Who is ‘Not Karen?’ – A Suspect List

BLUF: It has been revealed that “Email Karen” was actually a catfish who had infiltrated the Roomie community. Who could it be?


In the latest episode of The Karen and Ellen Letters (S02|E05: Karen Karen Karen), Josh dropped a bombshell that threatens to erode the Utopian digital community that has formed in The Karen & Ellen Roomies discussion group on Facebook. While Facebook communities are often rampant with childish name calling, hateful trolling, and random postings of inflammatory political opinions, the Roomies have thus far avoided divisiveness in favor of agreeable, lighthearted banter, and, at times, deep personal disclosure that solidifies the friendship between each member.

In episode 12 last season, Josh told us “… I received an email. It was an email that I knew was trouble before I even opened it.” It was from someone claiming to have copies of the famed letters, and that there were discrepancies between what Josh knew, and what he or she knew about the story. This was after Josh had received several emails from someone claiming to be THE ACTUAL KAREN.

In episode four of season two, Josh revealed that the emails from the mysterious letter holder and from “Email Karen” came from the same IP address, indicating the same person sent both emails. Now, we find out that “Email Karen” not only had catfished her way into the story line, but had infiltrated The Karen and Ellen Roomies discussion group! I immediately began a mental list of possible suspects. I listed my list of suspected suspects on this list of suspects below. It should be noted that every suspect listed below has been included purely in jest, and absolutely no animosity should be held against “Not Karen,” whomever he or she may turn out to be. As Josh said, “All is forgiven.”

NAME: Laura (redacted)

Laura (redacted) is Canadian, but she neither seems overly tall, nor does she appear to need a shave.  Laura speaks English, but there is a possibility she also speaks French and wears loud flannel shirts. Laura has indicated intimate knowledge of Trailer Park Boys, a popular Canadian television series that pioneered the faux reality TV genre, so this may be a link into her involvement in the Canadian underground crime scene, ergo, she could feasibly be knowledgeable in identity theft and fraud. If this were Trailer Park Boys, Laura would be Julian, the muscular brains behind every scheme the boys try to pull on Mister Lahey (RIP John Dunsworth).

NAME: Stephanie (redacted)

Stephanie is deeply rooted into the Roomie community, and has publicly demonstrated not only her penchant for creative writing, but her ability to reproduce Karen’s style of correspondence, so there could be some mental instability packed away in there that resonates at the same frequency as the actual Karen from the original letters (j/k, don’t beat me up). Stephanie shows a great deal of anger toward “Not Karen.” Could this be a result of her genuine feelings of betrayal by a member of the Roomie community as she claims, or is she attempting to redirect suspicion from her onto other unwitting Roomies? Perhaps time will reveal sufficient evidence to decide whether this is the case or not. If this were The Black Tapes, she’d be the enigmatic Doctor Richard Strand, except that her voice wouldn’t be so deep and mysterious.

NAME: Matt (redacted)

Matt is one of only a handful of active Roomies who happens to be male. This is a dangerous line of thinking, as my gender in this situation could possibly implicate me as well, and I am 90 percent confident that I am not the culprit. Now, this could be a Trojan Roomie, an alter ego, or a catfish account of sorts, or Matt could be a legit person. There is absolutely no way to know for certain. I’ve seen enough episodes of Burn Notice to know that the best way to avoid suspicion would be to impersonate a female member so as to blend in … unless we’re dealing with a master of psychological manipulation.

NAME: Nikki (redacted)

Nikki has been described as a K&E brand ambassador, and is undeniably a super fan of the show. Is she a rabid enthusiast, or could it be a symbolic act of penance to atone for her previous catfishing shenanigans? She probably didn’t do it, but she is from Arkansas, so the 5th grade writing level Karen employed in her letter writing could be easy for Nikki to reproduce. Admittedly, this connection is flimsy at best. There may be nothing to this, but on the other hand, there may not. But, I digest. If this were S-Town, Nikki would be Brian Reed, because she’s been telling us an incredible story this whole time.

Vicki (redacted)

Vicki is one of the famed “Vickis” of K&E Roomie lore. On the Karen & Ellen Roomies discussion group on Facebook, Vicki often posts things about pickles, which indicates she may have personal knowledge of the events leading up to the fiery demise of Ellen’s uncle’s pickle factory. If this is true, Vicki could be way more involved with the saga of Karen, Ellen, and Rob than we previously thought. If this were A Scottish Podcast, Vicki would be Ivan the Disemboweler, because Vicki straight up slays.

NAME: Sue (redacted)

Sue admitted on an Aftershow that she was present for a letter reading gathering on or about the same time Josh’s blog was active. Sue had intimate knowledge of K&E, access to Josh’s email address, and, as this act of deception appears to be a prank that over the years grew out of control, rather than one of malicious intent, it is feasible that a close friend of Josh’s could be motivated to do this for laughs. If this were Tanis, Sue would be M.K., as she is deeply connected to the dark realms of the internet while at the same time a part of the narrative of the story as a whole.

NAME: Staci (redacted)

Staci is one of three fortunate Roomies who has appeared on an Aftershow (S02/E04 AfterShow, “The Roomies”). In the episode five spoiler thread on the Roomie page, Staci exclaimed, “SHE’S A ROOMIE?” And then, “is she still in the group?” and then, “COME FORWARD CATFISH KAREN!” Was this surprise expressed on Facebook genuine, or a farce designed to mask her true identity as “Catfish Karen?” If this were an M. Night Shyamalan film, Staci would be the guy in The Sixth Sense who was dead all along and didn’t know it.

