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
11:48 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Small Batch: 'The Bachelor' Farms Iowa For Fresh Meat

Carly tries a song to charm The Bachelor, Chris Soules, on the premiere of ... well, The Bachelor, obviously. This really happened, see? We weren't lying.
Rick Rowell ABC

From the time we started Pop Culture Happy Hour, Stephen Thompson and I have occasionally heard a plaintive cry: "Why do you guys mention The Bachelor?" And it's true: we do. It comes up from time to time as a strange example of perplexing television, but we would never let it run roughshod over an entire episode.

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Monkey See
8:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

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

Brad Barket Getty Images

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
9:31 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Billy Joel, Popular Song, PBS, And Needing A Piano

Billy Joel
Courtesy of Myrna Suarez

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 12:36 pm

I don't know when people started to think they could successfully make fun of you for being a person who grew up listening to a lot of Billy Joel — and perhaps still does — but they can all forget it.

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Monkey See
8:08 am
Fri January 2, 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 12:12 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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Monkey See
7:07 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: From Sixth And I, Quizzes And Questions

NPR

In early December, we had a live show at the Sixth & I synagogue, the first part of which you've already heard. But sometimes, we like to top off our live events with a little bonus madness, so that's what's on tap this week.

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Monkey See
8:43 am
Wed December 31, 2014

'The Apprentice' Is Dead, Please Stop 'The Celebrity Apprentice'

Yup. That's Ian Ziering, Johnny Damon, and Kevin Jonas on The Celebrity Apprentice. And in the spirit of this dopey show, somebody using his phone.
Douglas Gorenstein NBC

It's hard to remember that The Apprentice was sort of fun once.

NO, DON'T LEAVE.

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Monkey See
6:33 am
Wed December 31, 2014

In 'The Rosie Effect,' An Unusual Romantic Hero Perseveres

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:54 pm

It's not an unfair generalization, I don't think, to say that identification with characters is fundamental to contemporary romantic novels. Most — not all, but most, by the numbers — are written for an audience of women, and they're emotionally centered on the romantic quest of a woman, often accompanied by another quest of some kind for career fulfillment, a peaceful relationship with parents, or the putting aside of past mistakes.

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Monkey See
8:50 am
Tue December 30, 2014

In 'Huckleberry Finn,' A History In Echoes

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 1:47 pm

Is there anything left to say about Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn?

That is the question that animates big parts of Andrew Levy's Huck Finn's America: Mark Twain And The Era That Shaped His Masterpiece, a richly researched, copiously annotated, fascinating argument that in all the debates over the book's treatment of race and despite its position as both a widely banned book and a widely assigned book, we tend to miss some of the most important things it teaches.

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Into The Woods' And How To Make A Franchise

NPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:09 pm

We at PCHH are not together this week for the holidays, as we are scattered hither and yon, literally from coast to coast. But before we scattered thusly, we sat down with our friend (and film critic and musical theater aficionado) Bob Mondello to talk about Disney's new adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and lots more.

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Monkey See
2:02 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

50 Wonderful Things From 2014

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy in Obvious Child.
Courtesy of A24

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:36 am

I am not a great maker of lists. Unless pressed, I will make exactly one each year, and this is it.

This is a list of 50 of the wonderful things that wandered through my field of vision in 2014. It is not a definitive list of the best things. It is not merely subjective but sublimely subjective. It leans away from (but doesn't entirely avoid) what's been most highly praised and what seems to have been most rewarded.

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