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
6:58 am
Thu May 31, 2012

It's The Day Of The National Spelling Bee Finals, A.K.A. Know-Nothing Thursday!

Kitty Shortt spells a word correctly during the third round of the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee yesterday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:39 am

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Tue May 29, 2012

'Mad Men': Ruminations On The Buying And Selling Of Something Beautiful

Joan (Christina Hendricks) had a tough week on Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:15 am

It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep.

I would hope it's obvious that if you haven't seen Sunday's episode and plan to watch it, you should stop reading.

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Monkey See
2:03 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

'Route 66': A Country-Crisscrossing Series Comes To Home Video

Shout! Factory

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 3:24 pm

When you've seen a lot of movies where Toronto plays the part of New York, you come to appreciate location shooting. And on today's All Things Considered, you'll hear from the star of one of television's more ambitious series when it comes to location shooting: Route 66, which followed two guys around the country in a cool Corvette as they looked for a place to settle.

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Monkey See
10:59 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: On Endings And Road Trips

NPR

On this week's show, we start with endings — because we're ironic that way. Various shows have ended this spring, and we thought it was a good time to talk about how you wrap up a TV show, a book series, or whatever needs closure. The "visceral need for narrative closure"? We're on it. Whether it "satisfies you upon reflection"? We're on that, too.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby' In 3-D

This week, we got our first look at the trailer for The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann 3-D extravaganza starring Tobey Maguire as Nick, Carey Mulligan as Daisy, and Leonardo DiCaprio as ... well, you know. It will come out at Christmas, so that gives us more than six months to make semi-informed predictions about its quality.

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Monkey See
9:03 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Your New 'American Idol' Is (Surprise!) A Laid-Back Dude With An Acoustic Guitar

Phillip Phillips was crowned the winner of American Idol on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

Being named "Phillip Phillips" kind of makes Phillip Phillips sound like he was created like a Cabbage Patch Kid, and after his manufacture, someone said, "What should we call him?" And somebody else said, "Phillip!" And then the first person said, "Phillip what?" But by then, the well of creativity had run dry. "Phillip ... Phillips!"

A star is born.

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Monkey See
6:57 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Kevin Smith's 'Spoilers' Comes To Hulu

Hulu isn't content being your source of Saturday Night Live clips and full episodes of Glee. Like Netflix, they have one eye on original content, and one of their recent announcements is that they're bringing you a movie review show — wait, an anti-movie-review show — called Spoilers, starring Kevin Smith (the writer-director behind Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Dogma, among others).

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Monkey See
8:51 am
Mon May 21, 2012

'Saturday Night Live' Shows Its Heart On Kristen Wiig's Last Night

Mick Jagger and Kristen Wiig in the final sketch of the Saturday Night Live season finale.
Dana Edelson NBC

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 9:18 am

Saturday Night Live has always had a stealthily big heart. You can see it when the hosts people really like get hugs from everyone at the end of a show, and you can see it when people come back for guest appearances, and you've certainly seen it in some well-known moments in which the show says goodbye. That includes genuinely sad moments like the night Steve Martin hosted the show hours after Gilda Radner died, as well as considerably lighter fare like singing "So Long, Farewell" when Phil Hartman was leaving.

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Monkey See
6:37 am
Mon May 21, 2012

An Extremely Short Letter To Justin Bieber About Fashion And Propriety

Singer Justin Bieber arrives at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards held Sunday night.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Dear Justin Bieber,

If you are at an event — in this case Sunday's Billboard Music Awards — where Gladys Knight is also, and she is dressed like this:

You are not meant to dress like this.

Sincerely yours,

Would Wear Pajamas To Work If They Let Me But They Don't Because Of Dignity DO YOU SEE HOW THAT WORKS?

