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
11:40 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Money Is The Object And The Subject In History's 'The Men Who Built America'

History identifies these men in its press materials as "Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan." They are committing to the bit.
Zach Dilgard History

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

You've Got To Have Friends: How Curated Families Shook Up TV Comedy

From Friends: Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox. But you knew that.
AP

This week at Monkey See, we're looking at friendship in pop culture. We begin with a consideration of how half-hour comedies shifted away from being almost exclusively family- or work-focused.

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Monkey See
7:00 am
Mon October 15, 2012

A Day Later, The Space Jump Guy Is OK, But How About The Rest Of Us?

Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday.
Red Bull Stratos AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:23 am

More than 7 million people were watching as Felix Baumgartner sat at the edge of his space capsule yesterday 24 miles off the ground and got ready to jump, in what was known as the "Red Bull Stratos" project, better known as the "space jump." I saw it myself; he opened the door, and there was something there that certainly seemed to be space.

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Monkey See
8:30 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Time Travel And The Right Way To Be Pushy

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We all took ourselves to see Looper last weekend, and we've all got opinions. Was it confusing? Full of holes? Exciting? Moving? Too bloody? Not bloody enough? And what about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetic makeup and that thing that happened to Paul Dano?

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Monkey See
8:01 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Careful, Frustrated 'Glee' People: 'The Break Up' Might Suck You Back In

Emma (Jayma Mays) and Will (Matthew Morrison) are only one of the challenged couples in tonight's Glee.
Jordin Althaus Fox

Every high-school show deals with the same problem — even if with Beverly Hills, 90210-like leisure — if it lasts long enough: What now?

Most often, as on 90210, everyone mysteriously goes off to the same college that doesn't exist. Sometimes, as on Friday Night Lights, the show follows some of the kids further but also toughens up and freshens the cast.

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Monkey See
7:24 am
Tue October 2, 2012

When It Comes To Character Detail, 'Pitch Perfect' Nails It

Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.
Peter Iovino Universal Pictures

Pitch Perfect, the new comedy that opened in some cities last Friday and goes wider this Friday, is set in a world very close to my own heart: college a cappella.

I know, I know — it's dorky, it's silly, you hated those people at your school — I get it. But I loved it when I did it, and even now, I carry around a few of these compilations on my phone.

But as much as I enjoyed all the singing (and I did), it's not how the film won me over. What won me over was Beca's raggedy manicure.

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Monkey See
4:07 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Damian Lewis On The Conflicts And Complexities Of 'Homeland'

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Showtime's Homeland.
Bob Leverone Showtime

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 1:17 pm

There weren't a whole lot of upset winners at last Sunday's Emmy Awards, but one of the few was Homeland star Damian Lewis, who beat out, among others, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and three-time winner Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad to take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Lewis' co-star, Claire Danes, won for her lead performance as well, and the show ended a four-year Mad Men streak when it was named Outstanding Drama Series.

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Monkey See
9:44 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The State Of Television And The Tweed Set

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Monkey See
10:47 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Women, Men And Fiction: Notes On How Not To Answer Hard Questions

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 11:32 am

Nothing is more vexing than a question where 10 percent of the public discussion is spent trying to answer it and 90 percent is spent arguing about whether it matters.

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Monkey See
7:14 am
Mon September 24, 2012

A Dull Night At The Emmys, But A Big One For 'Homeland' And 'Modern Family'

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis hold up their Emmy Awards for Showtime's Homeland.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 8:53 am

Let us say this first: As an actual determination of the utmost merit in television, the Emmy Awards are ridiculous and have been ridiculous for quite some time. Naming shows that the Emmys failed to take seriously is easy: The Wire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of the run of Friday Night Lights and so forth. If you look to the Emmys to actually anoint the best show or the best performance, you will bawl your eyes out over and over, and also, anyone who watches very much television will make fun of you as a rube and a dupe. Is that blunt enough?

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Monkey See
3:33 am
Sun September 23, 2012

On Television's Biggest Night, It's Antiheroes And Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.
Nick Briggs PBS

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 10:43 am

Just as you're trying to figure out what to watch during the new television season, they come at you with the Emmy Awards, ready to bestow the big prizes from the last television season. There are some big questions about this year's slate: What happens to Downton Abbey, the swooning British import whose distaste for antiheroes and gore sets it apart from its Outstanding Drama Series rivals? How big a splash will the thriller Homeland make in its first year of eligibility?

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Monkey See
7:24 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Breakup Culture And Fall Television Predictions

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Monkey See
8:55 am
Tue September 18, 2012

The Sophistication Problem: James Bond, Gene Kelly, And The Limbs We Live On

iStockphoto.com

In an excellent piece at the Press Play blog at Indiewire, Matt Zoller Seitz writes of a screening of From Russia With Love, where he found that much of the audience was too busy guffawing at the elements it found dated to engage the film on its own terms. While he writes eloquently and angrily about the phenomenon of ironic distance, the killer line is this one: "It's up to the individual viewer to decide to connect or not connect with a creative work.

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Monkey See
10:13 am
Mon September 17, 2012

The 25 Magic Words Of American Television

iStockphoto.com

Tonight, two new fall shows premiere: Mob Doctor, which is about a doctor who works for the mob, and Revolution, which is about a devastating global power outage and — more than that — a revolution.

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Monkey See
4:45 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: O Canada!

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We taped this week's show with half of us in D.C. and half of us — me and Trey, plus NPR's own Bob Mondello — in a studio in Toronto. Why? Because of the Toronto International Film Festival, which provides the front half of the show. Trey, Bob and I talk about a bunch of the films we saw, many of which you can see covered on the blog's TIFF '12 section.

