Picks and Pans Review: Tidy Endings

updated 08/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO (Sun., Aug. 14, 9 p.m. ET)

Shortly after Collin Redding dies of AIDS, his boyfriend, Arthur (Harvey Fierstein), and ex-wife, Marion (Stockard Channing), meet to sort out legal problems and personal belongings. Most of the action in this hour-long HBO Showcase, adapted by playwright-actor Fierstein from his 1987 Broadway play, Safe Sex, takes place in Collin and Arthur's New York loft, which is half-owned by Marion. Although Tidy Endings doesn't always stay on track—it gets derailed by trying to be too informative about the horror of AIDS—it is nevertheless filled with honest, acid emotion. "He died in my arms, not yours," says Arthur to the unintentionally condescending Marion. "You're my husband's ex-wife, the mother of my stepson. You are not my friend," he declares. The gravelly voiced Fierstein, in his TV debut, gives an emotional, steely performance. Channing is terrific (when isn't she?) as the confused, troubled ex. Despite the drama's flaws (mainly a melodramatic conclusion), Tidy Endings doesn't duck its blunt subject matter. No one in this TV show got AIDS through a blood transfusion or from a tsetse fly

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