Fall Pilot Season: Do Not Disturb

by Zach Oat September 11, 2008
Do Not Disturb Premiere

Flashes of New York City Streets, Radio City Music Hall and the exterior of a building with a sign reading "The Inn." Cut to bearded, bespectacled Larry reading a racy story to his co-workers in the hotel break room about a hotel employee making out with his or her boss on a room-service cart. Is he reading that in Time Out New York? Does TONY have a Penthouse Forums section? Rhonda (played by Niecy Nash, who is awesome on Reno 911) walks into the room and asks what filth he's reading... and whether there are pictures. Cue laugh track. Oh, boy, this is gonna be a loooong half-hour.

Blonde Nicole explains that a former employee has written a tell-all article about having a fling with her superior, who still works there and is "voracious." The staff is trying to figure out who it is, and have actually created a dry-erase board chart tallying everyone's guesses. Neal is in the lead with 11 votes, and Nicole is in last with one vote. Nicole explains that she doesn't do "voracious," saying "I'm drunk, I'm naked, what more do you want?" Laugh track. Oh, God, please shoot me. Rhonda is insulted that she only got two votes; Larry reveals that he has negative three votes, because three people specifically said that it couldn't possibly be him. He seems to have graciously accepted his lack of voraciousness. Anyway, they all know it's Neal, and that's when they get to the part of the article that mentions he did it on the break room table. Exeunt, nauseated.

Cue brief title roll, with pictures of hotel rooms and a credit for creator Abraham Higginbotham, whose name should have its own variety show. In the lobby, bellboy Gus approaches hotel manager Dean to inform him that the new girl Tasha is hot, and that he's gonna "make his move." Is it customary in the hotel business to inform your boss that you're going to be nailing a co-worker? Neal is unfazed, and reveals that his move is already in progress; he and Tasha wave at each other. Gus pretends his feelings aren't hurt as Rhonda enters and berates Neal for clearly being the unnamed voracious superior and for taking advantage of all of the sexy ladies who work at the hotel. Neal asks her if she wouldn't jump at the chance to "pa-pa-pa-pow!" with a cute bellman; he puts his hands on his hips and thrusts a little bit as he makes the noise. It's a little creepy, and I immediately think that the writers could have inserted a clever metaphor in its place. I'm beginning to see the difference in writing for a single-camera show like Arrested Development and a multiple-camera show. In a single-camera show, that would have been funny and awkward; here, it feels uninspired and a little cliché. The feeling continues as Rhonda says that, as much as she'd like to, she wouldn't, and Neal pouts that she doesn't "get" him. Then he starts fantasizing about what Tasha will make him for breakfast. Rhonda hits him with her copy of TONY. Laugh track, and incidental music that sounds like it came straight out of A Different World. Do the same people still write this music that did it 15 years ago?

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