Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. She has several elaborate theories involving pop culture and monkeys, all of which are available on request.

Holmes began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to MSNBC.com, where she has written about books, movies, television and pop-culture miscellany.

Holmes' work has also appeared on Vulture (New York magazine's entertainment blog), in TV Guide and in many, many legal documents.

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Monkey See
9:11 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Top Five' And The Art Of The Mixtape

NPR

This week's show brings our pal Audie Cornish into the studio for a conversation about Chris Rock's comedy Top Five. We get into the balance of industry satire and romance, the particular variety of raunchy comedy the film favors, and how his deft handling of the agony of junkets contrasts with the actually impressive round of interviews Rock has done surrounding the film.

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Monkey See
7:53 am
Fri December 19, 2014

A Different 'Annie,' But Still A Good Kid

Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis star in the latest incarnation of the musical Annie.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 10:19 am

The sun'll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun

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Monkey See
3:07 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

Adnan Syed
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:32 pm

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

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Monkey See
10:05 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Yes, Serial Is True Crime — And That's OK

Sarah Koenig will, on Thursday, host the final episode of the first season of Serial.
Meredith Heuer

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:11 pm

As The Conversation About Serial reaches a fever pitch in certain circles, those of us behind Code Switch and Monkey See have been talking quite a bit about the show.

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Monkey See
9:23 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Watts Going On: The Gaudy Excess Of 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

The Fuller family's Christmas light display in Clayton, N.C.
Brownie Harris ABC

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:11 am

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

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Monkey See
9:12 am
Fri December 12, 2014

'Top Five': A Good, Not Great, Day In New York With Chris Rock

Rosario Dawson (left) plays Chelsea Brown, a New York Times reporter who spends a day interviewing Rock's character, Andre Allen.
Ali Paige Goldstein Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Chris Rock has been on a tear — a widely shared interview with Frank Rich in New York Magazine, a widely shared guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, interviews with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered, Terry Gross on

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Monkey See
7:41 am
Fri December 12, 2014

The Great 'Parks And Rec' Clip War Of 2014

My friend Alan Sepinwall and I have both written in the past about our affection for Parks And Recreation, the NBC comedy that is not only about to end, but is about to end in a burst of weekly back-to-back episodes that will have it over by the end of February.

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Monkey See
6:44 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From Sixth And I

NPR

On Tuesday night, December 9, we gathered at the historic Sixth & I synagogue in Washington for our biggest live show yet. Along with our great friend Barrie Hardymon, Stephen, Glen and I talked about some of our takeaways from the year, from podcasts to great books to the music that wouldn't die.

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Monkey See
7:15 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Holiday Encores Edition

NPR

Here at PCHH HQ (PCHHQ?), we are hard at work preparing for our December 9th live show at Sixth and I in Washington. For that reason, we decided to bring you a couple of encore segments from past holiday editions of the show.

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Monkey See
8:21 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Kid Stuff And Leftover Outtakes

NPR

It's a holiday weekend for many of us, but we've still got a fresh episode — and a sparkly new panelist in the fourth chair: Guy Raz, host of NPR's TED Radio Hour. When we asked Guy about coming on the show, we learned that pop-culture-wise, he — like our own Stephen Thompson — spends a lot of time sharing stuff with his kids. So this seemed like a good week to get around to Disney's current hit, Big Hero 6. But not just that! We also cover new shows on Amazon, old films Stephen will harass you into seeing, and lots more.

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Monkey See
3:22 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Christmas Bells Are Ringing, And Cable Holiday Movies Are Unrelenting

Candace Cameron Bure and David O'Donnell star in Hallmark's Christmas Under Wraps, which airs Saturday on The Hallmark Channel.
Fred Hayes Crown Media

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 5:36 pm

On today's All Things Considered, my great dream came true: Audie Cornish and I sat down for a chat about Hallmark/Lifetime/UP movies of the holiday season. Do people really watch them? What are they about? Can they save Christmas? You may have read my story a couple of weeks back about being busted watching these movies, so you know that I mean it when I say I watch them and I don't judge.

