Friday, September 05, 2008

Fox Fall Pilot Review: Do Not Disturb - Premieres September 10; RTN Coming to Knoxville

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb - Wednesdays 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Do Not Disturb is a workplace comedy set at one of New York City's hottest and hippest hotels: The Inn. Named one of the Big Apple's "10 Best Places to Stay," The Inn is just that -- the "in" place to be, with its chic décor, stylish staff and celebrity clientele. Behind the scenes, however, the upstairs/downstairs dynamic tells quite a different story.

The hotel's top-notch reputation and sophisticated look is due in large part to NEAL (Jerry O'Connell) -- at least in his opinion. Neal is the egotistical, womanizing general manager who will do whatever it takes to make sure the hotel is considered the best party in town. RHONDA (Niecy Nash) is the head of Human Resources who also keeps Neal's demands in check. She's brash, fabulous and brutally honest and runs the HR department from her bullpen downstairs with a set of rules that are all her own. Rhonda does her best to keep the back of the house in line and the front of the house out of trouble.

At the front desk handling check-in while wearing 6-inch Manolos is NICOLE (Molly Stanton), an aging model who is svelte, cynical and slightly starving. The downstairs staff includes MOLLY (Jolene Purdy), a reservations clerk who dreams of pop-singer stardom as much as she craves to be part of the action upstairs; LARRY (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), the head of housekeeping, who spends more time on the phone cleaning up his messes at home than he does cleaning up after the guests upstairs; and bellman GUS (Dave Franco), a roadie for a rock band who was left behind when the band left town.

Cast Details:

Stars:
* Niecy Nash as Rhonda Peet
* Jerry O'Connell as Neal
* Molly Stanton as Nicole
* Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Larry
* Jolene Purdy as Molly Poleski
* Dave Franco as Gus
Recurring Stars:
* Brando Eaton as Jason
* Robert Wagner as R.J

I don't know who several of these people are, to be quite sincere. It's not meant to be an offense, but I just don't recognize a lot of the names. There are a few I DO recognize: Jerry O'Connell's TV credits include the series Crossing Jordan, Carpoolers and Sliders. Molly Stanton did the soap Passions and was on the short lived WB sitcom Twins, a generally poor show with a fairly good cast. Robert Wagner is a fairly recognizable name as he has appeared on stage and in screen in many productions (TV's Hart to Hart). Don't recognize anyone else in the cast list, including star Niecy Nash, which is a double-edged sword.

Pilot Plot:

Apparently, the episode I was sent (titled "Work Sex" running 21:54) isn't the pilot but rather the episode Fox is leading off with. The pilot must've really stunk. In "Work Sex," an article about the sexual exploits of the staff -- the staff meaning the Neal character -- appears in a local generic New York magazine. The Rhonda character chides Neal hard for his actions, causing Neal to try to fly the straight-and-narrow when presented with an attractive co-worker. Meanwhile, in typical cliché fashion, Rhonda gets caught up in some office romance herself. Meanwhile, the character Molly (not to be confused with Actress-Molly) helps Nicole (the actress Molly) with her stalled modeling career. Which is guffawingly ironic since character-Molly happens to be...you guessed it...plus-sized. Maybe South Park was on to something a few years ago when they talked about manatees and "idea balls." Actually, the Molly/Nicole stuff provided me some of the biggest chuckles of the episode -- though at no point did I outright laugh. Meanwhile, Gus helps Larry with his love live. And for those of you playing Sitcom Cliché Bingo, yep, Larry's gay.

Analysis:

I couldn't even make it to the analysis before throwing the show under the bus. Seriously, this is the episode they're leading off with? Was the supposed pilot actually WORSE? And they canceled Back to You in order to air this? Really, for goodness sakes? You know if something I see later in the season impresses me I'll be perfectly happy to admit to being wrong. And if the show catches ratings fire of course I'll backtrack since I like to look good. But really, the episode I saw here just wasn't very good. It was taking every played out cliché in the book and just throwing them at the wall. I always reserve the right to change my mind, but what I saw here actually managed to lower my opinion of the show drastically.

It's nothing personal against the folks on the show -- for the roles they're given, they do the best they can though the characters are your usual sitcom throwbacks. The real problem here is the paper-thin writing. It's nothing new. It's all material that we've seen before on a hundred different shows from where I sit. Here's the thing, though: It's still not the worst sitcom on the air. There are other shows on other networks that fit that bill well enough. But at best its background noise that once or twice in 21 minutes might get a chuckle out of you and at worst it's a half-hour jam packed with as many sitcom throwback plot devices and gimmicks as the writers could draw out of a hat.