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Monkey See
12:09 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

TIFF '12: Billy Bob Thornton's Film That Is Not About 'Jayne Mansfield's Car'

Billy Bob Thornton and Kevin Bacon star in Jayne Mansfield's Car.
Van Redin Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 12:30 pm

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of this week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Here's a declaration for you: I haven't seen even ten percent of the films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, but I am convinced that Jayne Mansfield's Car has the worst title.

Let's go back to the beginning.

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Monkey See
11:17 am
Tue September 11, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Mr. Pip' And Literary Escape

Hugh Laurie and Xzannjah in Mr. Pip.
Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of this week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Stomp Your Feet For 'The Sapphires'

Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbins, Jessica Mauboy, and Miranda Tapsell in The Sapphires.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:13 pm

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Film festival fare can be thrilling and moving and challenging and gorgeous, but here's the thing: it can also be dark and depressing. There's nothing more welcome, then, than a very good film that also happens to incorporate a lot of soul music and dancing, and The Sapphires is that very good film.

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Monkey See
9:43 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Sex, Kindness, And Polio In 'The Sessions'

John Hawkes and Helen Hunt star in The Sessions.
Red Camera Pulls Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

I'll say this: The Sessions is probably the most lighthearted movie about sex and polio you'll see this year.

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: 'The Central Park Five' Revisits A Storm Of Fear

Yusef Salaam is escorted by police.
New York Daily News Archive NY Daily News via Getty Images

Do you remember the case of the Central Park jogger, from 1989? Do you know who was convicted, what the evidence was, what supposedly happened? Do you know how long they served, or whether and when they were released? Do you know what eventually became of their convictions?

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Children Of Sarajevo' Spotlights A Sister And Brother Hanging On

Marija Pikic plays Rahima, who's trying to keep her brother safe in Children Of Sarajevo.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:32 pm

Rarely will you see a film that spends as much time looking at the back of its lead's head as Children Of Sarajevo, which won a special award from the jury at Cannes earlier this year.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'On The Road' Presents The Young Writer And His Travels

Sam Riley plays Sal in the new adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:32 pm

It's perhaps a testament to my resistance to this material that I've never felt moved to read Jack Kerouac's On The Road, but I have to suspect it's better than this disappointing adaptation, or at least more interesting.

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Monkey See
7:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'West Of Memphis' Finds New Spaces In Well-Covered Territory

Lorri Davis, the wife of Damien Echols, looks at a map of the neighborhood where the "West Memphis Three" were accused of killing three boys in 1993.
Toronto International Film Festival

The story of the Arkansas murder trials of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley — the men known as the "West Memphis Three" — has already been the topic of the three well-known documentaries in the Paradise Lost series made for HBO by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Those films, in fact, helped the case come to the attention of many of the people whose work ultimately resulted in the three defendants' release from prison in 2011.

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Rust And Bone,' A Gorgeous Meditation On The Physical Body

Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard star in Rust & Bone.
Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

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Monkey See
8:54 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Dog Days And Classic Film Talk

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When you can't beat the slowness of late summer as an entertainment season, you can at least embrace it, and that's what we did this week. Dog days of summer winding down, you say? We say it's time to talk about pop culture dogs. Not dogs in the "lousy product" sense, but dogs in the sense of literal, actual dogs. Faithful, friendly, silly, whether the size of an ottoman or the size of a wallet.

Among the little treasures, Stephen is fond of this slightly obscure dog — at least these eight minutes of him.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Entirely Real Photos: Model Or Headless Disney Mascot?

A model walks down the runway during the Maria Sofia Bahlner S/S 2013 Fashion Show from the Swedish School of Textiles during the Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.
Andreas Rentz Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 10:49 am

This is a model walking during a Maria Sofia Bahlner fashion show from what I am told is the "Swedish School Of Textiles," during Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.

This is undoubtedly an example of avant-garde design, fashion as art, exploration of textile possibilities ... I have no doubt, it is artistically driven.

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Monkey See
10:12 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Nobody, Not Even Your Mom, Has Such Small Hands: 10 Other Products 'For Her'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 2:04 am

Okay, so Bic has been taking a lot of flack for selling this pen "for her." (As it says on its web site, it is "a ball pen essentially for women," although that seems to invite a caveat, such as, "although there may be certain men to whom it appeals and we don't judge.")

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Monkey See
3:12 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Alan Ball On Leaving 'True Blood' Behind

Writer Alan Ball arrives at the premiere of the fifth season of HBO's True Blood in May. Ball is leaving the series at the end of this season.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:00 am

Nothing panics the fans of a show quite like the departure of the creator. That's just what's happening at True Blood, where creator Alan Ball is leaving after five seasons, but the show goes on. As he tells Laura Sullivan on weekends on All Things Considered, he feels some nostalgia, but he's ready.

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Monkey See
12:27 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

'Project Runway' And The Designer Who Looked Even Worse Than His Clothes

Designer Ven Budhu, seen here on a previous episode, got in big trouble on last night's Project Runway.
Lifetime

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 3:04 pm

[Contains information about last night's episode.]

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Monkey See
10:17 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Sidekicks, Holograms, And PCHH 101

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On this week's show, it's time to talk about the supporting characters who are getting their own stories — just like Judd Apatow is doing for Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters in This Is 40. If you can't get behind Glen's spin-off idea from the world's most studly franchise, then I just don't know what to say to you, because frankly, it's brilliant.

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