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Monkey See
6:40 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Foxcatcher' And The Art Of The Trailer

NPR

We're getting into the thick of Oscar movie season, and one of the interesting and curious entries is Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in a film fairly loosely based on a true story out of Delaware in the mid-'90s. (Details here; to the degree history can be a spoiler, that is one.) We sat down this week to talk about the film with our pal, NPR film critic Bob Mondello.

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Monkey See
1:01 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Mike Nichols: Remembering The Ellipses After The Story Ends

Mike Nichols, seen here in 2013, died Wednesday at 83.
Dario Cantatore AP

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion from me and my Pop Culture Happy Hour colleague Stephen Thompson about Mike Nichols and his work. Stephen tells a great family story about the impact of Nichols' comedy — give it a listen.]

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Monkey See
9:22 am
Wed November 19, 2014

'Grape Salad' Is Not Minnesotan, And Other Lessons In Cultural Mapmaking

Organic grapes are on display at trade fair on Sept. 5, in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:15 pm

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Monkey See
12:47 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

'MasterChef Junior': The Secret Ingredients Are Moppets And Empathy

Abby knows better than to lose her concentration while cooking.
Greg Gayne Fox

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Monkey See
3:58 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

A Painful Hollywood Portrait Makes For Great TV On 'The Comeback'

Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback.
Colleen Hayes HBO

In 2005, Lisa Kudrow starred in a little HBO show called The Comeback, a show styled as — get ready for this — the raw footage for a (fictional) reality show about a (fictional) actress named Valerie Cherish, getting her big chance to come back in the (fictional) sitcom Room And Bored. The show was well reviewed but low-rated, and it was canceled after 13 episodes.

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Monkey See
12:36 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

'State Of Affairs': Television From The Precise Middle Of The Barrel

Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) meets with President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard).
Michael Parmelee NBC

The best and worst thing I can say about the new NBC drama State Of Affairs is the bottom line: if this is the kind of show you like, you might like this show.

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Monkey See
7:25 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Revived Properties And Cultural Dichotomies

NPR

We chose not to assign ourselves Dumb And Dumber To this week. Call it the shortness of life, call it the urgency of busy schedules, call it limited tolerance for catheter jokes — we declined. We did, however, get talking about whether this film, and others that come many years later to try to pump life into an aging franchise, are ever simply too late to the party to be successful.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Thu November 13, 2014

A Great Director — Who's Also A Woman — Might Direct 'Wonder Woman'

Michelle MacLaren, seen here accepting an award as a producer on Breaking Bad, may direct the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 10:06 am

Michelle MacLaren is a familiar name, or at least a familiar creator, to fans of high-end television: She directed episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and other series, she's worked extensively as a producer (including on Breaking Bad), and she's one of a handful of television directors whose presence behind the camera can stir enthusiasm about upcoming projects.

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Monkey See
12:02 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging: On Difference, High-Fives, And Podcasts

I've been listening to Startup — the podcast started by Planet Money alum Alex Blumberg to talk about the establishment of his company, Gimlet Media — since it debuted in early September. It appears every other Monday, so they posted their seventh episode this morning.

I'm surprised it took me until their fourth episode, which I heard on October 10, to notice that I couldn't remember any women being heard on the show other than Blumberg's [awesome and hilarious] wife and the [less present but probably also delightful] wife of his business partner, Matt.

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Monkey See
6:41 am
Mon November 10, 2014

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Hits A Home Run With The Stupendous Andre Braugher

Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, L), Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher, C) and Det. Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz, R) try and figure out why Amy is late in Sunday night's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Eddy Chen Fox

The Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a tiny bit uneven in its first few episodes last year, but it was always clear that it had the goods. Since then, it's become one of the most reliably funny, sharp, and — in the tradition of shows like Parks & Recreation, which creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor also worked on — big-hearted comedies in prime time.

