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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.

Commentators both amateur and professional have turned over the events of the 1994-95 O.J. Simpson trial in their hands for a couple of decades now, trying to figure out how it got so distressingly ugly as a display, let alone as a legal proceeding. The FX series The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story , based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run Of His Life , has come to the surprisingly compassionate conclusion, over and over, that a significant part of the problem...

If you follow Team PCHH on Twitter , you know that a week ago, we all trekked up to Manhattan and saw Hamilton , which we intended to talk about on this week's show. Unfortunately, I was struck down by the weirdest and most potent bout of laryngitis of my lifetime, and we had to postpone that show, which you'll get next week. In the meantime, fortunately, we have three conversations featuring awesome people who have never been on PCHH before. Fresh faces! First, we're...

It's always a good week when Audie Cornish or Barrie Hardymon sit in, but this week, with Stephen off finishing the Austin 100 (which is now available for your ears! ), they both stepped into the studio with me and Glen Weldon to talk about the end of Downton Abbey , which ends its run on PBS Sunday night — and which, of course, ended its UK run at Christmas. We talk about the overall arc of the show, its devotion to romance above all, its surprises and quagmires, and poor,...

I can't say I ever expected to be writing about Donald Trump, Republican frontrunner, back when I was writing about Donald Trump, reality-show guy. It's one of the weirdest things about having someone who's so well-known in one arena move into another: in most news organizations, the people who have followed Trump the most closely for the longest time cover television or maybe business, but not politics. And in the case of covering television, which is what I did, they weren't...

You can say this for Sunday night's Oscars: It seemed like a lot of it was going to be about inclusion or lack thereof, and it was. Back in 2012, Chris Rock presented the Oscar for best animated feature, explaining that he loved animation because it makes anything possible. "I love animation," he said, "because in the world of animation, you can be anything you wanna be. If you're a fat woman, you can play a skinny princess. If you're a short, wimpy guy, you can play a tall gladiator. If you...

We were sad today to learn that Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird (and, much more recently, Go Set A Watchman ) had died at 89, so Barrie Hardymon of NPR's Weekend Edition sat down with me to talk about Lee's most famous book and how significant it feels in our respective orbits. We talk a little about its portrayal of its unusual six-year-old protagonist, its respect for the personhood of kids in general, its imperfect but earnest efforts to engage issues of...

PCHH regular Stephen Thompson had the week off from the show, so I was joined by Glen Weldon as well as our pals Chris Klimek and Bob Mondello to talk about the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! . Chris engagingly reviewed it for NPR, and Bob has covered the Coens plenty of times, so we've got lots to discuss. Glen has a theory of what it's about, I have your cultural genealogy for the Channing Tatum dance number, and we've all got feelings about Chris' Michael Gambon impression ...

In September 2014, Glen Weldon (a great recommendation engine for podcasts) talked in our What's Making Us Happy This Week segment about Pitch, a show I'd never heard of about which I said with some interest, "I'd listen to that." Hit your little fast-forward button and jump about a year and a half, during which we adopted Pitch as one of the things we think is nifty and befriended its producers, Alex Kapelman and Whitney Jones . This week, Alex is in the fourth chair, sucked through the...

Sure, people fight about superhero movies and sci-fi movies and who was the best James Bond. But if you want to see some deeply felt disagreement, get in a fight about romantic comedies. Or, if you don't care to, just enjoy this Twitter debate I had a couple of weeks ago with actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who has almost as many opinions about such things as I do. (Almost. And I really do think we should have a podcast called "Isn't It Romantic?" where we fight about this weekly, because...

Sunday night's Super Bowl landed a huge TV audience for its battle between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, which the Broncos took 24-10. While a football game is a football game, the Super Bowl is also a huge pop culture event, from the halftime show to the buildup and the barrage of advertising. We sat down the Monday morning after to take apart the highs, the lows, and the Beyonce of it all. As we talk about a little, the halftime show was partially upstaged and made...

