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.

[This piece contains a detailed discussion of Sunday night's True Detective finale. If you haven't seen it and you plan to see it and you don't want to know what happens, stop reading.]

[Seriously, information ahoy.]

Spoiler alert: The dirty-faced, crazy-talking, disheveled impoverished guy did it.

When we taped this show on Tuesday, we had all had quite a lot of the Oscars, to be honest. And we secretly suspect that with the all-out pile-on that continues for months before the ceremony, you might not require an all-out assault on the whole thing. So this week, you'll hear a quick wrap-up of how we felt about the hosting, some of the speeches, some of the great moments of Adele Nazeem-ing it up, and then we'll bid the entire thing farewell until next year. Next year, Oscars.

Parks And Recreation features one of the most impeccable collections of characters ever assembled for one comedy. To a person, they are funny, human, beautifully realized, individual, and — perhaps most important — lovingly rendered.

But as much as I love everyone on that show, I will admit that I have a favorite, particularly when it comes to the characters on this particular show who are missing from practically every other show, and that's Donna Meagle, played by Retta.

Stages Of Winter Rage

Mar 3, 2014

[The following is a purely speculative, hypothetical story of winter. It corresponds to no actual meteorological data.]

October 20: Eeeeeeee! Snow in the forecast! Eeeeeeee!

October 21: I saw flakes! Here's an Instagram of flakes out my window! You can't really see them, but they're there, I promise! Flakes!

The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.

Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.

Sunday night's Oscars will include a Best Picture race that's apparently narrowed to three films: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and maybe American Hustle. Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor? Maybe. Or Leonardo DiCaprio? What about Cate Blanchett, a seeming shoo-in despite Meryl Streep delivering, in August Osage County, the biggest, chewiest, most Oscar-friendly performance of all time?

On Friday's All Things Considered, Bob Mondello and I — fresh off our run of video salutes to Internet comments — chat with Melissa Block about what, if anything, is satisfying about the Oscars.

Bob points out the difficulty in bringing yourself to care about a contest that so often leaves out the worthiest contenders; I make the best case I can for Oscar season as a potential time of discovery; and we consider a couple of canards about best picture that might help you pick a winner.

This year, we wanted to look back at the nine best picture nominees and remind ourselves — and you — that reactions to film are complicated, hilariously varied and wonderfully individual. So we looked over every comment for every nominee at RottenTomatoes.com, and we brought you some of our favorites.

Sunday night, the Oscars will come around once again, and we'll be watching. But before we do, we got together with All Things Considered film critic, silly video partner, emoticon learner and all-around great pal Bob Mondello to talk about all nine of the Best Picture nominees: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Philomena, Her, Wolf Of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips.

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

It's hard to take not one but two genres that are typically thought of as staples of old-fashioned "media for women" – the advice column and the collection of household hints – and make them feel at all relevant to women now, who may or may not have time for all the fussing that perfect housekeeping ideally entails and may or may not live lives in which it's their responsibility, or their priority.

Oh, Lady Edith

Feb 23, 2014

[This piece contains information about the plot of Downton Abbey, up to and including Sunday night's fourth-season finale.]

Another season of Downton Abbey has come to a close, and once again, Lady Edith is unlucky. Unlucky in love, unlucky in life. She's unluckier than Bates, and he went to jail for something he didn't do, for what certainly felt like a really, really long time. She's unluckier than Matthew, and he's quite deceased.

If you're familiar with the Nick Hornby book or the 2002 film of About A Boy, you will find that what has been kept in the new TV adaptation, coming Saturday night in a preview to NBC, is the clichéd skeleton of the story: a lazy, glib bachelor befriending the child of a single mom and learning how not to be such a selfish baby. Child-averse jerk and wisecracking moppet: a well-worn dynamic that animated, among other things, the early stages of Two And A Half Men.

I read Pam Ribon's Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share In Public in a few sittings, but the longest stretch I consumed where one should ideally read this book: in a bubble bath. The calming atmosphere is good for the anxiety that comes from seeing a woman excavate her teenage brain, the vulnerability builds the empathy it takes to understand how terrified all these boys she was writing to must have felt, and if you get too mortified for her, you can always elect to go down the drain with the bathwater just to escape.

We're encased in ice as we prepare to send you this show, but when we taped it, our hearts were warm from enjoying The Lego Movie, also known as "I'm sure it's good, but is it really that good?" We'll try to get to the bottom of whether it really is that good, and we'll talk about the super-terrific Chris Pratt, the wonderful Will Arnett, and whether — as has already been suggested — this might be one of the truly great Batman movies.

News broke last night that Greta Gerwig, most recently admired for Frances Ha, which she starred in and co-wrote with director Noah Baumbach, will star in (and co-produce) a comedy pilot for CBS.

Not just any comedy pilot, though: Gerwig is working on How I Met Your Dad, a parallel to the concluding How I Met Your Mother from the same producers, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

This is the second in a very occasional series of posts in which we interview inanimate objects during fever dreams. This particular interview is with a paper bag that actor Shia LaBeouf put over his head during the premiere of Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume I at the Berlin International Film Festival.

What's that written on you?

It says "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE."

Huh.

It's been 50 years since The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, to an audience of screaming, hair-pulling, ecstatic (in the classic sense) teenage girls. Cutes in suits, you might call them, like (and, of course, nothing like) countless other bands of the time that wore skinny ties and shared microphones and said "oh" and "yeah" and "baby."

It's hard to view Friday night's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as a true farewell, since all Fallon is doing is getting the ultimate promotion to The Tonight Show. And he's taking everybody with him.

One hopes, at an event of nebulous actual significance like the opening ceremonies of any Olympics, for a single moment that can tease out the specific weirdness of that event. You need something, some nut, some bit, that can demonstrate to people in a single flash what it was like for a bunch of people to pay attention to something even though arguably nothing happened.

On this week's show, we turn to a topic near and dear to exactly half of our hearts: the wide world of sports. Glen explains how he came to feel the same way about sports that he feels about Fred Basset. Stephen envisions an actor breaking his leg and the play falling into a "clown show," and I wax rhapsodic about those great little Olympic stories about somebody's excited mom. It's the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the nature of enthusiasm, all in one sportsy chat.

Reality shows, at their best, give you little flashes of understanding, often in spite of themselves. A great example came around Wednesday night, as Top Chef crowned its winner.

[Hey: INFORMATION ABOUT THE FINALE AHEAD, in case that wasn't obvious. Stop reading if you're still planning on watching and you'd like to be surprised.]

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