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
12:59 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

What Happens When You Make A Podcast About Podcasts About A Podcast?

Serial, from the This American Life family, is a hit — to the point where it's now got spinoff podcasts at both Slate and The A.V. Club, the latter of which calls its Serial recap podcast the Serial Serial.

The air is getting pretty thin up here, no?

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Monkey See
11:22 am
Wed November 19, 2014

'Grape Salad' Is Not Minnesotan, And Other Lessons In Cultural Mapmaking

Organic grapes are on display at trade fair on Sept. 5, in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:15 pm

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Monkey See
2:47 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

'MasterChef Junior': The Secret Ingredients Are Moppets And Empathy

Abby knows better than to lose her concentration while cooking.
Greg Gayne Fox

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Monkey See
5:58 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

A Painful Hollywood Portrait Makes For Great TV On 'The Comeback'

Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback.
Colleen Hayes HBO

In 2005, Lisa Kudrow starred in a little HBO show called The Comeback, a show styled as — get ready for this — the raw footage for a (fictional) reality show about a (fictional) actress named Valerie Cherish, getting her big chance to come back in the (fictional) sitcom Room And Bored. The show was well reviewed but low-rated, and it was canceled after 13 episodes.

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Monkey See
2:36 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

'State Of Affairs': Television From The Precise Middle Of The Barrel

Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) meets with President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard).
Michael Parmelee NBC

The best and worst thing I can say about the new NBC drama State Of Affairs is the bottom line: if this is the kind of show you like, you might like this show.

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Monkey See
9:25 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Revived Properties And Cultural Dichotomies

NPR

We chose not to assign ourselves Dumb And Dumber To this week. Call it the shortness of life, call it the urgency of busy schedules, call it limited tolerance for catheter jokes — we declined. We did, however, get talking about whether this film, and others that come many years later to try to pump life into an aging franchise, are ever simply too late to the party to be successful.

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Monkey See
9:07 am
Thu November 13, 2014

A Great Director — Who's Also A Woman — Might Direct 'Wonder Woman'

Michelle MacLaren, seen here accepting an award as a producer on Breaking Bad, may direct the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:06 pm

Michelle MacLaren is a familiar name, or at least a familiar creator, to fans of high-end television: She directed episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and other series, she's worked extensively as a producer (including on Breaking Bad), and she's one of a handful of television directors whose presence behind the camera can stir enthusiasm about upcoming projects.

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Monkey See
10:17 am
Wed November 12, 2014

'New Girl' And The Optics Of Breast Whispering

Schmidt (Max Greenfield) tries to imagine a small-breasted future as Coach (Damon Wayans Jr., left) and Winston (Lamorne Morris) look at him in bafflement.
Adam Taylor Fox

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 11:24 am

Like a lot of comedies — and almost all good ones — Fox's New Girl has tweaked its dynamics quite a lot since it debuted in the fall of 2011. Originally built around the idea that Jess (Zooey Deschanel) was childlike and unable to get a date, it has made her more individual, dropped the idea that she's sexually incompetent, and generally made her more odd and less stupid.

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Monkey See
2:02 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging: On Difference, High-Fives, And Podcasts

I've been listening to Startup — the podcast started by Planet Money alum Alex Blumberg to talk about the establishment of his company, Gimlet Media — since it debuted in early September. It appears every other Monday, so they posted their seventh episode this morning.

I'm surprised it took me until their fourth episode, which I heard on October 10, to notice that I couldn't remember any women being heard on the show other than Blumberg's [awesome and hilarious] wife and the [less present but probably also delightful] wife of his business partner, Matt.

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Monkey See
10:07 am
Mon November 10, 2014

About The Time Shonda Rhimes Gave Me A Christmas Cat Intervention

Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad and KITTY KITTY KITTY in Hallmark's The Nine Lives Of Christmas.
Katie Yu Hallmark Channel

People who have been reading the blog for a while — let alone following me on Twitter for a while — know that I have this thing about Hallmark movies.

I'm not proud of it, but I'm also not particularly embarrassed by it; it is my white noise, occasionally on in the background while I'm doing the dishes or sorting mail or folding laundry. I regret nothing!