As you know if you are interacting with American commerce or popular entertainment at the moment, the Super Bowl is this weekend. Stephen Thompson, as he has explained for NPR in the past, has an annual Super Bowl party and chicken-eating contest called Chicken Bowl. This year will be Chicken Bowl XX — that is, Chicken Bowl 20, for those of you who are not Romans. In preparation for Chicken Bowl and for the Super Bowl parties many of you will be enjoying (or trying to enjoy) also, we brought...

This week's show had our toes tapping, you can believe that. Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch joined us to first talk about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend , the CW's musical comedy starring Rachel Bloom, who just won a Golden Globe. It has a title we'll talk about that might give you the wrong idea about its intentions, but it piles great performance atop great performance, and if I tell you that Glen Weldon and I independently provided our producer with the same clip that we desperately wanted to...

Breaking the fourth wall is like putting gold leaf on a dessert: good for a quick jolt of surprise and superficial specialness, but the more common it becomes in the culture, the less impressive its deployment by any particular creator. We are in a fourth-wall-breaking moment, particularly in matters of elite corruption. House Of Cards has relied heavily on Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) addressing the camera, The Big Short has characters (particularly Ryan Gosling's...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GREASE") JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As Danny Zuko, singing) Why, this car is automatic. It's systematic. It's hydromatic. Why, it's greased lightning. MARTIN: Oh, man. If you are a diehard "Grease" fan, wait no more. Danny, Sandy Rizzo, and Kenickie are back at Rydell High in a new rendition of "Grease." It is airing live on Fox...

This is a fun week for me, as Stephen and Glen and I get to welcome Sarah Bunting, who is not only the East Coast editor of Previously.tv , but also my former boss at Television Without Pity, the first site where I ever wrote professionally. Sarah and I have known each other a long time, and I was excited that we could bring her in to talk about something she cares about a lot: the true crime genre. We kick off with a short discussion of Netflix's Making A Murderer (I refer to this...

Sitting down to talk about a Quentin Tarantino movie — particularly in his modern incarnation in which he puts all kinds of gnarly material on the screen that wrestles, with varying degrees of success, with aspects of identity and politics and identity politics, not to mention history, sociology, and (perhaps most enthusiastically) film and filmmaking. This week, we sat down with Chris Klimek to talk about The Hateful Eight , Tarantino's latest, which finds a collection of folks —...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: There are no bats in this year's Oscar nominations. We're going to have to wait until later this year for the big "Batman v Superman" movie. But there are lots of other films to talk about. And joining us to discuss are our film reviewer Bob Mondello and Linda Holmes, who writes for the NPR pop culture blog Monkey See. Welcome to both of you. BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Good to be here. LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE:...

In recent years, the Golden Globes have been picking up steam as a less stuffy, less predictable awards show than most others. From the marvelous hosting of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the past three years to glorious little moments like Emma Thompson tossing her shoes in the air , the Globes were starting to get a little bit of air under them — a fun diversion during awards season. It was not to remain so. Sunday night, Ricky Gervais, who hosted the three ceremonies before the Fey/Poehler...

As Stephen mentions early in this episode, the original nut of what became Pop Culture Happy Hour was a conversation he and I had about whether we should take conversations we'd been having in written form about American Idol -- like this one — and have them in audio form instead. So just as without Dawson's Creek (which eventually begat the first place I ever wrote) I would not be writing, without American Idol , there might be no PCHH. Thus, we thought it only...

Every year at this time, we get together to make resolutions and predictions for the coming year — but not before we reckon, almost always embarrassingly, with last year's. Did Stephen quit Diet Coke? Did Glen's very bold box office prediction come to pass? Because we're all about accountability, we bring back our pal Kat Chow for this conversation, which wanders hither and yon before arriving at the ultimate fact that really, nobody knows anything, but we remain curious as always. We close...