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Monkey See
9:07 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Interstellar' And Other Space Movies

NPR

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, is the live-action behemoth arriving in theaters this weekend, and we brought in our pal Chris Klimek to chat about its highs and lows, its big sound (literally) and gorgeous visuals. You'll find that we had mixed reactions once you count the emotional beats, technical accomplishments, structure, editing, and — as Chris points out — high saline budget.

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Monkey See
7:42 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Documents, Not Institutions: On 'Benched' And Not Sweating The Future

Eliza Coupe as Nina and Jay Harrington as Phil in USA's Benched.
Isabella Vosmikova USA

Eliza Coupe is one of the most precise comedic actresses you will ever see. Every muscle is at work on comedy, all the time. She has the kind of face that tempts you to say she has a great face, but that makes it seem like luck, and it's not luck. It's work.

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Monkey See
7:52 am
Mon November 3, 2014

The Luxury Of Solitude

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, near Freeport, Maine.
Linda Holmes NPR

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 3:16 pm

There are people who have no idea what they would do with themselves if they had a little under two weeks with no commitments, a car, a duffel bag, and a series of motel reservations making a loop around New England with a spur up into Maine.

I am not one of those people.

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Monkey See
6:39 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Transparent' And Pop Culture Debuts

NPR

For a couple of lovely weeks in October, our dear pal Ari Shapiro — who has long since forgiven us for making him watch the VMAs and Olympus Has Fallen for a prior episode — was back at NPR HQ to host Weekend Edition. While we had him here, we grabbed him up for a conversation about Transparent and pop culture debuts.

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Monkey See
6:58 am
Thu October 16, 2014

With Few Stages Left To Conquer, Neil Patrick Harris Goes To The Oscars

Neil Patrick Harris, seen here hosting the 2013 Emmys, is getting the Oscars job many have long wanted for him.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

It was an announcement of an old-school job that played out in a new media landscape: Yesterday, Variety reported that Neil Patrick Harris would host the Oscars, which they tweeted at 4:49 P.M. Harris himself tweeted a little video of himself crossing "Host the Oscars" off his bucket list — also at 4:49 P.M. Then finally, an interminable 26 minutes later, we got the press release from the Academy that announced with excitement that Neil Patrick Harris would host the Oscars in 2015.

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Monkey See
11:55 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: A Report From New York Comic-Con

Costumes were plentiful at the New York Comic-Con at Jacob Javitz Center.
Daniel Zuchnik Getty Images

Friend Of PCHH and NPR Books editor Petra Mayer recently returned from New York Comic-Con, so we asked her to talk a little about what she did while she was up there. As it happens, she kept herself very busy, moderating a panel full of authors she admires and chatting up one of the biggest nerd icons of her (and my) pop-culture coming-of-age.

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Monkey See
9:45 am
Wed October 15, 2014

HBO Without Cable, Coming In 2015

Lena Dunham and Allison Williams star in Girls, one of several popular HBO shows that stand-alone streaming could include.
Mark Schafer HBO

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 10:28 am

HBO has built a robust and popular online presence over the past couple of years with its app, HBO GO. But to get it — as is the case with many streaming services that offer television over the Internet — you've needed a cable subscription. In other words, HBO GO was an add-on for people who already had HBO, not an alternative way of getting shows for people who didn't.

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Monkey See
8:28 am
Tue October 14, 2014

'Marry Me' Throws Plenty Of Jokes (And Its Lead Actress) At The Wall

Ken Marino and Casey Wilson star in NBC's Marry Me.
Greg Gaynes NBC

I'm not sure I've ever seen a comedy use an opening scene to put a main character in a hole as deep as the one Marry Me digs for Annie, played by Casey Wilson. We meet her as she and her longtime boyfriend Jake (Ken Marino) return from a vacation during which she believed he would propose and he didn't.

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