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
12:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Sex And The Single Churl: Another 'Bachelorette' Finale Gets Weird

Andi gasps while accepting a proposal from Josh Murray (right, in the ill-fitting suit) on Monday night's finale of The Bachelorette.
Javier Pesquera ABC

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:03 pm

After the fact that it's a blatant and ridiculous fraud (in that it almost never gets anybody married), the first thing you might notice about The Bachelor(ette) franchise is its prim, Victorian attitudes about sex. For a show that encourages 14-person dates and the temporary negotiation of a lifestyle that could be best described as G-rated swinging, the whole shebang is awfully precious when it comes to the fact that sometimes, some of these people have sex with each other.

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Monkey See
10:28 am
Tue July 22, 2014

'Audience Measurement': How Networks And Critics Are Wrestling With Numbers

iStockphoto

If the Television Critics Association press tour of 2014, wrapping up Tuesday and Wednesday with presentations from PBS, has had a catchphrase, it's "audience measurement."

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Monkey See
7:22 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Television Critics Give Big Awards To 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange Is The New Black'

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on AMC's Breaking Bad.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

The Television Critics Association is a funny animal. Its challenge, as well as its strength, is that it includes people with massively different jobs: longtime print critics (both nationally and locally oriented) who have been coming to the annual press tour for decades, reporters who cover the television industry, cultural critics whose beats extend past television, online writers who specialize in weekly criticism — this is a lot of people who quite reasonably look at television differently.

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Monkey See
9:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

At This Summer's TV Press Tour, A Resounding Sense Of 'Meh'

Executive producer Anne Heche (left) and actress Kate Walsh speak at the Bad Judge panel during the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:30 am

There's a widespread belief that critics hate everything, revel in hating everything, and cannot be pleased. It's widespread and wrong, though.

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Press Tour Day 1: Paper Airplanes, Daniel Radcliffe, And Christmas

David Rees speaks onstage at the "Going Deep with David Rees" panel during the National Geographic Channels portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

For the next couple of weeks, I'm out in California covering the Television Critics Association press tour. Not familiar? Here's an introduction.

Day 1 of summer press tour began with hammering and ended with a giant Christmas tree.

Let's back up.

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Monkey See
8:08 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What's Happening In Television: It's Press Tour Time Again

It's that time again.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing from the Television Critics Association Press Tour, where a couple hundred critics convene in a giant hotel ballroom to question producers, writers, network executives, actors, and sometimes other folks about what's coming up on TV. It can bring out both the punchy and the grumpy in many folks you know who write about all this: Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter calls it the Death March With Cocktails. (A little later on, my NPR colleague Eric Deggans will be here, too.)

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Monkey See
5:49 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Too Old For Youth Culture And Toys

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Stephen Thompson and I are joined this week by our blog siblings Gene Demby and Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch, which always puts us in an upbeat and playful mood. Fittingly, we take a couple of listener questions this week about youth and play.

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Fri June 27, 2014

'They Came Together' Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play a couple, sort of, in the underwhelming rom-com parody They Came Together.
Lionsgate

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:21 pm

Writer-director David Wain is at the center of a loose comedy collective that's been working together (and cross-pollinating with other similar unofficial collectives) since The State, which was the name of both the original comedy troupe and the MTV sketch comedy show they held down from 1993 to 1995. The stars included Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ken Marino. Much of that team got back together in 2001 for the summer-camp-movie parody Wain directed and co-wrote with Showalter called Wet Hot American Summer.

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Monkey See
7:35 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Wild Cards And More Regrettable Television

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First, a huge thank-you to everyone who came to our live show this past week, and especially to our many special guests who helped us out on stage. We had a great time, and you'll be hearing the two shows we taped that night in a couple of weeks.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Building The 'Issue' Documentary: On Surveillance And South Africa

Albie Sachs is the subject of the documentary Soft Vengeance, which played at the AFI DOCS festival this weekend.
AFI DOCS

What used to be Silverdocs, the week-long documentary festival in downtown Silver Spring, Md., is now AFI DOCS, a four-day festival split between Silver Spring and a variety of D.C. venues.

