21 June 2008

Pilot Watch: Do Not Disturb

Originally entitled, "The Inn", Do Not Disturb stars Brando Eaton ("Zoey 101"), Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("The Class") , Niecy Nash ("Reno: 911"), Jerry O'Connell (Carpoolers), Jolene Purdy ("Donnie Darko") and Molly Stanton ("Passions"). Jason Bateman is director.

I'm on board anything Jason Bateman does. So, when I read of news that he's going to go behind the scenes for the comedy, The Inn (now Do Not Disturb), I went "Whoo-hooo!"

Do Not Disturb revolves around hotel staff members working at The Inn. The hotel has been picked as one of New York's "10 Best Places to Stay".

Neal (Jerry O'Connel), is the ambitious, egotistical hotel manager who takes credit for why the hotel made it to the Top 10 list. He's responsible for its reputation as a sophisticated celebrity watering hole. Neal's standards are high; so much so that he only assigns high heeled mannequin looking personnels on the upper floor (front desk and lobby), while his fat and not-so-good looking staff members are all down at the basement.

In contrast, Rhonda (Niecy Nash) is the Human Resources head who has a different work ethic as Neil. She supports the staffers' over-all welfare and is a bit of a den mother to them.

The rest of the cast includes:
  • the aging model / front desk clerk who works starves herself to keep her figure (UPSTAIRS STAFF)
  • the young and naive bellboy who was hired to help guests because he's got a cute face and a nice body; and he doesn't like what he does (UPSTAIRS STAFF)
  • the eager reservations clerk who longs to be at the front desk so she can meet famous people and be discovered (DOWNSTAIRS STAFF)
  • the head of housekeeping who's gay and nosey. (DOWNSTAIRS STAFF)
What I like about it:
  • Strong actors, strong characters. I'm most familiar with Jerry O'Connel, who I last saw on last year's Carpoolers, so I know what to expect from him. I am a lot surprised with Niecy Nash --- she makes her character so likeable, I just want to be Rhonda's co-worker. With her --- why am I thinking Emmy Comedy award all of a sudden?
  • Some okay writing. On more than three occasions, I was laughing at the punchline. My favorite was ---- "I can't tell how old black people are..." when Jason the bellboy calls Rhonda "Miss Pete" and she tells him she's not old enough to be addressed as a "Miss".
  • The story's premise is established very well.
What I don't like about it:
  • Laugh tracks.
  • Cliches.
Watchin' it or ditchin' it? It's decent enough. Though, I suspect this won't be the funniest new comedy I will see this season, it is going on my Watch List.

For Jason Bateman's first directorial job? It's not so bad, really.