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
9:52 am
Sun February 9, 2014

The Beatles, As America First Loved Them

It's been 50 years since The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, to an audience of screaming, hair-pulling, ecstatic (in the classic sense) teenage girls. Cutes in suits, you might call them, like (and, of course, nothing like) countless other bands of the time that wore skinny ties and shared microphones and said "oh" and "yeah" and "baby."

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Monkey See
4:44 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Jimmy Fallon Exits Stage (Just) Right

Jimmy Fallon hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at Rockefeller Center on Jan. 28 in New York City. He'll be moving on to host The Tonight Show.
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:36 am

It's hard to view Friday night's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as a true farewell, since all Fallon is doing is getting the ultimate promotion to The Tonight Show. And he's taking everybody with him.

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Monkey See
10:06 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Navigating Kitsch and Controversy At The Opening Ceremonies

Dancers perform Dove of Peace during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Martin Rose Getty Images

One hopes, at an event of nebulous actual significance like the opening ceremonies of any Olympics, for a single moment that can tease out the specific weirdness of that event. You need something, some nut, some bit, that can demonstrate to people in a single flash what it was like for a bunch of people to pay attention to something even though arguably nothing happened.

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Watching Sports, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And Poisoned Wells

NPR
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On this week's show, we turn to a topic near and dear to exactly half of our hearts: the wide world of sports. Glen explains how he came to feel the same way about sports that he feels about Fred Basset. Stephen envisions an actor breaking his leg and the play falling into a "clown show," and I wax rhapsodic about those great little Olympic stories about somebody's excited mom. It's the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the nature of enthusiasm, all in one sportsy chat.

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Monkey See
8:46 am
Thu February 6, 2014

The Two Kinds Of Fairness, As Explained By 'Top Chef'

In the Top Chef finale, it was Nina versus Nick.
David Moir Bravo

Reality shows, at their best, give you little flashes of understanding, often in spite of themselves. A great example came around Wednesday night, as Top Chef crowned its winner.

[Hey: INFORMATION ABOUT THE FINALE AHEAD, in case that wasn't obvious. Stop reading if you're still planning on watching and you'd like to be surprised.]

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Monkey See
7:50 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Song And Dance: Of Course Clay Aiken Is Running For Congress

Clay Aiken, seen here in November, has announced that he's running for Congress.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:56 am

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Monkey See
6:33 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part 1: 'American Hustle'

NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:46 pm

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Not-stalgia: Why I Don't Miss 'Seinfeld'

Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:34 am

I remember laughing occasionally at Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure there's tape of me somewhere, probably on a podcast, acknowledging that it's good. Because of peer pressure.

I don't like Seinfeld, I don't miss it, and every time I'm asked to participate in some sort of acknowledgment of its greatness, or its place in the pantheon, I feel myself cringe and lie and say I understand, but I am here to tell you, and then never to be so cowardly again: I don't understand.

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Monkey See
8:03 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman And The Blessings Of Friction

Philip Seymour Hoffman, seen here in November, died Sunday.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:42 pm

It is already a cliche, born in the past 18 hours, for a writer to puzzle over the task of remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died Sunday. It is indeed hard to figure out what to say about an artist quite so universally admired, and quite so kindly spoken of with such consistency.

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Monkey See
12:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Yes, Jesse Eisenberg Should Absolutely Play Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg during a portrait session at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in September 2013.
Gareth Cattermole Getty Images

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Monkey See
7:43 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Grammys Postmortem And Reality TV In Middle Age

NPR

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:09 am

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We at PCHH have a long history with awards shows in general and the Grammys in particular, but this year's Grammys were a little different. Yes, Daft Punk took some big prizes, and Lorde took some big prizes, and Taylor Swift really played that piano super-hard, and Kacey Musgraves wore a dress that lit up.

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Monkey See
8:40 am
Thu January 30, 2014

I Like Big Trucks And I Cannot Lie: Cars, Trucks, And The Lady Brain

Try not to get too excited, ladies.
John Morris iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 1:26 pm

You know, when it comes to studies about how women think, I must admit that I always plunge in with great and girlish (!) excitement, because as much as the stereotyping may officially bother me, let's face it: there is part of me that thinks, "Oh, this is going to be good."

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Thu January 30, 2014

A Story About A Little-Known Song In A Little-Known Movie That Got A Big Oscar Nod

The Oscar statue is seen at the entrance of the Hollywood & Highland Center before the 2012 Academy Awards.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:44 pm

Well, it's safe to say we're shocked — shocked — to find that Oscar campaigning was going on in here.

Tuesday night, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences — the Oscars people — rescinded the Best Original Song nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the movie Alone Yet Not Alone.

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Monkey See
7:35 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger And The Public Choir

Pete Seeger performs during a concert marking his 90th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Much will be said and has been said about Pete Seeger, who died Monday at 94, as an activist and musician. Blacklisted, tireless, stubborn, and funny, he wrote a lot of songs that seem to have simply always existed: "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?", "If I Had A Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn."

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Pharrell Williams And The Power Hat

Pharrell Williams wore an unexpected piece of headgear to Sunday's Grammy Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

When folks first saw Pharrell Williams in this hat at the Grammy Awards, there were a couple of obvious references. Smokey The Bear was probably the one I heard the most. Well, that and Arby's. And Mounties.