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Monkey See
7:45 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Buddy Movies And First Impressions

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This week, the recent opening of 22 Jump Street — among many others — gets us talking about the buddy film. Not just the buddy-cop movie, but the buddy-frat movie, the depressingly rare female-buddy movie, and whatever else they come up with to create what Glen calls "the background noise of American popular culture." We talk about whether the straight-man/comic dynamic is going away, the long history of buddies, and the "bromance" idea with which not all of us are entirely comfortable.

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Monkey See
6:58 am
Mon June 16, 2014

The Spoiler-Free 'Game Of Thrones' Twitter Translator

Emilia Clarke as this beautiful blonde lady who may or may not one day be murdered on HBO's Game of Thrones. If she is, Twitter will tell you.
Helen Sloan HBO

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 8:55 am

Despite watching a great deal of television — highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow — I don't watch Game of Thrones. I have never been a fantasy fan, I can't tolerate extensive world-building without nodding off, I don't gravitate toward stories about epic wars, and I'm not particularly drawn by either nudity or innard-splattering. I watched more than half of the first season, I think, but I eventually reached a point in which my brain emphatically said, "This is not going to get better for us."

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Monkey See
6:48 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Edge Of Tomorrow' And Noble Flops

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If you're looking for a movie to see this weekend, may we recommend a movie you may not have seen last weekend?

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Monkey See
5:54 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Good News, Glamour-Likers: More 'Miss Fisher' To Come

Good to see you, Miss: Phryne Fisher will return for a third series of her Australian detective show.
Ben King Acorn

Let us begin this Friday with some unabashed joy: the Australian show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, adored by many a fan of glamorous lady detectives, smoldering fellows, sexual freedom and fantastic outfits, will return for a third series, according to the show's Facebook page.

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Hugh Jackman Jumps; Tony Viewers Say, 'What?'

Hugh Jackman gave it all he had at Sunday night's Tony Awards.
Heather Wines CBS

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 1:43 pm

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Monkey See
7:21 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Seeing Books Everywhere And Moments Of Grief

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This week's show brings back our friend Petra Mayer of NPR Books. Like me, Petra is fresh off a trip to Book Expo America (a/k/a BEA, FYI), where we both heard about a whole lot of new books. We'll mention some of the titles (though in many cases we haven't actually received the books yet), and we'll try to give you a sense of how this enormous trade show followed by a fan event actually works.

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Monkey See
7:40 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 8:14 am

The first ever BookCon, planned as an extension of the mega trade show Book Expo America by the same people who do Comic-Con, took place last weekend. It was headlined by, among other things, a robust diversity debate that bloomed on social media around the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. But it also functioned as an impressive, invigorating show of force for one of the most important nascent cultural interest groups we have: the Book Girls.

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Monkey See
6:31 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Godzilla' And Things That Got Better

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First of all: LIVE SHOW TICKETS! (On sale June 2 — that's a week from this coming Monday — at noon Eastern.)

Just wanted to put that up there; we'll get back to it.

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Monkey See
12:40 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

'Batman V Superman': A Legal Thriller (We Hope)

Henry Cavill played Superman in Man Of Steel and will return to go to court with Batman (we hope) next year.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:52 pm

We learned today that the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel will be called Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

This is interesting for several reasons. First of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like a dirty movie about sheriffs. Second of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like it precedes the Morning Of Reckoning, the Afternoon Of Relief, the Dusk Of Regret, the Evening Of Resignation, and the Hot Muggy Midnight Of History Repeating Itself, all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Next Day.

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Monkey See
10:02 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Be Wary And Bury The Very Scary 'I Wanna Marry Harry'

This is Matt. He looks slightly more like Prince Harry than you do.
Chris Raphael Fox

Gather round, children, and I will tell you of a dark time. A cruel time.

It was a time when reality dating shows were even worse than they are now.

