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.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, November 15

    American Housewife - "Flavor of Westport" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Katie teams up with Oliver in hopes of growing her lasagna-making endeavor from hobby to serious business venture. Meanwhile, a bout of writer’s block forces Greg to look at new career opportunities. When a young YouTube sensation enlists Greg’s help to ghostwrite his memoir, Greg is pushed out of his comfort zone.

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Practicum?!" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Evan starts to behave more like a typical eighth-grader, Jessica worries that his future as doctor-president may be in danger. Meanwhile, Eddie has decided on Allen Iverson as his “hero” subject for an essay, sending Louis on a mission to prove that he’s just as worthy of that title.

    Raven's Home - "Crewed Up" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Levi starts hanging out with a new group of friends, Booker has a vision that leads him to believe that they're up to no good and tries to steer Levi away from them.

    Just Roll With It - "Family Squabbles" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The Bennett-Blatts are invited to be contestants on "Family Squabbles," a game show that tests a family's knowledge of one another.

    Gabby Duran & the Unsittables - "Olivia Gone Wild" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    When Dina hires self-proclaimed supersitter Susie Dustman to watch Olivia, Gabby's jealousy drives her to go toe-to-toe with the rival sitter for her sister's affection.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 11)

    Friday, November 15

    • Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens) - Watch Shia on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Cobie Smulders (Friends from College/How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Lea Michele (The Mayor) - Lea is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Patrick Stewart (The Blunt) - Patrick stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Tracee is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi dishes about her new book The Unqualified Hostess on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony talks about Disney+'s Forky Asks a Question on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/Cafe Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie appears on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff talks about his new Netflix comedy special on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Autumn Reeser (Entourage/Complete Savages) - Autumn talks about Christmas Under the Stars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer is a guest on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October/November)

    My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume One Modern Family - The Complete Tenth Season Life with Lucy - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season

    09/03 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 9th Season
    09/03 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/03 - The Goldbergs - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/03 - Single Parents - The Complete Season One
    09/03 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Second Season
    09/04 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete First Season
    09/10 - American Dad! - Volume 14
    09/10 - The Jetsons - The Complete Original Series (Blu-ray) (WBShop.com)
    09/11 - My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume One
    09/11 - My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume Two
    09/17 - Friends - The Complete Series (25th Anniversary)
    09/17 - Modern Family - The Complete Tenth Season
    09/19 - Angel from Hell - The DVD Edition
    09/19 - The Guest Book - Season 1
    10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
    10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
    10/15 - Mom - The Complete Sixth Season
    10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
    10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
    11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
    11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
    11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
    11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
    11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
    11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    11/14 - Antenna TV's Classic Christmas Collection and Christmas Through the Years; TBS Orders a Fifth Season of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
    11/13 - 2019 A Very Merry MeTV Lineup; Ricky Gervais Returns to Host Golden Globe Awards
    11/12 - CBS Midseason 2020 Plans Include FBI Spin-off; E! Brings Back The Soup
    11/11 - NBC Midseason 2020 Schedule; The CW Announces Midseason 2020 Lineup
    11/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 11, 2019)
    11/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Off the Boat Coming to an End; Weeds Sequel in the Works
    11/08 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Netflix's Living with Yourself; ABC Orders More Episodes of American Housewife and Bless This Mess
    11/07 - COZI TV's Thanksgiving Weekend Unexpected Guests Marathon; MeTV Salutes Veteran's Day with M*A*S*H
    11/06 - Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family & Good Times on Dec. 18; NBC Orders More Superstore Episodes
    11/05 - ABC 2019 Holiday Specials and Episodes; E! Sets Date for Reality Sitcom
    11/04 - Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule for 2019; Showtime to Debut New Comedy On-Demand Before Premiere
    11/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 4, 2019)
    11/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting in Place for Punky Brewster Reboot; Happy Days Cartoon Spinoffs to Arrive on DVD

    11/01 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on BoJack Horseman Season 6; Netflix Sets Dec. 5 Date for V Wars
    10/31 - Will Arnett to Host Fox Lego Series; Lil Rel HBO Comedy Special Gets Premiere Date
    10/30 - HBO Max Announces Lots of News and Series, Including Library Series The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Looney Tunes and More
    10/29 - ABC Gets Full Seasons of mixed-ish and More; The Facts of Life Stars Ready to Light Up Lifetime on Christmas
    10/28 - Fox Midseason 2020 Schedule; The CW Picks Up Full Seasons of Both Fall Freshman Series

    10/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 28, 2019)
    10/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Lizzie McGuire Reboot to Include Original Cast; New DVDs for The Mindy Project and Step by Step
    10/25 - Fri-Yay: Sunnyside Becomes the Season's First Cancellation; Maureen McCormick to Co-Host HGTV Christmas Special
    10/24 - Antenna TV's Sabrina & Samantha Witch-O-Ween Marathon; Remembering TV Producer Al Burton of Diff'rent Strokes, Charles in Charge and More
    10/23 - CBS Renews Freshman Fall 2019 Class; Fox Schedules 9-1-1 Spin-off for Midseason 2020
    10/22 - Fox Schedules Comedy Christmas Event; CNBC Gets A-Rod to Get Celebs Back in the Game
    10/21 - Fox Picks Up 2nd Season of Bless the Harts; Remembering Bill Macy of Maude
    10/20 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 21, 2019)
    10/19 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Sunnyside Becomes First Casualty of 2019-2020 TV Season; Our Miss Brooks Arrives on DVD
    10/18 - Fri-Yay: Is It Time to Lower Our Expectations for Sitcom Ratings?; Antenna TV's Dennis the Menace Thanksgiving Weekend Marathon
    10/17 - Raven's Home Gets 4th Season on Disney; Nick Orders More All That Episodes
    10/16 - Sunnyside Pulled, Will & Grace Back Early; CBS All Access Comedy Returns for Season 3
    10/15 - Sarah Silverman Returning to HBO with Late Night Series; Craig Ferguson to Host ABC Game Show
    10/14 - ABC Gears Up for Halloween with Specials and Sitcom Episodes; truTV Comedy Returns for Season 5