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
12:26 pm
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
8:42 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
8:57 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
10:24 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
8:32 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
2:11 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
12:39 pm
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
11:31 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 12:26 pm

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
12:22 pm
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 3:34 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
8:28 am
Mon May 13, 2013

'Space Oddity' In Space: Yes, Astronauts Are Still The Coolest Humans

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield sits in front of a mock-up of a Soyuz TMA space craft during his pre-flight preparation at the Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, outside Moscow, in November 2012.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 10:16 am

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Monkey See
8:05 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
10:44 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Iron Man' And Giving Up

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's show, we're joined by our friend Matt Thompson, who was around last summer for The Avengers and who here helps us tackle Iron Man 3. We chat about the importance of the suit, the quality of the villainy, and whether Robert Downey, Jr. should win an Oscar. (Okay, the last one is me.)

After that, we chat about the things that we've given up on, some of which might surprise you. (I am ready for your angry e-mails.)

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Loving 'Gatsby' Too Much And Not Enough

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby.
Daniel Smith Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:19 pm

[I really hope it goes without saying that this piece about the film adaptation of a decades-old novel gives away the plot of a decades-old novel. But: Be aware.]

The sheer zazz that Baz Luhrmann introduces into The Great Gatsby is so imposing in quantity that it's surprising that it can get out of the way enough not to be the biggest problem in the movie. Luhrmann, after all, loves his swooping cameras and party scenes, and Gatsby gives him the best excuse for excess that there is: a story about excess.

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Monkey See
11:14 am
Thu May 9, 2013

PBS Continues The March Into Streaming Programming

Antiques Roadshow is one of the programs available from PBS's new Roku channel.
PBS

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 11:25 am

Let's start with a brief tour of streaming television online.

For quite a while, streaming television meant sitting and watching it on your computer. It wasn't ideal, for obvious reasons. Then, it got easier to sit and watch it on your phone. That wasn't ideal, either, if you liked the living-room experience. Tablets do a better job than phones of delivering a portable but less tiny experience.

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Monkey See
1:12 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Yippee-Kai-Yay, Mr. President: 'White House Down' Looks Very Familiar

Channing Tatum stars in White House Down.
Reiner Bajo Sony Pictures

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Monkey See
12:07 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

If Jeff Probst Were President

Jeff Probst, seen here in the summer of 2012, is a TV host, and is not actually the president.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:38 pm

Note: It is 100 percent true and 51 percent relevant that this entire story was written inside my brain while I was in the dentist's chair under the influence of anesthesia. I began to think, "Jeff Probst [the host of Survivor] will not be happy until he is more important than tribal council. Until he is king of CBS. Until he is President of the United States. President Jeff Probst." So the entire thing is numbness-induced in so many ways. Make of that what you will.

President Jeff Probst's State Of The Union Address, delivered Feb. 2 [xxx]

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Monkey See
2:15 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

At The Met Ball, Those Are Some Crazy Dresses

Beyonce, complete with thigh-high boots to match.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Monday night was the big night for unusual dresses (you may remember a previous post about Madonna's bunny ears): the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the "Met Ball." It had a loose punk theme (because the costume exhibit it's celebrating is punk-centric), but everyone got up to quite a bit of her own thing.

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Monkey See
12:54 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

These Dogs, Cats And Robots Have A Few 'Tiny Confessions'

Penguin

Let me tell you a quick story from NPR's move from our old headquarters to our new one.

When I was emptying out my old desk and workspace, in addition to all the shoes under my desk and an alarming number of vessels designed to keep coffee warm, I had quite a lot of books lying around. Some were upcoming books, most were old books, and a few were books I neither had any use for nor could bear to get rid of. One of the tests I applied was that if I picked up a book and the first page I opened to made me laugh, it survived.

Tiny Confessions survived.

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Monkey See
11:16 am
Tue May 7, 2013

So Much For Bowling Scenes: What Is And Isn't Wrong With Number-Crunching Scripts

iStockphoto.com

The words "grossed out" evoke enough of a watery 1980s vibe that they need to be saved for the times when they really apply: movie scenes where somebody sticks something in somebody else's eye, sewage spills, and so forth.

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Monkey See
8:30 am
Tue May 7, 2013

MTV's Musical Legacy: How 'Unplugged' Sold The Radio Star

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City in November 1993.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

It's generally understood that something about MTV was revolutionary. Perhaps it was the music video, perhaps it was the short attention span, perhaps it was The Real World, but something about MTV had enough cultural permanency that it made for a fine oral history from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, called I Want My MTV, in late 2011.

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