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.

Headlines were circulating last week about how, as Slate put it, "almost everybody" is rooting for the San Francisco 49ers over the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl. Of course, it turns out that what this actually meant was more like "substantially more than half of the area of the country is included within counties in which more people like the 49ers on Facebook than like the Ravens on Facebook."

In case a thousand thousands of internet words haven't informed you, last night was the final episode of 30 Rock, and in addition to taking a moment to appreciate the show itself, we decided to use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of "meta" humor — what it is, when it works, and when it just comes off like a crutch. You might be surprised to hear meta traced all the way back to childhood, but hey, that's what we're here for.

Does Lois Lane's iPad mean that Zack Snyder's approach to Superman will be fresher and more modern than people are expecting? [The Guardian]

Too much? Too little? How much information are you supposed to hand out in a movie trailer anyway? [The New York Times]

I have never considered Liz Lemon a feminist icon of any kind, nor have I ever considered 30 Rock especially strong when it comes to gender politics.

I don't care for the obsessive joke-making about how Liz is ugly/mannish/old/awkward, and I haven't always been comfortable with the way some of the "she's baby-crazy!" or "she's relationship-crazy!" comedy has played. I was ambivalent about the way the Jezebel parody and the "women aren't funny" storylines were executed.

There are three phrases that are almost always bad news for a piece of cultural writing.

They are:

1. "The masses."

2. "Middle America."

3. "The lowest common denominator."

All three are ways to separate the writer and her sensibility — which are presumed to be congruent with the reader and her sensibility — from invisible and undefined others, for whom bad cultural content is produced and by whom it is unquestioningly gobbled up.

We were all struck last week by Noel Murray's A.V. Club piece "The changing face of 'nerds' (and autism) in popular culture," so we spent this week's first segment talking about the separate but related matters it raises of how popular culture deals with nerds and how it deals with autism, not to mention how it deals with the messy and imprecise crossover between the two.



And this morning here in Los Angeles the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced. The movie with the most nominations: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," with 12 nods.


DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: (as Lincoln) Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning. It's true because it works.


Baseball: The San Francisco Giants, in winning the 2012 World Series, participated in 16 playoff games — and they'd have had more, had they not swept Detroit 4-0 in the World Series itself.

Football: The San Francisco 49ers played 16 games in their entire regular season. Three more wins would make them Super Bowl champions.


On Monday's Morning Edition, Hayden Planetarium director and pop-culture go-to science guy Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene the story of how he came to lend a hand to Superman.

It's just about that time when members of the press begin to attend screenings of Les Miserables. I hereby vow to engage in none of the following conduct.

1. Throw crusts of bread at the screen and yell, "HEY, JEAN VALJEAN, ARE YOU HUNGRY?"

2. Do my imitation of Amanda Seyfried singing "There are so many questions and ah-nswers that somehow seem wrong," even though it's really funny and quite terrifying.

3. Refer to the short-haired Anne Hathaway as "Ruth Buzz-y."

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.

Full disclosure: The first thing I said when I saw that Rob Delaney would be talking to NPR's Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered was that I was curious to see whether he had ever said anything on Twitter — where he has almost 670,000 followers (including me) as of this writing — that they thought they could read on the radio. It's an exaggeration. But not by that much.

Brooklyn Castle, which I originally saw at the South By Southwest Film Festival in March, is one of my favorite movies of the year. And starting this week, it's coming to theaters in select cities. (See a list of theaters here.)

Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks, two black men who had auditioned for The Bachelor, who claimed that the show discriminates against people of color both in choosing the primary bachelor/ette and in choosing the people he or she will have to choose from.

More than 7 million people were watching as Felix Baumgartner sat at the edge of his space capsule yesterday 24 miles off the ground and got ready to jump, in what was known as the "Red Bull Stratos" project, better known as the "space jump." I saw it myself; he opened the door, and there was something there that certainly seemed to be space.

Broke, the documentary that brings ESPN's outstanding "30 For 30" back tonight, begins with this pair of statistics, courtesy of Sports Illustrated: "By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke."

There weren't a whole lot of upset winners at last Sunday's Emmy Awards, but one of the few was Homeland star Damian Lewis, who beat out, among others, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and three-time winner Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad to take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Lewis' co-star, Claire Danes, won for her lead performance as well, and the show ended a four-year Mad Men streak when it was named Outstanding Drama Series.

Tonight, two new fall shows premiere: Mob Doctor, which is about a doctor who works for the mob, and Revolution, which is about a devastating global power outage and — more than that — a revolution.

The following exchange has played out over and over in the last ten days:

Point: "NBC's coverage of the Olympics stinks, because everything is tape-delayed and cut to shreds, and also the announcers are awful and they only care about American athletes, and by the time I get to watch anything, I already know what happened."

Counterpoint: "People are watching in huge numbers."

Point: "But quality."

Counterpoint: "But business."

Yesterday was the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, when TV reporters and critics descend upon Beverly Hills to hear about what's to come in the next six or eight months. We'll hear from all the big broadcast networks and most of the big (and not-so-big) cable outlets, but we're starting this year with PBS.

Candidly, not all the critics are showing up for PBS — not all of them write about it very much. It's a shame, though, because yesterday may have been, on the whole, the liveliest day I've ever had at press tour.

The Emmy nominations are in, and the topline news is as unsurprising as could be: Mad Men still huge! Modern Family still huge! Downton Abbey prestigious! Not exactly a bolt from the blue.

But on to what's really important: as usual, my Emmy predictions were horrible. So, in fairness, were a lot of other people's. But hey, the best we can do is look at our mistakes, so here are the biggest things I got wrong.

Most of the time, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick covers the Supreme Court. She's been doing that for the last 13 years. But recently, you may have seen her name floating around in connection with the piece she recently wrote that she discusses with Scott Simon on Saturday's Weekend Edition.

If you make movies that have anything to do with science, please note: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, pays attention.

Yesterday, after being acquitted of one of six campaign finance fraud charges against him and seeing the jury deadlock on the other five, John Edwards held a brief press conference in which he said this:

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.