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Monkey See
8:41 am
Mon November 10, 2014

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Hits A Home Run With The Stupendous Andre Braugher

Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, L), Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher, C) and Det. Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz, R) try and figure out why Amy is late in Sunday night's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Eddy Chen Fox

The Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a tiny bit uneven in its first few episodes last year, but it was always clear that it had the goods. Since then, it's become one of the most reliably funny, sharp, and — in the tradition of shows like Parks & Recreation, which creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor also worked on — big-hearted comedies in prime time.

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Monkey See
11:07 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Interstellar' And Other Space Movies

NPR

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, is the live-action behemoth arriving in theaters this weekend, and we brought in our pal Chris Klimek to chat about its highs and lows, its big sound (literally) and gorgeous visuals. You'll find that we had mixed reactions once you count the emotional beats, technical accomplishments, structure, editing, and — as Chris points out — high saline budget.

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Monkey See
9:42 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Documents, Not Institutions: On 'Benched' And Not Sweating The Future

Eliza Coupe as Nina and Jay Harrington as Phil in USA's Benched.
Isabella Vosmikova USA

Eliza Coupe is one of the most precise comedic actresses you will ever see. Every muscle is at work on comedy, all the time. She has the kind of face that tempts you to say she has a great face, but that makes it seem like luck, and it's not luck. It's work.

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Monkey See
2:25 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What Is An Ending? 'Serial' And The Ongoing Story Of Wanting Too Much

A road disappearing into the fog.
iStockphoto

Part of the hook of the fine podcast Serial, spun off from This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig, is that it feels exactly like the grungy, procedurally exacting, multi-episode stories that are so popular right now on television. It feels so much like a great series on Showtime or HBO; it has the flavor of the anticipation and blind alleys and you-gotta-see-this social anticipation of True Detective or Fargo.

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Monkey See
9:52 am
Mon November 3, 2014

The Luxury Of Solitude

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, near Freeport, Maine.
Linda Holmes NPR

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 5:16 pm

There are people who have no idea what they would do with themselves if they had a little under two weeks with no commitments, a car, a duffel bag, and a series of motel reservations making a loop around New England with a spur up into Maine.

I am not one of those people.

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Monkey See
6:21 am
Wed October 22, 2014

On Vacation, See You Soon

Everyone needs a break now and then, and the time has come for a vacation. I'll be away from the blog until November 3, though you may see some posts here and there from other folks, as well as new PCHH episodes (which will be here both this Friday and next).

Thanks for reading and thanks for chatting, and wish me luck not getting rained on too hard.

Monkey See
8:39 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Transparent' And Pop Culture Debuts

NPR

For a couple of lovely weeks in October, our dear pal Ari Shapiro — who has long since forgiven us for making him watch the VMAs and Olympus Has Fallen for a prior episode — was back at NPR HQ to host Weekend Edition. While we had him here, we grabbed him up for a conversation about Transparent and pop culture debuts.

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Monkey See
8:58 am
Thu October 16, 2014

With Few Stages Left To Conquer, Neil Patrick Harris Goes To The Oscars

Neil Patrick Harris, seen here hosting the 2013 Emmys, is getting the Oscars job many have long wanted for him.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

It was an announcement of an old-school job that played out in a new media landscape: Yesterday, Variety reported that Neil Patrick Harris would host the Oscars, which they tweeted at 4:49 P.M. Harris himself tweeted a little video of himself crossing "Host the Oscars" off his bucket list — also at 4:49 P.M. Then finally, an interminable 26 minutes later, we got the press release from the Academy that announced with excitement that Neil Patrick Harris would host the Oscars in 2015.

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Monkey See
1:55 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: A Report From New York Comic-Con

Costumes were plentiful at the New York Comic-Con at Jacob Javitz Center.
Daniel Zuchnik Getty Images

Friend Of PCHH and NPR Books editor Petra Mayer recently returned from New York Comic-Con, so we asked her to talk a little about what she did while she was up there. As it happens, she kept herself very busy, moderating a panel full of authors she admires and chatting up one of the biggest nerd icons of her (and my) pop-culture coming-of-age.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Wed October 15, 2014

HBO Without Cable, Coming In 2015

Lena Dunham and Allison Williams star in Girls, one of several popular HBO shows that stand-alone streaming could include.
Mark Schafer HBO

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:28 pm

HBO has built a robust and popular online presence over the past couple of years with its app, HBO GO. But to get it — as is the case with many streaming services that offer television over the Internet — you've needed a cable subscription. In other words, HBO GO was an add-on for people who already had HBO, not an alternative way of getting shows for people who didn't.

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