Season 2, Episode 3…WHAT DID I JUST LISTEN TO?

WOW! Just WOW! That is about all I can say about Season 2, episode 3. In my legal opinion; it was full of twists, turns and just a maze of insanity. This blog post will be in two parts. Part one will be the transcribed notes I took, in real time, while listening. Part two will cover additional episode information as well as a peek behind the After Show.

Here are the notes I took as I was listening to the episode for the first time. WARNING, this blog may not be suitable for all readers.

  • Josh? Did you fall down a well? Should I call Lassie to help you?
  • Mark wasn’t surprised to hear from Josh when he first contacted him. Hum?
  • Someone else contacted Mark previous to Josh to discuss the letters.
  • Misty WAS a girl. Duh.
  • Jackie is a red head who is married to Frank. Is this relevant information? Store it away for later just in case.
  • Patty. Patty with the crystals. (Lord help me if I ever make a friend named Patty because I will use this phrase constantly!)
  • Patty is an obnoxious talented artist. Ellen is it you?
  • Bouncing along to the familiar jingle.
  • Is this an airport sound? What’s up with all the sound effects this season? They MUST mean something. Or maybe they don’t.
  • Dear Mark….WAIT! WHAT? THIS ISN’T SARA! Or is it? Is Sara using a different acting voice? I know this voice. But, IS this Sara?
  • Oops, I missed what was said. I’m trying to figure out this voice thing.
  • HOLY CRAP! WHERE IS ROB? What is happening? Who IS this? Is this the right podcast? Is Josh messing with me? Is this some joke? Ha, not funny Hallmark.
  • UGH! What did Fake Rob say? I missed it. Are these the same old letters? I’m going to have to relisten.
  • I HAVE NO IDEA WHY STEVEN PAPPAS IS TALKING? Is This Adulting? This is weird. DRATS! I can’t pay attention to anything being read. I’m barely listening to what is being said.
  • This is all kinds of wrong.
  • DONNA! Donna, why you Ellen?
  • Hum….there must be a REASON for this. Are these some kind of audition tapes? Is this representative of finding voices for the show? Is this an audition for the live shows? Maybe a theater show?
  • You pod people need to go back to your own shows. This is like being at a Persian Bizarre.
  • Freaky.
  • I’m totally lost. I’ve quit listening. I’m still trying to figure out who Fake Karen was….I don’t think it was Sara. But, I KNOW that voice. Ugh….which podcast host is that? These are all podcast hosts!
  • Steven, can we get a mental health check in?
  • mute = moot. STILL FUNNY.
  • Steven isn’t so bad…when I actually LISTEN. It’s just alarming to hear him in this role.
  • Donna has the cutest voice. I could get used to Donna as Ellen. I’d still cry over Sara Beth not being Ellen though.
  • I keep waiting for Donna to giggle. Will she giggle? I don’t think she’s going to giggle. What’s the Varmint! this week, Donna?
  • CUT!
  • CUT!?!?
  • DIRECTOR! NOT DETECTIVE!
  • I still feel bad for poor Leslie.
  • So, this IS a show! OH MY GAWD!
  • Hum…..someone contacted Mark BEFORE Josh….was it about a show?
  • At least the pod people voices make slightly more sense now.
  • BAD KARAOKE! “Tell it to my heart….” HELP! My ears may bleed. This is BAD. But, catchy. Ugh, it’s going to be stuck in my head. Damn you, Hallmark!
  • Sara and Josh…please, make heads or tails of this! I need info!
  • “The more it makes sense, the less it makes sense.” PREACH!
  • KAREN WAS MARRIED BEFORE ROB! Rob is her SECOND husband!
  • Wait? This does NOT add up.
  • Karen had a kid before Rob too! IS ELLEN THAT KID?
  • Doing the math. This isn’t right.
  • Are time lines off? Were letters altered in the time line?
  • Something doesn’t add up. It smells like avocado. Hee hee….avocado. I crack myself up.
  • Records of who lived in the cottage doesn’t include Karen.
  • Didn’t Mark state that Karen’s dad co-signed lease? Maybe it was in his name and therefore, Karen wouldn’t be on lease but, her father would.
  • But, Ellen’s name IS on a lease. Sara confirms it is an Ellen who has a SUPER Jewish name, is an artist, into natural healing and lived in Portland! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
  • Sara’s Ellen also paints FISH! FISH!
  • Are these letters even real? At all? Or just made up? I mean, its a fascinating story but, maybe it is all fake.
  • I need to see these prints of fish. Now.
  • Josh snoops on Sara’s Ellen and says she’s pretty! OF COURSE ELLEN IS PRETTY! She’s an angel. #TeamEllen.
  • SO MUCH NEW INFORMATION!
  • Two different timelines?!?
  • Possible Jewish pickle factory owners.
  • (I can’t even translate what I wrote next….it’s A LOT of arrows. Like a paper murder board. I need a cork board, push pins and red string. STAT!)
  • Josh, HOW DID YOU VERIFY EMAIL KAREN? I want to know your vetting process.
  • Patricia….Patty? Patty, with the crystals? One in the same? I mean, come on….they have to be, right?
  • Patrica is a visionary. Wind chimes are playing. Pain? Joy? Seekers? Psychly? Is psychly a word? Da Fuq is happening?
  • I want a pet portrait done of Jewelie….how do I make that happen?
  • What’s a SOUL MAP?

