Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hotel sitcom rates zero stars

September 10, 2008


Here's a quick tip: Do not watch "Do Not Disturb" (8:30 p.m., Fox). This sitcom appears dead on arrival. Brain dead, at least.

Niecy Nash, who brings a sassy if predictable energy to the Style Network series "Clean House," stars here as the manager of a New York hotel staffed by a group of stereotypes with overactive libidos and a need to share their vapid thoughts in obvious and easily anticipated punch lines.

The action begins with a vulgar contrivance and goes downhill from there. A former employee has written an article for a local magazine alleging that he had a wild affair with a manager of the hotel. This sparks a guessing game that forces manager Rhonda (Nash) to conduct an awkward seminar on sexual propriety in the workplace. This, in turn, leads to a Niagara Falls of bad one-liners from the staff, including the player, Neal (Jerry O'Connell); Larry (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), the nerdy gay guy with glasses; the dumb blonde model wannabe, Nicole (Molly Stanton); and Molly (Jolene Purdy), the fat girl with secrets.

None of the actors seems challenged by, or terribly comfortable with, these paper-thin roles, but O'Connell appears to be the most wasted actor here and would be most liberated by the quick and painless demise of this dreadful enterprise.

¢ "Great Performances" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) recalls the greatest popularizer of opera since Enrico Caruso with "Pavarotti: A Life in Seven Arias." This captivating portrait works well both as biography and a performance film, showcasing four decades of interviews with all of the tenor's important fellow performers, record producers and musical critics.

You don't have to love opera to be enraptured by these performances by an artistic giant. As one fellow tenor recalls, he always performed with "joy in his voice."

¢ "Inside the NFL" (8 p.m., Showtime) moves to a new cable home. The hosts are James Brown, Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth. They will be joined by NFL veteran Warren Sapp.

¢ The documentary "The Human Camera" (8 p.m., BBC America) profiles Stephen Wiltshire. As a child, he was diagnosed with autism, but he's become one of Britain's most celebrated and prolific artists. Endowed with a remarkable photographic recall, he has been able to paint scenes, buildings and cityscapes after seeing them only once. Here, he studies the London skyline for 30 minutes and then re-creates it from memory on a canvas 20 yards wide.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Natalie Portman stars in the paranoid 2006 thriller "V for Vendetta" (6 p.m., FX).

¢ An abrasive TV host comes to an unseemly end on "Bones" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Joy pursues youth on the season premiere of "'Til Death" (8 p.m., Fox).

¢ Contestants compete on astrology-themed outfits on "Project Runway" (8 p.m., Bravo).

¢ Viewers anoint their favorite new country artist on the finale of "Next GAC Star" (8 p.m., GAC).

¢ Jax frets about his infant son and questions the direction of the gang on "Sons of Anarchy" (9 p.m., FX).

¢ The 16th season of "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" (9 p.m., MTV) opens in Panama.


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