous, giving people. Literally every cast member was a dream.

I am also very happy with the finale. I finally broke down and sent Sara the script, and we both had a good cry and agreed it was the best way to leave things. It will honor the story and its characters, and hopefully make people think about their places in the world, their relationships, and how they occupy the space around them – which, if you listen to PLAYLIST, you’ll know has been an obsession of mine this past year.

 

 

 

 

A MURDERBOARD

As we roll into the final two episodes, I thought I’d put together an overview of what listeners have learned:

CONFIRMED (THROUGH RECORDS) PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN THE COTTAGE:
• Annette (1986)
• Crochet Pants (1987)
• Fish Ellen (unknown)

THE ALOHA-FISH FAMILY TREE:
Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.45.47 AM

CONFIRMED WHEREABOUTS IN THE 80s:
• Crochet Pants – The Cottage (87)
• Aloha Rob – Alameda, CA (86-89 // The Coast Guard); Seattle, WA (89 // Lived with Fish Ellen)
• Helena – Jail (Unknown)
• Aloha Karen – The Bay Area, CA (Unknown // Met Aloha Rob)
• Fish Ellen – The Cottage (Unknown); Seattle, WA (89 // Lived with Aloha Rob)
• Paul & Patty with the Crystals – Woodstock, NY (Unknown)
• Dot – Scottsdale, AZ (Unspecified)
• Mark – Berkeley & Oakland (Unspecified)
• Annette – The Cottage (86)
• The Caldwells – Adjacent to The Cottage (86-91)

SOME NARRATIVE LINKS:
• Letters Rob is obsessed with The Coast Guard // Aloha Rob is in The Coast Guard
• Letters Karen & Ellen lived in Oregon // Crochet Pants is from Oregon
• Letters Rob is accident prone // Aloha Rob is accident prone
• Letters Ellen is Jewish // Fish Ellen is Jewish
• Letters Ellen writes about karma and astrology // Fish Ellen writes about karma and astrology
• Letters Ellen is an extreme animal lover // Fish Ellen is an extreme animal lover
• Letters Karen frequently corresponds with Letters Mark // Crochet Pants mentions corresponding with someone names Mark in the 80s
• Letters Karen leaves The Cottage in 88 // Crochet Pants leaves the cottage in 87
• Letters Ellen is from Tucson, AZ // Fish Ellen & Aloha Karen are from Arizona
• Letters Karen’s dad is a doctor // Fish Ellen & Aloha Karen’s dad is a doctor
• Included in The Letters is a letter written by a woman in confinement // Helena was in jail in the 80s
• Letters Ellen owns a cat painting // Fish Ellen has her eye on a cat painting
• Letters Rob lived in or around Oakland in 87 and 88 // Aloha Rob lived in Alameda (adjacent to Oakland) in 87 and 88.
• Letters Karen & Letters Ellen live together in The Cottage // Crochet Pants had a(n unknown) roommate in The Cottage
• Letters Karen leaves The Cottage abruptly // Crochet Pants leaves The Cottage abruptly
• Letters Ellen has no relationship with her father // Fish Ellen’s and Aloha Karen’s father abandoned them in the 80s (when Helena went to jail)
• Letters Ellen’s grandparents escaped Nazi Germany // Fish Ellen’s grandparents escaped Nazi Germany
• Letters Ellen’s mom was an activist/protestor // Helena was an activist/protestor

THE PLACES THEY’VE LIVED
• Letters Karen: Oregon, The Bay Area
• Letters Ellen: Arizona, Oregon, The Bay Area, Budapest
• Letters Rob: The Bay Area, Oregon
• Crochet Pants: Oregon, The Bay Area, Washington, Illinois
• Fish Ellen: Arizona, Oregon, The Bay Area, Washington
• Aloha Karen: Arizona, The Bay Area, Hawaii
• Aloha Rob: Mississippi, The Bay Area, Washington, Hawaii

OCCUPATIONS & CURRENT LOCATIONS
• Crochet Pants: Yarn Goddess in Illinois
• Fish Ellen: Acupuncturist / Yoga Teacher in Washington
• Aloha Karen: The Coast Guard in Hawaii
• Aloha Rob: The Coast Guard in Hawaii
• Helena: Retired, recently moved from Mendocino, CA to Scottsdale, AZ
• Dot: Retired in Scottsdale, AZ

