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
9:42 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Trainwreck' And 'Ant-Man'

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Trainwreck.
Universal Pictures

Two movies are up to bat this week for our conversation with our pal and producer emeritus Mike Katzif, and the bottom line: we like 'em both.

First up is Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck, which I wrote about last week (and talked about on the air), but which we have more time to explore here. We talk about the movie's stance toward monogamy, its unavoidable Apatovian looseness, the charms of Bill Hader, the bold (and, for some of us, tear-inducing) vulnerability of Amy Schumer, and lots more. It's a good movie.

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Monkey See
10:09 am
Fri July 17, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'BoJack Horseman' And People We're Pulling For

Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) and BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett).
Netflix

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 2:16 pm

This week's show brings back into the studio — well, remotely anyway — our original producer and music director Mike Katzif, now ensconced in New York working for the lovely people at NPR's Ask Me Another. Mike joins us for a talk about the Netflix comedy BoJack Horseman, which just made its second season available this week. It's an adult-oriented cartoon with a sometimes startling undercurrent of sadness, and you might want to give it a shot.

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Monkey See
3:57 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

'Sex And Drugs' And Boredom In The Golden Age

Denis Leary in FX's Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
Patrick Harbron FX

The new FX comedy Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll* stars Denis Leary as the decaying former singer of a briefly scorching New York band whose speedy self-immolation was brought about by debauchery and betrayal. The band was called The Heathens, because they were heathens. The singer is named Johnny Rock, apparently because it was a rock band and "John" is a popular name.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Fri July 10, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Key And Peele' And Crowds Of Critters

NPR

This week's show features our great friend Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch and opens with a discussion of Key & Peele, the Comedy Central sketch show that's just come back for its fifth season. We look at some of what's to come in the early part of season five, as well as what we like best about what the duo has already done.

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Monkey See
9:32 am
Fri July 10, 2015

A Very Silly '7 Days In Hell'

Andy Samberg as Aaron Williams in 7 Days In Hell.
John P. Fleener HBO

Where new levels of quality go, new levels of parody are sure to follow. So it makes sense that a strong run of historical sports documentaries, particularly from ESPN's 30 For 30 series, would give rise to a spot-on mock-documentary like HBO's 7 Days In Hell, airing Saturday night.

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Monkey See
2:35 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

The Happiest Strippers In Film History Dance Through 'Magic Mike XXL'

Stephen "Twitch" Boss, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash, Joe Mangianello, Channing Tatum, and Adam Rodriguez.
Claudette Barius Warner Bros.

Pinpointing the most important conversation in Magic Mike XXL is, admittedly, a little like pinpointing the most important zoological computer model in Jurassic World, but let's do it anyway.

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Monkey See
1:58 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

'Zoo': Welcome, Crazypants Television Of Summer!

This is James Wolk playing Jackson Oz in Zoo. Yes, Jackson Oz. I would never joke about something like this.
Steve Dietl CBS

I want to own up to something right away: I was predisposed to laugh at CBS's summer action/drama/kookoopants series Zoo. I find the idea of a menace-driven show called Zoo inherently hilarious, in part because "zoo" is a word made up of exactly two sounds, both of which are naturally comedic. Phonetically, the word "zoo" is funny. So if you yell "Zoo!" and show me a picture of a terrifying animal, I still have a hard time being terrified.

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Monkey See
2:37 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: Audiobooks

NPR

During our recent time with charming Bostonian librarian Margaret Willison, we managed to sit her down for a chat about audiobooks. We discovered that while I am a frequent listener to a variety of kinds of books (as I wrote about recently), Margaret uses them in a very different way that might appeal to some of you who like to revisit and reread your favorites.

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Monkey See
9:42 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Judy Blume's New Book And Lifetime's 'UnREAL'

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 11:22 pm

This week's show finds us cracking open Judy Blume's new adult novel In The Unlikely Event (it's an adult novel as in a-novel-for-adults, not an adult novel as in "too sexy for polite company). Joined by our friend and librarian-in-chief Margaret Willison, we talk about the structure of the book, the character voices, Blume's particular brand of what Margaret calls "emotional immediacy," the balancing of period references in a book set largely in the early 1950s, and lots more.