NAME: Charlie (redacted)

Charlie’s last name has been redacted even though she’s famous, and I’m pretty sure it would be difficult for her to sue me (in Portland small claims court) for libel since she is a public figure. Charlie co-hosts the In Sight Podcast which is a true crime show, so she is familiar with covering cover-ups when people cover up their crimes, giving her the perfect cover for pulling off this fantastic prank. If this were episode 67 of In Sight, “Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?,” Charlie would be Anna, the mysterious woman who in 1953, mysteriously told the Wolverhampton Express and Star that a German spy ring was responsible for the demise of an unknown woman whose skeleton was discovered in a tree.

Click here to listen to S02|E05: Karen Karen Karen

An Introduction to Rob

What a guy, right? Professional huckster, destroyer of household appliances, and burgeoning legal expert.  Not to mention aspiring arsonist. This post will be the first in a series detailing Rob’s awesome misadventures. Let’s begin with some ubiquitous introductions to our hero’s role in the Karen and Ellen Letters, before his first letter to Mark.


What a guy, right? Professional huckster, destroyer of household appliances, and burgeoning legal expert.  Not to mention aspiring arsonist. This post will be the first in a series detailing Rob’s awesome misadventures. Let’s begin with some ubiquitous introductions to our hero’s role in the Karen and Ellen Letters, before his first letter to Mark.

Our beloved Rob debuts in episode three, “Free Firewood” in a letter from Karen to Mark, dated February 23, 1988. “My boyfriend said that we should just accept that this is the way tenants always get exploited by landlords in a capitalist system, but I’m not going along with that!” she writes, in reference to the beginning of what will become an insane list of demands.  Later, Rob explains to Ellen that the issue of jurisdiction, which is irreverent, is nothing more than a capitalist loophole.

I wonder how a trust fund douche canoe like Rob, whose old money upbringing and connections to the Bush family would come to distrust capitalism. Perhaps his liberal professors at Berkley showed him the evil of its ways. I can’t imagine young Rob, who, in the letters doesn’t appear to be a mountain of intellectual fortitude, would have been difficult to sway. But, I digest.

Before we hear from Rob in an actual letter, there are several notable Rob moments. Most of them are from episode eight, “Christmas Tree Farm.” There are a million ways I could present these moments to you, but none would be as Karen-and-Ellen-esque as a good old fashioned numbered list chalk full of malapropisms.

  1. “Rob threw his keys in the trash. He didn’t know he was supposed to return them to you,” Ellen writes to Mark, regarding her finally moving out of the cottage in Oakland.
  2. “There was some sort of accident with a gondola, and Karen’s father says he couldn’t afford another day with them left to their own advices or something.” The Italian police (who are such snitches, according to Ellen) called Karen’s father, who made the newlyweds cut their honeymoon short and return to the Untied States (This is the single-most K&E mystery that I would like to see solved).
  3. The freezer door is broken off its hinges. “Rob broke it accidentally when he hit it with a frozen leg of lamb.” Mark said in a later letter that he had repeatedly warned the trio about defrosting the freezer with an ice pick, and that they had undoubtedly poked a hole in the refrigerant coils doing this. Apparently Rob wasn’t keen on this tedious method, and took to beating the poor refrigerator with frozen animal limbs. “It could have happened to anyone, but it happened to Rob,” Ellen says. Mark disagrees, and deducts the cost of the refrigerator from their security deposit, which as we know, becomes subject of Rob’s famous “legal” extortion letters.
  4. “Karen’s father has got jobs for Karen, Rob and Me on a Christmas tree farm near Portland, owned by one of his patients. Karen’s father says, ‘probably can’t destroy the world on a Christmas tree farm.’ He says the silliest things, considering he’s an ornithologist – that’s an eye doctor.” NOTE: An ornithologist is actually a branch of zoology that specifically involves birds, according to Merriam-Webster. A pessimist may think Rob took this statement as a challenge, but I am an optometrist, and choose to believe the Christmas tree farm explosion was simply a mistake that could have happened to anybody.
  5. The Cat Painting. This painting “… costed Ellen $197, which is almost $200,” and the only thing wrong with it is it needs batteries, and the tongue (which is supposed to move back-and-forth like a pendulum) was broken off by none other than our accident-prone hero in August of 1988. “It could have happened to any of us,” Karen explains in her November 29 letter to Mark. At least the eyes still go back-and-forth! $200 – $84 = over $100, who wouldn’t have jumped on a deal like that?!?!
  6. “Christmas Tree Farm Explodes” The day Karen wrote her letter to Mark demanding her full security deposit plus 34.4 percent interest, happens to coincide with the f(l)amed explosion at the Busy Beaver Christmas Tree Farm, reported in The Sunday (REDACTED), datelined December 4, 1988. I assume Karen was trying to raise capital for Rob’s defense attorney, even though he could have represented himself, as he was still strongly considering a career in law. What must have been mere moments into their FIRST day on the job, Karen and Rob’s FIRST task was to turn on the heat in the sapling greenhouse. Mary Christ, what a disaster. Rob cranked open the gas valve on the heater, and discovered there was no pilot light to ignite the natural gas that was hissing out of the jets. While he and Karen went to a nearby convenients store for matches, the gas found another source of ignition, blasting the sapling greenhouse to smithereens, and destroying a truck owned by the Mother Goose Diaper Service (which comes up again later in the saga). Poor business owner Myron Shapiro told The Sunday (REDACTED), “They started work at nine o’clock, and by ten o’clock, I was out of business. And all they could say was, ‘does this mean we’re fired?’ What kind of people are they?” They are the stuff of legend, Mr. Shapiro.

What is your favorite Rob moment? Did I miss any? Feel free to comment below, and share this blog with your Roomies.