NAME REPETITION
• ROB: Letters Rob // Dot’s deceased husband
• MARK: Letters Mark // Someone Crochet Pants knew in the 80s
• GEORGE: Received a letter from ??????? // A friend of Crochet Pants // Former President and rumored relative of Letters Karen, Ellen, or Rob // Former President campaigned for by Letters Karen, Ellen, and Rob // Former President whose bumper sticker is on Crochet Pants (A Democrat)’s car

OTHER CHARACTERS
• Alice: Letters Ellen’s potential replacement roommate for Karen / Noted Scorpio
• Annette: Suicidal Piano Lady who lived in The Cottage immediately before Letters Karen / Suicidal Piano Lady who lived in The Cottage the year before Crochet Pants
• Barb: Helena’s friend in San Francisco (deceased)
• Benedict Cumberbatch: A beautiful freak
• Benvenuto Cellini: Italian goldsmith and sculptor who notably did not work with plastic
• Bonnie: Associate of Mark / Arch-nemesis of Vanessa Y.
• The Caldwells: Tenants of Mark, who live on the same lot as The Cottage
• The Caldwells’ Cats: Electricity hogs
• Catfish Karen: Daughter-in-Law of ruled out Karen candidate
• Charles Worthington: Attorney for Letters Karen & Rob
• Darren: Mutual friend of Josh and Fish Ellen
• David: Filmmaker
• Eva: Letters Ellen’s landlord in Budapest
• George Bush: Former governor & president / Noted Gemini
• Guru Lahera: Associate of Guru Patel
• Guru Patel: Ellen’s Guru (deceased)
• Hal: Used to live in a chicken coop where The Cottage now stands
• Helena’s Butcher: Might be a lesbian
• Jackie: Former neighbor of Dot & Helena / Friend of Dot
• Kiro Yamashita: Letters Karen’s friend / Landscaper
• Kris: Went to jail with Helena
• Leslie: David’s long-suffering assistant
• Marsha: Friend of Letters Ellen and former tenant of Mark’s
• Mice 1-7: “Participants” in Fish Ellen’s Mouse Program
• Miss Fletcher: Letters Karen, Ellen, and Rob’s homeschool teacher
• Misty: Dot’s dog (deceased)
• Mr. James: Mark’s “decorator”
• Myron Shapiro: Former owner of a Christmas Tree farm
• Patty with the Crystals: Former neighbor of Dot & Helena / Fish Ellen & Aloha Karen’s step-mother / Noted floozy
• Paul: Helena’s ex-husband / Fish Ellen’s & Aloha Karen’s father
• QRs: Crochet Pants blog community
• Robert: Dot’s husband (deceased)
• Aloha Rob’s Dad: Air Force veteran (deceased)
• Seekers: Patty’s followers
• Sharon: Friend/Relative of Aloha Karen
• Suzie: Friend of Helena
• Uncle Albert: Mark’s uncle / Attorney / Law school professor
• Uncle Gary: Letters Ellen’s uncle / Pickle factory owner
• Uncle Henry: Letters Ellen’s uncle / Pickle factory owner
• Uncle Josef: Letters Ellen’s uncle

KNOWN ASTROLOGICAL SIGNS
• Letters Ellen: Gemini
• Fish Ellen: Gemini
• Mark: Aries
• Alice: Scorpio
• George Bush: Gemini
• Michael Dukakis: Scorpio
• Dan Quayle: Aquarius

ITEMS BROKEN OR DESTROYED
• Aloha Rob’s Corvette (crashed) – Aloha Rob
• Aloha Karen’s & Rob’s “Car Garage Door Opener” (unspecified) – Aloha Rob
• The cat painting (tongue broken off) – Letters Rob
• Christmas Tree farm (exploded) – Letters Karen & Rob
• Pickle factory (exploded / factory fire) – Letters Ellen and/or Letters Rob
• Mother Goose diaper truck (caught fire from nearby Christmas Tree farm explosion) – Letters Karen & Rob
• Refrigerator (door broken off by frozen leg of lamb / low side leak due to chiseling) – Letters Karen & Ellen
• Louvered closet doors (covered in glued-on fake fur) – Letters Karen & Ellen
• Unspecified private property (vandalized) – Helena
• The Caldwells’ sprinkler heads (broken off) – Unknown
• Medicine cabinet (missing) – Letters Karen
• Typewriter (covered in honey) – Letters Rob
• Venetian blinds (written on in marker) – Letters Karen & Ellen
• Porch light (missing) – Unknown
• Jackie’s garage (caught fire) – Unknown
• Hoover Qwik-Vac Vacuum Cleaner aka vacumm (burned out motor aka omtor) – Letters Karen
• Cottage keys (missing) – Letters Rob
• Gondola (unspecified accident) – Letters Karen & Rob
• Teacup (broken during a fit of laughter) – Letters Ellen’s mother
• Golf Cart Garage Door Opener (unspecified) – Unknown

