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.

On this week's show, Matt Thompson sits in as we talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Were we overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? Merely whelmed? How hard can I get myself thinking about the shots out the window of the Triskelion? (The answer to that last one is: entirely too hard, I know.) For more about the windows, the postcard views and more, don't miss my review from earlier this week.

It might have seemed like an unsurprising thing to do when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took three entire days off to tend to his newborn child, but if you listen to sports commentary, you know that it was not without controversy.

[WARNING: If you haven't seen the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, don't watch it. Just kidding! Sort of. This piece, at any rate, contains plot details from that finale.]

[What follows is a personal reflection. Please indulge me.]

In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.

Archie Panjabi is part of the cast of CBS's The Good Wife, which has spent much of this week hearing an earful about a major plot development on last Sunday's episode. (They discuss her feelings about the reaction, but do not specify what the development was.)

The romantic comedy-drama is not dead; it's just being platformed.

I saw The Lunchbox, the first feature from director Ritesh Batra, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year. Starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, it takes as its jumping-off point the dabbawalas of Mumbai, guys on bikes who run a lunchbox-delivery system that brings hot, delicious lunches to people working in offices. (Spoiler alert: you will envy this system by film's end.)

One of my old pals used to come walking into a room at the end of a long day, sigh, look around, and say, "Tell me two things good." They could be big things, small things, anything — he had to hear two things, and they had to be good things, and you had to think of them right away.

Wednesday night, I asked Twitter this crucial question. Here are some of the responses.

Say this to yourself: "I'd like a grande skim Oprah."

Let it roll off your tongue. Let it echo in your head. Let it burn itself into your brain. Really feel it.

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that, in partnership with Oprah Winfrey, it had developed Oprah Chai Tea, which will be available either as regular tea or as a chai latte. When will it be here? "In time for Mother's Day."

A while ago, we devoted a segment to the matter of profanity, and now, as summer follows spring and spring (supposedly) follows winter, we are moving on to the issue of nudity. When is it decorative? When is it exploitation? And how would they see all of this from Europe?

Every reality show is an entirely true story.

It is not the story that it claims to be — the story of two tribes building a new civilization, the story of America's search for its next superstar — but it is a true story nevertheless. It is, or at least it contains, the true story of the conception, creation, marketing, viewing, analyzing and evolution over time of a piece of entertainment that lives in the swampy, foggy, half-real version of the truth that it creates.

When we taped this show on Tuesday, we had all had quite a lot of the Oscars, to be honest. And we secretly suspect that with the all-out pile-on that continues for months before the ceremony, you might not require an all-out assault on the whole thing. So this week, you'll hear a quick wrap-up of how we felt about the hosting, some of the speeches, some of the great moments of Adele Nazeem-ing it up, and then we'll bid the entire thing farewell until next year. Next year, Oscars.

When you watch a lot of silly television, one of the things you learn is that there are all kinds of people who are theoretically Here To Help.

Parks And Recreation features one of the most impeccable collections of characters ever assembled for one comedy. To a person, they are funny, human, beautifully realized, individual, and — perhaps most important — lovingly rendered.

But as much as I love everyone on that show, I will admit that I have a favorite, particularly when it comes to the characters on this particular show who are missing from practically every other show, and that's Donna Meagle, played by Retta.

Sunday night's Oscars will include a Best Picture race that's apparently narrowed to three films: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and maybe American Hustle. Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor? Maybe. Or Leonardo DiCaprio? What about Cate Blanchett, a seeming shoo-in despite Meryl Streep delivering, in August Osage County, the biggest, chewiest, most Oscar-friendly performance of all time?

This year, we wanted to look back at the nine best picture nominees and remind ourselves — and you — that reactions to film are complicated, hilariously varied and wonderfully individual. So we looked over every comment for every nominee at, and we brought you some of our favorites.

Sunday night, the Oscars will come around once again, and we'll be watching. But before we do, we got together with All Things Considered film critic, silly video partner, emoticon learner and all-around great pal Bob Mondello to talk about all nine of the Best Picture nominees: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Philomena, Her, Wolf Of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips.

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

Romantic comedy, like some of the activities in which it ideally culminates, is something too many people believe they can do well with little effort. For example, writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore had enormous success with The Hangover in 2009, which is one of those movies people are talking about when they explain the better and better projects on which Bradley Cooper has risen.

It's hard to take not one but two genres that are typically thought of as staples of old-fashioned "media for women" – the advice column and the collection of household hints – and make them feel at all relevant to women now, who may or may not have time for all the fussing that perfect housekeeping ideally entails and may or may not live lives in which it's their responsibility, or their priority.

If you're familiar with the Nick Hornby book or the 2002 film of About A Boy, you will find that what has been kept in the new TV adaptation, coming Saturday night in a preview to NBC, is the clichéd skeleton of the story: a lazy, glib bachelor befriending the child of a single mom and learning how not to be such a selfish baby. Child-averse jerk and wisecracking moppet: a well-worn dynamic that animated, among other things, the early stages of Two And A Half Men.

I read Pam Ribon's Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share In Public in a few sittings, but the longest stretch I consumed where one should ideally read this book: in a bubble bath. The calming atmosphere is good for the anxiety that comes from seeing a woman excavate her teenage brain, the vulnerability builds the empathy it takes to understand how terrified all these boys she was writing to must have felt, and if you get too mortified for her, you can always elect to go down the drain with the bathwater just to escape.

News broke last night that Greta Gerwig, most recently admired for Frances Ha, which she starred in and co-wrote with director Noah Baumbach, will star in (and co-produce) a comedy pilot for CBS.

Not just any comedy pilot, though: Gerwig is working on How I Met Your Dad, a parallel to the concluding How I Met Your Mother from the same producers, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year out of Missouri, talked about being gay in an interview with The New York Times that ran Sunday, although his college coaches and teammates already knew. Sam was expected to be a solid NFL draft pick in May, making this a particularly intriguing time for him to come out. Assuming he's drafted, Sam would become the first active NFL athlete to be openly gay.

It's hard to view Friday night's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as a true farewell, since all Fallon is doing is getting the ultimate promotion to The Tonight Show. And he's taking everybody with him.

One of the best things about Twitter is the hashtag. Not the ironic, silly hashtag, but the functional hashtag. The hashtag that becomes a kind of metadata.

The hashtag, that is, that allows people to efficiently ignore you.