WHAT DID I JUST LISTEN TOO?

 

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A Recap: How To Catch A Mouse

After 5 long months; which is nearly 6 months; the wait is over! The Karen & Ellen Letters is back with a bang for Season 2. As well as the usual audio, we were treated to a YouTube video as well, to accompany the episode. It was really useful to help keep track of the different timelines. Of which there were quite a few! I will reference the video several times in this post.

The first six minutes of Episode 1 were the subject of an earlier blog post; so here goes for a speedy summary:

We start in early 2012, in Scottsdale, AZ, according to the video.
Dot is messaging her friend Helena on Facebook. Dot has retired, Robert has left her a while ago, and she has discovered the joys of cruising with her friend Jackie.
Where do these 2 fit into the story? There aren’t too many clues so far.

Back in 1989, and everybody’s favourite landlord, Mark, is finding himself on the receiving end of a reprimand. It takes the form of a letter from Bonnie; who we can deduce is Mark’s lawyer. Bonnie reminds Mark that he agreed that he would cease all contact with Ellen.

Mark agrees, somewhat reluctantly. Like us, I think he’s had a lot of fun with these letters.

Something I missed last time; Bonnie asks Mark to bring some candies and some devilled eggs to a party they’re both attending. It sounds like Mark may be a dab-hand in the kitchen; as well as The King Of Snarky Correspondence.

The first appearance of Karen in Season 2 does not pass without fanfare. Karen’s first letter is preceded by a very unique karaoke performance. Thanks to the video, we know it’s a fairly recent performance from 2014; at a bar called Di’s. What the singer lacks in any remote form of vocal talent; she makes up for in enthusiasm.

Speaking of lacking in capabilities; here comes Karen…

We’re back in familiar territory. It is once more the summer of 1987, and Mark’s now infamous tenants are just moving in.
Karen has some important questions:

Why is a cashier’s cheque called a cashier’s cheque?

Why does rent have to be paid up front?

It’s ok Karen. Anything you pay your landlord in advance; you can just ask for back at a later date. Once you’ve compiled your list – sorry, 2 lists – of ludicrous demands.

Next up was the absolute highlight of the episode for me. Ellen’s Rental Application form! Which was given to Mark after she had already moved in. Of course it was. There were some huge and fantastical revelations contained within:

Ellen can drive, but doesn’t like to, as she isn’t very good at it. Can you imagine?!

I think we should all just take a minute to be grateful that for once in Ellen’s life, common sense prevailed. I’m sure that there are many people who are still alive today; due to Ellen being reluctant to venture out behind the wheel.

We also learn that Ellen doesn’t have any pets. Something else to be thankful for. Any animals in Ellen’s care would probably have been very clean; but also probably pretty dead. If she’s not spending money on fuel and pet food; Ellen is going to have to find something else to splash out on. Because she has a LOT of money. A monthly allowance of $1,200; plus $350 per month from her trust fund. In today’s money, that’s an income of $3,390 per month. I’m a little upset that Ellen was better off as a student in 1987, than I am working 30 years later! But, I digress…

The biggest shock for me was to find out that Ellen had not only survived a year living away from home; but that she did this abroad. Budapest, Hungary, no less. What was she doing there? Some kind of student exchange programme? Why Hungary? Did she mistakenly think it was a country full of starving children; whom she could help through some kind of Good Deeds? I’d love to know. Hopefully we’ll find out more as Season 2 progresses.

“Ava”, who Ellen lived with in Budapest, is among Ellen’s list of referees. I bet Ava could tell a few tales about Ellen’s escapades abroad. Ellen’s astrologer is also on the list. Her number is unlisted, but Ellen assures Mark that she can get a message to her. They’re probably telepathically linked. Also down on the form are some previous employers. These include the Pickle company, whom we’ve heard mention of before. The site of another fiery work-place incident; that frustratingly never gets expanded upon. Ellen tells Mark, ” I don’t think you need to know about that.”

Oh we do Ellen. We really do.

Before we leave this gem of a document, we have to talk about the astrology section. The form didn’t have an astrology section; Ellen just found it extremely pertinent to include this information. Wow. She is seriously into this stuff. She gives a detailed analysis of star sign compatibility; of which Professor Trelawny would have been proud. Let’s just remind ourselves that this isn’t an application for a dating agency. It’s a tenancy agreement.