OTHER GROUPS OF PEOPLE

THE CUL-DE-SAC CREW:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 2.04.05 PM

PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN SEATTLE:
• Josh
• Sara
• Darren
• Fish Ellen
• Aloha Rob
• Crochet Pants
• Goofy Waiter
• (Presumably) Aloha Karen

THE SCOTTSDALE OLD LADY GANG:
• Helena
• Dot
• Jackie
• Suzie
• Misty (deceased)

PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH MARK:
• Bonnie (Associate)
• Uncle Albert (Uncle/Associate)
• CW (Associate/Nemesis)
• Mr. James (“Decorator”)
• Josh (Former Acquaintance/Thorn-in-side)
• Hal (Former Tenant)
• Crochet Pants (Former Tenant)
• Fish Ellen (Former Tenant)
• Letters Karen (Former Tenant)
• Letters Ellen (Former Tenant)
• The Caldwells (Former Tenants)
• Marsha (Former Tenant)
• Letters Rob (Former Harasser)

PEOPLE WHO HATE PATTY WITH THE CRYSTALS:
• Fish Ellen
• Helena
• Dot

PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN THE BAY AREA:
• Mark
• Bonnie
• Hal
• Marsha
• The Caldwells
• Josh
• Darren
• Fish Ellen
• Letters Ellen
• Aloha Rob
• Letters Rob
• Crochet Pants
• Aloha Karen
• Letters Karen
• Helena
• Barb
• Annette

PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN OREGON:
• Crochet Pants
• Letters Karen
• Fish Ellen
• Letters Ellen
• Josh
• Darren
• Myron Shapiro
• Miss Fletcher
• Charles Worthingon

About Episode 8: A Lot of Altitude

• Some of the working titles for this episode included:
– Ellen’s Essence
– First and Last
– Alligators Will Surely Be Disquieted
– Two Sweet Sand Pigs (This one still has a shot)
– A Unique Brain
– No Thanks Lady
– WA LA!

• 1 of our 2 leading men return for this episode.

• A long-forgotten character also makes a triumphant return this episode.

• This is the most last-minute episode I’ve ever produced.

• This episode features the voice of a Roomie.

• This episode probably most resembles Season 1 episodes.

• Oddly, ‘too much salt’ is mentioned by multiple people in multiple storylines.

• This episode is like a warm up for a very intense episode 9.

• Some big questions are answered.

• Just about every character from the series is mentioned in this episode.

• There are lots of current pop culture references.

• This episode will drop later in the day than usual, because two actors can’t record their parts until Monday night and Tuesday morning (which is my fault for being all kinds of behind).

• Careful listeners will likely be able to piece together some of the bigger mysteries after listening to this one.

• Don’t worry, there will be karaoke!

• This episode does a lot of traveling.

• Despite not being in this episode, we learn quite a bit about Ellen.

• Someone is planning for their birthday.

• We get our first look at the background of a much-loved character.

 

