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
9:35 am
Thu January 15, 2015

At The Oscar Nominations, It's A Good Year To Be An Idiosyncratic Man

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 1:26 pm

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion I had with Stephen Thompson, my Pop Culture Happy Hour co-panelist, about the Oscar nominations. Tomorrow's full PCHH episode more fully covers the film Selma.]

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Arts + Life
12:44 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

The Madly Uneven 'Downton Abbey' Turns Its Eye From Money To Sex

Allen Leech as Tom Branson and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary.
Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Masterpiece

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 2:12 pm

[This piece assumes you've seen the first four seasons of Downton Abbey. As to the fifth, it avoids specific spoilers, but does talk about themes and threads enough that you might be 20 percent less surprised by a couple of developments. It's the best balance I could strike.]

Let us get this out of the way right off: Particularly after its first two seasons, Downton Abbey has been enormously uneven. It's satisfying in some moments, dull in others, and always prone to falling so in love with a particular story beat that it cannot move past it.

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Arts + Life
11:33 am
Mon January 5, 2015

From Patton Oswalt, A Movie Memoir That's Best Outside The Theater

Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 10:02 am

The best of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt lies in his ability to truthfully observe what is small but important. That's true in his comedy, but it's true in his writing, too. Here he is in his new memoir Silver Screen Fiend, talking about his desperation to make an impression in his first movie role, a tiny part in the Kelsey Grammer comedy Down Periscope:

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Monkey See
5:07 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

Adnan Syed
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

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Arts + Life
1:05 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Watts Going On: The Gaudy Excess Of 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

The Fuller family's Christmas light display in Clayton, N.C.
Brownie Harris ABC

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:11 pm

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

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Arts + Life
8:41 am
Mon November 10, 2014

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Hits A Home Run With The Stupendous Andre Braugher

Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, L), Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher, C) and Det. Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz, R) try and figure out why Amy is late in Sunday night's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Eddy Chen Fox

The Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a tiny bit uneven in its first few episodes last year, but it was always clear that it had the goods. Since then, it's become one of the most reliably funny, sharp, and — in the tradition of shows like Parks & Recreation, which creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor also worked on — big-hearted comedies in prime time.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Wed October 15, 2014

HBO Without Cable, Coming In 2015

Lena Dunham and Allison Williams star in Girls, one of several popular HBO shows that stand-alone streaming could include.
Mark Schafer HBO

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:28 pm

HBO has built a robust and popular online presence over the past couple of years with its app, HBO GO. But to get it — as is the case with many streaming services that offer television over the Internet — you've needed a cable subscription. In other words, HBO GO was an add-on for people who already had HBO, not an alternative way of getting shows for people who didn't.

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Arts + Life
1:21 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

The Strange, Split 'Selfie' Pilot

Social Media superstar Eliza Dooley has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But she needs help from Henry (John Cho).
Nicole Wilder ABC

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 12:21 pm

The pilot of the ABC show Selfie, starring Karen Gillan and John Cho in a Pygmalion update built on the notion that being obsessed with Twitter is the new Flawed But Fixable Personality Problem, is only about 22 minutes long — a little less. Given that pilots always have to contain a certain amount of pure exposition, that barely seems like enough time for the pilot to have both good parts and bad parts.

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Arts + Life
2:37 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

'Mindy' And 'New Girl' Navigate Their Worlds Of Crazy Love

Danny (Chris Messina) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling) find themselves in a new position in the premiere of The Mindy Project.
Isabella Vosmikova Fox

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:48 pm

[This post contains information about where main characters stand relative to each other at the opening of the new seasons of The Mindy Project and New Girl. Be advised.]

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Movies
4:16 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Oscar Buzz Builds At Toronto Film Fest

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 6:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Arts + Life
9:57 am
Tue August 26, 2014

At The VMAs, Beyonce And Nicki Minaj Play With Personas

Beyonce performs on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:41 pm

Sunday night, women gave the most memorable performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, and Stephen Thompson and I got together to chat about the provocations of Nicki Minaj, the royal Beyonce and more.

You can check out the video of all the performances for yourself, from the triple threat of Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj to the 16-minute Beyonce-stravaganza that closed the show.

