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
6:11 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Stainless Steel Waters Run Not-So-Deep On 'House Hunters'

I have a confession.

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Monkey See
7:03 am
Mon September 30, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Lands Its Finale A Little Too Cleanly

Bryan Cranston wrapped up his run Sunday night as Walter White in Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:27 pm

[Hopefully, we don't have to point out that a piece about the Breaking Bad finale contains information about the Breaking Bad finale. But here we are.]

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan signaled in interviews leading up to Sunday night's series finale that those who craved some redemption for Walter White were the ones most likely to leave happy.

"We feel it's a satisfying ending," Gilligan told Entertainment Weekly. "Walt ends things more or less on his own terms."

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Monkey See
9:08 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Who Are You Calling A One-Hit Wonder?

Seen here in 2005: Ladies and gentlemen, The Click Five.
Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:53 am

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On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we start by breaking down last weekend's very somber Emmy ceremony, from the repeated death announcements to the perplexing dance routines to a couple of welcome victories that put a more positive spin on the whole thing. Did the host impress? What about poor Shemar Moore? And who will defend interpretive dance?

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Monkey See
7:17 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Another Day, Another Reminder That Jimmy Fallon Will Make Your Day

It's been a while since we just started off by making our morning with some assorted Jimmy Fallon greatness (and I just got my cable hooked up at my new place yesterday, meaning my ability to watch late-night shows over my morning coffee is much enhanced).

So here's some good stuff from Tuesday night's show.

First, Fallon gave the follow-up to his "touchdown dance" bit with Justin Timberlake.

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Monkey See
7:08 am
Mon September 23, 2013

A Sloppy Emmy Telecast Does The Wrong Song And Dance

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Emmy Awards on Sunday night.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:26 am

Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and — oh, right — who wins.

By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.

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Monkey See
10:10 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

On TV's Big Night, Can Netflix Crash The Emmy Party?

Neil Patrick Harris will host the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday on CBS.
Nino Munoz CBS

It might seem like the only TV serious viewers are paying attention to right now is Breaking Bad, but on Sunday night, just as Walter White's penultimate episode is unfolding on AMC, we'll be finding out over on CBS whether his show, his portrayer Bryan Cranston, or other personnel will be taking home Primetime Emmy Awards.

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Monkey See
7:18 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Autumn Leaves, Cumberbatches, And More Fall Amusements

Martin Freeman as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
Mark Pokorny Warner Brothers Pictures
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This week's show finds me, Stephen, Trey and Glen together again in the studio, but due to a scheduling tweak, finds us in Historic Studio 45 instead of Historic Studio 44, so we hope you can all still follow the conversation.

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Monkey See
7:14 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Morning Shots: Michel Gondry Does The NFL To A Beat

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 12:15 pm

I cannot understand how I missed the news that Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones are about to open as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, but this charming list of past pairings makes me want to watch the play ... a lot. (David Tennant and Catherine Tate!

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Monkey See
10:50 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Fox's 'Dads': If It Weren't Giving Offense, It Wouldn't Be Giving Anything At All

Brenda Song and Seth Green in Fox's Dads.
Jennifer Clasen Fox

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Monkey See
10:52 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Toronto 2013: Some Film Festival Highs And Lows

Julianne Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County.
Toronto International Film Festival

Tastiest Scenery To Chew: August: Osage County, the John Wells-directed adaptation of the Tracy Letts stage play, stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a generally very impressive cast. But Streep is cranked up to 11 as the miserable, pill-popping matriarch. I expect her to win an Oscar for this role, simply because it's so over-the-top and because she is compelling in it.

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Monkey See
2:31 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

A Toronto Film Chat, From Two Jake Gyllenhaals To Three Daniel Radcliffes

Jesse Eisenberg stars in The Double, which is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:20 pm

Bob Mondello and I took a break from our time at the Toronto International Film Festival today for a chat withAll Things Consideredand host Audie Cornish. We filled her in on just how many movies we've both seen, the surplus of stories about doppelgangers, the adventures of Daniel Radcliffe, and what we think are the early awards contenders.

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Monkey See
4:45 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days Three And Four: '12 Years' And 'Gravity'

Chiwetel Ejiofor (right) plays Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave. Benedict Cumberbatch plays one of the slaveowners who claim ownership of him.
Jaap Buitendijk Toronto International Film Festival

The weekend brings some higher-profile screenings, and my schedule on Saturday and Sunday reflects that. If some of the Thursday/Friday films were an opportunity to see what you may never hear about again, some of the Saturday/Sunday films are a chance to get a jump on the next four or five months of chatter.

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Monkey See
6:09 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days One And Two

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox.
Toronto International Film Festival

Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.

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Monkey See
8:42 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Voices And Changing Bands

NPR
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On this week's roundtable podcast, we open with Lake Bell's movie In A World, which takes place in the world of voiceovers. We chat about the movie itself, and about Bell, but also about where voiceovers stand right now. Are they still important? As important as they used to be?

Then, we take a reader suggestion and talk about reconstituted bands — replaced singers, replaced drummers, and sometimes entire new versions of bands you thought you knew. This takes us into the story of Journey, the matter of The Beach Boys, and much more.

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Tue August 20, 2013

When The Paints Go Marching In: Down The Well-Appointed Rabbit Hole Of Home Decor

Matthias Kulka iStockphoto.com

Okay, background information first.

