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
7:59 am
Mon March 2, 2015

'Downton' Wraps Another Season Of Marriage And (Sigh) Muuuuuurder!

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) made the acquaintance of Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode) on the season finale of Downton Abbey.
Nick Briggs Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECE

When Downton Abbey, which wrapped up its fifth-season run on PBS Sunday night, is fun, it's so much fun. And when it's not good, it's usually talking about Mr. Bates and Anna and somebody getting murdered.

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Monkey See
7:25 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Will Forte Is 'The Last Man On Earth'

In the year 2020, a deadly virus has swept Earth. Phil Miller (Will Forte) is the only survivor.
Jordin Althaus FOX

Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 9:41 am

Even were it not a strong show out of the gate, you'd have to give Fox's new comedy The Last Man On Earth, premiering Sunday night, at least this much: they know how to save on hiring extras.

Will Forte, a flexible and talented performer who's been looking for just the right thing since he left Saturday Night Live, did what a lot of people do now when they aren't getting the right opportunities: he wrote himself a television show.

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Monkey See
12:09 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Small Batch Edition: 'The Sculptor' And Other Grand Graphic Novels

Petra Mayer of NPR Books sat down with our regular panelist Glen Weldon to chat about the massive graphic novel The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud. They talk about what the book does and what they wanted from it, and from there, they go on to recommend some other good reads.

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Monkey See
6:36 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Parks And Rec' And 'Better Call Saul'

NPR

Well, now that we're past the Oscars (whew!), this week's show takes us into some quality television, both departing and arriving. It also brings to the table our pal Barrie Hardymon to join me, Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon for this smaller-screen chat.

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Monkey See
10:52 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Not Just Eating Bugs For Money! A Story Of 'Survivor' And Strategy

The "Blue Collar" tribe assembles on the premiere of Survivor, season ... 30.
Monty Brinton CBS

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 10:54 am

The most famous scene in the first season of Survivor, back in the summer of 2000, involved the castaways, who were very hungry indeed, catching and cooking a rat, then tentatively picking meat off the bones. There was also a challenge that involved eating grubs as quickly as possible. This pretty much sealed the fate of the show's reputation early on among people who didn't watch it: it was essentially one big show called Eating Bugs For Money, and its pleasures were purely exploitative, so low of brow that nothing was visible except the bottom of the barrel.

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Monkey See
10:03 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

'Parks And Recreation' Sets Off Into The Future

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 8:49 am

After seven seasons, NBC's gently acerbic, lovingly rendered Parks and Recreation ended its run Tuesday night with an extension of the final season's voyage to 2017. In further flashes to a few years or even decades later, we learned about April and Andy's kids, Garry's future as a beloved eternal mayor with an ageless wife, Tom's many hustles to come, Donna's educational foundation, the park Ron will run, Leslie's brilliant career and the true partnership of equals that is her marriage to Ben.

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Monkey See
11:50 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

'Birdman' Wins Big On A Soggy Night At The Oscars

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu accepts the Academy Award for best picture for Birdman.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 8:53 am

The rain that fell on Hollywood as the hours of red-carpet coverage wore on may have provided one of the evening's best visuals: actual people running around wearing plastic bags as they guided famous people out of limos, under umbrellas and to the waiting microphones of interviewers who wanted to know who made the dress, the shoes, the jewelry. It was literally the packing up and encasing of humanity to keep reality out: What could be more Oscars than that?

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Monkey See
10:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Watch The Oscars With Us

Preparations continue for the 87th Annual Academy Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA.
Gabriel Olsen Getty Images

The nominees are in, the arguments have been had, and the ceremony is all that's left of Oscar season. (Well, and the griping over what should have won.)

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Monkey See
5:21 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Our Oscars Omnibus 2015

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 9:29 am

We didn't get to tape our Oscars Omnibus live the way we planned (stay tuned for a make-up date for ticketholders), but we did get to sit down with our friend Bob Mondello to talk about all eight contenders in the Best Picture race.

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Monkey See
3:46 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

The Oscars Are Coming, With 1 Big Hit And Few Close Contests

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 9:43 pm

On today's All Things Considered, NPR film critic Bob Mondello and I have a chat with Audie Cornish about the inevitable, inscrutable Oscars.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Making Peace With Peace: Snow Days And Seasons

iStockphoto

So here we are, many of us in the D.C. area, doing what many in the Northeast — particularly New England — have been doing lately: looking out the window.

