A Recap in Real Time: Episode 3 – In My Legal Opinion

I was a little confused when Josh sent us through this episode.
As it had the same title and description as Episode 9, from Season 1.
However, I just presumed that he’d had too much wine; or not enough coffee; or both.

It turns out that it wasn’t a mistake; and all will become clear. Well, maybe not clear…..
Anyway; here goes. This is my stream of consciousness, as it happened.

Josh sounds funny. Is he on the phone?

When was he talking to Mark? Why were the letters on the internet; and who put them there?


Yes! You tell her Dot. Misty was a girl.

Stop with the Fahrenheit, you crazy Americans.

Well, Jackie sounds like a lazy-arse!

Actually, she sounds a lot like Karen!

Why does everyone they know die? Must be the soap.

My money is on Helena not remembering.

Patti! The floozy!

Watch your handbag, as well as your husbands apparently.

OMG. Patti is an artist.


Pet portraits! Yes, commemorate Misty.

If she’s a thief and a floozy, I highly doubt it Dot…

Is this a plane? Where are we going now?

Who is this?


Deana??? How come?

Well, I’m sure Rob will sort it.


Who are these imposters?

We have heard these letters… but why now again?


“Karen” needs to be one of the drinking words for the Aftershow.

Are these letters exactly the same? Need to check. E.g. “Legally Yours”.

Could these be slightly different versions again? Some bits seem different, and longer.



This must be a parallel universe.

Why are the voices different?


(I still love you Donna.)

Didn’t work long enough?! Wasn’t it 20 minutes?

The Christmas Tree Farm will forever be my favourite.

I love how they brazenly ask Mark for jobs.

Rob is good with electricity. Not so good with gas though…

I wonder if they ever got another job? Ever?

I actually can’t cope with these different voices.

JOSH. What the F is going on?

I still love that Karen asks Mark to help her sue him.

Steven. Stop it.

I would respond to Rob.

Well, anyone could get abortion muddled up with jurisdiction…

Mark must have no life if he’s writing on Boxing Day.

Read and re-read. As if that will make any difference.

That’s right. Bullet points may simplify. Good call.

“No, I won’t help you sue me”. How selfish.

But it’s a great cat painting. Just some tongue damage.

Oh, please do rent to Karen again.

Again, I would respond to Rob. Write to me.

“VERY sincerely.” He means business now.

Now Rob is writing on New Year’s Day. They really do have no lives.

Karen has read the bullet points, and doesn’t give a shit.

Take your bullet points and shove them, Mark!

Well, maybe it wasn’t on purpose. But you did break quite a lot, Robert.

Oh yes, so unfair to not help someone sue you.

“My client Karen”. Lol.

Oh Christ, the cat painting is no more. RIP. Say hi to Misty.

“Visual ipecac.” I’d forgotten that gem!

But these are still all the wrong voices.


Speaking of bad karma, I think Josh is due a dose…

Doomed baseball stadium? Baltimore? I don’t recall this.

We know you have no idea Karen. And yes, you are dumb.

Almost 200 dollars!

Why didn’t they take these with them?




OMG, it’s that flipping detective.


It’s like the Truman show!

Where the F is Lesley? She’s always AWOL.

Hello? Explain please, Joshua.

I love this song!

Oh, maybe not by karaoke lady…

I’m singing along anyway.

Ooooooh, Josh and Sara! Is it Reveal Time?


Give us the research!

Karen & Rob – is it really them?

Of course he’s rich!

A daughter from a previous marriage? Did Patti steal her husband too?

Wait. 2 previous kids?

A son together? DAMIEN!!!

Wedding photos? We need to see these.

No Josh, it definitely doesn’t make sense.

So Karen is confirmed…?

12 years too old for the letters?

A minute to marinate. Lol. Josh is cooking. So is my brain.

Ellen is not a child! Of Karen’s. Good

There’s records of a Karen living there.

Age was off though, so discounted.

Blimey, poor Mark had to deal with 2 Karens.