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Monkey See
8:23 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Watch The Grammy Awards With Us

US singer Bruno Mars performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) 2013 ceremony in Amsterdam in November 2013.
Sven Hoogerhuis AFP/Getty Images

You've gotta love the Grammy Awards.

They've got a zillion categories showcasing all kinds of great and interesting music (really!) in all kinds of genres (really!). But when it comes to awards night, you see a tiny selection of awards (eight or nine, maybe, in three hours), together with a bunch of performances ranging from the flawless to the weird thing that happened last year involving Frank Ocean's video legs.

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Monkey See
8:49 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Oscar Nominees And 'Looking'

NPR
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The Oscar nominations are so strangely timed (for us) that we didn't get to them last week, so this is the week we take a look at what didn't make the cut that we wish had gotten through. Nothing will cast light on this discussion more than Mark Harris' terrific piece at Grantland about the effect of the expanded Best Picture field on all the other categories, which hasn't been as ...

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Monkey See
11:37 am
Fri January 17, 2014

You Can Now Send Someone You Temporarily Like A 'Bachelor' Bouquet

This is a real press release photo of the Bachelor bouquet.
Warner Brothers Entertainment

It's Friday, so let's take a moment to consider the greatest press release of the week. (And by "greatest," I mean "most ridiculous." As always.)

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Monkey See
8:23 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Golden Globes And Eagle Eyes

NPR
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This week's show (which we taped before the Oscar nominations were announced, so you can bet we'll be getting to those later) catches us post-Golden-Globes for a conversation about awards hosts, speechifying, satisfying victories, and the odd surprises that keep us tuning in to the season's drunkest ceremony of them all.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Complicating The Tonya And Nancy Narratives, 20 Years Later

Fans of U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding put up a sign in support while she skated at the Clackamas Town Center mall rink in 1994, while a grand jury considered whether to indict her.
Eugene Garcia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:40 pm

There have always been two Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan narratives. Always.

The first one — the sparkly, easy, TV-coverage one — is that Nancy Kerrigan was a beautiful, elegant, classy skater and Tonya Harding was trash. In this one, Tonya had a thug husband who arranged for a vicious attack on poor, beautiful Nancy, who then had to rally to win a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

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Monkey See
6:26 am
Thu January 16, 2014

'Gravity,' 'American Hustle' And '12 Years A Slave' Lead The Oscar Nominations

Lupita Nyong'O and Chiwetel Ejiofor were both nominated for Oscars for their work in 12 Years A Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:32 pm

Ever since the Oscars expanded the Best Picture field to include up to 10 nominees, they've been taking advantage of that extra space, and this year was no exception. While the original chatter was about the possibility of including more crowd-pleasers (there was much discussion of whether the expanded field would have helped The Dark Knight), what's consistently happened is that the "extra" nominations have gone to films that might have been too small to be nominated, not too "pop" to be nominated.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Idol' Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible

Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. appear on a surprisingly non-terrible American Idol opener on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

It's just me now, I thought this morning. All alone. I could almost hear the desert wind. I could almost see the tumbleweeds.

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Monkey See
8:10 am
Tue January 14, 2014

A Few Lessons About Twitter, Cancer And Publishing

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:53 am

I think that Bill Keller probably meant well when he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times this week about Lisa Bonchek Adams, a woman with cancer who's been writing about it, along with a lot of other things, on Twitter and on a personal blog.

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Monkey See
8:36 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Chris Christie And Pulling The Red Handle

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:16 pm

I'm going to tell you a story, and then we're going to talk about Chris Christie, and if you're not into those two things, you can tag out. I won't be offended.

Let's see. How to begin.

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Monkey See
8:14 am
Mon January 13, 2014

The Golden Globes Share The Wealth, Such As It Is

Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were the hands-down highlight of the deeply silly Golden Globes.
NBC Universal Getty Images

Let us say this first: The Golden Globes are Hollywood culture at its most purely self-perpetuating. Given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small group of journalists so gleefully obscure that there is usually a joke about how gleefully obscure they are, the Globes lack the gravitas of the Oscars, which is really saying something, given the fact that the Oscars lack the gravitas of the Tonys and the Tonys lack the gravitas of a halfway decent episode of Law & Order: SVU.

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Monkey See
9:30 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: In One Year And Out The Other

NPR
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Every year at this time, we at Pop Culture Happy Hour sit down to make some resolutions and predictions for the coming year. And, of course, we engage in the sometimes painful exercise of seeing how last year's resolutions and predictions turned out.

Well.

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Monkey See
8:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' Takes A Very Important First Step

Screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:03 am

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Monkey See
8:44 am
Mon January 6, 2014

The Unreal 'Her'

The screen is the announcement of a message from Samantha in Spike Jonze's Her.
Warner Brothers Pictures

There is something prickly and provocative about the back story of Spike Jonze's Her, a futuristic drama in which a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love, as it were, with his artificially intelligent operating system.

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Monkey See
7:11 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Morning Shots: Fiction, Tweet Advertising, And Marvel Envy

iStockphoto.com

I have a few quibbles with this lengthy profile/evaluation of Jennifer Weiner in The New Yorker, particularly in that it makes the common error of describing her argument as primarily about why her own books are not considered literary fiction, when in fact a major part of her argument is that commercial/genre fiction market

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Monkey See
7:47 am
Fri January 3, 2014

The 'Veronica Mars' Trailer Has Arrived

On March 14, just about a year after it was funded by a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the Veronica Mars movie will come to theaters, and you can now see the trailer.

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