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Jupiter Ascending' And On-Screen Chemistry

NPR

You might be able to still find Jupiter Ascending at your local multiplex, if it's not entirely occupied with screenings of The Spongebob Movie and Fifty Shades Of Grey (USA! USA!). It made modest money last weekend despite (?) being a big and splashy production from the Wachowskis, who made The Matrix and, well, not really The Matrix again after that.

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Monkey See
1:23 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

The Morning After 'The Daily Show' Began To Look To The Future

It took us a few hours to gather our thoughts, but Stephen Thompson and I sat down this morning for a talk about what might come next once Jon Stewart leaves The Daily Show. To promote from within or to try something more emphatically new? And are they wishing right now that the John Oliver timing had been different? We catch up about these questions and take a moment to remind each other that with a stable of strong writers comes the potential for a strong future, no matter who's in the host chair.

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Monkey See
7:53 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

After 16 Years, Jon Stewart Is Leaving 'The Daily Show'

Comedy Central announced today that Jon Stewart will be leaving The Daily Show later this year.
Comedy Central

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 8:58 am

A presidential election cycle looms, but one of the men most associated with covering presidential politics since the first election of George W. Bush won't be sitting in his usual spot: Comedy Central confirmed on Tuesday that Jon Stewart is stepping down later this year from his post at The Daily Show.

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Monkey See
1:10 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

A Grammy Wrap-Up, With Soft Music And Extra Beck

Actress Kristen Wiig participated in Sia's performance during the Grammy Awards.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for NARAS

On Sunday night, the big Grammy Award winners included Beck and Sam Smith, both of whom put out records that moved pretty slowly. As Stephen Thompson and I note in our wrap-up of the night, the ceremony was a little heavy also, despite some strong performances and a helpful infusion of social commentary.

Monkey See
7:37 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Empire' And The Importance Of Different Voices

NPR

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 8:56 am

This is the time of year when it never hurts to give our very own Stephen Thompson a week off to continue studying hard for various music festivals and planning for family birthdays, so we're happy that Glen and I could sit down with PCHH regulars Gene Demby and Tanya Ballard Brown to talk about one very silly television show and one very good conversation.

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Monkey See
12:58 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

A Skilled Cast Perks Up The Sweet And Funny 'Fresh Off The Boat'

Hudson Yang and Randall Park play Eddie Huang and his dad, Louis, in Fresh Off The Boat.
Nicole Wilder ABC

Fresh Off The Boat, a comedy premiering Wednesday night on ABC, is the rare series that features Asian-American actors in a show about an Asian-American family. It closely resembles ABC's Black-ish not primarily because both shows feature casts of color, but because both shows share a sort of emerging ABC house style, in which slightly hapless but deeply lovable narrators have family adventures while constantly teetering at the edge of a very much heightened reality.

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Monkey See
2:07 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

The Super Bowl, Shark Attacks And Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Katy Perry dances with a couple of sharks during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Christopher Polk Getty Images Sport

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 2:37 pm

As longtime PCHH listeners know, Stephen Thompson hosts a Super Bowl party every year that keeps him hopping and keeps us from discussing the game in real time as we otherwise would. Therefore, we sat down Monday morning to catch up about the game, including the phenomenon of concluding you've witnessed an inexplicable play call from someone who knows much, much more about football than you do. We also talk about the Katy Perry halftime show, the surprisingly sentimental ads and lots more.

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Monkey See
1:39 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Oprah Winfrey And 'Selma' Director Ava DuVernay Team Up For A Series

Oprah Winfrey and director Ava DuVernay, seen here in November of last year, are collaborating on a new drama series for Winfrey's network, OWN.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images for AFI

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has yet to find its Mad Men or Transparent -- the show that will make it an instant player the way those shows did for AMC and Amazon. But today, they announced that later this year, production will begin on a scripted drama series inspired by the Natalie Baszile novel Queen Sugar, on which Oprah Winfrey will collaborate with Ava DuVernay, the director of Best Picture nominee Selma. The story is about a woman living in Los Angeles who moves to her father's 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana after his death.

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Monkey See
7:43 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Watch The Super Bowl Or We'll Kick This Dog: The Saddest Ads Ever

A stranded puppy sits in the rain. Don't worry, though: He's saved by horses.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 10:12 am

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Jane The Virgin' And Sexy Sex Thrillers

NPR

On this week's show, we start off by chatting with our friend Barrie Hardymon about the CW's terrific telenovela adaptation Jane The Virgin. Why the show is so good, why the show is so different, why the show has been so well received, and have we mentioned how much we adore the lead, Gina Rodriguez? (If you haven't ever read the speech she gave at press tour about turning down Devious Maids, which I reference in the discussion, you really should.)