More and more, I eschew end-of-year best-of lists for the simple reason that they're arbitrary and imply a comprehensiveness on which they can never deliver. What works for me is to compile a list that reflects some of the enormous gratitude I feel for getting to enjoy other people's work and art — one that doesn't even pretend to define what is best, but simply to share some of the abundant good stuff I run into. Keep in mind: these are cultural — mostly pop-cultural — things. These are not...

Contains spoilers. No, really: contains spoilers. When we talked about Star Wars: The Force Awakens on last week's full episode , we were sadly without our pal Glen Weldon. Plus, we were (as always) as absolutely careful as we could be about spoilers. In this Small Batch, we're fixing both of those problems at once. Glen and I sat down for about 10 minutes so he could share his copious Star Wars thoughts (as a guy who's pretty steeped in this universe) and so that we could...

Is that a trolling headline? Is it intended to bring several million people here to shout "I DON'T NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING!" between sips of something organic and single-sourced? Oh, maybe. Welcome, appalled people. But let's face it: Mariah Carey appearing in and directing a Christmas movie for Hallmark is a delightfully bonkers addition to the firmament of holiday madness, and the film, called A Christmas Melody , which aired Saturday night, did not disappoint, weird-wise....

NPR's Weekend Edition has been chatting with TV critics about shows that they believe flew a little too far under the radar in 2015 — Maureen Ryan talked about The 100 last weekend, and Alan Sepinwall talked about Review . This week, I'm joining Rachel Martin to remind everybody of Lifetime's terrific UnREAL , which followed the backstage adventures of a show that was almost, but not quite, The Bachelor . It's a very good show, which I wrote...

This week's show is about exactly what you might expect it to be about: Star Wars: The Force Awakens . Screening scheduling left Stephen and me without the delights of Glen Weldon, who will provide super-spoilery thoughts in a Small Batch a little later (stay tuned), but we welcomed Gene Demby and Chris Klimek to bask in the glow. And now a special treat: Because everybody comes to Star Wars with different backgrounds and wants different levels of detail, Chris (our best

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlhHTdDqoBc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIn1FsQc0Uo Note: This post discusses the events of Thursday night's episode. Be warned! The Big Bang Theory is an odd show. It's an old-fashioned CBS multicamera sitcom that has thrived as everybody experimented with barely funny black comedy. But it's also weirdly modern, in that it captures a specific current cultural fascination with nerds and nerdy things and often engages with...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: You can call it a sheer product of capitalism, or you can call it a contemporary version of Homer's "Iliad." Actually, people call the new "Star Wars" film both of those things in the comments on Linda Holmes' latest piece for npr.org. Linda's our pop culture blogger, and she's here to talk about this ridiculous pop culture moment that is "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Hey, Linda. LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE:...

There was something about finally sitting in front of the new Star Wars movie that felt like enthusiasm, but there was also something that felt like dread. I'm not a Star Wars -head, particularly, but I have enormous fondness for the original three movies, which I've seen a decent number of times and own on DVD (Regular DVD! Not even Blu-ray! Like I'm a pioneer seeing movies in a covered wagon!). The prequels I don't care about: I saw the first one and skipped the other two...

[ Caution: This post discusses the plot of the first and second seasons of Fargo , right up until the end of the second season and the finale that aired the night of Dec. 14. Please don't be surprised that if you haven't yet watched it, it will give away what happens. Again, this is a post about the second season of Fargo and as such discusses all events from the second season of Fargo . ] [ You've been warned.

This week's show brings Gene Demby to our fourth chair to talk with us about Creed , the Rocky sequel that really makes a pretty satisfying film on its own. Directed by Fruitvale Station 's Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of Rocky's nemesis/buddy Apollo Creed, it not only shows off how good Jordan is, it gets marvelous work from Sylvester Stallone. We talk about the acting, the style, some of the history, and how much Gene loves some authentic...

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