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
6:45 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days Three And Four: '12 Years' And 'Gravity'

Chiwetel Ejiofor (right) plays Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave. Benedict Cumberbatch plays one of the slaveowners who claim ownership of him.
Jaap Buitendijk Toronto International Film Festival

The weekend brings some higher-profile screenings, and my schedule on Saturday and Sunday reflects that. If some of the Thursday/Friday films were an opportunity to see what you may never hear about again, some of the Saturday/Sunday films are a chance to get a jump on the next four or five months of chatter.

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Monkey See
8:09 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival, Days One And Two

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox.
Toronto International Film Festival

Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.

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Monkey See
10:42 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Voices And Changing Bands

NPR
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On this week's roundtable podcast, we open with Lake Bell's movie In A World, which takes place in the world of voiceovers. We chat about the movie itself, and about Bell, but also about where voiceovers stand right now. Are they still important? As important as they used to be?

Then, we take a reader suggestion and talk about reconstituted bands — replaced singers, replaced drummers, and sometimes entire new versions of bands you thought you knew. This takes us into the story of Journey, the matter of The Beach Boys, and much more.

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Monkey See
9:54 am
Tue August 20, 2013

When The Paints Go Marching In: Down The Well-Appointed Rabbit Hole Of Home Decor

Matthias Kulka iStockphoto.com

Okay, background information first.

As an apartment-dweller, I have lived for 20 years in a series of white-walled boxes with neutral carpets. I have assembled and eventually ripped apart the kind of furniture that comes with an Allen wrench. And I have had my adventures. When leaving an apartment in Brooklyn, I tore a sofa bed apart with my bare hands and feet — broke it and destroyed it — because it was old and I knew I'd never get it through the door again.

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Monkey See
12:00 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Jodie Foster's Accent, Fall TV, And Other Masterpieces

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I am very happy to be back this week after being gone for two episodes (thank you to Audie Cornish, Gene Demby and Kat Chow for being great while I was gone).

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Monkey See
11:08 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Why I Resist Web Redesigns (And Maybe You Do, Too)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 12:07 pm

Words many of us never want to hear: "It's the transmission." "We can't get a technician out there until next Tuesday." "Your ex will be there."

And, of course: "Welcome to our redesigned site!"

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Monkey See
8:55 am
Tue August 13, 2013

On 'Doomsday Castle,' If Armageddon Doesn't Get You, Your Tractor Might

Brent, Jr. in his battering ram, on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Castle.
National Geographic Channel

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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Monkey See
10:12 am
Sun August 11, 2013

The Real Foodwives: Bravo Found Some More Rich Ladies Who Gossip!

Screenshot

The first person we meet in Bravo's new rich-white-ladies-fighting show Eat Drink Love is Waylynn. Waylynn is a pastry chef who has a store where she sells what she calls "fonuts."

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Monkey See
10:14 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
11:45 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 11:57 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
10:58 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Rushing The Revolution: Television Is Disrupted! (Sort Of)

Vasca iStockphoto.com

Television is in the middle of a cataclysmic upheaval, in which there's no more season or midseason, no more requirement that a series run for 22 episodes at a time, no more stigma surrounding film actors going to television, no more assumption that television is watched on a television, no more assumption that people watch things when they're on, an explosive presence for social media that unites fans, and a growing sense on the part of a lot of people that television is pulling just as much of the cultural storytelling weight as film.

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Monkey See
10:58 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
10:55 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
11:01 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Mike Tyson And The Questions Not Asked

Director Spike Lee and Mike Tyson speak onstage at a panel in Beverly Hills on Thursday.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 11:53 am

HBO's press tour presentations this year were quieter than they've sometimes been. They don't have a big, splashy new drama series to talk about — in part because they still make a limited amount of original programming and don't have a lot of room when they're happy with how things are going. They have a comedy series with Stephen Merchant, but since we haven't seen it, most of the questions touched in one way or another on how tall he is.

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