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Monkey See
11:27 am
Wed January 28, 2015

If You've Gotta Reboot 'Ghostbusters,' At Least Do It With This Cast

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:23 am

There's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of Ghostbusters, just as there's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of just about anything. You could take any group of creative people, put them together, and wish they'd just start from scratch rather than revisit a property that's already been done.

However.

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Monkey See
8:32 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Broad City' And Required Reading

NPR

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we're joined from Boston by PCHH's official enthusiastic librarian, Margaret Willison. We begin with a conversation about Broad City, the Comedy Central show that recently kicked off its second season (you can see the event Stephen talks about right here). We talk about some of the show's influences, some of what makes it special, and some of the ways it pushes against the boundaries of typical television.

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Monkey See
4:00 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Some Glittery Favorites From The Miss Universe National Costume Show

Chanel Beckenlehner, Miss Canada 2014. This is the one that's been getting all the press. Drink it in, people. The scoreboard is attached.
Patrick Prather Miss Universe Organization

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 8:40 pm

One of my favorite bonkers displays of the year is the National Costume Show at the Miss Universe pageant. I don't watch the pageant, I don't care who wins, I don't think any of the countries are funny, I don't think any of the cultural references in the outfits are funny, but the costumes are hysterical, and this is basically the joyful, glittering, headpiece-wearing Olympics Of Gaudy Excess, and I could not be more on board. The captions have all the info you could ever need and then some.

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Monkey See
12:57 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

'Parks And Recreation' Shows The Beating Heart Of Its Great Love Story

Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler play the platonic friends at the very beating heart of Parks And Recreation.
Ben Cohen NBC

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 7:56 am

The wedding of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) was one of Parks and Recreation's greatest moments. So was the wedding of April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt). But Tuesday night, Parks spent the second half of its hourlong double episode on its greatest love story: the friendship of Leslie and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman).

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Monkey See
2:24 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

An Uneven But Auspicious 'Nightly' Opener

Larry Wilmore brought The Nightly Show to Comedy Central on Monday night.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for Comedy Central

It's perhaps not surprising that the strongest part of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on its debut Monday was the part that looked the most like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, with which it shares considerable DNA. Wilmore opened with an observation that the Oscar nominations are "so white a grand jury decided not to indict them," acknowledged Selma and said the words "Eric Garner" and "Ferguson" in the teaser before the show open even rolled. (What was on Colbert's show the "pre-eagle" moment.)

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Monkey See
4:26 am
Sat January 17, 2015

Can A 'Whitney' Biopic Beat Watching Whitney Houston?

Yaya DaCosta as Whitney Houston in Lifetime's Whitney.
Jack Zeman Lifetime

The high bar that a biopic about Whitney Houston has to clear is essentially this: Is it better than just watching YouTube videos of Whitney Houston singing? Does it somehow tell you more, open her up more, explain her legacy more? Because honestly, all it takes is watching her sing to understand why she was as beloved as she was, from her arrival as a 21-year-old phenomenon through her The Bodyguard superstardom and the shocking news that she had died the night before the 2012 Grammy Awards.

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Monkey See
8:37 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Selma' And Dramatic License

NPR

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 9:04 am

This week's show — which was taped before Thursday's Oscar nominations — is focused on Ava DuVernay's drama Selma, and we're happy to be joined by our pal and Code Switch blogger Gene Demby, who also recently wrote a terrific piece in Politico about what he talked about as a new civil rights movement. It made sense, we thought, to make sure he was with us to cover a movie about the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

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Monkey See
8:38 am
Thu January 15, 2015

At The Oscar Nominations, It's A Good Year To Be An Idiosyncratic Man

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 12:26 pm

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion I had with Stephen Thompson, my Pop Culture Happy Hour co-panelist, about the Oscar nominations. Tomorrow's full PCHH episode more fully covers the film Selma.]

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Monkey See
2:03 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Small Batch: The Golden Globes

NPR

Stephen Thompson and I meant to sit down together Monday to talk about Sunday's Golden Globes, but a few weather and other issues intervened, so we got cracking this morning, now that our delirious Golden Globe Fever has subsided. We touch on the wins for Transparent and Boyhood and give a quick review of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's hosting. But be aware: on this week's full episode of PCHH, we'll be doing a deep dive into Selma, so if you're wondering where that chatter is, we're working on it.

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