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.

If you make movies that have anything to do with science, please note: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, pays attention.

There is a certain honesty with which I believe critics must exist — a willingness to look yourself in the eye. A willingness to say, "This is the absolute truth as I experienced it."

I come not to praise the Burger King bacon sundae, nor to bury it. I come merely to point out that sometimes, the particular flavor of contempt with which you choose to address something is as important as the contempt itself.

The advent of serious, thoughtful, artistically ambitious television has brought us many marvelous shows: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife. And the growth of comedies with strong points of view has allowed oddball projects like 30 Rock and Community to emerge and earn praise.

It's Prometheus week, and you know what that means: extraterrestrials. Specifically, the many different kinds of extraterrestrials you meet in the movies and on television. We generally divide them into a few categories, based on their levels of malevolence and evil.

The Television Critics Association (which I'm part of) has announced the nominees for its annual awards, which will be handed out during press tour in late July.

Lindsay Lohan has tried a lot of things to escape her own image, which has been battered for years by her legal, personal, and substance difficulties. You may remember that in 2008, she sat for a series of photos in New York Magazine specifically calling back to a Marilyn Monroe shoot six weeks before her death. (Some of those, by the way, are topless photos, so use your judgment if you look at them.)

Let's say this first: Popular television is bad at lots of things, and one of them is representations of people with disabilities. Even where they're present – Artie on Glee, or Walter, Jr. on Breaking Bad – they tend to be in isolation. When there's more than one person in a wheelchair, for instance, like when Jason Street was in rehab on Friday Night Lights, the story is usually about the disability itself.

I admit it's a bold statement, suggesting that the most glamorous and prestigious awards ceremony Americans watch all year could learn something from an event that once had a category called "Biggest Badass Star." Certainly, I wouldn't want to see the Oscars replaced with the MTV Movie Awards, given that the first Twilight movie won five of them.

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

Yesterday, after being acquitted of one of six campaign finance fraud charges against him and seeing the jury deadlock on the other five, John Edwards held a brief press conference in which he said this:

On this week's episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, our pop-culture roundtable podcast, I administered to my co-podcasters a quiz about summer television that explores not only how weird summer television is, but — arguably — how weird my brain is, since it required me to make up a lot of imaginary summer television that was designed to seem like it might be real.

Well, this is certainly not a timid way to put out your first trailer.

What Charlize Theron does for Snow White and The Huntsman in her role as the Wicked Queen is a bit like what Godzilla does for a Godzilla movie: She gives you something big and distracting to look at while a lot of thinly defined victims run around frantically trying to avoid a grisly death at her hand.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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?

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.

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

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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