Episodes 5 and 6 of Season 2 were both so full of shocks and revelations, that I’ve had to have a lie-down, before even attempting to write a blog post.
Now that the drama over Catfish Karen has died down, I thought I’d try and take a look at Karen Crochet Pants and Fish Ellen, and see whether or not they seem to be likely contenders to be our girls. I’m also going to try to work out where the new stars of Season 2, our very own “Golden Girls,” Dot and Helena, fit into the picture.
After we dramatically found out that Email Karen wasn’t our Karen after all, but instead an intrepid blog reader, who had well and truly caught Josh in her Catfish net; the hunt was back on to find a legitimate Karen contender. The indomitable Sara already had an alternative suspect lined up; and in episode 5, introduced us to Karen Crochet Pants.
This is a Karen who can be linked back to Mark’s cottage in the 1980s, and is the right age to be our Karen. She writes a blog, and Josh describes her writing style as “aggressive.” This definitely sounds like the Karen we know and… quite like sometimes.
As her nickname suggests, Karen Crochet Pants is self-admittedly obsessed with crochet.
Sara gives Karen Crochet Pants’ announcement that she is wearing her “brand new, homemade crochet pants” the fanfare it deserves, by singing it.
Sara is already pretty perfect in my eyes, but this took her stardom to a whole new level.
There is certainly a confidence in Karen Crochet Pants’ writing, that seems familiar. She calls herself “Karen the crochet goddess,” and uses a couple of long, loopy sentences, that could easily have been written by Season 1 Karen.
Another moment that seems to be perfectly Karen, is her pondering on the money-making prospects of her new venture.
“I’m not going to be taking many orders,” she writes. “But that’s ok, since I could really use the money.”
Come on! This has to be Karen, surely?
There was a passing statement in the blog, as a prelude to Karen Crochet Pants’ next topic, but it jumped out at me.
Apparently, Karen Crochet Pants buys her dog treats at a coffee shop. Again, this is just too perfect.
I can hear it now:
“Ellen wants the dog treats from the pet shop on the corner; but I want the ones from the coffee shop, that are sold in little muslin bags.”
Anyway, on to the main subject of this post, and that is Karen Crochet Pants’ bumper sticker collection. She lists some of the highlights, and one immediately stands out.
“1988 Bush Quayle”
There were several references to this election in the girls’ letters, and hints that Karen may have links to the Bush family.
We’re off to a good start with these.
“War is Peace.” Literally makes no sense. Perfectly Karen.
“A woman without a man, is like a fish without a bicycle.” These fish seem to follow them everywhere.
There is also, “Loud & proud lesbian;” and “Real families value gay relatives.”
These made me prick my ears up on a second listen, because Dot and Helena have a discussion about various gay friends and relatives at the beginning of the episode.
Could there be a link there?
Back to Crochet Pants’ blog, and she is feeling pretty close to death, as she is having to walk everywhere. A slight tendency for drama and exaggeration perhaps? Where have we come across that before…?
The first discrepancy I noticed is that Karen Crochet Pants briefly mentions her mum. This doesn’t fit with the narrative that we’ve been given previously. As we were told that Karen’s mother is dead. It’s an extremely fleeting mention though, so we’ll have to wait and see whether it comes up again.
Immediately though, there’s another tick in the “for” column; with a charming chant where Karen Crochet Pants proclaims that where she lives now is “better than Berkeley, better than Berkeley.” Confirming that connection, at least.
Karen Crochet Pants is also concerned about cockroaches that have been found in the local hospital. This really reminds me of her sending the rat article to Mark, early in Season 1. Pests, and pest control, seem to be another running theme with Karen and Ellen.
There’s another subtle connection, right at the end of Karen Crochet Pants’ writings for this week. She says that she sews as well as crochets, and enjoys it, despite it making her crazy. One of the very rare examples in Season 1 of Karen actually doing something for herself was when she sewed up her jeans, after ripping them on the decking.
These are only small coincidences on their own; but add them up, and Karen Crochet Pants seems like a fairly strong contender for our Karen.
