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
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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Monkey See
12:23 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Kerfuffle Politics: The Statement Adam Levine Shouldn't Need To Make

Adam Levine made a very unnecessary statement after Tuesday night's The Voice.
Trae Patton NBC

Tuesday night on The Voice, Adam Levine — who's the lead singer of Maroon 5 when he's not judging reality television — had two of the singers on his team eliminated. To understand this, just know that each of the four judge-coaches (Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton) starts out with a team of singers they're mentoring, and as they go through the competition, the coaches get pretty attached to the folks on their team and try to help them win. If one of your singers wins, you're sort of the "winning" coach for that season.

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Monkey See
10:19 am
Wed May 29, 2013

CBS Debuts A Baking Competition As Broadcast Continues Borrowing From Cable

Brian Emmett competes as one of 10 amateur bakers vying for $250,000 and a Gallery Books cookbook contract on CBS's The American Baking Competition, which premieres Wednesday night.
Monty Brinton CBS

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:03 am

Broadcast TV has seen the writing on the walls at Food Network, Bravo and TLC: competitive food shows can build solid followings (Chopped, Top Chef) and so can shows about baking (Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars). Throw in a format popular in Britain called The Great British Bake-Off, and add the appeal of television that leads with how unpretentious and down-home it is. Soak in a deep dish of Jeff Foxworthy, and you've got CBS's new offering, The American Baking Competition, which premieres Wednesday night.

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Monkey See
8:56 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Ahem: Asking Someone To The Prom Is Not A 'Proposal'

Monkey See
6:39 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Entirely Real Photos: Wax Will Smith Gets Jiggy With Wax George Clooney

The Will Smith waxwork figure is unveiled at Madame Tussauds on May 22, 2013 in London, where it hangs out with the George Clooney and Emma Watson wax figures, because why not?
Ben A. Pruchnie Getty Images

As you know, we at Monkey See enjoy creepy wax figurines maybe more than anything in the world, and now, Wax George Clooney (whose adventures we have chronicled in the past) has been joined at a photo shoot in London by Wax Will Smith, as well as Wax Emma Watson. You know, just to hang out. To talk about movies. To talk about being made of wax.

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Monkey See
3:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Comikaze: Not Just The Other Comic Convention

Last year's Comikaze, seen here in September 2012, attracted tens of thousands of attendees.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:43 am

You may be familiar with the San Diego Comic-Con, a constantly expanding convention for fans that started as a niche event for comic-book nerds and is now a sprawling pop-culture event.

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Monkey See
10:50 am
Tue May 28, 2013

A Parade Of Goobers: 17 Actual People Presented To 'The Bachelorette'

Desiree's parade of goobers. You'll notice the one without the shirt on. And the fact that many of them are the same guy.
Kevin Foley ABC

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 11:49 am

Last night brought the premiere of the new season of The Bachelorette, in which Desiree, who was rejected by Sean on the last season of The Bachelor, was presented with 25 men from whom to choose. The theory is that if television producers choose 25 guys for you to pick from, surely one of them is your soul mate. Makes sense!

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Monkey See
9:09 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Bad News, Men: You're Not Very Charming

I hate to break this to you, Men Of The Entire United States (Especially Actors), but The Atlantic has just run a lengthy piece pronouncing you un-charming.

At first, Benjamin Schwarz seems to mean "good conversationalist" when he says "charming." He says:

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Monkey See
7:52 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Don Jon'

Tony Danza and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon.
Daniel McFadden Relativity Media

I admire Joseph Gordon-Levitt a lot, both because of his mix of performances in both big movies and little movies and because he made such a good transition from kid actor to adult actor with substantially less awkwardness than most.

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Monkey See
12:34 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Are Women Really Missing From Film Criticism?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 12:37 pm

A new study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film has led to headlines claiming that women are missing from film criticism. "Female Movie Critics' Influence Shrinking, Says Study," reads the headline in the Chicago Tribune.

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Monkey See
11:49 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Breakin' The Rules: 20 General Principles Suspended In 'Fast And Furious 6'

This little skeleton-of-the-Batmobile-y looking thing is actually one of the vehicles on display in Fast & Furious 6.
Universal Pictures

1. Newton's Laws Of Motion

2. The Reluctance Of Brilliant Criminal Masterminds To Freely Confess

3. The Inability Of Two Things To Coexist In The Same Physical Space

4. The Integrity Of Vending Machines

5. Gravity

6. Gina Carano's Ability To Snap Most Of These People Like Twigs Pretty Quickly, If We're Being Honest

7. The Hardness Of Cars, Which Are Actually Kind Of Uncomfortable To Land On From Great Heights

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Monkey See
10:26 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Really Most Sincerely Bad: Fox's Nasty 'Does Someone Have To Go?'