Monkey See
4:03 am
Sun May 20, 2012

TV Networks Hope Familiar Faces Bring Viewers To New Fall Shows

Matthew Perry stars on NBC's fall comedy Go On.
Jordin Althaus NBC

Originally published on Sun May 20, 2012 9:31 am

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: TV Season Postmortem, Old People, Young People

NPR

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:35 pm

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, I am back from vacation and back at the table, and boy, was I glad to be there.

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Monkey See
6:43 am
Fri May 18, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting In A Movie

Lionsgate

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 6:44 am

Babies! Babies babies! Pregnancy and babies! Babies and pregnancy! Strollers full of babies!

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Monkey See
1:15 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'Kickstart Shakespeare': Of Sonnets, Beer, And Online Fundraising

Recitations of Shakespearean love poems may come straight to you via mobile app in celebration of his 450th birthday.
iStockphoto.com

The New York Shakespeare Exchange says its goal is "to encourage an enthusiastic appreciation of classical theater and to expand the reach of the art form within new and existing audiences." More specifically, it's interested in the question of "what happens when contemporary culture is infused with Shakespearean poetry and themes in unexpected ways."

What, exactly, does that mean?

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Monkey See
10:00 am
Wed May 16, 2012

ABC's Fall Schedule: Reba McEntire, Country Music, And Satan The Landlord

666 Park Avenue stars Terry O'Quinn as the devil, kind of. Only a landlord.
Andrew Eccles ABC

ABC unveiled its new fall shows yesterday as part of the ongoing circus/party/ad campaign that is the 2012 network upfronts.

It's rolling out three new dramas with completely different tones. Nashville, starring the enchanting Connie Britton as country singer Rayna James, whose long career is a little tricky in the age of crossover superstars like bitchy young thing Juliette Barnes (Hayden Pannettiere).

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Monkey See
8:54 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Fox Rolls Out Its New Fall Shows, Including One From Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling stars in the new Fox comedy The Mindy Project.
Beth Dubber Fox

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Monkey See
8:10 am
Mon May 14, 2012

NBC Upfronts: Six New Shows, And 'Community' On Fridays

Crystal as Dr. Zaius and Justin Kirk as Dr. George Coleman on NBC's new fall comedy, Animal Practice.
Chris Haston NBC

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 8:34 am

"What are the upfronts, exactly?"

People who write about television get this question a lot. And we're getting it a lot right now, because this is upfronts week for the major networks.

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Monkey See
9:48 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: It's Our Summer Movie Preview! Bring On The Sunscreen!

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in the upcoming film Dark Shadows.
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

With The Avengers just opening in your local jillionplex, it seems like the right time to look ahead to summer movies and see what's on our radar, both good and bad. Dark Shadows, Safety Not Guaranteed, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World ... well, you'll hear them all.

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Movie Reviews
3:38 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Seven Dancers, Chasing Big Dreams At The Barre

First Position profiles dancers at the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious ballet contest. Rebecca Houseknecht, 17, is a dancer with a lot of talent — and a painful awareness that her chances of signing with a top company are growing slim.
Bess Kargman IFC Films

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 3:54 pm

One of the most striking moments early in the documentary First Position comes when a talented ballet student, an 11-year-old boy named Aran, inserts his foot into a sort of clamp that holds it in a mercilessly pointed position.

"This is a foot stretcher," he says. "Hurts a lot."

It's curious that an entire genre of documentary has grown up around endearing kids being pushed hard to achieve in various fields — pushed so hard that the audience is left to wonder whether the pressure might be too much for them.

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Monkey See
2:02 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Implausibles, Assemble!: Other Hollywood Character Pile-Ups We'd Like To See

Rene Mansi iStockphoto.com

The Avengers is getting a lot of mileage out of uniting the stars of several different films for one big, knock-down-drag-out superfilm in which there are so many people floating in from hither and yon that you would be forgiven for expecting a cameo from Plastic Man. (There isn't one.)

