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, 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.

This is one in a series of essays running this week and next about the state of television in 2015. The series is based on developments at the recent Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., where broadcast and cable networks, along with streaming services like Netflix, presented new and existing shows to TV critics and reporters.

One of the accusations that was often leveled against Mad Men as an examination of social problems was that it paused too often to scoff at how foolish (or sexist, or racist, or environmentally ignorant) everyone was in the 1960s, as if we've outgrown all of it. One of the best things about Show Me A Hero, HBO's dense but involving examination of a dispute over the construction of low-income housing in Yonkers, N.Y. in the 1980s is that there's no smugness to it.

Tuesday's Television Critics Association press tour presentations from ABC wrapped up with a panel devoted to the network's scripted ace in the hole: Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and is an executive producer of How To Get Away With Murder.

Most of the panel discussions that happen at the Television Critics Association press tour currently underway in Beverly Hills have something critical in common: the panelists are humans. (Please hold your jokes about Hollywood. The critics in attendance have made them all.)

Tuesday was the first day of the summer press tour for the Television Critics Association. Press tour is an event that goes on for a couple of weeks, in which TV networks bring in personnel from their new shows (and sometimes their existing shows) for panel press conferences where the convened critics and reporters can ask questions.

Two movies are up to bat this week for our conversation with our pal and producer emeritus Mike Katzif, and the bottom line: we like 'em both.

First up is Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck, which I wrote about last week (and talked about on the air), but which we have more time to explore here. We talk about the movie's stance toward monogamy, its unavoidable Apatovian looseness, the charms of Bill Hader, the bold (and, for some of us, tear-inducing) vulnerability of Amy Schumer, and lots more. It's a good movie.

To be a lead in a Hollywood romance — especially a female lead — is to be told what's wrong with you. A lot. There's always an assistant or a best friend or, of course, the guy himself to fix you or coach you, because you are broken.

The fact that Amy Schumer's character in Trainwreck — also named Amy — is the reason it's called Trainwreck would make you think she's in for similar treatment. But that's not as much the case as it might seem.

This week's show brings back into the studio — well, remotely anyway — our original producer and music director Mike Katzif, now ensconced in New York working for the lovely people at NPR's Ask Me Another. Mike joins us for a talk about the Netflix comedy BoJack Horseman, which just made its second season available this week. It's an adult-oriented cartoon with a sometimes startling undercurrent of sadness, and you might want to give it a shot.

The new FX comedy Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll* stars Denis Leary as the decaying former singer of a briefly scorching New York band whose speedy self-immolation was brought about by debauchery and betrayal. The band was called The Heathens, because they were heathens. The singer is named Johnny Rock, apparently because it was a rock band and "John" is a popular name.

Where new levels of quality go, new levels of parody are sure to follow. So it makes sense that a strong run of historical sports documentaries, particularly from ESPN's 30 For 30 series, would give rise to a spot-on mock-documentary like HBO's 7 Days In Hell, airing Saturday night.