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
3:12 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Alan Ball On Leaving 'True Blood' Behind

Writer Alan Ball arrives at the premiere of the fifth season of HBO's True Blood in May. Ball is leaving the series at the end of this season.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:00 am

Nothing panics the fans of a show quite like the departure of the creator. That's just what's happening at True Blood, where creator Alan Ball is leaving after five seasons, but the show goes on. As he tells Laura Sullivan on weekends on All Things Considered, he feels some nostalgia, but he's ready.

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Monkey See
12:27 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

'Project Runway' And The Designer Who Looked Even Worse Than His Clothes

Designer Ven Budhu, seen here on a previous episode, got in big trouble on last night's Project Runway.
Lifetime

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 3:04 pm

[Contains information about last night's episode.]

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Monkey See
10:17 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Sidekicks, Holograms, And PCHH 101

NPR
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On this week's show, it's time to talk about the supporting characters who are getting their own stories — just like Judd Apatow is doing for Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters in This Is 40. If you can't get behind Glen's spin-off idea from the world's most studly franchise, then I just don't know what to say to you, because frankly, it's brilliant.

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Monkey See
10:00 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Rovers Are From Mars: How Curiosity Is Killing It On Twitter

This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Mars Rover, Curiosity.
AP

Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.

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Monkey See
10:13 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Michael J. Fox Gets A New Comedy: Has NBC Found A Way To Make Some Progress?

Michael J. Fox, seen here in April, will have a new NBC comedy in the fall of 2013.
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

NBC is in need of a stroke of luck. They need something to work. The Olympics are over; it hasn't appreciably changed anything yet, and there's certainly no swell of excitement about Animal Practice and Go On that leads me to believe previewing them during the Olympics will make them hits any more than that strategy usually does.

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Liberal Arts'

Josh Radnor has been playing the much-maligned — and I would perhaps say overly maligned — Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother since 2005. We've known for a while that he's ultimately interested in being a filmmaker — his 2010 film Happythankyoumoreplease got mixed reviews, but won an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Monkey See
8:41 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Manifestations Of Grief And Extra Book Material

NPR

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:20 am

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What's that you say? You wanted more Barrie Hardymon? Well, this week, Stephen is in Wisconsin probably eating some cheese or something, so we have Barrie back for a second consecutive week (hooray!).

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Monkey See
3:00 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Ten Fall Shows That Need More Sharks

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 4:32 pm

I'm sure you've already noticed — from the parades, the fact that your mail hasn't been arriving, and the way everyone gets the week off of work — but this is Shark Week, when the Discovery Channel generates a week of shark-themed programming. (Tonight: Sharkzilla, which is, surprisingly enough, not a SyFy movie, and the Mythbusters shark special.) (Trivia: Did you know the decorative shark that is traditionally displayed on or near Discovery's Silver Spring, Md. headquarters to celebrate this special week is named "Chompy"?

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Monkey See
10:27 am
Mon August 13, 2012

'Stars Earn Stripes': It's Offensive, But At Least It's Boring

Terry Crews is one of eight celebrities supposedly getting a taste of military life in Stars Earn Stripes.
Chris Haston NBC

The fact that NBC's new reality show Stars Earn Stripes is kind of an offensive concept should not distract you from the fact that it's stultifyingly boring as television and badly designed as a reality-competition show.

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Monkey See
11:04 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: On Fall TV And Whether Criticism Is Too Nice

NPR
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This week, I managed to return from press tour, but we are still without Trey Graham. Fortunately, that means that the lovely Barrie Hardymon joined us for this episode, which kicks off with me fully (and exhaustively — sorry!) debriefing the team about fall television as I experienced it out in Los Angeles.

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Fri August 10, 2012

On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 3:00 pm

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Monkey See
9:09 am
Wed August 8, 2012

'Go On,' Matthew Perry, And Being Patient With Comedy Pilots

Sarah Baker as Sonia, Matthew Perry as Ryan King, and Brett Gelman as Mr. K in the new comedy Go On.
Jordin Althaus NBC

Tonight, after NBC wraps up its Olympic coverage — at a time currently listed as 11:04 p.m. — they'll be previewing Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Go On, which will then go away until its regular premiere on September 10.

