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
6:24 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' And So Bad It's Good

NPR

We're settling back into our regular schedule post-lots of travel and post-Comic-Con, and we find ourselves in the studio this week with Chris Klimek to talk about the runaway success of Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy. We talk about the movie's shaggy charms, its savvy development, and why it gives me joyful reason to gloat over past avowals of loyalty.

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Thu August 7, 2014

When All Your Steaks Have Hot Sauce: A Case Against 'Nebraska' In Color

David (Will Forte, left) and his father, Woody (Bruce Dern, center), take time out of their quixotic journey to stop in Woody's small Nebraska hometown — where Woody's old business partner, Ed (Stacy Keach), is still nursing a grudge.
Merie W. Wallace Paramount Pictures

The latest indignity seemingly imposed by commerce upon art is the news that the cable movie channel Epix would air, in addition to the original black-and-white version, a color version of Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which was nominated for Best Picture earlier this year and stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son on a somewhat discursive road trip nominally aimed at retrieving a cash payout to whi

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Monkey See
8:27 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Brand Extension Theater Presents: 'Top Chef Duels'

Richard Blais gets it done — if by "it" you mean "the making of steam" — in Top Chef Duels.
Nicole Wilder Bravo

Have you ever heard a cheerleading squad do one of those call-and-response bits where they say, "Seniors yell it!", and then the seniors yell, "Fight! Fight", and then they say, "Juniors yell it!", and so forth? Top Chef brand extensions are kind of like that: All-Stars yell it! Dessert chefs yell it! Veterans yell it! Healthy chefs yell it! Former contestants yell it!

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Monkey See
6:50 am
Mon August 4, 2014

'Boyhood,' Time And Tree Rings

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up over the running time of Richard Linklater's Boyhood.
IFC Films

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:15 am

I had an uncle who studied dendrochronology – tree rings, basically. It wasn't until years after he died that it occurred to me how much his perspective on living, and on dying, seemed to have been shaped by years of handling such palpable evidence of time passing. Not the spectacle of canyons carved by glaciers or the eye-popping surprise of fossilized bones, but the way each tree out of millions had been marked by each year out of millions. You could look at the rings and tell when the climate was good, when there was a drought, when there was a fire.

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Monkey See
9:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From San Diego Comic-Con

NPR

This week's show is a very special event for us: it's our visit to Comic-Con.

Because Maggie Thompson (mother to PCHH regular Stephen Thompson) was a special guest at San Diego Comic-Con this year, she invited us to do a panel discussion with her. So Stephen, Glen Weldon and I — along with a crucial audio assist from our pal Petra Mayer — set up in one of the rooms upstairs in the convention center and taped a show. (We still don't know what caused the constant thumping. This is what happens when we travel without our producer, Jessica.)

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Monkey See
7:45 am
Thu July 31, 2014

'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Let's Hear It For F.U.N.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) have some adventures together in the terrific new Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Jay Maidment Marvel

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 10:15 am

The worst thing about making a post-Avengers Marvel movie is how far ahead of the game you are when you start. Your film will be marketed with brute force, treated as arguably the biggest opening of the summer, reviewed everywhere, and very likely to land among the most commercially successful films of the year, whether or not you do anything interesting with it.

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Monkey See
12:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Sharknado 2': Winner And Still Chomp

Kari Wuhrer as Ellen Brody, Courtney Baxter as Mora Brody, and Sandra "Pepa" Denton as a character even the captioners don't know the name of. I'm not sure she had one.
Will Hart Syfy

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 6:11 pm

I personally was responsible for emotionally bullying at least two of my critic friends into attending the poolside screening of Sharknado 2 that took place at the hotel where press tour happened a couple of weeks ago. I make this confession because we must establish the basic understanding that I am merciless when it comes to attempting to con people into watching extraordinarily silly movies. In fact, I tried, when the first Sharknado was on, to goad the NPR morning news meeting into caring about it ("There's this movie tonight!

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Monkey See
8:36 am
Wed July 30, 2014

On Dipping An Introverted Toe In The Comic-Con Ocean

Christopher Petrone, of San Diego, CA, towering over attendees in his handmade, to-scale Chewbacca costume.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

The first time I took one of the online Myers-Briggs inventories and it spit out that I was an introvert, one of my friends questioned the results. Specifically, he said, "Are you sure you weren't holding the test upside-down?"

