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.

Pages

11:33am

Mon June 1, 2015
Monkey See

'UnREAL' Is An Unsettling Look At Making Unsettling Television

Shiri Appleby and Josh Kelly play Rachel and Jeremy, who are uncomfortable around each other for reasons that are initially a little unclear.
James Dittiger Lifetime

The least promising thing about Lifetime's strong new drama UnREAL, which takes place behind the scenes of a The Bachelor-like show, is its title. Yes, it's capitalized in the self-consciously offbeat way common to overvalued tech startups and adolescents experimenting with identity.

Read more

10:28am

Fri May 29, 2015
Monkey See

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Tomorrowland,' The Future And The Past

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 12:56 pm

NPR

The Brad Bird-directed Tomorrowland didn't make a lot of dough in its opening weekend, despite Bird's impressive reputation and the star power of George Clooney. It didn't get great reviews, either, but one of us (spoiler alert: it was me) liked it more than a lot of people did. We talk on this episode with our friend Bob Mondello about how the film's underlying message about optimism works and doesn't work, and about how its execution of its ambitious concept sometimes lets down the things it's trying to say.

Read more

9:34am

Fri May 29, 2015
Monkey See

David Oyelowo Flies Solo In HBO's 'Nightingale'

David Oyelowo stars in Nightingale.
Joseph Cultice HBO

Inevitability has a crucial role in lots of good dramatic works, and every good use of it gives lie to the idea that it's definitionally incompetent to create anything "predictable." From the opening minutes of Nightingale, a new film airing on HBO Friday night starring David Oyelowo (Selma), there is only thick dread about what is going to happen to Peter Snowden, the only character on screen for the nearly 90-minute running time.

Read more

10:31am

Mon May 18, 2015
Monkey See

'Mad Men' Ends, Singing A Familiar Song

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 2:48 pm

Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
AMC

[This discussion of the Mad Men finale gives away all kinds of information about the Mad Men finale, so if you don't want to know things about it, please stop reading.]

The hippies were probably inevitable.

Read more

9:48pm

Fri May 15, 2015
Monkey See

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Pitch Perfect 2' And Summer Movies

Pitch Perfect 2
Richard Cartwright Universal Pictures

This week's show came to you a little late, because that's how much we wanted to drag our pal Petra Mayer of NPR Books to see Pitch Perfect 2 with us before we taped.

Read more

12:14pm

Tue May 12, 2015
Monkey See

Black Widow, Scarce Resources And High-Stakes Stories

Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Jay Maidment Marvel

[This post about the plot and characters in Avengers: Age Of Ultron discusses the plot and characters in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.]

We were never going to avoid gender politics with a character named "Black Widow."

Read more

11:09am

Mon May 11, 2015
Monkey See

What Is Upfronts Week, Anyway?: 5 Questions Answered

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 11:16 am

The limited information of upfronts week: This is John Stamos in the new comedy Grandfathered, coming to Fox. In it, he apparently hangs out with this baby!
Jennifer Clasen Fox

What's upfronts week, anyway?

Upfronts week is when the broadcast networks, in this order and in general, (1) make final decisions about canceling or keeping existing shows, (2) unveil their schedules for the fall and spring seasons, and (3) present their new shows to advertisers to kick off their ad sales. In other words, "Look at this beautiful show! Wouldn't you like to put your beautiful commercial right between the first and second acts?"

What do we know about new shows at this point?

Read more

10:00am

Mon May 11, 2015
Monkey See

The End Of 'American Idol'

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 2:23 pm

Ryan Seacrest (from left), Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban
Matthias Vriens-McGrath Fox

[Note: Listen to the audio above to hear a conversation I had with Pop Culture Happy Hour team member Stephen Thompson about the end of the show.]

Ahead of its fall programming presentation to advertisers in the afternoon, Fox announced Monday that the 15th season of American Idol, which will begin in January 2016, will be the last.

Read more

2:28pm

Fri May 8, 2015
Monkey See

'Grace And Frankie' Looks At Life Unexpectedly Alone

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 9:48 am

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie.
Melissa Moseley Netflix

The opening credits of the new Netflix comedy (maybe comedy-drama) Grace And Frankie lay out the show's high concept using the song "Stuck In The Middle With You" and a set of wedding cake toppers. You see two couples, then two couples with kids, then the husbands kissing, then the abandoned women falling through the broken cake.

Read more

1:25pm

Thu May 7, 2015
Monkey See

'I Am Big Bird' Finds An Artist Under The Feathers

An archival photo of Caroll Spinney at work.
Courtesy of Robert Furhing

The film I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, which focuses on the life of puppeteer Spinney, avoids a few common pitfalls in the biographical documentary. It doesn't occupy its entire running time with people saying how amazing Spinney is or with testimonials to the importance of his work. It doesn't return to the same analyses of the effects of Sesame Street on children that have been offered a million times before. It doesn't explain over and over how puppeteers merge with their characters.

Read more

Pages