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
12:05 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Needs More Alps: How Was 'The Sound Of Music Live'?

Carrie Underwood as Maria, with (back, from left) Ella Watts-Gorman as Louisa, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Joe West as Kurt and (front, from left) Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Sophia Ann Caruso as Brigitta and Peyton Ella as Gretl, in NBC's live production of The Sound Of Music.
Will Hart NBC

Much like Sharknado and most presidential debates, NBC's The Sound Of Music on Thursday night caused Twitter to explode in a frenzy of arguing and counterarguing. It was charming! It was dreadful! It was liiiiiiiive!

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Monkey See
9:36 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live Shows And The Return Of Regrettable Television

NPR

Taped in the run-up to Thursday night's Sound Of Music performance, this week's round-table podcast is not a review of it, but a consideration of the live event in general. Are we all just performance ghouls, waiting around for people to fail? What is it fair to ask from a live performance? And what happens if a horse has an unfortunate moment in a theater?

Our second segment brings back one of our favorite things (har har), the Regrettable Television Pop Quiz. Thrill to extravagantly bleeped cursing! Wonder about the appropriate and safe temperature for raw chicken!

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Mon November 25, 2013

What Really Makes Katniss Stand Out? Peeta, Her Movie Girlfriend

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in Catching Fire.
Lionsgate

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:02 pm

[General Hunger Games/Catching Fire information below; no huge surprises revealed.]

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Monkey See
6:59 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: $#*! Profanity In Pop Culture And Outdated Tech

NPR

This week's show features something you will very rarely hear from us: bleeping! By which I mean: actual, literal bleeps. Because we're kicking things off with a discussion of profanity, in movies including Anchorman and Die Hard, and in TV shows on cable and broadcast.

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Monkey See
7:36 am
Mon November 18, 2013

'The Best Man Holiday' And The Language Of Expectations

Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs star in The Best Man Holiday.
Michael Gibson Universal Pictures

The Best Man Holiday, made on an estimated production budget of $17 million, nearly doubled that on its first weekend, bringing in an estimated haul of more than $30.5 million.

As Lucas Shaw wrote yesterday for The Wrap, the film joins 12 Years A Slave, The Butler, and other films from black filmmakers that have somehow surprised people with their success.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Twitter And Subtitled Television

NPR

On this week's show, we are lucky enough to be visited in the absence of our buddy Glen by the lovely Audie Cornish, who, in her spare time, is one of the hosts of a little afternoon show called All Things Considered. Audie took some time away from the Actual Hard News beat to chat with us about a few things and to gracefully accept a surprising comparison to Ron Burgundy. (It's a long story.)

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Thu November 14, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Explaining How Old Things Make Me Feel

iStockphoto.com

"Get ready to feel old."

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Monkey See
9:14 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'The Real World' Trades The Final Eight Percent Of Its Soul For Magic Beans

The cast of The Real World: Portland.
MTV

It's hard to remember when you look at the last umpteen seasons of MTV's The Real World, but back at the beginning, it was a pretty fascinating show. It once involved people who had actual plans to be musicians or artists or activists, and although there was always conflict, the days before everyone knew the rhythms of Real World editing — which became the rhythms of reality editing in general — it was, I repeat, a pretty fascinating show.

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Monkey See
11:10 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Sisters And Brothers And A Holiday TV Quiz

NPR

This week's show, featuring a visit from our pal Kat Chow, kicks off with a Thor-inspired discussion of the sometimes fraught world of sibling relationships. We talk about where we come from in our own sibling worlds, and then check in with fictional siblings and real-world siblings. (Stephen has concerns regarding the Jonas Brothers.)

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Monkey See
9:31 am
Fri November 8, 2013

A Complete Curmudgeon's Guide To 'The Sound Of Music'

Evening Standard Getty Images

NBC has released the first trailer for its live version of The Sound Of Music, airing December 5.

Now, some have chosen to focus on the negative; on the nostalgic sense that to remake this show — or, more precisely, to remake the movie version, as they may well do, at least in part, owing to its ubiquity — is a mistake. No matter the talent involved, like Audra McDonald (as Mother Abbess) and Laura Benanti (as the Baroness), it will be an NBC remake.

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Monkey See
7:50 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Miss Universe's National Costume Show Raids International Feather Supply

This photo of Brenda Gonzalez, Miss Argentina, is my prototype national costume. If you grew up wanting to be Miss Universe, this is why. Feathers, metallic bustier: this is it.
Darren Decker Miss Universe Organization

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 8:33 am

Two years back, we noted that Miss USA's costume at the Miss Universe National Costume Show was a mashup of tradition and vulgarity: "like crossing the Delaware to go to Hooters."

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Monkey See
7:40 am
Mon November 4, 2013

That'll Always Be The Dream: National Novel Writing Month

iStockphoto.com

Did you know November is National Novel Writing Month?

It isn't by order of Congress, but it is on the internet, where you'll see this combination of letters — NaNoWriMo — all over the place, making absolutely no sense and sounding to the uninitiated like a species of caterpillar or a ship on Star Trek. Amusingly enough, even that is too long for participants trying to pound out a book in a month, so they call it, very often, "NaNo."

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Monkey See
7:32 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Making Toddlers Into Nerds

NPR

It's been more than two and a half years since we last did a show packed with recommendations of pop culture (and other culture) for kids. We figured it was about time to do it again, for reasons we'll get into in the episode, so here we are.

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Monkey See
10:44 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Attention, Neighborhood Children! A Halloween Invitation

These aren't my actual neighborhood children. These are just examples of how happy my neighborhood children could be.
iStockphoto.com

Welcome, all you ghosts and goblins! Welcome, all you cats and princesses! Welcome, Iron Man Under That Down Jacket! Welcome, Werewolf Whose Mom Is On The Phone!

