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.

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).

"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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

The casting of Magic Mike was attention-getting from the start.

It feels redundant, and maybe a bit solipsistic, to study the mechanics of nostalgia too closely. It means watching ourselves watch ourselves and asking why we're doing it.

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers' version of The Three Stooges arrives in theaters. You'll see plenty of Larry, Moe and Curly. But who won't you see? Shemp. Or, as NPR's Sue Goodwin calls him, "Uncle Shemp."

I hadn't even heard the ruckus about how Ashley Judd looks that's apparently kicked up since the debut of her ABC series, Missing. But she did.

And she's written a piece for the Daily Beast about it.

Lena Dunham's new series Girls debuts on HBO on April 15. Dunham, who got quite a bit of attention for being the star, director and writer of the 2010 indie film Tiny Furniture, fills the same three roles in this ensemble show about four young women in New York.

On this week's podcast, we decided to ruminate about teen sex comedies — in part because of spring break season, and perhaps in part because we're all surrounded by discussions of American Reunion. We chat about the ebb and flow of teen comedy in general, the ways in which Superbad was and was not influential, and the relationship between teen comedies, sex comedies, and teen sex comedies. This also leads us down a strange path about what kinds of vaguely dirty movies we did and did not have access to as kids.

Kerry Washington knows that her new drama, Scandal, will inevitably be compared to another drama about D.C.: The West Wing. Scandal tells Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered that it even has Josh Malina, a West Wing cast member, for a little of what she calls "secret D.C. credibility."

Of all the things that make me say, "I really don't understand why this is still a thing," wax museums are right up there.

If you follow TV types on Twitter, you've already heard about some recent comments from Lee Aronsohn, who co-created Two And A Half Men with Chuck Lorre and is also a producer of The Big Bang Theory.

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we're finally all back together again, with Trey back from his brief illness. As you might imagine from our past discussions, we did take some time this week to talk about The Hunger Games, because we've all read it, we all know it, and we know you know we know ... well, you know. We talk about the pacing, the acting, the faithfulness to the book, and lots more.

On a recent commute to work, I found myself listening to a recording of Cole Porter playing a song he wrote, called "The Kling-Kling Bird On The Divi-Divi Tree." Published in 1935 and introduced in the show Jubilee, it's not an especially famous Porter number now, which is just as well, given the fact that its story of a man visiting strange lands and being seduced by exotic women has an unfortunate feeling of ...

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