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Monkey See
8:50 am
Thu May 3, 2012

It's Kentucky Derby Weekend: Name Your Hypothetical Horse

Horses train on the track in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Rob Carr Getty Images

I am guessing that the majority of you do not own thoroughbred horses. In fact, that is the underlying assumption of this entire post, and to the degree it does not apply to you, I offer humblest apologies (your highness).

But this is the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, which I normally appreciate primarily for the way it causes everyone to momentarily forget everything they ever knew about what constitutes Too Much Hat.

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Monkey See
8:16 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises.
Ron Phillips Warner Brothers Pictures

The Dark Knight Rises is one of those films where so many bits and drops are constantly emerging that it's hard to find a particular moment in which rushing to judgment is any more or less appropriate than at any other time. But the appearance of a new trailer yesterday has set off another round of speculation, and who are we to decline to participate?

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Monkey See
2:54 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Can The Networks Ever Create Another Night Of 'Must-See TV'?

Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer appear in the baby birth episode of NBC's Friends.
AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 3:34 pm

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Monkey See
11:59 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Garry Marshall On His 'Happy Days'

Director Garry Marshall and sister, actress-director Penny Marshall, seen here in 2004 when she received her star on the Walk Of Fame.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 10:22 am

Director Garry Marshall has worked on so much popular comedy in his career — television like Happy Days and The Odd Couple, movies like Pretty Woman and Beaches — that something he's done has probably made you laugh. And now he's written a memoir called, fittingly, My Happy Days In Hollywood: A Memoir.

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Monkey See
9:20 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Veep' Talk And Spoilery 'Cabin In The Woods' Chatter

This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, the old gang is back together to tackle a new comedy, just like the guest panel did last week: Last week, it was Girls; this week, it's the less fussed over Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We'll talk about how we responded to her performance, the writing (from the guys behind the great In The Loop), and the depiction of politics.

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Mon April 23, 2012

'Mad Men': Hallucinations And Love Songs Are Often Mistaken For One And The Same

Jane Sterling (Peyton List) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) made progress, in a way, on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Sunday night's Mad Men took 20 minutes or so to reveal its structure. We watched Peggy Olson fight with her boyfriend, flame out at the Heinz presentation, take herself to the movies, smoke a joint with a stranger, hook up with him (after a fashion) in the dark, return to the office, hear the sad story of Michael Ginsburg, and then meet up with her boyfriend again. Only a mysterious, frantic phone call from Don suggested that there were pieces missing.

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Monkey See
4:31 am
Sun April 22, 2012

In 'Veep,' Julia Louis-Dreyfus Plays A 'Political Animal' With Bite

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the frustrated vice president in the new HBO comedy, Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:42 am

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows it must seem like she's "arrived," as NPR's Rachel Martin says during their discussion on Sunday's Weekend Edition. She's well-known from Seinfeld, of course, but she's also been on Saturday Night Live, and for five seasons held down her own CBS sitcom, The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Her new HBO comedy, Veep, in which she plays the vice president to an unseen and unknown president, premieres Sunday night.

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Monkey See
12:21 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

In 'Veep,' Washington Is Viewed With A Skeptical Eye

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her staff, including Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, in Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:16 am

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Sat April 21, 2012

What Zac Efron's Beard Means For Men And Women In Hollywood

Zac Efron plays Logan, a former Marine with all kinds of feelings, in the new film The Lucky One.
Patti Perret Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:13 am

This is the weekend they try to make Zac Efron a grown-up movie star.

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Monkey See
9:04 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Girls' Edition, Women's Edition

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:13 am

For a few months now, we've been talking about putting together a special episode where I could sit down with Parul Sehgal, Barrie Hardymon, and Tanya Ballard Brown for what some of the men on the usual panel were referring to as "Gorgeous Ladies Of Pop Culture Happy Hour." It was, believe it or not, a complete coincidence that we finally pulled it together during the week that HBO premiered Lena Dunham

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Monkey See
1:35 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Today's Adorable PSA: 'Book People Unite'

It's not every day that I get a pitch that basically says, "Watch our video; it's so cute!" that actually works.

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