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
8:19 am
Thu October 17, 2013

'Project Runway': A Season Of Tim Gunn Faces

"Did you want to rethink anything? Hair? Shade of yellow? Glasses? Path in life? No? Nothing?"
Barbara Nitke Lifetime

Tim Gunn is the best reason to watch Project Runway, always. Gentle and supportive, dismayed and concerned, he's the uncle, stylist, and influential teacher you never had.

And so, with nothing but love, as the season comes to an end Thursday night, we present a parade of our favorite Tim Gunn faces, together with our magic mind-reading technology that has discerned exactly what he was thinking. It's foolproof, you see.

Monkey See
12:26 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

'Burton And Taylor': The Hollywood Romantic Legend, Take 2

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in Burton And Taylor.
BBC

We can wonder how BBC America's Burton And Taylor might have been received in the absence of Lifetime's Liz And Dick, which, almost a year ago, did not quite rehabilitate Lindsay Lohan's career in the way she was hoping. Perhaps we'd have been able to see this biopic, with Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, purely as its own project.

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Monkey See
10:29 am
Wed October 16, 2013

'Nature' Is Back To Show You Both Adorable Otters And Sad Science

Baby otter. AWWWWW.
PBS

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 10:35 am

In the last couple of years, there's been a surge of what you might call "cool PBS," by which I just mean social-media-friendly stuff like Sherlock and Downton Abbey that sort of expands people's ideas of what public television is and especially what its relationship to pop culture is.

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Monkey See
2:52 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Why You, Yes You, Might Enjoy A Superhero Documentary

Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie.
Courtesy Everett Collection PBS

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.

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Monkey See
10:53 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Smug Life: Why Is 'Catfish' So Dumb When It Doesn't Have To Be?

Max and Nev, probably thinking about how terrible Internet liars are.
MTV

If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.

Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.

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Monkey See
7:36 am
Tue October 15, 2013

What, Exactly, Is James Franco Doing?

James Franco has big plans, always.
Andrew Medichini AP

What is James Franco doing?

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Monkey See
1:46 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Glee' Says Goodbye

Glee remembered Cory Monteith in Thursday night's episode, "The Quarterback."
Adam Rose Fox

When Cory Monteith died in July, the fact that it put Glee in a terrible position was certainly the least of the rotten outcomes.

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Monkey See
8:51 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Gravity' And The Thrill Of The Fiasco

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

I cannot lie: I love this week's podcast very much, and only partly because I got to include a song I probably haven't heard in over 20 years and got our special guest Gene Demby to reveal one of those little things that makes him apoplectic.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Thu October 10, 2013

The Tribe Has Broken: How Sexism Is Silently Killing 'Survivor'

Brad Culpepper heads up a group of bro-dudes with little patience for women on this season's Survivor.
Monty Brinton CBS

This piece contains information about Wednesday night's episode.

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Monkey See
8:10 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Virtual Strangers: A 'Journey' With Anna

A screenshot from Journey.
thatgamecompany

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 10:00 am

Not long ago, when I got a PlayStation 3, the recommendations started rolling in: play this, play that, play my favorite game.

But a bunch of people said, with a sort of excited urgency — particularly people who know me — "Play Journey."

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Monkey See
9:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Breaking Bad,' Bad Boys, Bad Choices

This guy and his dog are doing all they can to contribute to the world of Grand Theft Auto V.
AP
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.

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Monkey See
8:40 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Fitz That Time Again: The Consolidated Rules Of 'Scandal'

Kerry Washington (Emmy nominee!) plays Olivia Pope on Scandal.
Danny Feld ABC

Scandal returns Thursday night on ABC after two seasons of delicious, ridiculous, addictive total nonsense that made it a pop-culture preoccupation. (OK, obsession. But hey, we can quit any time we want.)

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Monkey See
7:11 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Stainless Steel Waters Run Not-So-Deep On 'House Hunters'

I have a confession.

I cannot resist House Hunters. And, of course, House Hunters International. They're not good. But I can't resist them.

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Monkey See
8:03 am
Mon September 30, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Lands Its Finale A Little Too Cleanly

Bryan Cranston wrapped up his run Sunday night as Walter White in Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:27 pm

[Hopefully, we don't have to point out that a piece about the Breaking Bad finale contains information about the Breaking Bad finale. But here we are.]

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan signaled in interviews leading up to Sunday night's series finale that those who craved some redemption for Walter White were the ones most likely to leave happy.

"We feel it's a satisfying ending," Gilligan told Entertainment Weekly. "Walt ends things more or less on his own terms."

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Monkey See
10:08 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Who Are You Calling A One-Hit Wonder?

Seen here in 2005: Ladies and gentlemen, The Click Five.
Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 10:53 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we start by breaking down last weekend's very somber Emmy ceremony, from the repeated death announcements to the perplexing dance routines to a couple of welcome victories that put a more positive spin on the whole thing. Did the host impress? What about poor Shemar Moore? And who will defend interpretive dance?