She isn’t the only suspect though.
Josh may have found another contender on Fish Ellen’s Facebook page.
They know each other, and this Karen can be connected back to Oakland in 1987-1989.
There’s a short clip of “Karen” talking and complaining to someone called Sharon.
Is this a teaser from Fish Ellen’s Facebook Karen? Karen and Sharon? That would be funny.
Speaking of Ellen; if episode 5 was all about Karen, Karen, Karen; episode 6 was a complete Ellen-fest of wonderfulness. With a couple of emotional moments thrown in for good measure. Which is what it has been like with Ellen all along, hasn’t it?
Full disclosure, my disbelief is very easily suspended. I desperately want the roots of this story, and it’s main characters, to be real. That being said, I really think that there is some compelling evidence for Fish Ellen being the Ellen that we’ve been looking for.
Josh had spent several sleepless nights perusing Fish Ellen’s Facebook page. From his findings, he presented us with The Greatest Hits Of Fish Ellen.
Like any “best of” album, there are lots of upbeat numbers; interspersed with a few more sombre and melancholic ballads.
We first find Fish Ellen happily cooking for Thanksgiving.
A woman after my own heart, she’s promoting vegetarian alternatives for the big day. Fish Ellen would happily advise if anyone fancies trying a “meat-less or poultry-less” Thanksgiving.
This made me laugh straight away. It definitely sounds like Ellen! Surely poultry is meat?!
Continuing on the themes of Animal Rights, and of course fish, Ellen wants us to all join with her, and “Save The Salmon” on the 1st of December.
I’m not entirely sure what we’re saving them from; but Fish Ellen’s passion is infectious. I’m with her all the way.
(Just an aside – according to Google, this was a Rally that really did happen. Something that made me giggle, was that out of about only 3 posts on the Event page, one of them was someone asking if it was going to be live-streamed. I reckon that was Helena.)
Fish Ellen is obviously more at home in the kitchen now than back in the avocado-behind-the-oven days. She spends an afternoon baking, and conversing with her Grandparents from Beyond The Grave.
Fish Ellen feels that they’d be a bit disappointed that neither she nor her siblings had had any children. Which is an interesting insight into her life. I always felt personally, that Ellen would have made a much better parent than Karen.
We also learn that Fish Ellen’s Grandparents has escaped from the Nazis. That’s a huge thing to go through! Ellen of the letters would often reference the Nazis, in both her correspondence, and the homework that we’ve heard this season.
This, and Fish Ellen being very in touch with her spiritual side, bodes well for Fish Ellen and Letters Ellen being one and the same.
Fish Ellen loves a good environmental campaign to get behind too. She wants to stop the creation of The Nigerian Super Highway! This highway could be very bad news for wild gorillas if it goes ahead, and Fish Ellen is adamant it should be stopped.
Presuming that she’s our Ellen; she has obviously forgiven the wild gorillas’ ancestors for murdering Guru Patel. She never did seem to be one for holding a grudge.
One thing that Fish Ellen and I do disagree on, is whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch is a beautiful freak.
Sorry Fish Ellen.
He’s really not.
Even being British can’t swing it for him, I’m afraid.
Listening to the various posts from Fish Ellen, I thought one of the most compelling pieces of evidence in favour of her being The Ellen, was the constant string of cat references:
• Comcast is not akin to 2 cute kittens.
• Fish Ellen takes advice from the best-selling feline author. (Seems as good a place as any to get advice from?)
• She has her eye on a 6 foot tall painting of over 37 cats.
A CAT PAINTING? You couldn’t make it up.
I wonder if the 37 pairs of eyes move on this one? They’d be following Fish Ellen’s every move around her cottage.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, to also pick up on the fact that she lives in a cottage.
Or maybe her taste in accommodation was established by the first place she lived in independently?
I really hope that this particular cottage is every bit as gauzy and dreamy as any Ellen could hope for.
I almost forgot the one that is just so good, that it almost can’t be true.