Employees argue over who's the worst in Fox's Does Someone Have To Go?
Chris Tomko Fox

The biggest problem with pretending all of reality television is categorically odious is that it denies us the opportunity to identify and hold accountable what is actually odious. To those who insist that it's all gross — that no matter the documentary aspirations or good-natured competitiveness of plenty of unscripted television, it all belongs in the same giant dumpster — I am your Crocodile Dundee of distaste: Those aren't destructive and grotesque and irresponsible. This is destructive and grotesque and irresponsible.

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Monkey See
6:42 am
Thu May 23, 2013

'Before Midnight': Jesse And Celine Are Older Now, And So Are We

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight.
Sony Pictures Classics

[Note: Before Midnight is an especially difficult movie to write about, simply because for some people, even what has become of Jesse and Celine since Before Sunset is information that they don't want. But it's impossible — absolutely impossible — to write about the movie without talking about where they stand and what the premise is. I did my absolute best to spoil as little beyond that as possible.

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Monkey See
6:57 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Reaction Saturation And Sunday Night Television

iStockphoto.com

Consider what goes on in your brain when you, for instance, you watch an episode of Mad Men.

First, you have a reaction. "That's weird" is a reaction. So is "yuck." So is "wow." "This doesn't make sense" is a reaction, "that's a great dress" is a reaction, and "WHAT?" is a reaction.

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Monkey See
8:24 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Cancellation Blues And Cultural Etiquette

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

To mark network upfronts week, we talk in this episode about the cancellation of shows, including the ones that came and went that we honestly can hardly remember as well as the ones — like ABC's delightful, hilarious Happy Endings — that break our hearts.

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Monkey See
6:32 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Notes On A 'Scandal': Fitz Is The Most Dumpable Man On Television

Tony Goldwyn as Fitz on Scandal.
Randy Holmes ABC

If you watch Scandal, you know that there, Fitzgerald Grant is the President of the United States, and that he goes by "Fitz." Now "Fitz," let's face it, is already a pretty punchable name, given that combined with his personality, it makes him sound like somebody with a beanie and a lot of polo shirts grew up, got even richer, had a son, and taught him how to give swirlies to the math team. Fitz is involved, on and off (currently off, or possibly on, but maybe off) (maybe half-off, like end-of-the-season shoes), with Olivia Pope.

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Monkey See
12:11 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

While The Audience Turned Away, 'American Idol' Found Some Great Singers

Candice Glover competes Thursday night for the American Idol win.
Ray Mickshaw Fox

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Monkey See
10:39 am
Thu May 16, 2013

A Farewell To 'The Office': The 10 Best Episodes

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski in The Office.
Vivian Zink NBC

It really only hit yesterday: It's the end of The Office.

After nine seasons, Dunder Mifflin is going dark Thursday night, with an hour-long retrospective at 8:00 and a 75-minute episode at 9:00 that may or may not feature a cameo from Steve Carell. There have been denials of an appearance from him that could be read as emphatic or tiptoeing, depending on whether you focus on the obvious implications of those denials or the technicalities that might allow for wiggle room.

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Monkey See
9:31 am
Wed May 15, 2013

What's On TV This Fall? The Networks Roll Out Their New Shows

Betsy Brandt and Michael J. Fox star in NBC's The Michael J. Fox Show, coming this fall.
Eric Liebowitz NBC

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 10:26 am

This was the week of the broadcast network "upfront" presentations, which are the splashy ads for new programming that networks show to advertisers to entice them into ignoring their fears that everybody is fast-forwarding through all the commercials anyway.

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Monkey See
10:28 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Why Angelina Jolie's Op-Ed Matters

Angelina Jolie, seen here in April, wrote in The New York Times about her double mastectomy.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:34 pm

Pop culture does not mean celebrity culture; I have perhaps said this more often than anyone you're going to meet. Who dates, who gets a divorce, who has a tantrum, who has surreptitious photos snapped of him by mangy, grim opportunists — these things are not culture of any kind, popular or otherwise, unless there is something else at stake. They are curiosities, and given that we are curious creatures, their pull is not surprising, nor is it new, nor was it invented by the internet, or television, or Americans.

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Monkey See
6:05 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Watch The First Trailer For ABC's 'Avengers' Follow-Up

Screenshot

Over the weekend, ABC posted a trailer for Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., its fall show (time slot and premiere date to come) that jumps off from Marvel's Avengers universe, as seen in all kinds of movies that have made all kinds of money.

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Monkey See
3:29 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Christopher Guest Comes To HBO With A 'Family' Comedy That's Serious

Chris O'Dowd (left) stars in Family Tree, a new HBO show from Christopher Guest (right) and Jim Piddock.
Suzanne Tenner HBO

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 8:11 am

Christopher Guest has made so many people laugh since he started making mock documentaries with This Is Spinal Tap in 1984 that his fans might be surprised to hear his response to Scott Simon's question on Saturday's Weekend Edition about whether he ever thinks about making a serious movie.

Referencing Family Tree, his new show for HBO starring Chris O'Dowd as a man discovering his roots, Guest says that even with comedy, the emotional content can still be critical.

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