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
8:48 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Netflix Storms The Emmy Nominations, But How Much Has Really Changed?

House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, received nine Emmy nominations this morning.
Melinda Sue Gordon Netflix

Even a year ago, the original programming on internet outlets like Netflix and Hulu was an asterisk. We all knew Netflix would be premiering House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey this spring, and Arrested Development a bit later, and that there were other projects coming. But it all seemed a little abstract, like not-quite-television, like maybe it would feel more like ... renting movies?

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Monkey See
9:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

A Sunny 'Camp' Kicks Back For Summer

The promotional art for NBC's Camp tells you all you need to know.
John Tsiavis NBC

We have to begin with a discussion of how Camp, NBC's new summer comedy-drama series premiering Wednesday night at 10, begins.

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Monkey See
9:32 am
Tue July 2, 2013

'Big Brother' Isn't Just A Terrible Show, It's A Wasted Opportunity

Houseguest Judd makes a toast during the season premiere of Big Brother.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Here's how Big Brother works.

Producers throw a bunch of people into a house, where they're stuck for about three months. All day and all night, they're watched by cameras, and they can be watched online — these are the so-called "live feeds," which are sort of like watching the security cameras in the most boring juice bar in Los Angeles. (I wrote about touring the house in 2010; it's very creepy.)

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Monkey See
7:02 am
Tue July 2, 2013

To The Dump, To The Dump, To The Dump Dump Dump: Write Us A Lone Ranger Joke

Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Let Us Now Have A Heated Argument About Plinko. I'll Start.

Carlos Santiago and his daughter, Jasmine, play Plinko as show host Drew Carey and model Manuela Arbelaez on a special Father's Day episode of The Price Is Right. (Plinko is terrible.)
Greg Gayne CBS

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Monkey See
6:52 am
Fri June 28, 2013

'The Heat' Is Absolutely Revolutionary, For Being Mostly Ordinary

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat.
Gemma La Mana Twentieth Century Fox

The date: June 14, 2013. The writer: me, in despair, without a single non-art-house movie with a female lead playing anywhere near me. The piece: "At The Movies, The Women Are Gone."

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Monkey See
9:12 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Why Paula Deen Can't Be A 'Food Network Star'

Seen here in 2009, Paula Deen recently lost her ongoing deal with Food Network.
Katy Winn AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 4:17 am

It's not the least bit surprising that Paula Deen lost her gig on The Food Network — and you don't have to believe she's a terrible person to know it. All you have to do is watch Food Network Star, the competition show that seeks a new network personality and sometimes finds one.

That's where they got Aarti Sequeira, who now hosts the Indian food show Aarti Party. It's where they got Aaron McCargo, Jr., who hosts Big Daddy's House. And Melissa d'Arabian, who hosts Ten Dollar Dinners, and Jeff Mauro, who calls himself "The Sandwich King."

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Monkey See
6:52 am
Tue June 25, 2013

The Seven Ways To Write About Television

iStockphoto.com

Perhaps it's the combination of Sunday night's Mad Men finale and the flurry of Sopranos discussion that followed the death of James Gandolfini, but it's hard not to be struck by the explosion of writing about television that's occurred in the last 15 years or so, facilitated (of course) by the ability to go from rolling credits to publication in an hour (if necessary). After any major episode, there will be a flurry of commentary, and even after minor episodes of minor shows, there are write-ups here and there.

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Monkey See
7:02 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Illusions Of Grandeur: Why Don Draper Will Never Get To California

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men.
Jaimie Trueblood AMC

What makes Don Draper dashing is the suit, especially. And the hat, the jaw, the hair, the voice, the way he fixes his attention on a woman. But what makes Don Draper seductive as a person and not just a sexual partner is that he is perpetually a whisper away from being a better man. If he were just dashing, he would be harmless; it's that he's seductive that makes him dangerous. It's how close he seems to becoming better that makes him toxic.