Fish Ellen muses: “If I had a kitten for every kitten I wished I’d had I would have so many kittens.”
Either Josh used a bit of artistic licence to adapt this; or this just HAS to be our Ellen.
It is just too similar to the famous Ellen quote: “I wish I had a dollar for every dollar I wish I had.”
Unfortunately for Fish Ellen, she can’t have any cats, because of her mouse programme.
This made me smile, as I had presumed that the mouse-release videos had come about as a result of a pest-control problem. Along the lines of the ant infestation.
I had imagined that Fish Ellen hadn’t wanted to harm them, and that they’d therefore rapidly multiplied. Hence why she ended up with so many, to capture, and then release.
But this makes it sound like she is possibly taking in sick and injured mice, and re-habilitating them.
That thought warms my heart, and would be so perfectly “Ellen”.
Much as I already adore Fish Ellen, I was slightly concerned to discover that she has “patients.” Surely she’s not a nurse, or a doctor? That would be a bit of a stretch to believe.
Whoever the patients are, they have been upset and worried by the current political climate. (I don’t think they’re alone there).
Or could they be animal patients?
Fish Ellen would definitely have to be very in-tune with them to know their political persuasions; but I wouldn’t put it past her!
I ask this, because to celebrate the 4th of July weekend, Fish Ellen is hosting a free Animal Acupuncture Festival. Just come along, and have your precious pet poked and prodded, free of charge.
This is sweet, generous, and worrying, all at once.
Here, an acupuncture treatment for a dog can cost upwards of £50.
Yet Fish Ellen is doing it for free?!
I’m a bit worried that she has just borrowed some of Karen Crochet Pants’ knitting needles, and is sticking them into unsuspecting animals, willy-nilly!
One of the biggest and most bizarre moments of episode 6, was finding out that Josh has 2 mutual friends with Fish Ellen.
Let’s just pause for a moment, and think about how insane that is. What are the chances?
It just adds weight to my belief that Josh was well and truly destined to have these letters, and tell this story.
One of those mutual friends, Darren, explains how he once met Fish Ellen on a weird, drug-fuelled camping trip.
He is now on her mailing list, and gets emails about all kinds of alternative therapies, and environmental campaigns.
She even offered advice to Darren on the best treatment for his foot, after he broke it at Christmas.
(Am I the only one wondering whether he dropped a frozen leg of lamb on it?)
Darren asks Josh if he should contact Fish Ellen. Of course, Josh is going to make us wait until a future episode, to find out whether he does or not!
Also, who has a public profile, yet keeps their friends’ list private?
Another example of a wonderfully Ellen-like contradiction.
As well as all the sweet and funny moments that Josh discovered within Fish Ellen’s Facebook page; there are 2 sad and poignant moments also.
Firstly, Ellen’s car is broken into, and her laptop stolen.
In another completely crazy twist of fate, this happened directly outside where Josh was living at the time. What a missed opportunity!
Just think, Josh could have invited Ellen in for coffee/wine/chicken nuggets, while she awaited recovery.
Another pointer towards the fact that Josh is destined to always be connected to these people.
And can I just ask, who lives next to an ex-mortuary?!
No wonder Fish Ellen had bad luck there. Bad Spirit Central.
Fish Ellen is understandably down and disappointed after this happens.
She announces that she doesn’t believe in Karma.
Josh feels that this is a moment where Fish Ellen seems to be the complete opposite of the Ellen of the letters; who seemed to believe extremely strongly in Karma.
I disagree though.
Fish Ellen is still referencing Karma. I just feel that she has unfortunately been battered by the often cruel realities of life over the years.
In fact, it was Josh himself who predicted that this was probably going to happen, towards the end of Season 1:
“I want Ellen to live in a world that is as sweet as she is. And it breaks my heart that the world is probably going to break her sweet, little, naïve, soft shell at some point.”
I’d say that this is exactly what has happened to Fish Ellen.
An even more distressing and upsetting moment comes when we find out that Fish Ellen has had what sounds like a pretty serious car accident.