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Monkey See
2:47 pm
Fri June 19, 2015

The Weird — Weirder? — Thing About The Ferrell-Wiig Lifetime Movie

This is the real promo art for a real Lifetime movie starring Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell.
Lifetime

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Monkey See
10:59 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Why The Key Character In 'Inside Out' Is The One Who Isn't There

Riley is on her own in Inside Out.
Pixar

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 11:38 am

Villains are staples of stories for kids. Making them bigger, meaner, madder, more impossible to defeat — that's how you build the ideas of fear and then, inevitably, of courage. A small person faces a giant, or a witch, or a wolf, or Jafar, or Cruella De Vil, or the Buy 'N' Large, and by watching that happen, you learn. You learn what it takes to beat the bad guy. You learn that you, too, can beat the bad guy. You learn not to lose heart and not to give up. You use something inside yourself to beat something outside yourself.

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Monkey See
9:30 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Inside Out' And Moms And Dads In Love

Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Disney and Pixar's Inside Out.
Pixar

I'm just going to tell you right off the bat, you guys: we really liked Inside Out. This does not exactly make us outliers in the critical landscape, but we sit down this week with the great Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch team to talk about the film. It's a thought-provoking story and visually inventive, so we'll spend some time on the various creative forces at work. At the same time, we ding its one weak scene that unfortunately shows up in a lot of the trailers and we debate who cried the most.

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Books
6:13 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

The Heat Is On With These Summer Romance Novels

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 5:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Book Reviews
11:18 am
Tue June 16, 2015

'Modern Romance' And The Emerging Audiobook

Aziz Ansari.
Joe Scarnici Getty Images

Audiobooks have traditionally been tricky to get right and even harder to make special. Very often, they're literally just books read aloud, to the best of the ability of a single, usually highly skilled reader. In fiction, you get readers who are asked to provide voices for however many characters the author invented.

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Monkey See
3:48 pm
Mon June 15, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: 'Jurassic World'

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World.
Chuck Zlotnick Universal Pictures

You may have heard that Jurassic World made more than $500 million worldwide in its opening weekend. That's $500 million, 5-0-0. Its nearly $209 million weekend in the U.S. alone makes it the highest-grossing U.S. opening weekend ever. That's ever, e-ver.

So how's the movie? It's fine. Does it justify having had the biggest domestic box-office opening weekend of all time? That's a pretty tall order for a pretty medium-sized movie, creatively speaking.

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Monkey See
2:43 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

How 'Silicon Valley' Tells Broad Truths From An Insular World

Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, and Martin Starr.
Frank Masi HBO

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 4:12 pm

HBO's Silicon Valley ends its second season Sunday night with a finale I have seen and will warn you is so tense that I actually skipped forward a little bit at one point. That's how suspenseful I found it. And remember: it's a comedy.

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Monkey See
10:21 am
Fri June 12, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Spy' And Other Director-Actor Pairings

Melissa McCarthy gets a star-vehicle movie of her own in Spy.
Larry Horricks/ Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

This week, we're lucky enough to welcome our pal Audie Cornish back to the panel for a discussion of Spy, the latest comedy (after The Heat and Bridesmaids) to team Melissa McCarthy with director Paul Feig. (If you're nostalgic, you can listen to our affectionate review of The Heat here. It's also the episode with a whole segment on The Price Is Right. Happy Friday!)

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Monkey See
12:02 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

WATCH: 11-Year-Old Sydney Lucas Destroys At The Tony Awards

Sydney Lucas performs "Ring Of Keys" from Fun Home on the Tony Awards broadcast Sunday night.
Heather Wines CBS

Sydney Lucas didn't happen to win the Tony Award she was nominated for on Sunday night, but it took nothing away from the fact that she was the highlight of the entire broadcast. Lucas plays Small Alison in Fun Home, the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir about her coming of age that won the award for Best Musical. Lucas sang "Ring Of Keys," which tells the story of Alison seeing a woman who ... well, she'll tell you.

Monkey See
11:21 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Romance Novel Special

Summer romance reads!
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 10:37 am

This week is a special one for us at Pop Culture Happy Hour: we invited our pals Barrie Hardymon and Petra Mayer, along with the marvelous and hugely knowledgeable Sarah Wendell, who runs the romance web site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Here's what you're really looking for if you're looking at this post: the list of recommendations, both authors and specific books (and a couple other things) that all of us (mostly Sarah) rattled off over the course of this show. So let's just get on with it.

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Monkey See
6:41 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Every Song In 'The Last Five Years,' Ranked By Uncontrollable Sobbing

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years.
Thomas Concordia TIFF

Let's get weepy, people. Seriously, seriously weepy. And ... I mean, spoiler alert, obviously. But this show and movie sort of spoils itself structurally, so.

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