As an apartment-dweller, I have lived for 20 years in a series of white-walled boxes with neutral carpets. I have assembled and eventually ripped apart the kind of furniture that comes with an Allen wrench. And I have had my adventures. When leaving an apartment in Brooklyn, I tore a sofa bed apart with my bare hands and feet — broke it and destroyed it — because it was old and I knew I'd never get it through the door again.

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Monkey See
10:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Jodie Foster's Accent, Fall TV, And Other Masterpieces

NPR
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I am very happy to be back this week after being gone for two episodes (thank you to Audie Cornish, Gene Demby and Kat Chow for being great while I was gone).

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Monkey See
9:08 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Why I Resist Web Redesigns (And Maybe You Do, Too)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 10:07 am

Words many of us never want to hear: "It's the transmission." "We can't get a technician out there until next Tuesday." "Your ex will be there."

And, of course: "Welcome to our redesigned site!"

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Monkey See
6:55 am
Tue August 13, 2013

On 'Doomsday Castle,' If Armageddon Doesn't Get You, Your Tractor Might

Brent, Jr. in his battering ram, on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Castle.
National Geographic Channel

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Monkey See
6:31 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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Monkey See
5:46 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

'Elysium': To Build A World Is Not To Tell A Story

Wagner Maura, as someone named Spider, handles Max (Matt Damon) in Elysium.
Kimberley French Sony Pictures

[General plot/premise discussion within; no major spoilers regarding big developments.]

One of the great threats to any film is that the people who are making it live too much inside it. Just as you learn to navigate a city without looking at signs, they learn to navigate the world they've built so well that they forget to make it comprehensible and important for people who have just arrived.

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Grief And Community In 'Broadchurch'

Olivia Colman and David Tennant in Broadchurch.
Colin Hutton BBC America

It's hard to import a European murder mystery without importing baggage along with it — expectations of a gray chill, of relentless and austere severity.

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Monkey See
9:45 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Death And Walter White

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 9:57 am

This piece discusses plot points in detail from the first four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad, but nothing from the Aug. 11 season premiere.

If television's golden age has taught viewers anything, it is to expect that explosive, violent death is an integral part of serious storytelling. The history of literature and the history of film teach that there are other ways to achieve high stakes. But if you go looking for premium, celebrated television dramas that don't involve a lot of bloody kills, you will narrow your options considerably.

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Monkey See
8:58 am
Wed July 31, 2013

10 Awkward, Unexpected, Or Otherwise Curious Press Tour Moments

Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul speak onstage during the Breaking Bad panel on July 26.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

The Television Critics Association press tour, a two-week event in which press conference after press conference parades through a hotel ballroom, is about half over, so it's time for a few stories.

In a room of 250 or so reporters and a rotating set of actors, producers, and executives, there's likely to be a conversation here and there that perhaps doesn't go as everyone involved was expecting. After all, I've already been to 57 panel discussions or presentations (according to our transcripts list), and we have a week to go.

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Monkey See
8:55 am
Tue July 30, 2013

The Never-Ending Story: Why They're Not Getting Out From Under That Dome

Dean Norris, still under that dome. And there for a while.
Kharen Hill CBS

Bad news for the fictional characters trapped under the dome in the CBS summer series Under The Dome: Your show was renewed. The dome isn't going to lift. And no less than Les Moonves, the president and CEO of the CBS corporation, says that's just fine.

"Why can't they be under the dome for a long period of time? This is television!"

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Monkey See
12:00 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Rob Lowe On Playing JFK Without Sounding Like You're On 'The Simpsons'

Rob Lowe as John F. Kennedy in the National Geographic Channel's film, Killing Kennedy.
National Geographic Channel

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:51 pm

The National Geographic Channel is a little all over the place when it comes to their programming. There's some nature material, there's some fairly sensational reality stuff (Doomsday Preppers, for instance), and there are historical documentaries and, sometimes, historical scripted films.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Keith Olbermann Talks Sports, ESPN, And The Secret Identity Anthony Weiner Stole

Keith Olbermann speaks onstage during the Olbermann panel at the ESPN portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

"Carlos ... Danger," says Keith Olbermann with utter awe, and arcs his hand across his field of vision.

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Monkey See
12:20 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Welcome To The Television Critics Association Press Tour

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:03 am

For the next two-plus weeks, I'll be in California, hearing all about the next six months in television. It's the annual press tour of the Television Critics Association, and it's always a combination of interesting discussions, weird little stories, and increasingly punchy critics.

You can see, for instance, all of last year's coverage here.

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Monkey See
7:59 am
Mon July 22, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary, Day 2: Man Of Steel, Man Of Urgency

Beckham the dog sports a Superman costume during Comic-Con on July 19, 2013 in San Diego. For Comic-Con, this is perfectly normal.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:50 am

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.

9:30 a.m.: I file the Day 1 diary with Linda and send out a tweet asking Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners who are attending Comic-Con to come to the Marriott bar at 5:30 today to get a PCHH pin. It's something on the order of a "meetup," as the kids say.

Yeah, I know. I don't recognize myself either.

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Monkey See
6:20 am
Mon July 22, 2013

20 Really Great Royal Baby Titles For Classy Parents

Marat Sirotyukov iStockphoto.com

Look, it's possible that I don't completely understand how British titles work. But it's 100 percent true that Prince William is also called Baron Carrickfergus. (You may Google that. I'll wait.)

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