Behind-the-Scenes on Episode 6

  1. My one and only note to Sara Beth for this episode was: Ellen doesn’t seem to understand how hashtags work.
  2. Anyone with an advanced murder board should be able to figure out quite a lot about how people are connected and how certain stories came to be after hearing this episode.
  3. I was originally going to hold the exchange between Fish Ellen and Patty with the Crystals for episode 7. I sent the episode as you heard it to the bloggers and asked for their input. They unanimously agreed I should keep the exchange in episode 6; but under one condition:
  4. That there would still be a big reveal in episode 7.
  5. There is. A huge one.
  6. The reveal in episode 7 was originally going to be held until the very end of episode 9.
  7. I have spent so many hours trying to remember if in 2012 I ever saw or encountered a woman in front of my old apartment building whose car had been broken into.
  8. As it turns out, I did remember that there was a week-long rash of break-ins there. I even talked to a few people. I can’t remember what they looked like or who they were. It’s something that haunts me often now.
  9. The majority of the recordings in this episode were done within a week of releasing it. I had originally planned to do most of this stuff after the holiday break.
  10. I felt the perfect way to follow-up a Karen-centric episode was with an Ellen-centric one. So, we rushed production.
  11. I was writing and putting together episodes 6 and 7 simultaneously, and still struggle sorting out what material ended up where.
  12. I think the biggest mistake an active listener could make during this episode is to assume all of these exchanges are happening in the same timeline.
  13. Here’s a big hint: The Dot & Helena stuff spans over 5 years. The Fish Ellen stuff is mostly contained to the last year (save a few relevant posts).
  14. Prepare for a more cohesive merging of those two timelines next week.
  15. This episode represents a real turning point in how these people are presented. The show will begin feeling more grounded.
  16. At this point, you have not heard the last of anyone, except for the acting troupe.
  17. Sara and I record most of our conversations and send each other voice memos all the time. But because so much of our investigating is discussed or fleshed out over Messenger, we end up having to record a lot of pick-ups for better exposition. We could not make that happen this time, and had to make do with what we had from our recordings. It felt very apropos of the whole series; I had some real Tim Gunn moments.
  18. “Darren” did not want to be recorded or use his real name. Since he and my friend Matt do not know one another and have very similar mannerisms and senses of humor, Matt seemed like the perfect fit. It has been really confusing having one friend portray another friend, under a fake name. I never know what to call him.
  19. This is only one of two episodes not featuring Laila at the beginning. I like keeping people on their toes; and since there were so many animal references in this ep, Paul seemed the perfect opener.
  20. That Sudio ad took me FOREVER to write and record. I think I spent 4 or 5 hours on that damn thing.
  21. My favorite piece from this episode is when Ellen/Sara B opens a new FB post with:

    “This is a 6 foot painting of over 37 cats.” Every time I hear it, I burst out laughing. It’s never not funny to me.

     

Behind-the-Scenes on Episode 5

  1. This episode took longer to produce than any other episode of Karen & Ellen.
  2. Episodes usually take a total of 6-8 hours, Karen Karen Karen took 16.
  3. When we learned one of the random tidbits mentioned in the Dot & Helena conversation, it connected a lot of our dots and answered a lot of our questions.
  4. Originally, Dot and Helena were never going to be featured in the same episode. I just thought this episode needed a little more levity and fun; so we gave them five minutes of conversation to open the show.
  5. This was my least favorite episode to produce. I could not figure out how to narrate it, what to include vs. what to hold back on, or how to fit all the necessary information together in a cohesive way.
  6. I legitimately worried that the episode would be so bad that people would stop listening to the show.
  7. I initially thought I couldn’t cast Chris Green as David, because of his brief appearance as Email Main in season 1. Then I thought it would be a fun way to toy with people and make them think David was Email Man.
  8. When I first received those Karen emails in 2012, a friend of mine swore up and down there was no way they were real. We all told him he was crazy.
  9. The conversation between Sara and me in this episode is actually pieces from 4 different conversations edited together.
  10. It took me a very long time before I became open to Crochet Pants as being a possible Karen.
  11. Her blog is as crazy as it sounds, and chronicles over 7 years of her life.
  12. It’s still current; her latest post was the 23rd.
  13. I spent hours and hours trying to figure out which roomie was the catfish.
  14. I never did.
  15. I often wonder, given her interest in the mystery, whether she created a new/fake account and is a roomie again.
  16. Episode 6 will be just as, if not more, revealing as episode 5.
  17. The bumper stickers read by Sara are the exact bumper stickers from Crochet Pants’s car. She even posted a photo of them all on her blog. The kitchen sink one still totally mystifies me.
  18. We’ll hear more from my Karen contender in future episodes.
  19. This episodes had more possible titles than any other episode. Here’s some of them:
    The Catfish
    Yarn Goddess
    I Ate A Kitchen Sink
    A Fish Without A Bicycle
    Crochet Pants
    Better Than Berkeley
    Bush Quayle 88
    Loud And Proud Lesbian
  20. At the beginning of the production, I created an episode guide, which outlined each episode. I have strayed so much from it that it’s not even usable anymore.

Sara & Josh Interview Each Other

Sara Stapleton (Karen) & Josh have some questions for each other about the first half of Season 2.

Josh asks Sara:

1. As a listener, what has been your favorite part of S2?

In season 1, I had obviously read all the letters before, so there wasn’t much new and exciting aside from the ‘WHO ARE THEY’ mystery.  In season 2 even though I know most of the information Josh is sharing, I don’t know how he’s going to do it.  I absolutely love not really knowing what’s going to happen in each episode, so I feel like I’m hearing the story for the first time.  

2. So far, what has surprised you? 

Oh wow… the karaoke.  How funny Dot and Helena are.  How much Ellen homework there is. How much I miss reading Karen.  

