After watching the first 3 episodes of Legit, I immediately got on Gchat and told Junch, “You can stop The Following and pause The Americans. You gotta watch Legit.” Let me tell you why this show is on my list of most unexpected TV delights this season.
I’ve never heard of Jim Jefferies. Somewhere in my head it registered that he was a comedian, but I didn’t pay enough attention to it. So I headed into Legit quite blindly, knowing neither cast nor synopsis, just that it was some FX comedy. Ah, yeah, I was being shallow, only deciding to give it a go because it was an FX show – the network backs a number of my favourite shows after all (Sons of Anarchy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, American Horror Story). So this one couldn’t be that bad.
I was right.
Initially I felt very Wilfred vibes. Here we have a cynical, washed out comedian arsewipe who sees and treats everything like some cosmic joke. This kind of character can be just right with their comic timing or be overly, unbearably abrasive – think real life Ricky Gervais.
And then it introduced a very tricky and peculiar element – a bedridden best friend. DJ Quall has always been typecast as the skinny, geeky, awkward guy, but here he’s pushed harder – a skinny, geeky, pretty charming guy paralyzed from the neck down. Everyone knows that actors have their work cut out for them if they can only use their face and nothing else to bring their part to life.
That aside, the introduction of teenager-like Billy was the first happy surprise I’d seen on newbie TV so far. It made Jim sweet. Crass as he may be, Jim speaks to Billy like he isn’t dying or suffering, and he’s genuine in his desire to help Billy live life like a normal person, or at least, as normal as Jim can possibly interpret.
That’s when the show rolls out its own brand of saccharine absurdity. Getting laid is on Billy’s bucket list, so Jim whisks him away to a brothel where his buddy can fulfill his wish. He finds ways to convince Billy’s overbearing mum to let him leave the home’s premises, sending Billy’s balding older brother Steve to watch over him. I mean, come on, this guy is going out of his way to make his buddy feel on top of the world when his current position is less than ideal. That’s sweet.
The laughs in this are less about intellect and more situational, but it’s got so much heart. Amazingly, it manages to be offensive and endearing at the same time, thanks to the brilliant chemistry among Jim, Billy and Steve. There aren’t a lot of shows that still impress despite the toe-dip into toilet humor (don’t worry, it’s not er, completely tasteless). Its presentation of funny things has some very dark undertones and the show skillfully balances it out the more sobering moments with a lighthearted lesson in friendship; highly unusual nowadays – episode endings give me the same feeling as Community ones did in its hey day. It’s just really good at triggering emotions. When it’s time for feel-good, it makes you want to raise your hands in the air and embrace anyone and everyone you can find within reasonable proximity.
The casting is great, and for a change, not sprinkled with eye candy. It really helps me to focus on the dialogue, I swear. I’ve never quite seen a family unit being introduced so quickly and comfortably before. Maybe I’m just being a frakkin’ softie when people show undiluted compassion for others. I even get teary when Billy and Jim have honest heart-to-heart conversations about life, because Jim says it all without being patronizing.
After watching, I went looking for what other people thought about it, wanting to know if I was just being a crazy person with bad taste, laughing at all the inappropriate things that I probably shouldn’t in real life, like crude sex jokes directly involving quadriplegics. And I’m not the only one that absolutely loves this brand of offensive-but-aww humor.
You’ll like Legit if you’re not a total comedy snob. Sometimes I find that like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the demographic that seems to appreciate the show is pretty niche, because while it’s not a laugh-track farce, it still features some filthy jokes or scenarios that will probably make a lot of people wince. They won’t be smiling as they cringe at its lunacy. Definitely not for the faint of heart or those who put Brit humour on a pedestal.
But if you like people being weird and appreciate big moral-of-the-story moments on lifelong, enriching friendships as a result of being put through all that crazy, whacked out nonsense in an attempt to simply cheer your buddy up – Legit is just the show for you.