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
1:01 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Mike Nichols: Remembering The Ellipses After The Story Ends

Mike Nichols, seen here in 2013, died Wednesday at 83.
Dario Cantatore AP

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion from me and my Pop Culture Happy Hour colleague Stephen Thompson about Mike Nichols and his work. Stephen tells a great family story about the impact of Nichols' comedy — give it a listen.]

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Monkey See
9:22 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 1:15 pm

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Monkey See
12:47 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
3:58 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
12:36 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
7:25 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
7:07 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 10:06 am

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
12:02 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
6:41 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
9:07 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
7:42 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
7:52 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 3:16 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
6:39 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
6:58 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
11:55 am
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
9:45 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 10:28 am

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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Monkey See
8:28 am
Tue October 14, 2014

'Marry Me' Throws Plenty Of Jokes (And Its Lead Actress) At The Wall

Ken Marino and Casey Wilson star in NBC's Marry Me.
Greg Gaynes NBC

I'm not sure I've ever seen a comedy use an opening scene to put a main character in a hole as deep as the one Marry Me digs for Annie, played by Casey Wilson. We meet her as she and her longtime boyfriend Jake (Ken Marino) return from a vacation during which she believed he would propose and he didn't.

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Monkey See
7:34 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Gone Girl' And What Pop Culture Can Teach

NPR

You've had a week now since the release of David Fincher's Gone Girl, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, so we hope that the most fervently excited of you have already seen it.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: 'Twin Peaks' Returns

Sherilyn Fenn and Kyle MacLachlan starred in the original run of Twin Peaks. MacLachlan is rumored to be reprising the role of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in the new episodes.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Regular PCHH listeners know that our own Glen Weldon is a big fan of Twin Peaks, so we knew that he would be excited to sit down and talk about the big news that it's returning to Showtime for nine new episodes, picking up the story 25 years later.

He and Stephen Thompson therefore sat down for a chat about where the show might be going from here, why Glen believes having both original creators on board is so important, and which two favorites from public television he imagines when he thinks about their collaborative process.

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Monkey See
8:58 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Cameron Esposito And The Comedy Of Confidence

The opening track on Cameron Esposito's new album, Same Sex Symbol, is an accelerating and elegant display of something often in short supply in great comedy: confidence.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Tue October 7, 2014

'The Flash' Winks At History And Keeps Its Superhero Tone Light

After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) realizes he's gained super speed and takes on the persona of the Flash.
The CW

The most telling feature of the CW's new superhero drama The Flash is the casting of John Wesley Shipp as the tragically and wrongfully imprisoned father of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who in the opening hour becomes The Flash.

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Monkey See
9:02 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: 'House Hunters International'

NPR

Do you fantasize about living in Hong Kong or Paris or on an Australian beach? And do you wonder whether you could fit it into your budget? And do you wonder how you would resolve petty little conflicts with your spouse or partner or roommate about being near work versus having a pool?

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Please Don't Judge John Mulaney By 'Mulaney'

Martin Short and John Mulaney in FOX's Mulaney.
Ray Mickshaw FOX

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 1:22 pm

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Monkey See
7:23 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Denzel Washington And 'Gilligan's Island'

NPR

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 9:20 am

The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington in the kind of role (the "Sad Jedi," as our own Chris Klimek put it in his terrific review) that Liam Neeson has been specializing in for several years, hit theaters last weekend. It made a lot of money, and that got us thinking: How does this fit into the larger arc of Denzel Washington?

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Monkey See
2:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

The Overworked 'Bad Judge' Still Doesn't Work

Kate Walsh as Rebecca in NBC's Bad Judge.
John Fleenor NBC

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 2:38 pm

The bummer about Bad Judge, a comedy premiering Thursday night on NBC, is that Kate Walsh is funny. There's a particular moment when she decides to sing something she's just said, and just in that brief moment, she's legitimately funny.

But boy, she is stuck in a stinker here, a show that they've substantially revamped from the weak original pilot until it still isn't very good, but now it doesn't even make any sense.

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Monkey See
12:13 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

'A To Z': Not A Great Romantic Comedy Yet, But Give It A Letter Or Two

Cristin Milioti as Zelda, Ben Feldman as Andrew in NBC's A to Z.
Jessica Brooks NBC

We've been over this point before: particularly with comedy, it can be hard to tell from a pilot what the show is going to be like. But when you've seen a few, you can sometimes tell the difference between fundamentally misbegotten projects, like the ABC romantic comedy Manhattan Love Story, and fundamentally functional shows that have kinks to work out, like the NBC romantic comedy A To Z.

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Monkey See
6:45 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Adam Sandler Signs Up With Netflix For 4 New Movies

Adam Sandler, seen here at the recent premiere of Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children, probably didn't mean it when he said he signed on with Netflix because it rhymes with "wet chicks."
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:02 am

Netflix has thus far found its highest-profile successes in original content by competing with award-ready premium television with Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

But there's more to running a network than winning awards, and the reminder of that came this morning with an announcement that Netflix has made a deal to be the exclusive home of four movies to star and be produced by Adam Sandler.

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Monkey See
10:21 am
Tue September 30, 2014

The Strange, Split 'Selfie' Pilot

Social Media superstar Eliza Dooley has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But she needs help from Henry (John Cho).
Nicole Wilder ABC

The pilot of the ABC show Selfie, starring Karen Gillan and John Cho in a Pygmalion update built on the notion that being obsessed with Twitter is the new Flawed But Fixable Personality Problem, is only about 22 minutes long — a little less. Given that pilots always have to contain a certain amount of pure exposition, that barely seems like enough time for the pilot to have both good parts and bad parts.

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Monkey See
9:23 am
Tue September 30, 2014

'Gone Girl,' Take Two: The Very, Very Spoiled Edition

Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne, whose mysterious disappearance turns her husband into a murder suspect.
Merrick Morton Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:42 am

Please understand that this post contains information about the plot of Gone Girl that has the capacity to rob it of many of its best and most delicious surprises for anyone not already aware of them. It's most appropriate for people who have already either read the book or seen the film, or for people who don't plan to read the book or see the film, or for people who don't like to be surprised, or for people who read the Wikipedia summary of a mystery before they watch it, or for people who hate having a good time.

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Monkey See
4:07 am
Tue September 30, 2014

'Gone Girl': A Missing Wife And A Cloud Of Suspicion

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary.
Merrick Morton Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 10:40 am

At the opening of Gone Girl, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is literally a man on the street. Standing by his trash cans in the half-light of an early morning at his gorgeous Missouri home in a T-shirt and sweatpants, he is what might be mistaken for "comfortable," but he is painfully, powerfully ordinary. And in keeping with the title, he is about to learn that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), is missing. Suspicious to both the authorities and the audience, Nick has lost his wife to either an act of violence he committed or an act of violence he did not commit.

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