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Monkey See
12:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Sex And The Single Churl: Another 'Bachelorette' Finale Gets Weird

Andi gasps while accepting a proposal from Josh Murray (right, in the ill-fitting suit) on Monday night's finale of The Bachelorette.
Javier Pesquera ABC

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:03 pm

After the fact that it's a blatant and ridiculous fraud (in that it almost never gets anybody married), the first thing you might notice about The Bachelor(ette) franchise is its prim, Victorian attitudes about sex. For a show that encourages 14-person dates and the temporary negotiation of a lifestyle that could be best described as G-rated swinging, the whole shebang is awfully precious when it comes to the fact that sometimes, some of these people have sex with each other.

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Monkey See
10:28 am
Tue July 22, 2014

'Audience Measurement': How Networks And Critics Are Wrestling With Numbers

iStockphoto

If the Television Critics Association press tour of 2014, wrapping up Tuesday and Wednesday with presentations from PBS, has had a catchphrase, it's "audience measurement."

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Monkey See
7:22 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Television Critics Give Big Awards To 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange Is The New Black'

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on AMC's Breaking Bad.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

The Television Critics Association is a funny animal. Its challenge, as well as its strength, is that it includes people with massively different jobs: longtime print critics (both nationally and locally oriented) who have been coming to the annual press tour for decades, reporters who cover the television industry, cultural critics whose beats extend past television, online writers who specialize in weekly criticism — this is a lot of people who quite reasonably look at television differently.

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Monkey See
9:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

At This Summer's TV Press Tour, A Resounding Sense Of 'Meh'

Executive producer Anne Heche (left) and actress Kate Walsh speak at the Bad Judge panel during the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:30 am

There's a widespread belief that critics hate everything, revel in hating everything, and cannot be pleased. It's widespread and wrong, though.

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Press Tour Day 1: Paper Airplanes, Daniel Radcliffe, And Christmas

David Rees speaks onstage at the "Going Deep with David Rees" panel during the National Geographic Channels portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

For the next couple of weeks, I'm out in California covering the Television Critics Association press tour. Not familiar? Here's an introduction.

Day 1 of summer press tour began with hammering and ended with a giant Christmas tree.

Let's back up.

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Monkey See
8:08 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What's Happening In Television: It's Press Tour Time Again

It's that time again.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing from the Television Critics Association Press Tour, where a couple hundred critics convene in a giant hotel ballroom to question producers, writers, network executives, actors, and sometimes other folks about what's coming up on TV. It can bring out both the punchy and the grumpy in many folks you know who write about all this: Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter calls it the Death March With Cocktails. (A little later on, my NPR colleague Eric Deggans will be here, too.)

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Monkey See
5:49 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Too Old For Youth Culture And Toys

NPR

Stephen Thompson and I are joined this week by our blog siblings Gene Demby and Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch, which always puts us in an upbeat and playful mood. Fittingly, we take a couple of listener questions this week about youth and play.

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Fri June 27, 2014

'They Came Together' Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play a couple, sort of, in the underwhelming rom-com parody They Came Together.
Lionsgate

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:21 pm

Writer-director David Wain is at the center of a loose comedy collective that's been working together (and cross-pollinating with other similar unofficial collectives) since The State, which was the name of both the original comedy troupe and the MTV sketch comedy show they held down from 1993 to 1995. The stars included Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ken Marino. Much of that team got back together in 2001 for the summer-camp-movie parody Wain directed and co-wrote with Showalter called Wet Hot American Summer.

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Monkey See
7:35 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Wild Cards And More Regrettable Television

NPR

First, a huge thank-you to everyone who came to our live show this past week, and especially to our many special guests who helped us out on stage. We had a great time, and you'll be hearing the two shows we taped that night in a couple of weeks.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Building The 'Issue' Documentary: On Surveillance And South Africa

Albie Sachs is the subject of the documentary Soft Vengeance, which played at the AFI DOCS festival this weekend.
AFI DOCS

What used to be Silverdocs, the week-long documentary festival in downtown Silver Spring, Md., is now AFI DOCS, a four-day festival split between Silver Spring and a variety of D.C. venues.

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Monkey See
7:45 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Buddy Movies And First Impressions

NPR

This week, the recent opening of 22 Jump Street — among many others — gets us talking about the buddy film. Not just the buddy-cop movie, but the buddy-frat movie, the depressingly rare female-buddy movie, and whatever else they come up with to create what Glen calls "the background noise of American popular culture." We talk about whether the straight-man/comic dynamic is going away, the long history of buddies, and the "bromance" idea with which not all of us are entirely comfortable.