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Monkey See
6:07 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Watch: Stephen Colbert Thanks And Remembers His Mom

Seen here in May 2012, Stephen Colbert last night gave a tribute to his mom, who passed away recently.
Charles Sykes AP

Stephen Colbert's mother Lorna died recently at 92, and on last night's Colbert Report, he offered her a funny, sweet, warm tribute that really requires no additional comment.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
8:03 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The 25 Movies To Which 'World War Z' Is A Sequel, Probably

Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, Abigail Hargrove is Rachel Lane, and Mireille Enos is Karin Lane in World War Z.
Jaap Buitendijk Paramount Pictures

World War A (in which Isaac Newton is bonked on the head and still bravely figures out gravity)

World War B (spun off from a VH1 reality show)

World War C (in which two dudes hit each other with cellos for 2.5 hours)

World War D (part of The Great Report Card Skirmish Of 1998)

World War-E (in which a tiny robot rolls around and watches Hello Dolly and then smashes the doubloons out of everything in sight)

World War F (the [bleep]ing best war ever)

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Bait And Twitch: Vice Magazine, Suicide Glamour, And Not Staying Quiet

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:48 pm

This week, Vice magazine unveiled a fashion spread featuring images based on famous female writers who killed themselves. To call it merely tasteless would be to understate how calculated it was, as well as how revolting it was — it literally created an image based on a real writer who really hanged herself with a pair of stockings, and then it told you where to buy the stockings.

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Monkey See
9:36 am
Mon June 17, 2013

In Slight Defense Of Miss Utah USA, A Little Bit, With Reservations

Television personality and host Giuliana Rancic looks on as Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell answers a question from a judge during the interview portion of the 2013 Miss USA pageant on Sunday night.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Sir Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
Warner Brothers Pictures

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Monkey See
8:27 am
Wed June 12, 2013

MTV Promises To Be About Music For An Entire Half Of A Day

Very excited child who does not work for MTV. He's just as surprised as the rest of us. (Probably.)
iStockphoto.com

Well, this is news.

MTV, VH1, and CMT sent out a press release this morning announcing that on July 4th, which they're calling "Music Independence Day" (!) (!!), they will "dedicate their channels exclusively to music."

ALL DAY LONG. If by "all day long," you mean "from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern and Pacific." (Hey, what's a day, right? 12 hours, 24 hours, these are semantics.)

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Monkey See
7:04 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Theater Of The Absurd: Have Audiences Lost Their Manners?

Scott Griessel - Creatista iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 7:58 am

If you woke up this morning thinking, "I really need to hear NPR's Linda Wertheimer say the words 'noisily unwrapping her Twizzlers,'" have I got good news for you.

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Monkey See
2:57 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Shoes, Romance, And Art: A Reader Walks With The Books She Loves

Rudi's shoes.
@rudi_bee

Longtime readers know that one of my favorite pop-culture blogs ever invented is Smart Bitches Trashy Books, which offers a home for romance readers (who are legion) to both love their books and laugh at their books.

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Monkey See
6:23 am
Mon June 10, 2013

The Tony Awards: Is This The Greatest Awards Show Opening Ever?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Host Neil Patrick Harris and casts of Broadway shows perform onstage at The 67th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 8:57 am

Unless you've seen every awards show since the dawn of time (which would make you The Unluckiest Person In The World), you can't really answer the question of whether last night's opener of the Tony Awards, hosted for the fourth time by Neil Patrick Harris, was the best opening ever.

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Sun June 9, 2013

When Your Data Is Currency, What Does Your Privacy Cost?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 8:59 am

There was considerable mouth-dropping from publications such as The New York Times at initial reports this week that NSA programs are gathering both telephone records and information gleaned from large tech companies like Google and Microsoft. But as those reports have settled in, reactions have gotten more complex.

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Monkey See
12:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado' As Romantic Comedy And Cop Show

Amy Acker as Beatrice eavesdrops in a scene from Joss Whedon's new film version of Much Ado About Nothing.
Roadside Attractions

If you all think back all the way to when I was in Toronto last fall, you'll recall I was very enamored with Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, the story of the bickering lovers Beatrice and Benedick. And now, months later, this morning, he was on Morning Edition to talk about it with NPR's Renee Montagne.

