Re: Getting Newbies Into D&D
+1 on the Community D&D episode. Somebody associated with that show gets it... Much of the advice regarding character creation seems sound--I think having some pregens available is not a bad idea--if one of the new players is hitting a creative/understanding block, you have an out (how about one of these fine, archetypical characters?).
But whether or not you give them pregens or walk them through character creation, I think keep character creation to no more than 30 minutes. If this means limiting choices a little, remember that they do not yet know what they are missing. 3.5/4th/PF all are complex enough that a new player needs a taste of character creation, but then needs to start playing. Have a dramatic opening scene that ends with a question like "What do you do?" or "Roll initiative.