The FXX series “Legit” deserves just as much love as “Louie.”
Louis C.K. has the critical clout because his complete creative control has resulted in an unpredictable show that can be surreal, hilarious, and downright depressing at times (I’m still not over the death of Parker Posey’s manic pixie dream girl character). C.K’s dark sensibility makes his show interesting, but the uplifting moments on Jim Jefferies’ show make it more fun to watch. It’s a celebration of the human spirit peppered with penis jokes.
Many sitcoms feature friendships that feel fake and farcical, but “Legit” presents a true-to-life friendship between people who have realistic flaws.
At first Jim Jefferies’ character comes off as a slacker scumbag, but you soon realize that there’s actually a kind and caring guy under that a-hole exterior. In the pilot, we learn that Jim is a great friend when he decides that he wants to improve the depressing life of Billy (DJ Qualls) by taking him to a brothel (don’t worry: This will sound like a sweet gesture when you know the whole story). Billy suffers from muscular dystrophy and is almost completely paralyzed. He’s also still a virgin because of the shut-in life that he’s forced to lead.
Billy is the brother of Jim’s alcoholic pal Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), and improving his life becomes a bit of a special project for Jim. Unfortunately, he often butts heads with Billy’s protective hoarder mother (Mindy Sterling). Jim thinks Billy should enjoy living life, and Billy’s mom just wants to make sure that he stays alive. However, it’s a lot harder for her to keep tabs on Billy now that he’s moved in with Jim and Steve – Billy recently visited a “special” massage parlor and snuck down a slide at a water park. The latter incident landed him in the hospital, but it also led to a feel-good moment when he regained some movement in his fingers.
Of course Jim does see how hanging out with Billy benefits him. “I’m a good guy. This is gonna work out great for me,” he says in the pilot. “Billy’s gonna be the best wingman ever. Girls are gonna be like, ‘Oh you brought your friend in the wheelchair, did you?’ and I go, ‘Oh, he’s more than a friend. He’s my best friend.’” Because he’s actually given Billy a “special” massage, Jim can be forgiven for this bit of selfishness.
“Legit” actually hires actors with disabilities to play Billy’s friends. However, disabilities don’t define their characters. Instead they’re defined by the funny lines they deliver. Actor Nick Daley, who suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, plays one Billy’s pals and arguably gets some of the best lines on the show. “‘The Apprentice’ is on next with Gary Busey,” Daley’s character Rodney quipped during a recent episode. “I think it’s entertaining to watch mentally handicapped people on television.”
Rodney spends a lot of time with Jim’s odd entourage, and he likes to party harder than the other members of the crew. He’s even done drugs and had sex with a hooker.
Jim definitely has a problem with women. He’s a sex addict whose professional reputation is currently in ruins because of a rape joke that he made while giving an actress a ride home (to be fair, she made a rape joke first).
Luckily, Jim isn’t incapable of love. Love on this show just isn’t going to be as sweet and cheesy as it is on most sitcoms. However, it was kinda cute when Jim fell head-over-heels for a girl at the funeral of one of Billy’s friends. According to Steve, disabled funerals are great places to pick up chicks because the women there are “sad, but they’re not too sad because they saw it coming.” Steve isn’t the type of guy that you should take dating advice from, but Jim did succeed in charming the pretty sister of Billy’s deceased pal. In a darkly comedic twist, Jim actually played a part in the poor guy’s demise – he literally died laughing during one of Jim’s stand-up routines.
Jim and his love interest shared a romantic moment on the beach that looked like a scene from a Nicholas Sparks’ novel, but things unexpectedly went south when Jim’s perfect woman flung out the N-word. As it turned out, she was as racist as “Paula Deen and Kramer talking in a car.” Instead of dumping her, Jim tried to make her less prejudiced by introducing her to a black comedian pal. Unfortunately, this plan backfired when Jim’s dream girl decided to work on her issues by sleeping with the other comedian.
Jim’s troubles with women might stem from his strained relationship with his overbearing, attention-hungry mother. She drove him so crazy that he booked a gig in Afghanistan when she came to visit. He also lost his high school sweetheart in a tragic way. At their high school reunion, Jim let her know how much she meant to him by saying, “You were the first girl I ever waited to sleep with. And you were the last girl I ever waited to sleep with.” You’ve got to love how Jim manages to make sex jokes feel sentimental.
If you’re still not convinced to give the show a chance, tune in to see “Cheers” star John Ratzenberger as Billy and Steve’s happy-go-lucky dad. His wife’s hoarding habit had him living in a tent in the backyard, but he’s currently crashing at Jim’s place. I love his description of Jim: “No wife no kids, nothing, this guy’s like the black hole of humanity. But at the end of the day, I’d say that he might be the luckiest of us all.” Carrie Fisher also has an upcoming appearance on the show as “an aggressive comedy-development exec” who has a sexual interest in Jim.
“Legit” is optimistic and hopeful series full of authentic feel-good moments that don’t feel forced, so don’t write it off as just another stoner bro show.
Photo: FX Networks
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