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
11:12 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Yippee-Kai-Yay, Mr. President: 'White House Down' Looks Very Familiar

Channing Tatum stars in White House Down.
Reiner Bajo Sony Pictures

Look, I like Channing Tatum. I like Jamie Foxx. And heaven knows, I love Die Hard.

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Monkey See
10:07 am
Wed May 8, 2013

If Jeff Probst Were President

Jeff Probst, seen here in the summer of 2012, is a TV host, and is not actually the president.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 11:38 am

Note: It is 100 percent true and 51 percent relevant that this entire story was written inside my brain while I was in the dentist's chair under the influence of anesthesia. I began to think, "Jeff Probst [the host of Survivor] will not be happy until he is more important than tribal council. Until he is king of CBS. Until he is President of the United States. President Jeff Probst." So the entire thing is numbness-induced in so many ways. Make of that what you will.

President Jeff Probst's State Of The Union Address, delivered Feb. 2 [xxx]

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Monkey See
12:15 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

At The Met Ball, Those Are Some Crazy Dresses

Beyonce, complete with thigh-high boots to match.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Monday night was the big night for unusual dresses (you may remember a previous post about Madonna's bunny ears): the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the "Met Ball." It had a loose punk theme (because the costume exhibit it's celebrating is punk-centric), but everyone got up to quite a bit of her own thing.

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Monkey See
10:54 am
Tue May 7, 2013

These Dogs, Cats And Robots Have A Few 'Tiny Confessions'

Penguin

Let me tell you a quick story from NPR's move from our old headquarters to our new one.

When I was emptying out my old desk and workspace, in addition to all the shoes under my desk and an alarming number of vessels designed to keep coffee warm, I had quite a lot of books lying around. Some were upcoming books, most were old books, and a few were books I neither had any use for nor could bear to get rid of. One of the tests I applied was that if I picked up a book and the first page I opened to made me laugh, it survived.

Tiny Confessions survived.

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Tue May 7, 2013

So Much For Bowling Scenes: What Is And Isn't Wrong With Number-Crunching Scripts

iStockphoto.com

The words "grossed out" evoke enough of a watery 1980s vibe that they need to be saved for the times when they really apply: movie scenes where somebody sticks something in somebody else's eye, sewage spills, and so forth.

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Monkey See
6:30 am
Tue May 7, 2013

MTV's Musical Legacy: How 'Unplugged' Sold The Radio Star

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City in November 1993.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

It's generally understood that something about MTV was revolutionary. Perhaps it was the music video, perhaps it was the short attention span, perhaps it was The Real World, but something about MTV had enough cultural permanency that it made for a fine oral history from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, called I Want My MTV, in late 2011.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Entirely Real Photos: Greetings From These ABBA Puppets

Puppets of the ABBA members await you at what is, believe it or not, the world's first permanent ABBA museum.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Of all the museums opening tomorrow that are devoted to supergroups of the 1970s, surely none is more hotly anticipated than ABBA The Museum.

You can dance. You can jive. You can visit the gift shop.

And you can see these puppets, which also appeared in a video in which you can see them in action. Are these more or less creepy than wax museum figures? It's a toss-up.

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Monkey See
7:53 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Shut The Door, Have A Suite: 'Mad Men' Steps It Up

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men.
Michael Yarish AMC

[CAUTION: This is all about Sunday night's Mad Men. Obviously, if you haven't seen Sunday night's Mad Men and you still intend to, you might hold off.]

It's reductive to conclude that on far too many episodes of Mad Men, nothing happens. Of course something always happens: someone feels something, or learns something, or is locked in a continuous internal struggle with something. A dynamic continues to simmer, a memory comes to the surface, angels and demons battle for somebody's soul.

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Monkey See
6:10 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Armor And Anxiety: Tony Stark Is The New Captain America

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3.
Marvel/Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:37 am

Meet Tony Stark at the opening of Iron Man 3: insanely wealthy, possessed of every toy, and traumatized by an attack on New York that has left him restless, anxious, belligerent, and given to both hunker-down security measures and fate-tempting swagger. He declares his total lack of fear, then builds the fortress walls higher.

