April 24, 1995
New York Magazine
“Jane Martin” is a pseudonym, I don’t know for whom, but her Talking With (“Great Performances,” Wednesday, April 19; 10 to 11:30 p.m.; Channel 13) is an amazement, a series of six one-woman spoken arias from a social margin of obsessives. Kathy Bates not only sings one of these arias, as a rodeo rider bought out and disemployed by “Minnie-damn-Mouse in a tutu,” but also (indulgently) directs the other five – letting Frances McDormand, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Kay Place, Beverly D’Angelo, and Celeste Holm show off, respectively, as a snake handler who doesn’t believe in God; a dying mother for whom losing her marbles is metaphysical; a “twirler” whose silver baton is both the eye of the needle and a way to draw Jesus on the sky; a tattooed lady who defines love as the “unraveling of hieroglyphs” on her own body; and a senior citizen who would rather browse in an attic full of lamps where “this radiance has become my friend” than end up like her sister in some desert “Leisure World … baking in the sun like a Pop Tart.” Place twirls the best performance on television so far this year. “Martin” dares everything.