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
9:14 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Grief And Community In 'Broadchurch'

Olivia Colman and David Tennant in Broadchurch.
Colin Hutton BBC America

It's hard to import a European murder mystery without importing baggage along with it — expectations of a gray chill, of relentless and austere severity.

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Monkey See
10:45 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Death And Walter White

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

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:57 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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Monkey See
9:58 am
Wed July 31, 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

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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Monkey See
9:55 am
Tue July 30, 2013

The Never-Ending Story: Why They're Not Getting Out From Under That Dome

Dean Norris, still under that dome. And there for a while.
Kharen Hill CBS

Bad news for the fictional characters trapped under the dome in the CBS summer series Under The Dome: Your show was renewed. The dome isn't going to lift. And no less than Les Moonves, the president and CEO of the CBS corporation, says that's just fine.

"Why can't they be under the dome for a long period of time? This is television!"

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Monkey See
8:07 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Keith Olbermann Talks Sports, ESPN, And The Secret Identity Anthony Weiner Stole

Keith Olbermann speaks onstage during the Olbermann panel at the ESPN portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

"Carlos ... Danger," says Keith Olbermann with utter awe, and arcs his hand across his field of vision.

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Monkey See
7:20 am
Mon July 22, 2013

20 Really Great Royal Baby Titles For Classy Parents

Marat Sirotyukov iStockphoto.com

Look, it's possible that I don't completely understand how British titles work. But it's 100 percent true that Prince William is also called Baron Carrickfergus. (You may Google that. I'll wait.)

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Monkey See
9:48 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Netflix Storms The Emmy Nominations, But How Much Has Really Changed?

House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, received nine Emmy nominations this morning.
Melinda Sue Gordon Netflix

Even a year ago, the original programming on internet outlets like Netflix and Hulu was an asterisk. We all knew Netflix would be premiering House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey this spring, and Arrested Development a bit later, and that there were other projects coming. But it all seemed a little abstract, like not-quite-television, like maybe it would feel more like ... renting movies?

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Monkey See
10:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

A Sunny 'Camp' Kicks Back For Summer

The promotional art for NBC's Camp tells you all you need to know.
John Tsiavis NBC

We have to begin with a discussion of how Camp, NBC's new summer comedy-drama series premiering Wednesday night at 10, begins.

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Monkey See
10:32 am
Tue July 2, 2013

'Big Brother' Isn't Just A Terrible Show, It's A Wasted Opportunity

Houseguest Judd makes a toast during the season premiere of Big Brother.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Here's how Big Brother works.

Producers throw a bunch of people into a house, where they're stuck for about three months. All day and all night, they're watched by cameras, and they can be watched online — these are the so-called "live feeds," which are sort of like watching the security cameras in the most boring juice bar in Los Angeles. (I wrote about touring the house in 2010; it's very creepy.)

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Monkey See
8:02 am
Tue July 2, 2013

To The Dump, To The Dump, To The Dump Dump Dump: Write Us A Lone Ranger Joke

Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

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Monkey See
11:58 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Let Us Now Have A Heated Argument About Plinko. I'll Start.

Carlos Santiago and his daughter, Jasmine, play Plinko as show host Drew Carey and model Manuela Arbelaez on a special Father's Day episode of The Price Is Right. (Plinko is terrible.)
Greg Gayne CBS

There are people who believe that Plinko is the best game on The Price Is Right. I have a name for these people. I call them "Wrongety Wrong Wrong." They are the leaders of Wrongitania. They are the Doctors Of Wrongology. They are the Wrongtown Rats.

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Monkey See
7:52 am
Fri June 28, 2013

'The Heat' Is Absolutely Revolutionary, For Being Mostly Ordinary

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat.
Gemma La Mana Twentieth Century Fox

The date: June 14, 2013. The writer: me, in despair, without a single non-art-house movie with a female lead playing anywhere near me. The piece: "At The Movies, The Women Are Gone."

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Monkey See
10:12 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Why Paula Deen Can't Be A 'Food Network Star'

Seen here in 2009, Paula Deen recently lost her ongoing deal with Food Network.
Katy Winn AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 5:17 am

It's not the least bit surprising that Paula Deen lost her gig on The Food Network — and you don't have to believe she's a terrible person to know it. All you have to do is watch Food Network Star, the competition show that seeks a new network personality and sometimes finds one.

That's where they got Aarti Sequeira, who now hosts the Indian food show Aarti Party. It's where they got Aaron McCargo, Jr., who hosts Big Daddy's House. And Melissa d'Arabian, who hosts Ten Dollar Dinners, and Jeff Mauro, who calls himself "The Sandwich King."

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Monkey See
7:52 am
Tue June 25, 2013

The Seven Ways To Write About Television

iStockphoto.com

Perhaps it's the combination of Sunday night's Mad Men finale and the flurry of Sopranos discussion that followed the death of James Gandolfini, but it's hard not to be struck by the explosion of writing about television that's occurred in the last 15 years or so, facilitated (of course) by the ability to go from rolling credits to publication in an hour (if necessary). After any major episode, there will be a flurry of commentary, and even after minor episodes of minor shows, there are write-ups here and there.

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Monkey See
8:02 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Illusions Of Grandeur: Why Don Draper Will Never Get To California

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men.
Jaimie Trueblood AMC

What makes Don Draper dashing is the suit, especially. And the hat, the jaw, the hair, the voice, the way he fixes his attention on a woman. But what makes Don Draper seductive as a person and not just a sexual partner is that he is perpetually a whisper away from being a better man. If he were just dashing, he would be harmless; it's that he's seductive that makes him dangerous. It's how close he seems to becoming better that makes him toxic.

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