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Monkey See
8:17 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Another Day, Another Reminder That Jimmy Fallon Will Make Your Day

It's been a while since we just started off by making our morning with some assorted Jimmy Fallon greatness (and I just got my cable hooked up at my new place yesterday, meaning my ability to watch late-night shows over my morning coffee is much enhanced).

So here's some good stuff from Tuesday night's show.

First, Fallon gave the follow-up to his "touchdown dance" bit with Justin Timberlake.

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Monkey See
8:40 am
Mon September 23, 2013

A Sloppy Emmy Telecast Does The Wrong Song And Dance

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Emmy Awards on Sunday night.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:26 am

Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and — oh, right — who wins.

By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.

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Monkey See
11:10 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

On TV's Big Night, Can Netflix Crash The Emmy Party?

Neil Patrick Harris will host the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday on CBS.
Nino Munoz CBS

It might seem like the only TV serious viewers are paying attention to right now is Breaking Bad, but on Sunday night, just as Walter White's penultimate episode is unfolding on AMC, we'll be finding out over on CBS whether his show, his portrayer Bryan Cranston, or other personnel will be taking home Primetime Emmy Awards.

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Monkey See
8:18 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Autumn Leaves, Cumberbatches, And More Fall Amusements

Martin Freeman as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
Mark Pokorny Warner Brothers Pictures
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's show finds me, Stephen, Trey and Glen together again in the studio, but due to a scheduling tweak, finds us in Historic Studio 45 instead of Historic Studio 44, so we hope you can all still follow the conversation.

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Morning Shots: Michel Gondry Does The NFL To A Beat

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:15 pm

I cannot understand how I missed the news that Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones are about to open as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, but this charming list of past pairings makes me want to watch the play ... a lot. (David Tennant and Catherine Tate!

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Monkey See
11:23 am
Wed September 18, 2013

True Love, Book Fights, And Why Ugly Stories Matter

The cover of Eleanor and Park

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 12:06 pm

Regular Monkey See readers know that I've been a fan for some time of Rainbow Rowell, whose first book, Attachments, was a thoughtful romance that utterly charmed me. (Full disclosure: It was after I began reading her books that I got to know Rowell a bit, enough that we actually met in person for the first time Tuesday night for dinner, ahead of her Wednesday night event at Politics & Prose in Washington, where she'll be talking about her new book, Fangirl.)

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Monkey See
11:50 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Fox's 'Dads': If It Weren't Giving Offense, It Wouldn't Be Giving Anything At All

Brenda Song and Seth Green in Fox's Dads.
Jennifer Clasen Fox

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Monkey See
7:09 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days One And Two

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox.
Toronto International Film Festival

Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.

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Monkey See
7:20 am
Mon July 22, 2013

20 Really Great Royal Baby Titles For Classy Parents

Marat Sirotyukov iStockphoto.com

Look, it's possible that I don't completely understand how British titles work. But it's 100 percent true that Prince William is also called Baron Carrickfergus. (You may Google that. I'll wait.)

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Monkey See
10:12 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Why Paula Deen Can't Be A 'Food Network Star'

Seen here in 2009, Paula Deen recently lost her ongoing deal with Food Network.
Katy Winn AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 5:17 am

It's not the least bit surprising that Paula Deen lost her gig on The Food Network — and you don't have to believe she's a terrible person to know it. All you have to do is watch Food Network Star, the competition show that seeks a new network personality and sometimes finds one.

That's where they got Aarti Sequeira, who now hosts the Indian food show Aarti Party. It's where they got Aaron McCargo, Jr., who hosts Big Daddy's House. And Melissa d'Arabian, who hosts Ten Dollar Dinners, and Jeff Mauro, who calls himself "The Sandwich King."

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Monkey See
10:36 am
Mon June 17, 2013

In Slight Defense Of Miss Utah USA, A Little Bit, With Reservations

Television personality and host Giuliana Rancic looks on as Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell answers a question from a judge during the interview portion of the 2013 Miss USA pageant on Sunday night.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Look, Miss Utah USA, Marissa Powell, gave a pretty unimpressive answer to a question about income inequality at the Miss USA pageant. Let's all agree on that.

But what, exactly, did the circumstances call for?

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Sun June 9, 2013

When Your Data Is Currency, What Does Your Privacy Cost?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 9:59 am

There was considerable mouth-dropping from publications such as The New York Times at initial reports this week that NSA programs are gathering both telephone records and information gleaned from large tech companies like Google and Microsoft. But as those reports have settled in, reactions have gotten more complex.

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Monkey See
4:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Comikaze: Not Just The Other Comic Convention

Last year's Comikaze, seen here in September 2012, attracted tens of thousands of attendees.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:43 am

You may be familiar with the San Diego Comic-Con, a constantly expanding convention for fans that started as a niche event for comic-book nerds and is now a sprawling pop-culture event.

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Monkey See
11:28 am
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 2:34 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
12:29 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Boston's Art Museums Offer Free Admission To Provide A 'Place Of Respite'

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is offering free admission Tuesday.
Lisa Poole AP

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 3:11 pm

UPDATE, 4:08 p.m.: In addition to the institutions mentioned below, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has announced that admission will be free on Wednesday, April 17.

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