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Monkey See
11:38 am
Thu June 6, 2013

The Vexing Matter Of The Summer Blockbuster

In Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises hers as his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.
Paramout Pictures

On today's Here & Now from WBUR, I talked to host Robin Young about the weird situation of summer blockbusters — which can easily go the way of Iron Man 3 (hit!) or the way of After Earth (non-hit!) and it's not always easy to tell what you're going to get until it happens.

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

The Critic, The Viewer And The Episode Dump

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 9:28 am

I have substantial affection for both Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman and the Fox executive who tweets as "Masked Scheduler." They're both amusing, resolute grumps at times, but great fun to follow on Twitter. So you can imagine how uncomfortable it was to see them have a testy exchange about the new episodes of Arrested Development (which, remember, was on Fox and is now not). Tim liked them, and was reacting to early criticism of the first couple of episodes.

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Monkey See
6:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Once Again, Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton Get A TV Movie

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in BBC America's Burton And Taylor.
BBC America

On the heels of Liz & Dick, Lifetime's campy take on the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that starred none other than Lindsay Lohan, BBC America will be delivering another made-for-TV version this fall. Because they couldn't call it Liz & Dick, this one is called ... Burton And Taylor. (Innovation!)

This one stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, and the first photo was released yesterday.

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Monkey See
3:31 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Why Yes, I Did Watch A Movie Called 'Deadly Spa'

Amy Pietz and Tracey Fairaway as Dawn and Kayla.
Lifetime

[Caution: Contains Deadly Spoilers.]

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Lifetime had a movie coming up that was about a spa where things get deadly. It was called Deadly Spa.

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Monkey See
8:38 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Pyrrhic Victories: Mass Casualties And Rah-Rah Endings

Things get pretty dicey in Fast & Furious 6, even when the good guys are winning.
Universal Pictures

[Attention: Vague spoilers on Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, The Avengers. More specific spoilers on Die Hard, Die Hard 2.]

I get all my best ideas about Star Trek from NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro, so naturally, when he came by my desk this morning with an observation, I was all (non-pointy) ears.

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Monkey See
2:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Rita Wilson On Life After 50: 'Get Ready, It's A Blast'

Rita Wilson, seen here performing in March, is the editor-at-large of the Huff/Post50 section of The Huffington Post.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

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Monkey See
11:12 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Truth In Advertising: Pregnant Ladies Date On 'Pregnant And Dating'

The cast of WE tv's Pregnant & Dating. They are all pregnant. Also dating.
WE tv

There's a part of basic cable that you might call "soft reality" — the unscripted shows where everybody is nice, almost all the stories are happy, the comedy is mostly gentle, and the main characters are meant to be very sympathetic. Soft reality loves pregnancy and childbirth, as seen on shows like A Baby Story and some of the shows about giving birth to multiples. (Jon & Kate Plus 8 started as soft reality and wound up as something else entirely.)

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Monkey See
6:23 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Binge Viewing And A Summer TV Quiz

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's not every week you get to hear me go full-on fan-crazy. (Okay, it's some weeks, but usually not about the people who are in the studio.) But this week, I am extra-excited because Stephen Thompson and I are joined for our pop-culture roundtable podcast by Gene Demby and Kat Chow, both from NPR's race, ethnicity and culture team that writes the Code Switch blog.

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Monkey See
7:52 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Yes, Your Cat Can Get A Movie Deal

This is a cat who appears in a perfectly lovely piece of stock photography but who, as far as we know, lacks a movie deal. Get on it, Wet Cat!
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 9:54 am

"Mr. Lashes, 34 years old, is an agent for Internet cats."

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Monkey See
1:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

As Trailers Eat Up Movie Time, Theaters And Studios Squabble Over Shortening Them

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:18 am

Here's a question: If you go to the movies and the scheduled showtime is, say, 7:30, when do you actually expect the movie to start? If you said 7:30, you go to very unusual screenings. If you said 7:45, you're closer to what many experience. If you said 7:50, you're still in range: There's often some advertising other than trailers, the limit for trailer length is 2 1/2 minutes, and theaters sometimes run seven or eight trailers. Eight would add up to 20 minutes.

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