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
11:04 am
Thu April 17, 2014

God, Man And Lots Of Corridors In 'Transcendence'

Rebecca Hall plays Evelyn Caster, who makes a tough choice about her husband in Transcendence.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Transcendence is a science fiction story, but it's very much about faith. Early on, a member of a "neo-Luddite" group confronts Will Caster (Johnny Depp) about his work. Caster is promising a future in which a massive artificial intelligence will contain more knowledge than the world has ever collectively possessed, and the man – played by Lukas Haas, whom many of us first saw as a tiny Amish child in Witness, where he was also counseled about the dangers of modernity and technology – accuses him of trying to create a god.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Lusting For Spring In Our Hearts

A cherry blossom tree on the Potomac. Not bad, eh?
Mark Wilson Getty Images

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Monkey See
9:11 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Ken Burns Tackles Lincoln, Education And Money In 'The Address'

Cooper and Ned are two of the boys working on learning the Gettysburg Address in Ken Burns' latest documentary.
Lindsay Taylor Jackson/Florentine Films PBS

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:07 pm

The Ken Burns documentary The Address, premiering on most PBS stations Tuesday night, opens at the Greenwood School in Vermont, where students are being introduced to a longstanding tradition: studying the Gettysburg Address until they can recite it from memory in front of a large audience of students, staff and parents. If they succeed, they receive a special commemorative coin that is only given for this achievement. A first, second and third prize will be awarded — one for middle school, one for high school — for these performances.

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Monkey See
1:12 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

The Bitter Tundra Returns As 'Fargo' Comes To Television

Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in FX's Fargo.
Matthias Clamer FX

There are a lot of ways to adapt a film to a TV show, and it's not as common as it was for a while there. For a while, you had strange experiments like TV telling the story of Ferris Bueller, TV telling the story of Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing, and TV revisiting 9 to 5. Usually, it meant just moving the characters over to a series, having them played by new actors, and following new stories about them. (Melora Hardin as Baby Houseman!) Every now and then, it worked: you might have heard of M*A*S*H.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Kristen Wiig, Alice Munro And Negative Space In Fiction

Kristen Wiig plays Johanna Parry in Hateship Loveship, adapted from an Alice Munro short story.
IFC Films

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Monkey See
3:35 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

'Say Anything' At 25: Nothing Bought, Sold Or Processed

John Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:42 pm

"I don't feel anything."

Those are, surprisingly enough, the first words of the deeply felt Say Anything, which turns 25 years old on Monday. It opened April 14, 1989, and that weekend, it made $5.2 million. It wasn't enough to come anywhere close to what Major League pulled down in its second week ($9.1 million), but it was enough to come in one slot ahead of the opening weekend of the Tony Danza comedy She's Out of Control ($4.6 million).

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Sun April 13, 2014

'Mad Men' Returns, Full Of Footnotes

As Mad Men returns for its seventh season, its entire sprawling cast has plenty to do.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Imagine a scene in which a man is sitting on a park bench reading a book. A woman comes up and sits beside him. He looks up at her. She hands him a letter. "It's over," she says.

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Monkey See
6:57 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fargo, A Farewell, And Pop Culture Breadcrumbs

NPR
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This week's show opens on a wistful note for us: our pal Trey Graham, a founding member of the PCHH family, has taken his leave from NPR, and thus from us. He checks in with a message about his plans, we all thank him for his profound effects on our personal and professional lives, and Glen points out what is, indeed, "the Trey-Graham-iest mic drop" that could ever be.

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Monkey See
3:50 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

After The Horror Of War, What About Forgiveness?

Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman as Eric and Patti Lomax, the couple at the center of The Railway Man.
Jaap Buitendijk The Weinstein Company

Telling a story about forgiveness in the presence of love is easy. Telling a story about forgiveness in the absence of love is hard.

Forgiveness in the presence of love is done all the time — it's every story about relationships broken by mistakes, repaired by apologies and righted by the making of amends. It's every story that ends, "I'm so sorry, baby." The crack is plastered and sanded; it's a restoration.

