Oh No, Ross and Carrie!
|Oh No, Ross and Carrie!|
|Hosted by||Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy|
|Genre||Science, spirituality, medicine|
|Updates||One or two per month|
|Original release||March 10, 2011 – present|
Oh No, Ross and Carrie! is a skeptical podcast produced in Los Angeles and distributed by the Maximum Fun network. The hosts personally investigate claims about spirituality, fringe science, religion, and the paranormal, then discuss their findings on the show. The motto of the podcast is "We show up so you don't have to."
The hosts, Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy, met at a book club meeting at the Center for Inquiry (CFI) West, where they discovered they had a mutual love for The Simpsons television program. They were also both interested in religion and fringe science, so they decided to attend a meeting of the Kabbalah Centre in LA together and analyze the claims made there. That experience inspired them to start their own podcast centered around such investigations.
The first episode, based on their experiences at the Kabbalah Centre, was released on March 10, 2011. The show was independently distributed until it became part of the Maximum Fun network in January 2014. Funding for the hosts' investigations comes from listener donations.
The podcast has been ranked among the top 100 podcasts on iTunes in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The highest ranking it has achieved in each country is #30 in Australia, #28 in Canada, #93 in the UK, and #36 in the U.S. It has also been one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes in the Religion and Spirituality category, ranking as high as #11 on February 9, 2014.
Most episodes feature Ross and Carrie talking about their experiences during a recent investigation they performed, while some episodes are based on interviews with guests who have some relation to a recent investigation. The investigations usually take place in the Los Angeles area, although some have occurred in other areas of California and Arizona. When investigating a claim, the hosts generally attend meetings or sessions having conducted little background research in order to get a feel for what the average person would experience. They perform the investigations undercover and only reveal that they are journalists if asked. On one occasion, when investigating the Ordo Templi Orientis, they used assumed names to protect their identities. Some investigations are continued over the span of more than one episode.
The hosts have even gone so far as to be baptized into the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Raëlian UFO religion to more fully explore the teachings of these religions. Carrie was also certified as a Reiki healer in the course of an investigation.
At the end of each investigation, the hosts subjectively rate the level of pseudoscience, creepiness, danger, and cost (or "pocket drainer" value) of the claim or group they studied using ten-point scales. The pseudoscience rating is based on a scale in which the theory of evolution has a score of 1 (completely scientific) and the idea that humans are made completely of goat sperm has a score of 10 (completely pseudoscientific).
Beginning in February, 2016, they began releasing episodes about an investigation of the Church of Scientology. In their first Scientology episode, the pair state that an investigation of Scientology was their most frequent request. The Scientology episodes were recommended by The Guardian, The A.V. Club, Boing Boing, and SplitSider. As of June, 2016, there are nine episodes devoted to the Scientology investigation. Former senior Scientology executive Mike Rinder said of one episode that "the insight into the current state of affairs inside LA Org is revelatory" because Ross is the only person who takes one of the introductory classes, despite Scientology's claims that their Los Angeles site is an ideal example of Scientology's success.
In addition to episodes about investigations, Ross and Carrie have also released shows based on interviews with guests who have some relation to or expertise in the subject of a recent investigation. Notable guests include the following:
- Brian Keith Dalton, producer of Mr. Deity
- Mark Edward, mentalist and psychic entertainer
- Emery Emery, comedian and podcast host
- Roger Nygard, film director
- Don Prothero, paleontologist
- Eugenie Scott, anthropologist and advocate for evolution education
Ross Dwain Blocher lives in the Los Angeles area and works on animated films for Disney Animation Studios. He has a BFA in animation from Woodbury University. He has worked as a technical director and training project manager on several major film releases, including The Simpsons Movie, The Princess and the Frog, and Frozen. Blocher also investigates fringe science and spirituality with the Independent Investigations Group. Both of Blocher's parents were math teachers.
Carrie Poppy is a writer and actress living in Los Angeles. She studied theater and philosophy at the University of the Pacific, then studied improvisation and sketch comedy at The Groundlings. She previously worked for the James Randi Educational Foundation and currently writes an investigative column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. She is vegan and active in the animal rights movement. 'Miss Ella Poppy', her dog, is frequently a guest host.
Ross and Carrie presented a workshop on investigation techniques, along with the hosts of the MonsterTalk podcast, at The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012. At that same meeting, Poppy gave a talk on the importance of using inclusive language when reaching out to people with beliefs that are different from one's own.
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