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Monkey See
9:34 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Good Business, Bad Quality: How NBC Is Both Right And Wrong On The Olympics

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning gold in the Men's 100m Final yesterday. If you get your Olympics coverage on television, you didn't see it live.
Alexander Hassenstein Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:36 pm

The following exchange has played out over and over in the last ten days:

Point: "NBC's coverage of the Olympics stinks, because everything is tape-delayed and cut to shreds, and also the announcers are awful and they only care about American athletes, and by the time I get to watch anything, I already know what happened."

Counterpoint: "People are watching in huge numbers."

Point: "But quality."

Counterpoint: "But business."

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Monkey See
11:38 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Press Tour 2012: The View So Far, Part II

Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere speak onstage at the "Nashville" panel.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

We're in the final stretch — kind of — at the Television Critics Association press tour. We've now heard from all the major broadcast networks, and we've got a day of set visits and three days of cable to close things out after today's CW and Showtime presentations.

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Monkey See
10:11 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Press Tour 2012: The View So Far

Crystal the Monkey shows up to promote NBC's new comedy Animal Practice.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

We're about a week into the Television Critics Association press tour for this summer, and so far we've heard from PBS, NBC and Fox. Still to come: ABC (today and tomorrow), CBS/Showtime/The CW (Sunday and Monday), and the rest of cable, including HBO, Discovery, BBC America, ESPN, and so on (Wednesday through Friday of next week).

So how is it looking?

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Press Tour 2012: That Tiger Isn't Wearing Any Pants, And Other Controversies

Daniel Tiger of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, coming soon to PBS.
PBS

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 12:50 pm

Admittedly, PBS would have had a hard time living up to the experience of its first day at this summer's Television Critics Association's press tour here in Pasadena — the omelets, the cast of Downton Abbey, all that. But its second day started where a lot of people start with PBS: with kid stuff.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Sun July 22, 2012

'Free Bates': The Third Season Of 'Downton Abbey' And More From PBS

Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey, shows his feelings during the press tour presentation Saturday night.
Rahoul Ghose PBS

Yesterday was the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, when TV reporters and critics descend upon Beverly Hills to hear about what's to come in the next six or eight months. We'll hear from all the big broadcast networks and most of the big (and not-so-big) cable outlets, but we're starting this year with PBS.

Candidly, not all the critics are showing up for PBS — not all of them write about it very much. It's a shame, though, because yesterday may have been, on the whole, the liveliest day I've ever had at press tour.

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Monkey See
12:11 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Breaking Bad' And A Little Sad

NPR

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:30 pm

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We've been doing PCHH for two years now, and we've never really talked in detail about Breaking Bad. That's kind of weird, but it's partly an artifact of the fact that it took us a while to develop an adequate background, since the only one of us who was a regular watcher from the beginning was Mike Katzif, our producer.

But this week, with me and Glen fully up to speed (along with Mike) and with Stephen and Trey recent experimenters who watched a few early episodes and then jumped ahead to Sunday's season premiere — heresy, I know, but they did it anyway — we dive in.

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Monkey See
11:52 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Emmy Nominations Are Tomorrow, So Let's Overanalyze Our Favorites

Bryan Cranston as Walter White in AMC's Breaking Bad.
Gregory Peters AMC

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:27 pm

Thursday morning, TV critics will report, with a little (in the case of east coast critics) or a lot (particularly in the case of west coast critics up at 5:00 in the morning) of grumpiness, who's gotten Emmy nominations. Some of my thoughts about the Emmys came out in a chat I recently had with several of my critic colleagues, graciously hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, which has posted the unedited chat.

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Monkey See
10:03 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

The Id, The Ego And The Superhero: What Makes Batman Tick?

Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises.
Ron Phillips Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 9:11 am

When you look at Batman with a coldly analytical eye — and he's hard to avoid these days, with The Dark Knight Rises set to come out Friday — a few things stand out as potential red flags: the secrecy, the lair, the attraction to danger, the blithe self-sacrifice, the ... cape.