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Silence And 'Godzilla'

Aaron Taylor-Johnson looks with dread at something. What is it? Well, the movie is called Godzilla, so that might be a hint.
Kimberley French Warner Brothers Pictures

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Monkey See
11:17 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Captain America' And The Pitiless March Of Time

Chris Evans is Captain America. But who's Captain America?
Marvel

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 12:11 pm

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On this week's show, Matt Thompson sits in as we talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Were we overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? Merely whelmed? How hard can I get myself thinking about the shots out the window of the Triskelion? (The answer to that last one is: entirely too hard, I know.) For more about the windows, the postcard views and more, don't miss my review from earlier this week.

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Monkey See
7:18 am
Fri April 4, 2014

David Letterman's Meticulously Unchoreographed Exit

David Letterman announced his retirement on Thursday night, but Twitter got to it first.
Jeffrey R. Staab CBS

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 10:32 am

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Monkey See
3:00 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

An Interview With A Hypothetical Super-Independent Athlete Baby

A very independent baby.
iStockphoto

It might have seemed like an unsurprising thing to do when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took three entire days off to tend to his newborn child, but if you listen to sports commentary, you know that it was not without controversy.

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Monkey See
8:59 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Captain America On The Potomac

Chris Evans as Captain America.
Zade Rosenthal Marvel

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:33 am

A genre film – one about superheroes, for instance – holds certain variables constant and allows others to change. The visual style can move, the dialogue style can move, and the force to be battled can move: what fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer call the "Big Bad."

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Monkey See
7:18 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Oh, 'Mother': An Awful End To A Long Love Story

Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti, as Ted and the mother, deserved better on the series finale.
Ron P. Jaffe CBS

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:55 pm

[WARNING: If you haven't seen the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, don't watch it. Just kidding! Sort of. This piece, at any rate, contains plot details from that finale.]

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Monkey See
8:11 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated 'Superhero' Without Apology

Essie Davis has read about how Phryne is a "hussy." She doesn't mind.
Ben King Acorn.TV

In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.

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Monkey See
5:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Sex And The Greater 'Good Wife': Archie Panjabi On Keeping That Big Secret

Archie Panjabi plays Kalinda Sharma on CBS's The Good Wife.
Jeffrey Neira CBS

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:15 pm

Archie Panjabi is part of the cast of CBS's The Good Wife, which has spent much of this week hearing an earful about a major plot development on last Sunday's episode. (They discuss her feelings about the reaction, but do not specify what the development was.)

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Monkey See
8:48 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Tyranny Of Release Dates, Part II: 'The Lunchbox'

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a widower whose correspondence comes in an unlikely package — a lunchbox.
Ritesh Batra Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:16 pm

The romantic comedy-drama is not dead; it's just being platformed.

I saw The Lunchbox, the first feature from director Ritesh Batra, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year. Starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, it takes as its jumping-off point the dabbawalas of Mumbai, guys on bikes who run a lunchbox-delivery system that brings hot, delicious lunches to people working in offices. (Spoiler alert: you will envy this system by film's end.)

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Monkey See
7:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

'Tell Me Two Things Good': A Happiness Experiment

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:16 pm

One of my old pals used to come walking into a room at the end of a long day, sigh, look around, and say, "Tell me two things good." They could be big things, small things, anything — he had to hear two things, and they had to be good things, and you had to think of them right away.

Wednesday night, I asked Twitter this crucial question. Here are some of the responses.

Monkey See
6:54 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Ugh: 'Good Wife,' Bad Idea

Josh Charles as Will Gardner and Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sherma on The Good Wife. In a word, "Ugh."
CBS

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:13 pm

[CAUTION: Do not, under any circumstances, read any farther unless you want to know what happened on Sunday night's The Good Wife. Do not say you were not warned.]

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Monkey See
8:27 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Authenticity Business And A Colorful Quiz

NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:40 am

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On this week's episode, our pal Gene Demby is with us for a discussion of the recent Between Two Ferns episode in which the President of the United States chatted about the Hangover movies. What does this kind of appearance accomplish? What is the meaning of "keeping it real" in current popular culture? And what does this all have to do with mayonnaise? Oh, you'll find out.

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Monkey See
7:12 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Would You Order The Grande Soy Oprah?

