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.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar is curiously resilient for a guy who started out on Saved By The Bell. In a new interview, he talks a little about the writing on that show not necessarily being so great, and he discusses his TNT show Franklin & Bash, where he yuks that as long as he gets paid more than co-star Breckin Meyer, he doesn't even care which of the guys he's playing: "I could be the ampersand." [Yahoo TV]

So Taylor Swift wrote this song about John Mayer a couple of years ago, and now John Mayer is like, "Not cool, Taylor Swift," and it's in Rolling Stone. Frankly, it is kind of "cheap songwriting," as he says, to write about your famous exes by name. But then, so is writing a song about Kanye West just to tell him you forgive him for interrupting you. [Rolling Stone]

Lindsay Lohan has tried a lot of things to escape her own image, which has been battered for years by her legal, personal, and substance difficulties. You may remember that in 2008, she sat for a series of photos in New York Magazine specifically calling back to a Marilyn Monroe shoot six weeks before her death. (Some of those, by the way, are topless photos, so use your judgment if you look at them.)

You may have heard me talk in the past about the "onomatapology," an invented term for the celebrity or politician statement that sounds like an apology and makes noises like an apology but actually is not an apology. Jason Alexander said some dopey things on Craig Ferguson's show a while back, and what he has issued in the aftermath? That is what an apology is like. [OutSports]

Let's say this first: Popular television is bad at lots of things, and one of them is representations of people with disabilities. Even where they're present – Artie on Glee, or Walter, Jr. on Breaking Bad – they tend to be in isolation. When there's more than one person in a wheelchair, for instance, like when Jason Street was in rehab on Friday Night Lights, the story is usually about the disability itself.

It turns out that Off-Broadway plays, in particular, are so reliant on the feedback they get (and the revenue they get) from preview performances that they sometimes schedule a longer period of previews than regular perfomances. [The New York Times]

I admit it's a bold statement, suggesting that the most glamorous and prestigious awards ceremony Americans watch all year could learn something from an event that once had a category called "Biggest Badass Star." Certainly, I wouldn't want to see the Oscars replaced with the MTV Movie Awards, given that the first Twilight movie won five of them.

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

Yesterday, after being acquitted of one of six campaign finance fraud charges against him and seeing the jury deadlock on the other five, John Edwards held a brief press conference in which he said this:

On this week's episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, our pop-culture roundtable podcast, I administered to my co-podcasters a quiz about summer television that explores not only how weird summer television is, but — arguably — how weird my brain is, since it required me to make up a lot of imaginary summer television that was designed to seem like it might be real.

Well, this is certainly not a timid way to put out your first trailer.

One of the most interesting reads of the day is about a rather upsetting event: a "midnight raid" that removed the books from the Kensal Rise Library in London during a dispute over its closing. Joan Bakewell's essay concludes, "the Kensal Rise story stands witness to our loss of values and our slow drift to being an uncaring and ignorant country." [The Telegraph]

What Charlize Theron does for Snow White and The Huntsman in her role as the Wicked Queen is a bit like what Godzilla does for a Godzilla movie: She gives you something big and distracting to look at while a lot of thinly defined victims run around frantically trying to avoid a grisly death at her hand.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.

It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep.

I would hope it's obvious that if you haven't seen Sunday's episode and plan to watch it, you should stop reading.

When you've seen a lot of movies where Toronto plays the part of New York, you come to appreciate location shooting. And on today's All Things Considered, you'll hear from the star of one of television's more ambitious series when it comes to location shooting: Route 66, which followed two guys around the country in a cool Corvette as they looked for a place to settle.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows it must seem like she's "arrived," as NPR's Rachel Martin says during their discussion on Sunday's Weekend Edition. She's well-known from Seinfeld, of course, but she's also been on Saturday Night Live, and for five seasons held down her own CBS sitcom, The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Her new HBO comedy, Veep, in which she plays the vice president to an unseen and unknown president, premieres Sunday night.

Lena Dunham's new series Girls debuts on HBO on April 15. Dunham, who got quite a bit of attention for being the star, director and writer of the 2010 indie film Tiny Furniture, fills the same three roles in this ensemble show about four young women in New York.

Kerry Washington knows that her new drama, Scandal, will inevitably be compared to another drama about D.C.: The West Wing. Scandal tells Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered that it even has Josh Malina, a West Wing cast member, for a little of what she calls "secret D.C. credibility."

With Sunday's long-awaited fifth-season premiere of Mad Men finally arriving, Eleanor Clift recently wrote a cover story for Newsweek about what it was like for her as a young employee at Newsweek at around the same time, in the late 1960s, that the show is set. On Sunday's Weekend Edition, she talks to Susan Stamberg about what that time was like.

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.

Pages