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.


Monkey See
12:18 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Making The Case 'Against Football'

Steve Almond's blistering book Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto is exactly what it advertises itself to be: an exasperated, frustrated, wide-ranging argument that the time has come to abandon football — particularly but not exclusively the NFL — as a sport built on violence, racism, economic exploitation of poor kids, corrupt dealmaking with local governments over stadiums, and a willingness to find it entertaining to watch people suffer brain damage.

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Monkey See
8:57 am
Wed September 24, 2014

'Black-ish' And The Color Of Money

Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross star in ABC's Black-ish.
Adam Taylor ABC

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 9:30 am

"When brothers start getting a little money, stuff starts getting a little weird."

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Monkey See
8:18 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage at the How to Get Away with Murder panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 1:02 pm

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

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Movie Reviews
7:52 am
Fri September 19, 2014

'This Is Where I Leave You' Makes A Family Story Too Ordinary

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll play the quarrelsome Altman siblings, each with their own share of emotional baggage.
Nicole Rivelli Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:48 am

Ordinariness is a quality in movies that likely bothers critics and enthusiasts more than it does other people. The more films you see, the more the enemy becomes not just poor quality but familiarity, simply because even an inoffensive cliche becomes a cinematic earworm after a while — something that makes your brain flinch simply at the "this again!" of it all. This Is Where I Leave You, a family comedy-drama adapted by Jonathan Tropper from his 2009 novel, is unfortunately a very ordinary film, particularly for one adapted from such a thoughtful and tonally tricky book.

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Fall Films Preview And Betting On New Television


We've had a lively summer on PCHH, full of live events and quizzes and special guests and even Stephen hosting episodes (!) (kidding!), but this week, we've got our pal Bob Mondello in the studio for some good old-fashioned movie and TV chatter.

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Monkey See
12:39 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

'Mindy' And 'New Girl' Navigate Their Worlds Of Crazy Love

Danny (Chris Messina) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling) find themselves in a new position in the premiere of The Mindy Project.
Isabella Vosmikova Fox

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 2:48 pm

[This post contains information about where main characters stand relative to each other at the opening of the new seasons of The Mindy Project and New Girl. Be advised.]

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Monkey See
11:01 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Kids, Pants, Booze, Music: Trouble In River City And Always

Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the film version of The Music Man.

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 11:07 am

Perhaps the most static conversation in American culture is the one about its constant decline. Today's music, today's actors, today's movies, today's media, today's food, today's habits, today's language — it's all going to hell, all of it, and it's taking us with it, no matter when today is.

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Monkey See
7:26 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Toronto, Day 6: Jennifer Aniston, Jon Stewart And Earnestness

Gael Garcia Bernal in Jon Stewart's Rosewater.

Cake: Jennifer Aniston plays Claire, a woman we first meet as she's shocking her chronic pain support group with her barbed reactions to the recent suicide of a group member named Nina. Claire's face and body are crisscrossed with scars, and she moves uncomfortably at every moment — which is why she gobbles pain pills and has to constantly invent new methods for getting more. Her marriage has recently broken up, despite the fact that she and her husband (Chris Messina) clearly still care about each other.

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Monkey See
7:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Toronto, Day 5: A Different Steve Carell And The Sad Tale Of Alan Turing

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech star in The Imitation Game.
Jack English TIFF

Steve Carell is not unrecognizable in Foxcatcher, from director Bennett Miller (who also made Moneyball and Capote) but it's instantly clear that his transformation is meant to be substantial. Carell plays the very rich and very strange (and very real) John du Pont, who in 1996 killed Dave Schultz (played here by Mark Ruffalo), an Olympic wrestler who was working as a coach in the elite wrestling program du Pont operated on his enormous estate.

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3:16 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Oscar Buzz Builds At Toronto Film Fest

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 5:40 pm

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Monkey See
6:07 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Toronto, Day 4: Pop Stars, Chess Prodigies And Battling Science

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a pop star and Minnie Driver as her controlling mother in Beyond the Lights.
Suzanne Tenner TIFF

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 9:27 am

Beyond the Lights: Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the terrific 2000 romance Love & Basketball, and here, she looks at the intersection of love and celebrity. Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a rapidly rising pop star whose hard-driving mother (Minnie Driver) has been pushing her hard all her life. Career-wise, she's doing great. Personally, not so much. On a particularly bad night, Noni meets a cop named Kaz (Nate Parker), who winds up knowing more than she (or her mom) would like about her state of mind.

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Monkey See
7:03 am
Sun September 7, 2014

Toronto, Day 3: Reitman, Costner, Kendrick, Race, Gender And Euthanasia

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years.
Thomas Concordia TIFF

Men, Women & Children: If you can't get enough alarmist local news segments about how all the kids are sexting and everyone is giving up their families for free online pornography that's infected with malware, you'll love Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children, a cautionary tale about fighting the real enemies: the internet and terrible mothers.

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Monkey See
7:29 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Toronto, Day 2: Franco And Faulkner, Love, And A Steely Patricia Clarkson

Patricia Clarkson tends to a bleeding Scott Speedman in October Gale.

The idea of a James Franco-directed adaptation of William Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury sounds like the setup for a bit on Funny Or Die, or maybe for the thing you'd have someone mention offhand in our satire about Hollywood. Franco does so many different things that he's almost killed any specific image he could possibly have, but you can say this for him: he tries things.

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Monkey See
7:25 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Toronto, Day 1: David Cronenberg, Drumming, 'The Judge' And Serendipity

David Gulpilil stars in the drama Charlie's Country, the best find on our first day at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 2:13 pm

Critics all have our idiosyncratic ways of handling the scheduling of a film festival like Toronto. There are planners, improvisers, pragmatists and poll-takers, all counting on some combination of research, serendipity, instinct, word of mouth and logistics to put them in the right rooms at the right times to see the right things.

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Monkey See
1:18 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lifetime Promises To Bring Out The 'Strong Black Woman' In White Women

Beauty pro Tracy Balan, fashion maven Tiffiny Dixon, home/sanctuary guru Nikki Chu and soul coach Tanisha Thomas host Girlfriend Intervention, which is a real show, believe it or not.
Richard Knapp Lifetime

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:56 pm

Lifetime's new show Girlfriend Intervention is not subtle about its message. Its premise is four black women giving a makeover to a white woman on the theory that, as they put it, "Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong black woman ready to bust out."

They don't even have to say "weak white girl" or "lame white girl" or "ugly white girl" or "unfashionable white girl" or "boring white girl," because all those things are, before long, implied.

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