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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Movie Reviews
8:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

'Say Anything,' Still Full Of Guileless Affection

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Twenty-five years ago, Lloyd Dobler raised a boombox over his head and changed the world of movie boyfriends forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN YOUR EYES")

PETER GABRIEL: (Singing) All my instincts, they return...

GOODWYN: Linda Holmes, of our pop culture blog "Monkey See," was a teenager when she first saw the film "Say Anything..." She says all these years later, she has a new appreciation of it.

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Monkey See
9:34 am
Sun April 13, 2014

'Mad Men' Returns, Full Of Footnotes

As Mad Men returns for its seventh season, its entire sprawling cast has plenty to do.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Imagine a scene in which a man is sitting on a park bench reading a book. A woman comes up and sits beside him. He looks up at her. She hands him a letter. "It's over," she says.

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Arts + Life
12:21 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Every Reality Show Is A True Story, And Other 'Bachelor' Lessons

This is what "I didn't pick you" looks like, coming from Bachelor Juan Pablo. Sorry, Clare.
Rick Rowell ABC

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 8:10 pm

Every reality show is an entirely true story.

It is not the story that it claims to be — the story of two tribes building a new civilization, the story of America's search for its next superstar — but it is a true story nevertheless. It is, or at least it contains, the true story of the conception, creation, marketing, viewing, analyzing and evolution over time of a piece of entertainment that lives in the swampy, foggy, half-real version of the truth that it creates.

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Arts + Life
2:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014: Low On Laughs, But A Great Speech Or Two

At Sunday's Oscar ceremony, the feel-good win of the night came when 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o took home the supporting-actress trophy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 8:26 am

The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.

Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.

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Arts + Life
9:46 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Oh, Lady Edith

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, whose rather appalling luck seems destined to follow her.
Nick Briggs PBS

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:08 pm

[This piece contains information about the plot of Downton Abbey, up to and including Sunday night's fourth-season finale.]

Another season of Downton Abbey has come to a close, and once again, Lady Edith is unlucky. Unlucky in love, unlucky in life. She's unluckier than Bates, and he went to jail for something he didn't do, for what certainly felt like a really, really long time. She's unluckier than Matthew, and he's quite deceased.

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Arts + Life
2:02 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

If You Like The Old 'About A Boy,' You May Not Like The New 'About A Boy'

Benjamin Stockham as Marcus and David Walton as Will in NBC's adaptation of About A Boy.
Jordin Althaus NBC

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:36 pm

If you're familiar with the Nick Hornby book or the 2002 film of About A Boy, you will find that what has been kept in the new TV adaptation, coming Saturday night in a preview to NBC, is the clichéd skeleton of the story: a lazy, glib bachelor befriending the child of a single mom and learning how not to be such a selfish baby. Child-averse jerk and wisecracking moppet: a well-worn dynamic that animated, among other things, the early stages of Two And A Half Men.

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Monkey See
11:52 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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Arts + Life
5:17 pm
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

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:37 pm

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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Arts + Life
5:14 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Golden Globes And Eagle Eyes

NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:23 am

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
10:14 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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Arts + Life
12:00 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

'Duck' And Cover: What, Exactly, Is The Point?

This 2012 photo released by A&E shows Phil Robertson (from left), Jase Robertson, Si Robertson and Willie Robertson from the A&E series Duck Dynasty.
Zach Dilgard AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:51 pm

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has been suspended from filming by A&E after telling writer Drew Magary, for a new profile in GQ, about some of the views he holds that don't make it to air. Specifically, he spoke about not only how homosexuality is a sin but how it would naturally "morph out from there" into, among other things, bestiality.

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Arts + Life
10:18 am
Thu November 14, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Explaining How Old Things Make Me Feel

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:31 am

"Get ready to feel old."

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Arts + Life
1:02 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Time Untied: Why We'd All Be Better Off Without Release Date Myopia

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:43 am

It makes all the sense in the world to cover new things — the movies opening this weekend, the TV shows premiering right now, the books that have just been released — to the degree people are asking the questions (1) What's interesting about this new thing? (2) Is this new thing good? and (3) What new things are there? Those are important parts of cultural coverage, and they always will be.

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Arts + Life
11:52 am
Mon September 23, 2013

A Sloppy Emmy Telecast Does The Wrong Song And Dance

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Emmy Awards on Sunday night.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 10:26 am

Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and — oh, right — who wins.

By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.

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Arts + Life
10:03 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Morning Shots: Michel Gondry Does The NFL To A Beat

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 2:15 pm

I cannot understand how I missed the news that Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones are about to open as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, but this charming list of past pairings makes me want to watch the play ... a lot. (David Tennant and Catherine Tate!

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Monkey See
8:09 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days One And Two

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox.
Toronto International Film Festival

Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.

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Arts + Life
11:41 am
Wed August 21, 2013

When The Paints Go Marching In: Down The Well-Appointed Rabbit Hole Of Home Decor

Matthias Kulka iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 9:54 am

Okay, background information first.

As an apartment-dweller, I have lived for 20 years in a series of white-walled boxes with neutral carpets. I have assembled and eventually ripped apart the kind of furniture that comes with an Allen wrench. And I have had my adventures. When leaving an apartment in Brooklyn, I tore a sofa bed apart with my bare hands and feet — broke it and destroyed it — because it was old and I knew I'd never get it through the door again.

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Arts + Life
9:55 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 8:31 am

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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Arts + Life
9:08 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Death And Walter White

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 11:57 am

This piece discusses plot points in detail from the first four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad, but nothing from the Aug. 11 season premiere.

If television's golden age has taught viewers anything, it is to expect that explosive, violent death is an integral part of serious storytelling. The history of literature and the history of film teach that there are other ways to achieve high stakes. But if you go looking for premium, celebrated television dramas that don't involve a lot of bloody kills, you will narrow your options considerably.

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Arts + Life
9:48 am
Thu August 1, 2013

10 Awkward, Unexpected, Or Otherwise Curious Press Tour Moments

Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul speak onstage during the Breaking Bad panel on July 26.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 10:58 am

The Television Critics Association press tour, a two-week event in which press conference after press conference parades through a hotel ballroom, is about half over, so it's time for a few stories.

In a room of 250 or so reporters and a rotating set of actors, producers, and executives, there's likely to be a conversation here and there that perhaps doesn't go as everyone involved was expecting. After all, I've already been to 57 panel discussions or presentations (according to our transcripts list), and we have a week to go.

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