Conclusion:

When the dirty work needs to be done, that's why I'm brought in. And in less than a thousand words, I hope I've explained exactly why this show just isn't very good. The only bright spot is that it's not very bad either. It is 21 minutes of filler to keep as background noise in between commercials. Which is the minimum you can ask of a TV show anyway. Who knows, if it stays on the air long enough, it might even figure out how to be genuinely funny.

I'll tune in midseason (if it's still on) and give it another look, assuming the show doesn't dive into the CW-inhabited ratings basement within the first three shows. And who knows, the show might catch ratings fire -- that aforementioned show on another network has managed to stay on the air a really long time despite being really bad. But if a great show like Back to You can die on the vine in a year and a thoroughly decent show like ‘Til Death is probably 13 episodes from oblivion, then this show is probably D.O.A. It should at least run for longer than Happy Hour did though -- which at least is a positive. I appreciate that some network is willing to still run multi-camera sitcoms, but come on, try making one of them good (And when you DO make a good one, don't cancel it after one season you fools).

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Funniness: 1.5/5
Watchability: 1.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth on 09/05/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Do Not Disturb Photo Gallery



  • On to some news...
    Gold! Retro Television Network (RTN) announced today that WMAK-Knoxville, Channel 7, plans to add RTN programming to its lineup beginning Monday.
    RTN is of course the first completely customizable, national television network to provide a 24/7 digital feed of hit shows to each of its affiliates. The network's unique design allows each affiliate to remain in complete control while RTN runs the local and national master control from its central hub. RTN also offers customizable news and weather for each market, hosted by network-provided talent.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

    04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
    04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
    04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
    05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
    05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
    05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
    05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
    06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
    06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
    06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, June 28

    The Goldbergs - "Fonzie Scheme" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Murray is honored as one of Jenkintown’s top businessmen, his plaque is hung on a wall with all of the other honorees. And soon Beverly is dismayed to learn he has no discernable hobbies, and her attempts to help him find some backfire. Meanwhile, Barry creates a scheme stealing golf carts, but the situation goes awry and Erica comes to save the day.

    Speechless - "D-A-T-E-- DATE?" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    JJ meets a new girl at school, an injured gymnast, who must learn to adapt to school life in a wheelchair. JJ shows her the ropes and soon forms a crush. Elsewhere, Ray saves face by claiming a picture of his own nipple on his phone to be a ”sext” from his ”girlfriend.” The plan makes him a hero among the boys at school, but backfires after Maya learns the whole story. Meanwhile, Jimmy teaches Dylan how to properly deal with stress.

    Modern Family - "Blindsided" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    The Dunphys and Pritchett’s are going head-to-head when Luke decides his best chance at getting into college is running for senior class president against Manny. The outcome of this election is even more important to Jay, Gloria and Claire, who prove to be dubious campaign managers. Now that Haley has started her own promotion business, Phil insists on introducing her to marketing guru Merv Schechter (played by Martin Short), who hasn’t seen a stress ball he can’t slap a logo on yet. Meanwhile, Cam finds out his star football player is moving away and makes a rash decision that is going to make home life a little cramped for Mitch and Cam.

    American Housewife - "Surprise" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Oliver tells his parents that he’s so embarrassed by their modest house that he’d rather not have a birthday party at all. Katie decides to teach him a lesson by ambushing him with a surprise party at home with all his wealthy friends.

    The Carmichael Show - "Shoot-Up-Able" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Jerrod is forced to tell a police officer what he witnessed during a tragic event.

    The Carmichael Show - "Porn Addiction" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    The family discusses porn addiction after Cynthia's reverend talks about the subject at a service.

    Nightcap - "Always a Beard, Never a Bride" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson arrives with his guru and inducts the staff into what seems like a cult; TV show host Michael Strahan disappoints Davis when he avoids talking about football. Staci and Penny fight over TV personality Ross Mathews.

    Younger - "Post Truth" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Liza deals with the aftermath of coming clean with Kelsey, and Charles tests their synchronicity. Kelsey and Josh become unlikely allies.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 26)

    Wednesday, June 28

    • Justin Bartha (The New Normal/Teachers ) - Watch Justin on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Hilary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Leighton Meester (Making History) - Leighton appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers) - Eugene is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Lauren Lapkus (Are You There, Chelsea?/Clipped) - Lauren is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) - Amy chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She also opens up about raising boys on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Carla Gugino (Spin City) - Carla appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Brandon T. Jackson (Deadbeat) - Brandon appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage) and Molly Bernard (Younger) - Debi visits NBC's Today in the 9am hour. Debi and Molly are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers) - Bronson talks about Battle of the Network Stars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Steve Carell (The Office) - Steve is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
    • Molly Shannon (Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) - Molly talks about The Little Hours on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle talks about Spider-man: Homecoming on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.