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.

On Friday's Morning Edition, Elizabeth Blair investigates one of television's pressing questions: Why has Mad Men been off the air so long? It's returning this Sunday night with a two-hour season premiere, but it's still puzzled some viewers that it has been off for such a long time.

There's a movie freshly out this weekend — perhaps you've heard of it.

The Hunger Games?

On Friday's Morning Edition, director Gary Ross and star Jennifer Lawrence talk to NPR's David Greene about the film.

[UPDATE: It's now being reported that the New York Jets have acquired Tim Tebow. More chatter about that will undoubtedly follow.]

It's not easy being one of the last soaps standing, as Neda Ulaby reports on today's Morning Edition. For fans, the shuttering of iconic shows like All My Children and Guiding Light has upended routines that, for some, date back to childhood. When I was in high school, my soap of choice was Days Of Our Lives, which Neda says has changed a lot since that era — well, it's changed and it hasn't.

Kristin Chenoweth talks to Jacki Lyden on today's Weekends on All Things Considered, and if the only thing you got from the interview was Chenoweth warbling a bit of the first solo she ever did in church, it would be well worth it.

The Emmy-winning actress stars on ABC's new GCB, a sort of Desperate-Housewives-ish dishy, soapy comedy-drama premiering Sunday night at 10. She's come quite a long way since, as she explains, her father negotiated her first contract.

It's perhaps fitting that during a year when Hollywood made even more films than usual about the love of film itself, the two big winners at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday night were the movies most overtly about cinephilia: The Artist, a silent black-and-white film about silent black-and-white films, and Hugo, the story of a boy who meets a reclusive filmmaker and helps him rediscover his love of his art.

In the end, there were nine nominees for Best Picture announced on Tuesday morning, and eight of them were entirely predictable: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, War Horse, The Tree Of Life, and Moneyball.

John Hawkes' conversation with Melissa Block on today's All Things Considered begins as many of his conversations might: with her noting that when she told people she was coming to talk to him and rattled off his credits, she got a response that he undoubtedly gets a lot: "Ohhh, he's that guy."

The Iranian drama A Separation has popped up on more than a few critics' lists of the best films of 2011, despite little exposure in the U.S. thus far. It will open in limited release December 30, and as Howie Movshovitz of Colorado Public Radio reports on Friday's Morning Edition, it serves as both a family drama and a piece of social observation about life in Iran.

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

Is it pure whimsy that makes something like "Callin' Oates" appealing?

If you pick up your phone and call 719-26-OATES — at least as of this writing — you'll get a computerized woman's voice telling you what numbers to press to hear one of four Hall & Oates songs.

The question, of course, is ... why?

Charlize Theron is ugly in Young Adult, the new film from the Juno team of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody — both literally and personally. In parts of the film, she still looks like her knockout movie-star self, but in other parts, she looks like she's aged a year for every day since her character, Mavis Gary, left high school.

You might think Harry Potter fever would be petering out now that the books and the films have come and gone. You, of course, would be wrong, as Ben Bergman reports on today's Morning Edition.

From a pop culture perspective, Hugh Grant's testimony yesterday about ethics in journalism is a fascinating step for a guy who's already had a pretty interesting trajectory.

Following the exit of producer Brett Ratner from the upcoming Oscars telecast yesterday, Eddie Murphy — whose new film Tower Heist is also Ratner's latest directorial effort — has stepped aside as host of the 2012 show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

In Clint Eastwood's new film J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial longtime FBI director, from youth through old age. And when you play a man for that long, you might expect to sympathize with him somewhat. But DiCaprio tells Guy Raz on today's All Things Considered that he doesn't have sympathy or empathy for Hoover.

On today's All Things Considered, Robert Siegel poses an important question to Bob Costas, one of the authors of a new book about the greatest moments in football: With football so popular and beloved and money-making, why is baseball still considered our national pastime? What does football have to do to get a little love?

"Hey, leave baseball something," Costas says of the special, nostalgic language with which we often speak of it. "In every other measurable way, football has surpassed it."

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

Time for our home video feature, where NPR movie critic Bob Mondello suggests something for those who like to pop their own popcorn and pop in a video. For this Halloween week, Bob suggests sending a shiver up your spine with some classics from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection.

Certain facts regarding movie ratings are not in dispute.

We have a bit of history with Herman Melville's Moby-Dick here at Monkey See. It was the second selection in our I Will If You Will Book Club after Twilight (true story!), and we read the entire thing together in the spring of 2010.

Today on All Things Considered, Alisha Niehaus of the Girl Scouts of America talks to host Guy Raz about a big update: for the first time in a quarter-century, they've updated the badges that Scouts can earn.

When the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was announced last night, if you were following Twitter, what you saw was a spasm of grief. Writers, actors, musicians, your friends, comedians ... the genuine sadness was palpable, not only because he was 56 years old, but because so many saw the news while holding one of his products in their hands. This is very much what popular culture is: this hive mind, this hum of collective response.

Today was widely expected to bring the announcement of the iPhone 5 — maybe with a bigger screen, a different home button, or a differently shaped case — at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

It didn't.

That's not to say Apple didn't say anything of note at its rather lengthy presentation. Not at all. But the big game-changing piece of new hardware didn't come to pass. Aficionados waited, wondering and chattering on liveblogs and on Twitter to see if it would come at the end in Apple's traditional "one more thing" fashion.

It didn't.

A discussion on today's All Things Considered between host Guy Raz and comedian Samantha Bee begins with his noting that she has reduced parenting to the words "vomit" and "urine."

ABC News and Yahoo! announced today that they are teaming up in a "strategic online news alliance" they hope will reach 100 million U.S. users a month. And they're not starting small: George Stephanopoulos will interview President Obama at 2:35 this afternoon for a webcast on ABCNews.com and Yahoo.com. The partnership will make ABC News, according to the press release, "the premier news provider on Yahoo! News." The press release says that Yahoo!

Sunday night, 92-year-old Andy Rooney bid farewell to his regular weekly segments on 60 Minutes, explaining that he sees himself as a writer and not a "television personality," and after all, "writers don't retire," but he's no longer going to be talking on television every week about fruit or the post office or whatever other nagging matter has his attention.

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