She was in the hospital for a long time, and still seems to be experiencing huge amounts of distress and trauma. It was obviously an extremely harrowing experience, and I actually felt a bit uncomfortable listening.
It was very moving and upsetting; and served as a sobering reminder that these are real people, who have to deal with very difficult times in their lives; as well as the fun and frivolity.
Fish Ellen says that at that moment, she just wants a cat or a friend to hug her.
I wanted to reach into the podcast, and give her a really big hug myself.
During the latter part of episode 6, we hear from someone we haven’t heard from for a couple of episodes.
It’s Dot’s and Helena’s “acquaintance,” Patty With The Crystals.
To be honest, it’s hard to make heads or tails of most of what she says, but the cult-like “Seekers” is obviously still up and running.
Oh, and there’s a promo code for her pet portraits; if anyone still needs a last-minute Christmas gift.
If you want your inner-animal brought to life on canvas however, you need to have an in-person consultation.
(Josh? Sara? This seems an opportunity not to be missed!)
Then, the big finale.
Patty, with or without her crystals, is commenting on one of Fish Ellen’s Facebook posts!
Fish Ellen is trying to find a companion, for a road-trip home to Scottsdale.
So they know each other!
But – and here’s the strange bit – our usually sweet, kind, friendly Fish Ellen, is completely ignoring Patty’s comments on her post.
Patty would like to go with Fish Ellen.
Can’t Fish Ellen see her comments?
Patty can see them?
Why isn’t Fish Ellen responding?
In the end, Fish Ellen finds someone to go with, and Patty is left to say that it’s probably for the best.
She’s going on a crystal harvest that weekend.
Patty wishes Fish Ellen all the best for her trip back to visit the desert.
And her Mother.
So this is where Dot and Helena must come in.
They’re in Arizona.
We know from Ellen’s rental agreement, that that is where Ellen was born.
Why was Fish Ellen blanking Patty though?
Perhaps Dot and Helena hold the answers to this too.
Helena told Dot at the beginning of Season 2, that Patty stole her husband Paul. Could this be why Fish Ellen has a beef with Patty?
Did Patty break up her parents’ marriage?
If that’s the case, that would make Helena Fish Ellen’s Mum?
It’s funny, back when the Arizona connection originally came up, I leant towards Dot as the most likely candidate to be Ellen’s mum.
She retired back to Scottsdale; talked about beggars and poverty like Ellen did; went on holiday to Mexico like Ellen.
They both share a love of animals, and seem to have an upbeat attitude to life.
However, this episode, we heard Fish Ellen say that neither she, nor any of her siblings have any children.
Yet in episode 1 of Season 2, Dot tells Helena that her children are all grown up, with families of their own.
So this doesn’t seem to work after all.
Dot’s daughter was married to a man, but is now married to a woman. Remember Karen Crochet Pants’ bumper stickers? Remember Rob?
Could Dot be Karen’s mum???
Which leaves Helena.
She seems the polar opposite of both our Ellen, and Fish Ellen though.
Glass half-empty, moany, not keen on animals.
Although, I could not be more different from my mum, so this definitely does not rule Helena out.
Helena also said the infamous line, “Can you imagine?”
Ok, Josh could have put that in there as a red herring. But if not, that has to be a huge clue!
Plus, we’ve now got Fish Ellen ignoring Patty’s comments on her post. This would make total sense, if Patty ran off with her father.
It would also make it totally hilarious that Patty is brazen enough to ask to road-trip with Fish Ellen, and have a reunion with Ellen and her mother!
All those crystals must have given her an ultra-thick aura.
I felt by the end of episode 6, that Fish Ellen really seems a great fit for our original Ellen.
With the connections to “The Golden Girls” trio, things are starting to slot into place.
We still haven’t been given any concrete connections between Fish Ellen, and Karen Crochet Pants though.
So I’m really looking forward to hearing how the next potential Karen, who definitely does have a connection, measures up.
Fittingly, we hear from her to conclude the episode.
She’s having some problems with sand.
Can’t wait for Episode 7, to get to know her better.