Scott F. Schafer, Fox
Jolene Purdy, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Niecy Nash, Jerry O'Connell, Molly Stanton and Dave Franco star in Fox's "Do Not Disturb."

If "Do Not Disturb" were as funny as it tries to be, it would be hilarious.

And yet — in yet another sign that if the traditional sitcom isn't dead, it's really, really sick — this new half-hour from Fox is devoid of much of anything resembling humor. It's sitcommy — and I don't mean that in a good way.

"Do Not Disturb" is weakly written and full of plastic characters and unbelievable situations. And did I mention — it's just not funny?

Frankly, this show was just so, well, nothing that it's hard to review. Because I'm just so bored by it. But I'll try.

If you're old enough to remember the really classy show "Upstairs, Downstairs," this Fox sitcom (7:30 p.m., Ch. 13) has pretty much absolutely nothing in common with that British drama. Except that, nominally, this is an upstairs-downstairs situation at a high-class boutique hotel.

Upstairs is Neal (Jerry O'Connell), the obnoxious, womanizing general manager who apparently has no redeeming qualities. And downstairs is Rhonda (Niecy Nash), the good-hearted head of human resources who actually cares about the people who work at the hotel.

Those people include Nicole (Molly Stanton), the aging model who works the front desk upstairs. And, downstairs, you've got Molly (Jolene Purdy), the overweight reservations clerk/aspiring singer; Larry (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), the head of housekeeping; and Gus (Dave Franco), the bellman/former rock-band roadie.

The good news is that the network tossed out the original pilot, which was full of "jokes" that were bigoted, sexist, homophobic and flat-out racist. The bad news is that tonight's premiere is pretty much one sex joke after another.

Well, except for when they're making jokes about eating disorders and crystal meth.

At least I think they're jokes. It's hard to tell, what with the lack of anything funny.

Titled "Work Sex," the episode opens with the revelation that an anonymous former employee at the hotel has written a magazine article about the sexual exploits that go on behind the scenes among the staff. Suspicion falls on Neal, and Rhonda gets all self-righteous about it.

And the next thing you know, Rhonda has considerably less reason to be self-righteous. About anything.

At least it's not as bigoted, sexist, homophobic and flat-out racist as that original pilot.

You can get away with a lot if you're funny. Which "Do Not Disturb" is not. Which makes it impossible to ignore the show's many, many, many flaws.

Chief among them is the casting of O'Connell, who looks thoroughly out of place. A year ago, I thought maybe it was the bad writing on "Carpoolers" that made O'Connell look like such a bad actor. This year, he has to blame it on the writing in "Do Not Disturb."

Or maybe it's not just the writing ...

Except that it is, at least in large part. The greatest actors on the planet couldn't make "Do Not Disturb" worth watching.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com