Let's step back.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Discovery's 'Big Brain Theory': Not That Kind Of Nerd TV

Alison Wong, a contestant on Discovery's new The Big Brain Theory, does the math.
Jason Elias Discovery

Perhaps the most revolutionary thing about Discovery's nifty new science series The Big Brain Theory, hosted by Kal Penn, is how ordinary it is.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Wed May 1, 2013

How 'New Girl' Got Smarter, Sexier, And A Lot Less Annoying

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) have one of their many chats on Fox's New Girl.
Adam Taylor Fox

In the early days of New Girl, Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) was a toddler-sized tutu made flesh: cute, affected, hard to actually dislike, but earning grins largely by doggedly evoking childhood's clumsy and doomed attempts at grace.

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Monkey See
11:01 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Can Online Shows Be Habit-Forming? Soaps May Provide Some Clues

Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams in a scene from the online-only premiere of All My Children.
Screenshot

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:23 am

In the world of television, there's nothing quite like a soap habit. People watch characters evolve not over the 10 or 15 seasons that might mark a long run in prime time, but over 30 or 40 years, until they have kids and grandkids — sometimes played by the same actors the entire time.

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Monkey See
6:31 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Everywhere But Here, 'Iron Man 3' Is Already Huge

Iron Man 3 doesn't open in North America until this Friday (May 3), but this weekend, it's already up and whomping The Avengers at the international box office. The new adventures of Tony Stark, directed and co-written by Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black, brought in $195.3 million. That beat a mere $185.1 million when The Avengers opened internationally to make it the biggest opening weekend ever in a bunch of countries, including Argentina and Indonesia.

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Monkey See
6:27 am
Fri April 26, 2013

How 'The Office' Took A Scene From The Heart And Shot It In The Foot

John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer as Jim and Pam Halpert.
Chris Haston NBC

This has been a difficult year for The Office. There are only three episodes left after "Paper Airplanes," which aired Thursday night, and where 30 Rock rallied as it headed to the finish, The Office has seemed lost, particularly by devoting substantial time to world-building Dwight's beet farm, a remnant of a failed spin-off effort.

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Monkey See
7:56 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Ryan Lochte And The Easy Life Of The Professional Public Dummy

Ryan Lochte, seen here during the London Olympics in 2012, has a new reality show on E!.
Ng Han Guan Getty Images

Is there any reason to be a professional public hero anymore when you can be a professional public dummy?

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Monkey See
7:40 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Watch These Coachella Attendees Enthuse Over Made-Up Bands

A woman attending Coachella is asked about bands that don't exist on Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Screenshot

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 1:09 pm

Jimmy Kimmel Live ran this rather remarkable segment in which, as the show explained it, people walking into Coachella were asked about bands that do not, in fact, exist. Nevertheless, these particular folks had strong opinions about the great "energy" of The Chelsea Clintons, and the album DJ Cornmeal, which one guy claims he used to play all the time at his community radio show.

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Monkey See
11:25 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Agony, Ecstasy, Irony: The Fight For The Soul Of College A Cappella

The Nor'easters, of Northeastern University, perform at the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella on Saturday night.
Joe Martinez

Saturday night at Town Hall in New York, the Nor'easters of Northeastern University in Boston were crowned national champions at the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), the entirely real battle dramatized in last summer's surprise hit Pitch Perfect.

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Monkey See
12:45 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Sense Of Place And A Nostalgic Quiz

NPR
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So let's speak candidly for a moment.

This is not an ordinary day. It has not been an ordinary week. We taped this week's podcast on Monday at 6:00 p.m., in the first hours of coverage of the bombings in Boston. We are posting it on Friday, in the first hours of coverage of a series of events that currently have many of our good pals — and many of our listeners — "sheltering in place" at home.

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Monkey See
7:37 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Entirely Real Photos: Our Creepy Wax Museum Series Continues With One Direction

Fans pose for pictures with waxwork models of English-Irish boy band 'One Direction' at Madame Tussauds in London this week.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

I can't really explain why I think wax museum pictures are so funny, but clearly, I do. And I do again.