Howard Schultz, left, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, clinks tea cups with Oprah Winfrey, right, to announce their partnership to offer Teavana Oprah Chai tea.
Ted S. Warren AP

Say this to yourself: "I'd like a grande skim Oprah."

Let it roll off your tongue. Let it echo in your head. Let it burn itself into your brain. Really feel it.

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that, in partnership with Oprah Winfrey, it had developed Oprah Chai Tea, which will be available either as regular tea or as a chai latte. When will it be here? "In time for Mother's Day."

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Monkey See
6:15 am
Thu March 20, 2014

'Mad Men' Reveals: In The New Season, People Will Wear Things

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a publicity photo for the upcoming seventh season of Mad Men. This is pretty much all we know. If we told you more, we'd have to ... well, you know.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Many of the more interesting shows on television have their little peculiarities: Community has Dan Harmon going on for thousands of words at a time about his feelings, Game of Thrones has fretting over the pace of the show versus the books, and Mad Men has creator Matthew Weiner coming out ahead of every season and giving a bunch of interviews to promote it in which he doesn't say anything about it.

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Monkey See
1:38 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

'Veronica Mars' And The Bad Caterpillar Theory

In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a recent law school grad living in New York when an old flame — Logan Echolls — calls her back to her home town of Neptune, Calif.
Robert Voets Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 2:57 pm

[CAUTION: Contains information about both show and movie. Be warned.]

The story of the Veronica Mars movie has already become the insta-cook version of a legend: creator and star band together for Kickstarter campaign to add chapter to cult series, fans rally, movie gets made.

Does it really matter whether it's a good movie? Maybe not. Maybe wondering whether it's good is the equivalent of critiquing a bobblehead handed out at Comic-Con: it's supposed to make people who loved something nostalgically happy; if it makes them happy, who cares?

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Monkey See
6:41 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Naked And The Nerds

NPR
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A while ago, we devoted a segment to the matter of profanity, and now, as summer follows spring and spring (supposedly) follows winter, we are moving on to the issue of nudity. When is it decorative? When is it exploitation? And how would they see all of this from Europe?

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Monkey See
7:44 am
Thu March 13, 2014

A Peek At The New Season Of 'Orange Is The New Black'

Taylor Schilling in a scene from Netflix's Orange Is The New Black.
Jessica Miglio Netflix

We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming season of Orange Is The New Black, but Netflix put out three images today that might give you something to at least chew on. It certainly appears that we'll be picking up where we left off, in a very immediate sense.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
8:10 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Every Reality Show Is A True Story, And Other 'Bachelor' Lessons

Bachelor Juan Pablo. Sorry, Clare." href="/post/every-reality-show-true-story-and-other-bachelor-lessons" class="noexit lightbox">
This is what "I didn't pick you" looks like, coming from Bachelor Juan Pablo. Sorry, Clare.
Rick Rowell ABC

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:10 pm

Every reality show is an entirely true story.

It is not the story that it claims to be — the story of two tribes building a new civilization, the story of America's search for its next superstar — but it is a true story nevertheless. It is, or at least it contains, the true story of the conception, creation, marketing, viewing, analyzing and evolution over time of a piece of entertainment that lives in the swampy, foggy, half-real version of the truth that it creates.

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Monkey See
7:53 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Part Beauty, Part Hooey: That's A Wrap On 'True Detective'

Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) had a lot to say about life, philosophy and beer on HBO's True Detective, which wrapped its first season Sunday night.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:26 am

[This piece contains a detailed discussion of Sunday night's True Detective finale. If you haven't seen it and you plan to see it and you don't want to know what happens, stop reading.]

[Seriously, information ahoy.]

Spoiler alert: The dirty-faced, crazy-talking, disheveled impoverished guy did it.

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Monkey See
6:45 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Oscars, 'Drag Race' And Shut-Ins Edition

NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:11 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

When we taped this show on Tuesday, we had all had quite a lot of the Oscars, to be honest. And we secretly suspect that with the all-out pile-on that continues for months before the ceremony, you might not require an all-out assault on the whole thing. So this week, you'll hear a quick wrap-up of how we felt about the hosting, some of the speeches, some of the great moments of Adele Nazeem-ing it up, and then we'll bid the entire thing farewell until next year. Next year, Oscars.

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