The confrontational drama--two wary strangers with nothing in common, put together at the whim of a writer--has been around since shortly after Adam noticed something odd about one of his ribs. You would hardly believe that there were new insights to be wrung from such venerable material.
The difference in HBO's "Laundromat," a middle-of-the-night encounter between a frosty have (Carol Burnett) and a feisty have-not (Amy Madigan), is its cast, its author--Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Marsha Norman--and its director, Robert Altman. They turn the predictable into the memorable as each woman's dirty laundry gradually comes out.
(The hourlong TV drama debuts Monday at 10 p.m. and will be shown several other times during April on the pay-TV service.)
The stage is set as, over the Laundromat's battered radio, blues singer Alberta Hunter's insinuating collection of songs suggest some interesting variations on loveless love. Madigan, who lives over the greasy spoon across the street, has a cheating husband and a life with all the options of a prison life-termer. He takes her utterly for granted, is gone every night, won't allow her to work and pours all the money they have into his racing car.