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Monkey See
11:29 am
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 2:11 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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Monkey See
11:03 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Real TV Listings: In Which People Play Musical Chairs On Television

Participants on Oh Sit! do whatever Oh Sit! requires them to do.
Greg Gayne The CW

Oh Sit! (The CW, 8:00 p.m.): When the CW first announced that it was going to have a show called Oh Sit!, which would basically be a game of musical chairs with a punny scatological name, it seemed like it would be exciting in its sheer stupidity. But as it turns out, having seen the previews, it seems like it's really just ABC's Wipeout in disguise. I feel defrauded somehow, as if I was promised a wretchedness diamond and received a cubic zirconia.

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Superheroines, Fighters, And Why Isn't There A Wonder Woman Movie?

Katie, who's nine years old, explains her love of Wonder Woman in a new documentary.
Vaquera Productions

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:41 pm

Any comics fan of any seriousness can rattle off female superheroes who have either had their own books or appeared in other or ensemble books.

But what about ordinary absorbers of culture?

The same people who don't actually read comics but can tell you that Superman is the idealized, square-jawed fighter for good, while Batman is the darker, more conflicted survivor of tragedy and Spider-Man is the scrapper barely concealing an ordinary kid — how many women can they name who have worn capes, particularly ones that aren't superhero derivatives like Supergirl or Batgirl?

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Catching Fire'

Screenshot

After the huge success of The Hunger Games, both movie and book, it seems like a foregone conclusion that there's enormous pent-up demand for the next chapter of the film adaptation, Catching Fire. This is the book where Katniss' story becomes much more explicitly political, and her status as a revolutionary and a warrior is more fully realized.

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Monkey See
12:16 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Big Hair, Big Shoulders And Big Money: Linda Evans On '80s Excess

Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda Evans at a party celebrating the production of 150 episodes of Dynasty in 1986.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 11:34 am

You may find a hint to the era in which you were born (as well as your taste in entertainment) in Linda Wertheimer's clarification that on the '80s nighttime soap Dynasty, actress Linda Evans played Krystle Carrington — Krystle with a K, that is. (And, she does not add, an L-E.) If that surprises you at all, you were almost surely not paying attention to the television of the 1980s, when Evans, John Forsythe and Joan Collins made up the wealthiest, nuttiest, most notorious and most rhinestone-covered love triangle ever bedazzled for prime time: Krystle, Blake and Alexis.

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Monkey See
7:13 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Mad Men,' Madmen And A Fond Farewell

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

With Trey out this week, we called upon one of our very favorite people, Barrie Hardymon, to join us. We start this week with a discussion of the two-hour season opener of Mad Men, which isn't dropping any major bombs about plot, I don't think, but which isn't tiptoeing either, so use your judgment. We talk about Stephen's first exposure to the much-honored series, the reasons why Barrie likes it better when it stays in the office, how things are changing as we cruise into the late '60s, and why Peggy is really just the best thing ever.

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Monkey See
8:51 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Thank G-O-O-D-N-E-S-S: The National Spelling Bee Adds Meaning

Spellers wait to participate in the semi-finals of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

As Eyder Peralta reported last night, the National Spelling Bee has made a big change to its rules.

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Monkey See
9:26 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Carrie'

Sony Pictures

Carrie was Stephen King's first published novel. First released in 1974, it was followed in 1976 by Brian De Palma's film adaptation, for which both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were nominated for Oscars.

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Monkey See
10:18 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Death And Dyeing: Five Thoughts About The Return Of 'Mad Men'

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men.
Michael Yarish AMC

1. The symbolism was a bit heavy-handed. It's frustrating that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner doesn't trust viewers of the show enough to allow symbolism to live in an episode as suggestion and not insistence. The Mad Men audience is small and self-selecting; it is made up of people who choose to watch a show that requires attention and rewards patience.

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Monkey See
11:03 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Grown Ups 2'

Tracy Bennett Sony Pictures

This is an experiment with a minimalist approach to the Let's Rush To Judgment post.

Presumably, the jokes in this trailer are the best jokes in the movie.

That is all.

Monkey See
9:46 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: In The Long Run

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's extremely punchy round-table podcast, once we cover our most important landmark of the week, Stephen Thompson gets through some preposterous claims loosely connected to this video and we get on the topic of

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