But a Jewish name? Please be Ellen.


PRINTS OF FISH?! Shut the front door!

PTSD from fish-washing? I’m dying!

Surely this has to be Ellen.

Please let this be Ellen.

Ooooh, she’s the right age.

How can there be no connection?

Did Mark combine them?

An amalgamation of his craziest tenants?

There can’t be another Karen, because “email Karen” emailed Josh.



Of course Ellen is beautiful. Mark’s a bitch.

Yes, this is a lot of information.

My head hurts.


This is my favourite Sara revelation so far.

Oh god, I’m dying! Again!

Just make up a connection. We’ll take Jewish.

“Fish Ellen”!

I think Mark may have combined the two.

But then didn’t Email Karen confirm to Josh, that she knew Ellen? So Ellen must be real?

Ellen wouldn’t have been there as a child, surely?

Sara said she was a tenant. So 18+?

Karen’s been around.

9 years between marriages.

Did her children live there? They must have done.

I’m so confused right now.

Maybe Email Karen rented a different property of Mark’s? But she mentions the car wash etc?

Karen & Rob can’t be connected to the cottage.

Fish Ellen connected to cottage, but not Karen & Rob.

I don’t want it to be fake.

Oooh, who’s this?




Definitely sounds crazy enough.

“Seekers”. OMG, it is a cult! Nicki T was right!

IT IS ELLEN/PATTI! Pet portraits!

She has definitely immortalised those fish.

Soul-maps! Like the astrology.

I definitely need a map to navigate this episode.

Stop it with the bells.


I need a lie down. Bloody Hell.


Bit-part players from Season 1 I wish we knew more about:

Bit-part players from Season 1 that I wish we knew more about:

5) Ellen’s Uncle Gary, and owner of the Pickle Factory.

We never get to the bottom of exactly what happened there. It’s the equivalent of “The Fishing Trip” in Gavin & Stacey.

4) Hal

Just one question.

Did he really live in an actual chicken coop?

3) Myron Shapiro.

The unfortunate owner of The Busy Beaver Christmas Tree Farm; and victim of Karen’s & Rob’s complete ineptitude. The man whose business quite literally went up in smoke.

Did he require therapy?

Was he ever able to look at a Christmas tree again, without breaking out in a cold sweat?

And how much did it cost the 2 families to pay him off?

2) Annette

The suicidal piano lady, who was a previous tenant of Mark’s.

I’d love to know what became of her and all her pianos.

Maybe Ellen was right, and that house could have benefited from an exorcism after all. It does seem to make all of its occupants ever so slightly deranged.

1) The Caldwells

Karen’s & Ellen’s next-door neighbours.

It would be amazing to hear from them; and find out if they witnessed any fish-washing, avocado-sniffing; and any other craziness first-hand.

And let’s not forget their high-electricity consuming cats. They were probably quite literally cats on the wall of our 2 favourite correspondents.

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.

Season One, so many questions!

Dear Josh,

I want you to know that I listened to season one of The Karen and Ellen Letters and I have something to say about that. I say I have a LOT of questions. I need to ask these questions of you so that I know what will happen when you answer my questions.