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Monkey See
7:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fairy Tales And A Fall TV Quiz

A drawing of a snoozing Sleeping Beauty.
iStockphoto.com
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We could not be happier to bring back our friend Barrie Hardymon, who's out in California but still made time to come and chat with us. In recognition that we are soon to see the live-action Maleficent coming from Disney, we chat about fairy tales. "These are stories we tell our kids to get them to abandon us," Glen says. "We're giving them the psychic armor, the psychic tools, to say goodbye." We talk about old fairy tales, Disney-fied versions, and Glen's recognition that Germany hasn't had an easy time of it with their own versions.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Wed May 14, 2014

An Interview With The Alleged Purse Of Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles attends the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

This is the third in a very occasional series of posts in which we interview inanimate objects during fever dreams.

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Monkey See
11:57 am
Tue May 13, 2014

A First Glimpse: Sometimes You're The Batmobile, Sometimes You're The Bat

Today, Zack Snyder, the director of Batman vs. Superman, due in 2016, tweeted what he said was the first photo of the Batmobile. Beside it is ... Batman! Or, as Snyder put it, "#Batman." Because that's what we do now instead of using our words.

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Mon May 12, 2014

The Comb, The Thrill And The Flop

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's 1851 painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Saturday at about 10:30 in the morning, as New York took a turn for the muggy in what turned out to be anticipation of rain, I climbed the steps to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and rented one of the audio guide units that hang around your neck on an orange strap. I stayed about five hours, wearing out the battery on the audio unit and turning it in for another, wandering from the Egyptian art into the Temple of Dendur, through European sculptures to Arms and Armor and the American Wing, through Oceania, Africa and the Americas.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Daniel Radcliffe And The Blood And Breath Of Live Theater

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 12:55 pm

There is a strong crossover between your Daniel Radcliffe People and your Harry Potter People, for obvious reasons. Next to me at Broadway's Cort Theater on Thursday night, watching Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh's comedy The Cripple Of Inishmaan (a production that's Tony-nominated for Best Revival Of A Play) were three young women. Their first priority: finding out where to await him when the show was over, and strategically how to get a good spot.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Star Wars,' 'Louie' And Other Phenomena

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We're joined this week by the lovely Petra Mayer of NPR Books, who brings her serious sci-fi and fandom chops to our opening chat about the big Star Wars news.

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Monkey See
7:19 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Once More Into The Jaws Of The TV Dinosaur Known As Upfrontasaurus

Look, this is a dinosaur, okay? It could be any dinosaur. It has sunglasses on. We're not in scientific reality. Don't ask specific dinosaur questions.
iStockphoto

Next week, the broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the CW — will make their upfront presentations in New York. (There are some scattered cable ones too, like ESPN and TNT/TBS.) This is where they present their new shows, in the form of clips and sizzle reels, to advertisers. From a business perspective, it's really important in the same way that any sales pitch is really important: they sell ads, they make money, and when they get the advertising people excited, a show becomes a presumed frontrunner before it even premieres.

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Monkey See
7:09 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Posthumous Projects And People We're Pulling For

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This week's show finds us chatting with our pal Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch about, among other things, posthumous projects. There are still films coming out from Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman, there's an upcoming release of Michael Jackson recordings, and life after death for musicians is practically a tradition. We talk about Kafka, J Dilla, David Foster Wallace, and the ethics of piecing together work that was unfinished or perhaps even abandoned when the artist is no longer around to say yes or no.

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Monkey See
6:07 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Comedy, The News And A Bat Quiz

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All Things Considered host Audie Cornish joins us this week for an episode full of tough questions, comedy theory, and some really surprising information about all the ways that Batman has gotten weird over the last 75 years.

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Monkey See
1:33 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

A Punching Movie That Packs A Punch For People Who Like Punching

Paul Walker stars in Brick Mansions.
Relativity Media

It is never not awkward to talk about a film after one of the stars has died. That's perhaps never any more true than it is in the case of Brick Mansions, one of the last films of Paul Walker. Walker died in November of last year after a career that included a lot of movies like this one: silly, hyper action thrillers that often included, as this one does, moments in which everybody in the theater chortled at their insane, cartoonish brutality.

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