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Monkey See
6:58 am
Mon June 16, 2014

The Spoiler-Free 'Game Of Thrones' Twitter Translator

Emilia Clarke as this beautiful blonde lady who may or may not one day be murdered on HBO's Game of Thrones. If she is, Twitter will tell you.
Helen Sloan HBO

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 8:55 am

Despite watching a great deal of television — highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow — I don't watch Game of Thrones. I have never been a fantasy fan, I can't tolerate extensive world-building without nodding off, I don't gravitate toward stories about epic wars, and I'm not particularly drawn by either nudity or innard-splattering. I watched more than half of the first season, I think, but I eventually reached a point in which my brain emphatically said, "This is not going to get better for us."

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Monkey See
6:48 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Edge Of Tomorrow' And Noble Flops

NPR

If you're looking for a movie to see this weekend, may we recommend a movie you may not have seen last weekend?

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Monkey See
5:54 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Good News, Glamour-Likers: More 'Miss Fisher' To Come

Good to see you, Miss: Phryne Fisher will return for a third series of her Australian detective show.
Ben King Acorn

Let us begin this Friday with some unabashed joy: the Australian show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, adored by many a fan of glamorous lady detectives, smoldering fellows, sexual freedom and fantastic outfits, will return for a third series, according to the show's Facebook page.

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Hugh Jackman Jumps; Tony Viewers Say, 'What?'

Hugh Jackman gave it all he had at Sunday night's Tony Awards.
Heather Wines CBS

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 1:43 pm

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Monkey See
7:21 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Seeing Books Everywhere And Moments Of Grief

NPR

This week's show brings back our friend Petra Mayer of NPR Books. Like me, Petra is fresh off a trip to Book Expo America (a/k/a BEA, FYI), where we both heard about a whole lot of new books. We'll mention some of the titles (though in many cases we haven't actually received the books yet), and we'll try to give you a sense of how this enormous trade show followed by a fan event actually works.

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Monkey See
7:40 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 8:14 am

The first ever BookCon, planned as an extension of the mega trade show Book Expo America by the same people who do Comic-Con, took place last weekend. It was headlined by, among other things, a robust diversity debate that bloomed on social media around the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. But it also functioned as an impressive, invigorating show of force for one of the most important nascent cultural interest groups we have: the Book Girls.

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Monkey See
6:31 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Godzilla' And Things That Got Better

NPR

First of all: LIVE SHOW TICKETS! (On sale June 2 — that's a week from this coming Monday — at noon Eastern.)

Just wanted to put that up there; we'll get back to it.

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Monkey See
12:40 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

'Batman V Superman': A Legal Thriller (We Hope)

Henry Cavill played Superman in Man Of Steel and will return to go to court with Batman (we hope) next year.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:52 pm

We learned today that the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel will be called Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

This is interesting for several reasons. First of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like a dirty movie about sheriffs. Second of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like it precedes the Morning Of Reckoning, the Afternoon Of Relief, the Dusk Of Regret, the Evening Of Resignation, and the Hot Muggy Midnight Of History Repeating Itself, all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Next Day.

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Monkey See
10:02 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Be Wary And Bury The Very Scary 'I Wanna Marry Harry'

This is Matt. He looks slightly more like Prince Harry than you do.
Chris Raphael Fox

Gather round, children, and I will tell you of a dark time. A cruel time.

It was a time when reality dating shows were even worse than they are now.

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Monkey See
7:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Fairy Tales And A Fall TV Quiz

A drawing of a snoozing Sleeping Beauty.
iStockphoto.com

We could not be happier to bring back our friend Barrie Hardymon, who's out in California but still made time to come and chat with us. In recognition that we are soon to see the live-action Maleficent coming from Disney, we chat about fairy tales. "These are stories we tell our kids to get them to abandon us," Glen says. "We're giving them the psychic armor, the psychic tools, to say goodbye." We talk about old fairy tales, Disney-fied versions, and Glen's recognition that Germany hasn't had an easy time of it with their own versions.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Wed May 14, 2014

An Interview With The Alleged Purse Of Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles attends the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

This is the third in a very occasional series of posts in which we interview inanimate objects during fever dreams.

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