  1. Did you find Ellen? Is Ellen pretty? I bet she’s pretty; respite what I heard on your show. I bet she’s a magical, crafting fairy who lives in a sparkly house filled with rainbows and chocolate.
  2. Are Rob and Karen still married? Did they go on a second honeymoon to Italy? Did Karen ever buy Venetian blinds? Are Venetian blinds allowed in her jurisdiction? I bet Rob can get a court order to allow them. Is Rob a famous lawyer now? Or, maybe a judge? I can see Rob as a judge. Rob should judge “America’s Got Talent.”
  3. What does THAT mean?
  4. Are Ellen and Rob related?!? I wonder if they are siblings? Or cousins? Someone somewhere is related. I believe this in my heart. I’m very confused as to them all being educated together. Were they home schooled? Did they get kicked out of real school? What kind of patience and skill must a teacher have to work with Karen, Ellen and Rob on a daily basis? Did Rob take over and teach because he’s so smart?
  5. Did Karen and Rob have a boy or a girl? Or did they have a girl or a boy?
  6. Why are Karen and Ellen no longer friends? Didn’t they pinky swear to be BFFL? If they had pinky swore they have broken the unbreakable vow of best friendhood. That is bad karma.
  7. I need to know more about Maaarrrrk. Does Mark hate cats? Is he on blood pressure medication now? I’m not a stalker (or am I?) but, an internet expedition uncovered some information I need to know. You stated in a comment on November 24, 2011; “After I began blogging I tracked down Mark and interviewed him regarding the girls. That interview, among others, will appear once the letters have all been published on the site.” I need that interview. This is less of a question than a request. I can trade you a cat painting and a wall cabinet.
  8. Who is “you know who”?
  9. What did the handwriting expert find? You are going to share that in season two, right?
  10. I think a list of ten questions is a better than a list of nine. So, my final question is, what is your favorite color?

As you can see, these are questions I have to ask to find out the answers to my questions and I sincerely hope that you will answer these questions in season two. I expect season two will be just as terrifical as season one…if not, I’ll have the legal net dropped on you.

Love and Avocados!




Season One Recap

In the Summer of 1987, two teenage girls moved into their first apartment. In the Spring of 2017, I was introduced to them. And, I laughed so hard I may have peed a little…or maybe not. How can one describe The Karen and Ellen Letters? It’s a lot like describing avocado air. The letters will linger with you, haunt your senses and make you wonder what is happening. In other words, as Josh Hallmark, the creator and podcast host says, “Trust me, you’ll love it.”

If you have not listened to season one….I’m not sure why you are here. You really need to go start listening. If you are too lazy to do that, please, allow me to give you the quick details.

Karen and Ellen move into an apartment leased by their new landlord, Mark. Karen begins writing a series of letters to Mark regarding issues and needs she has with her new place. Since Karen has, clearly, never lived on her own before, her listed items tend to be a bit ridiculous (I can only imagine if Karen had text messaging; she would be sending her lists in all emojis and caps lock). Mark as the landlord, must respond to her requests and give direction. When Ellen arrives, she too begins corresponding with Mark. Over time, we begin to learn more about Mark and the girls and see glimpses into their personalities. Both girls are in college. Ellen is an art student. Karen dates Rob. Fish are washed. Someone comes from money. People receive free firewood. Mark is OVER it all. Especially when Karen decides she wants to haggle over the rent and gets her boyfriend, Rob, involved – I mean, Rob is really smart and is considering going to law school at Toughs University. The legal “battle” might not have gotten so ugly had the jurisdiction just been more clearly defined. Karen and Rob get married and head off on a fabulous honeymoon in Italy. Ellen has a deep emotional conversation with Mark. And, eventually, the girls move out of the apartment. However, Ellen keeps Mark up to date on how they are fairing. (Mark must be thrilled he owns property and not a Christmas Tree Farm.) And, there are security deposit reimbursements (as well as deductions) to be made.

Freshly Washed Fish
BRB! Washing my fish!

In addition to the letters, the listeners also follow the journey to authenticate them. Where did the letters originate? Are these girls for real? Is this a huge prank? The girls are so endearing and comical and dare I say, clueless? How can they actually exist? Can you really use a leg of lamb to break a freezer door? What about Mark? Is the snarky, exasperated landlord just a figment of someone’s imagination? Josh takes us down the rabbit hole and begins to explore the fact from the fiction. Lots of questions are asked. Some are answered. And so, in the end, we are left wondering have Mark, Karen, Ellen and Rob been found? Who are they? Where are they now?

I’m excitedly waiting for more information, after show drinks, and hopefully, lots of 80’s music in season 2. This story is practically too good to be true even if it could have happened to anyone but, this tale only happened on The Karen and Ellen Letters!

Love and Avocados!