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Arts + Life
9:40 am
Tue August 26, 2014

The Emmys: Past Winners Trump New Shows; 'Breaking Bad' Takes A Bow

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her third consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for HBO's Veep. It was a big night for people who had already won.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 4:14 pm

[Note: The audio above is a conversation about the Emmy Awards I had today with Stephen Thompson, my co-panelist on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.]

The Emmys are known for one thing more than any other, and that's repetition. Shows winning four times, actors winning three times — the most likely Emmy winner is always the guy who's already won.

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Arts + Life
1:12 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

The Emmys Grapple With New Formats And A Move To Monday

Seth Meyers will host the Emmy Awards on Monday night.
Rodolfo Martinez NBC

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:21 am

I sat down with Linda Wertheimer this morning on Weekend Edition to talk about the Emmys, which will be on Monday night this year, rather than the usual Sunday, so you've got an extra 24 hours to ponder the blurry lines between categories that become more noticeable by the year.

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Food
11:03 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Brand Extension Theater Presents: 'Top Chef Duels'

Richard Blais gets it done — if by "it" you mean "the making of steam" — in Top Chef Duels.
Nicole Wilder Bravo

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 10:27 am

Have you ever heard a cheerleading squad do one of those call-and-response bits where they say, "Seniors yell it!", and then the seniors yell, "Fight! Fight", and then they say, "Juniors yell it!", and so forth? Top Chef brand extensions are kind of like that: All-Stars yell it! Dessert chefs yell it! Veterans yell it! Healthy chefs yell it! Former contestants yell it!

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Games + Leisure
10:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From San Diego Comic-Con

NPR

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:05 am

This week's show is a very special event for us: it's our visit to Comic-Con.

Because Maggie Thompson (mother to PCHH regular Stephen Thompson) was a special guest at San Diego Comic-Con this year, she invited us to do a panel discussion with her. So Stephen, Glen Weldon and I — along with a crucial audio assist from our pal Petra Mayer — set up in one of the rooms upstairs in the convention center and taped a show. (We still don't know what caused the constant thumping. This is what happens when we travel without our producer, Jessica.)

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Games + Leisure
1:15 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

On Dipping An Introverted Toe In The Comic-Con Ocean

Christopher Petrone, of San Diego, CA, towering over attendees in his handmade, to-scale Chewbacca costume.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 10:36 am

The first time I took one of the online Myers-Briggs inventories and it spit out that I was an introvert, one of my friends questioned the results. Specifically, he said, "Are you sure you weren't holding the test upside-down?"

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Arts + Life
10:10 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Television Critics Give Big Awards To 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange Is The New Black'

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on AMC's Breaking Bad.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 9:22 pm

The Television Critics Association is a funny animal. Its challenge, as well as its strength, is that it includes people with massively different jobs: longtime print critics (both nationally and locally oriented) who have been coming to the annual press tour for decades, reporters who cover the television industry, cultural critics whose beats extend past television, online writers who specialize in weekly criticism — this is a lot of people who quite reasonably look at television differently.

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Arts + Life
12:51 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

At This Summer's TV Press Tour, A Resounding Sense Of 'Meh'

Executive producer Anne Heche (left) and actress Kate Walsh speak at the Bad Judge panel during the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:30 pm

There's a widespread belief that critics hate everything, revel in hating everything, and cannot be pleased. It's widespread and wrong, though.

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Arts + Life
10:21 am
Wed June 18, 2014

The Work Of The Devil

Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson and Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt in Fargo.
Chris Large FX

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 12:08 pm

[This piece about the first season of the TV show Fargo will discuss events that took place on the first season of the TV show Fargo.]

The biggest difference between the movie Fargo and the TV show Fargo (which ended its first season Tuesday night) is the devil. One of the charms of Fargo the film is that it has no devil — it focuses on the follies of the weak, the empty, those who have stuffing where a conscience ought to be.

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Arts + Life
10:12 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Hugh Jackman Jumps; Tony Viewers Say, 'What?'

Hugh Jackman gave it all he had at Sunday night's Tony Awards.
Heather Wines CBS

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:43 pm

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