3. As a producer/actor, what has been your favorite part of S2?

I’m really enjoying how the reveals are happening.  Josh has done a good job of sharing information much like how we got it – disjointed and REALLY confusing. 

4. What do you think of the narrative style?

I am in a love/hate relationship with the style of season 2 (see my love in #3) .  But I have difficulty retaining information from listening, so the disjointed nature of season 2 has been a bit mentally challenging, but luckily, I know most of it already!  LOL  If I didn’t have insider knowledge, I might have abandoned ship.  (Don’t hate me – hate my brain.)

5. What has been your favorite episode?

I think the upcoming episode 5 for obvious reasons.. It’s all about me…. I mean Karen. 

6. What did you think of Deana’s portrayal of Karen?

I TOTALLY loved it.  It was such a different take on her – less airheaded, more irritating. 

7. What has made you laugh the most, as a listener and/or actor?

As a listener:  Jeff.  Jeff as Mark and Jeff as Jeff.   
As an actor: Karen’s looping kills me.  I have had some students who do that in their writing and it drives me nuts.  It’s nice to be able to laugh rather than help fix it.  

8. What has been your favorite karaoke rendition thus far?

This past Saturday when I spent way too much money at a charity event to sing with a live band. 😉
I CAN’T stand listening to the karaoke on the show.  It’s like nails on the chalkboard to me.  

9. Tease us: What are you most looking forward to from episode 5?

Crochet pants!  And, OMIGOD, Josh chose some PRIMO material for me to read. Hilarious. 

10. What’s been your favorite fan theory?

All of them.  I love the rampant speculation.  And the crazy ones crack me up. 

11. Is there anything else I should ask you?

Am I 100% sure of what Josh has discovered about real people behind K&E?   TBA.  (Always wanted to say that!  hahahaha) 

Sara asks Josh:

1. Did you ever hear back from the handwriting expert?

I sure did.

2. What was the most surprising discovery you made in researching the letters?

There were four truly shocking discoveries (for me); three take place in the back half of the season. One shocking discovery that made me super nervous is coming up in Episode 5: Karen Karen Karen. I think it will be the revelation that causes the most chaos amongst the Roomies.

3. Are you 100% confident that you have solved the mystery of who the real Karen and Ellen are?

I am 90% confident that I have solved the mystery of who the real Karen is. I am 100% confident I have solved the mystery of who the real Ellen is.

4. How does it feel to be the keeper of secrets to rabid K &E fans?

There are days when I hate it. The Roomies and listeners have become my own Karen & Ellen family. And when I find crazy stuff out, they’re the first ones I want to tell. 

There are times, though, when I’m really excited to dangle narrative carrots for them, and sort of quietly lead them to shocking revelations later down the road.

5. How dare you tell Pappas EVERYTHING before me! (Not a question, just expressing my outrage)

Wine.

6. Who is your favorite character?

I love, love, love Dot and Helena. They are the most natural addition to the cast of characters we’ve come to know and love. Adrienne and Lori play the parts brilliantly. And I think they so wonderfully capture the current American culture. Everything the real women say, cracks me up and endears me. Everything that gets adapted into, cracks me up and endears me. Every time Adrienne and Lori bring those things to life, I crack up and am endeared.

7. If you were casting a Karen and Ellen TV show or movie, who would you cast in each of the roles?

Young Karen: Kirstin Dunst? Anna Paquin? Natalia Dyer?
Young Ellen: Anna Faris?
Adult Karen: Shannen Doherty
Adult Ellen: Winona Ryder
Mark: Martin Short? Andy Cohen? Steve Buscemi?
Rob: Jack Black
Dot: Sally Fields
Helena: Ellen Barkin

8. I know Roomies send you Intel all the time. Have you discovered anything lately that has affected the season’s outcome?

There was one shocking discovery, that I’m still trying to fit into the season. I can’t say whether it impacted the outcome; but it was definitely the most jaw-dropping Roomie discovery.

9. Do you miss doing your voice narration?

It pops up from time to time, which is the perfect amount. I get sick of myself, a lot. Plus, writing my narration always stresses me out; it’s where I procrastinate the most.

10. If you had to choose one voice from K&E to narrate your life story, who would it be?

That’s a tough one. My initial responses are: David, Karen, Mark, Helena. David first because Chris Green sends me a bunch of improv as his character whenever he sends over recordings. They are truly hilarious. I want to do a bloopers episode for Patreon at some point; they’ll be in there.