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.

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.

On this week's show, we turn to a topic near and dear to exactly half of our hearts: the wide world of sports. Glen explains how he came to feel the same way about sports that he feels about Fred Basset. Stephen envisions an actor breaking his leg and the play falling into a "clown show," and I wax rhapsodic about those great little Olympic stories about somebody's excited mom. It's the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the nature of enthusiasm, all in one sportsy chat.

Reality shows, at their best, give you little flashes of understanding, often in spite of themselves. A great example came around Wednesday night, as Top Chef crowned its winner.

[Hey: INFORMATION ABOUT THE FINALE AHEAD, in case that wasn't obvious. Stop reading if you're still planning on watching and you'd like to be surprised.]

It is already a cliche, born in the past 18 hours, for a writer to puzzle over the task of remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died Sunday. It is indeed hard to figure out what to say about an artist quite so universally admired, and quite so kindly spoken of with such consistency.