There was a great deal of information to attempt to relay; but here goes.

Ellen is a Gemini.

The best landlords for Ellen would be another Gemini, or a Sagittarius. Taureans and Cancerians would be considered; but Scorpios are a definite No Go.

Purely because they are Scorpios. And we all know what that means.

Virgos and Pisces are also no good for Geminis. This is because their suns are squared to each other. Apparently this is bad.

Moon, square, sun, is also difficult; but could be risked for the right property.

Understand now? Nope, me neither. I haven’t got the first clue what Ellen is on about here. But I’m going to attempt to find out. I’ll do a bit of research, and attempt to decipher some of this in a future blog post. Watch this space! (No pun intended).

After that complete and utter brain-fry, it’s comforting to be back with an unhappy Mark, in October of 1987. The rent is short. (He’d better get used to that!) This is due to yet more deductions decided upon by Karen. She has taken $231.00 off the rent cheque, to cover a “lost” porch light, and a pair of binoculars.

Now I’m sorry, but $231.00?????? The $30 bath mat in Season 1 was bad enough; but in what universe do 1 light + 1 pair of binoculars cost $231.00?????

Quite rightly, Mark is having none of this. He announces he’s coming to visit, to collect the outstanding amount. And also to replace the Caldwells’ sprinkler heads, that have mysteriously been broken. (The Caldwells are the neighbours of Karen and Ellen, who also rent a property from Mark).

Replying to Mark, Karen reveals that they think that the porch light may have been stolen! This is why binoculars are required. To retrospectively watch out for the perpetrator of a crime that has already occurred. Completely logical! Karen also apologises to Mark for not hearing the doorbell when he attempted to call round. Maybe the thief made off with the doorbell too? Or perhaps the car wash was just particularly loud that day! These 2 will be needing hearing aids next, as well as binoculars.

Mark suggests that maybe the girls should file a police report about the theft. He is also surprised that the girls have already bought a replacement light, without consulting him first. Oh Mark. Little do you know! Authorisation and jurisdiction mean nothing to these two. I just hope that they got it in Eggshell.

Karen is very quick to reassure Mark that there is no need to involve the police.(Personally, I think that this is because Rob’s sticky fingerprints are all over the porch light. Probably on the Caldwells’ sprinkler heads too. Clumsy seems to be his middle name.)
Karen has enclosed 2 cheques for the remainder of the rent. Ellen is paying more, as she wasn’t home when the porch light disappeared. Maybe this is because the cost wouldn’t divide equally by 2. Or maybe it’s a Karen-imposed fine, for Ellen not using her “inner-eye” to foresee the theft.

Suddenly, the episode takes a whole new direction. According to the video, we’re in Manhattan, KS; and it’s 1998.

“This is unbelievable,” somebody is writing. What, we don’t know. But it’s not Karen’s maths skills this time. It sounds like something way bigger.

BUT WHAT???

“Long story. Want to get to work straight away. Need the entire team out here, like yesterday.”

What is going on? This sounds huge. I can’t wait to find out. At the moment, I have zero sensible guesses. In my head, I’m imagining another Rob-fuelled catastrophe. An entire team of agents; with Men-In-Black-style gadgets; swoop in to erase the memories of any witnesses. All in the name of protecting You Know Who.

The final line of this exchange is:
“Until I say so, no-one knows about this.”
Whoever you are, please say so quickly. WE NEED TO KNOW!

The penultimate part of Episode 1 brings us hurtling back to 2017. We at last get to hear a few more details about the results of Sara’s cyber-stalking; which we had a teaser for at the end of Season 1. Sara is truly a Facebook sleuth extraordinaire. She has found someone called Rob, who was married to Karen. This is phenomenal news! But – and it’s a big But – they were both born in the 1950s. This doesn’t tally up with them being teenagers in the late 1980s. And they already had a child. A girl. Josh voices what we’re all thinking…..

“COULD IT BE ELLEN?”

Could it? This is mind-blowing. Is everything that we thought we knew that we knew, a lie?

And that’s where we are left hanging. How can any of this make sense? Like Karen’s maths, it doesn’t add up. 

Fittingly, we end the episode hearing from the person at the centre of this controversy. Ellen’s heart-warming mouse release video wraps up Episode 1. We’ve got a date for this video now, 2016. (Thanks YouTube). So this is ultra-recent Ellen. Exciting! This is conclusive proof she’s been found, surely?

As usual, Josh has left us with more questions than answers. Will we get any answers in episode 2? Somehow I doubt it! But whenever they come; it’s totally terrifical to be immersed once more in the crazy world of Karen & Ellen.

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.

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.

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.