I am pleased to see you at my door. I welcome always the young people in whose vicinity I reside, provided they are not so old that they pause before picking up their candy to put down a lit cigarette, which really happened to my parents once. (I will be using that anecdote in my upcoming book, Signs That You Have Outgrown Trick-Or-Treating.)

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Monkey See
7:49 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Present Tense: Allie Brosh, Donald Glover, And Hurting Right Now

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:58 pm

There is much to praise about Allie Brosh's wonderful blog Hyperbole And A Half, perhaps the greatest gift the crude, blocky graphics of MS Paint have ever given us. Brosh's posts are hugely evocative, gut-bustingly funny, and startlingly inventive in using simple drawings in ways that allow for pauses and comic timing, not to mention things like blur effects that represent ... well, sugar-fueled madness.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: '12 Years' And Rites Of Passage

NPR

On this week's round-table podcast, Glen Weldon and I are joined by the marvelous Gene Demby and Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch project. We're always happy to see Gene and Kat, who bring their very own brand of thinly veiled, sibling-like hostility, which is something we can fully relate to.

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Monkey See
7:43 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Time Untied: Why We'd All Be Better Off Without Release Date Myopia

iStockphoto.com

It makes all the sense in the world to cover new things — the movies opening this weekend, the TV shows premiering right now, the books that have just been released — to the degree people are asking the questions (1) What's interesting about this new thing? (2) Is this new thing good? and (3) What new things are there? Those are important parts of cultural coverage, and they always will be.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Famous People Eat Weird Stuff, And Other Provincial Annotations

This was listed as "atmosphere" from the Johnnie Walker event.
Charlie Gallay Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 8:39 am

Every now and then, my random wanderings through file photos from the previous 24 hours bring me to something that makes me pause.

This is apparently the menu from an event referred to in the photo captions as Christina Hendricks Toasts Johnnie Walker Platinum. (It is at least a list of food posted there.) The event was held at the Santa Monica Museum Of Art on Tuesday night.

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Monkey See
6:56 am
Mon October 21, 2013

'Homeland' And The Delicate Art Of Withholding

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland.
Kent Smith Showtime

[Be aware that this post contains information about Sunday night's episode of Homeland. Consider yourself forewarned.]

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Pop Culture That Makes Us Cry And Somali Pirates

NPR

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 9:44 am

This week, forced to make do without a vacationing Glen Weldon, we happily called upon our pal and periodic PCHH contributor Chris Klimek. We also happily called upon the reckless and ruthless display of emotion for a show about crying. You'll hear some of the songs, movie scenes, and more songs (seriously, it's pretty song-heavy) that get us every time, and perhaps you'll cry a little bit, too.

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Monkey See
7:19 am
Thu October 17, 2013

'Project Runway': A Season Of Tim Gunn Faces

"Did you want to rethink anything? Hair? Shade of yellow? Glasses? Path in life? No? Nothing?"
Barbara Nitke Lifetime

Tim Gunn is the best reason to watch Project Runway, always. Gentle and supportive, dismayed and concerned, he's the uncle, stylist, and influential teacher you never had.

And so, with nothing but love, as the season comes to an end Thursday night, we present a parade of our favorite Tim Gunn faces, together with our magic mind-reading technology that has discerned exactly what he was thinking. It's foolproof, you see.

Monkey See
11:26 am
Wed October 16, 2013

'Burton And Taylor': The Hollywood Romantic Legend, Take 2

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

We can wonder how BBC America's Burton And Taylor might have been received in the absence of Lifetime's Liz And Dick, which, almost a year ago, did not quite rehabilitate Lindsay Lohan's career in the way she was hoping. Perhaps we'd have been able to see this biopic, with Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, purely as its own project.

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Wed October 16, 2013

'Nature' Is Back To Show You Both Adorable Otters And Sad Science

Baby otter. AWWWWW.
PBS

In the last couple of years, there's been a surge of what you might call "cool PBS," by which I just mean social-media-friendly stuff like Sherlock and Downton Abbey that sort of expands people's ideas of what public television is and especially what its relationship to pop culture is.

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Monkey See
2:39 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Why You, Yes You, Might Enjoy A Superhero Documentary

Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie.
Courtesy Everett Collection PBS

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:52 pm

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.

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Monkey See
9:53 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Smug Life: Why Is 'Catfish' So Dumb When It Doesn't Have To Be?

Max and Nev, probably thinking about how terrible Internet liars are.
MTV

If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.

Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.

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Monkey See
6:36 am
Tue October 15, 2013

What, Exactly, Is James Franco Doing?

James Franco has big plans, always.
Andrew Medichini AP

What is James Franco doing?

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Monkey See
12:46 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Glee' Says Goodbye

Glee remembered Cory Monteith in Thursday night's episode, "The Quarterback."
Adam Rose Fox

When Cory Monteith died in July, the fact that it put Glee in a terrible position was certainly the least of the rotten outcomes.

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Gravity' And The Thrill Of The Fiasco

NPR

I cannot lie: I love this week's podcast very much, and only partly because I got to include a song I probably haven't heard in over 20 years and got our special guest Gene Demby to reveal one of those little things that makes him apoplectic.

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Thu October 10, 2013

The Tribe Has Broken: How Sexism Is Silently Killing 'Survivor'

Brad Culpepper heads up a group of bro-dudes with little patience for women on this season's Survivor.
Monty Brinton CBS

This piece contains information about Wednesday night's episode.

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