It's unusual, all of it, you have to admit. Sure, he's handy to have around in an emergency, and you can't beat a fella who can be summoned with a giant light in the sky in the event you've got no cellphone reception.

But is he entirely ... well?

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Monkey See
10:34 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Spiders And Kittens And Lots Of Gratitude

NPR

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:09 pm

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It's been a while since we were all at the table together, but this week, the PCHH team returns in force to talk about The Amazing Spider-Man, whether it matters whether a film is "necessary," and whether charming leads are enough to make up for certain story shortfalls, if we presume that they exist. What will happen? Who will compare Spider-Man to Hamlet? Who will call Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker "moist"? (Okay, that one is me.) There are some basic Spider-Man spoilers, but we did what we could not to blow plot points of this particular movie.

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Monkey See
8:21 am
Fri July 13, 2012

A Plague On Both Your Houses: Can Anybody Win In A Cable Carriage Dispute?

When consumers can't get Stephen Colbert because of a dispute between DirecTV and Viacom, do they really care whose fault it is?
Scott Gries Picturegroup

DirecTV and Viacom have been unable to reach a carriage agreement for the former to carry the programming of the latter to its customers. What that means for regular folks is that people with DirecTV have lost their access to Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and other channels.

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Monkey See
10:40 am
Tue July 10, 2012

How Should You Watch And Read And Listen? However You Want

Marcelo Poleze iStockphoto.com

However you want to watch Breaking Bad is fine with me.

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Monkey See
9:13 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Lure Of The Open Road

NPR

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 9:28 am

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Among the many things to which we turn our thoughts in summer is road-tripping — particularly apt because Glen Weldon and Stephen Thompson were both traveling this week, bringing Mike Katzif and Barrie Hardymon to the discussion with me and Trey Graham. We had a chat about all manner of road movies, from the classic dust-and-motorcycles type to the kind that might not even appear to be a road movie until you look more closely.

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Monkey See
9:30 am
Tue July 3, 2012

A Nerd Is Not A Geek: Two Spins On Spider-Man

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Jaimie Trueblood Sony Pictures

The biggest challenge The Amazing Spider-Man faces might be surprisingly existential for a summer blockbuster: Why should it be?

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Monkey See
12:53 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Is No Place For Optimism

Jeff Daniels stars in HBO's new series, The Newsroom.
Melissa Moseley HBO

Originally published on Sun June 24, 2012 6:14 am

There is a moment in Aaron Sorkin's 1995 romance The American President in which Sydney (Annette Bening) asks her boyfriend Andrew (Michael Douglas), who happens to be President of the United States, the following question: "How do you have patience for people who claim to love America but clearly can't stand Americans?"

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Silverdocs Catch-Up: Poets, Politics, And George Plimpton As Himself

George Plimpton plays with the Detroit Lions in Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself.
Silverdocs

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Monkey See
9:25 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Silverdocs: The Scramble For Care In 'The Waiting Room'

Certified Nurse Assistant Cynthia Johnson handles some of the intake at Highland Hospital's ER, featured in The Waiting Room.
Ken Light Silverdocs

Highland Hospital in Oakland has what's supposed to be an emergency room, and that's where the documentary The Waiting Room is set.

But as it turns out, at a big public hospital in Oakland, an ER only does so much actual trauma care; it only handles so many things you would usually think of as emergencies. The rest of the time, it functions as a primary care health provider that's not at all designed to be one — largely for people who have no insurance.

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Monkey See
6:58 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Silverdocs: 'Time Zero' For All Those Heartbroken Polaroid Photographers

Time Zero: The Last Year Of Polaroid Film looks at what happened when Polaroid decided to discontinue its instant film.
Silverdocs

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Monkey See
7:02 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Silverdocs: 'The Imposter' And The Mystery Of The Nervous Laughter

This is not Nicholas Barclay.
Silverdocs

They really give it away in the title, don't they?

In 1994, a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared in Texas. In 1997, a man showed up in Spain and claimed to be the 16-year-old Nicholas. He wasn't – he was a 23-year-old con man – but he managed to get himself brought to the United States with a passport in Nicholas' name. He moved in with Nicholas' family. They accepted him as Nicholas.

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