Smallscreen Reviews

Review: FX's 'Legit' continues network's excellence in comedy

By April MacIntyre Jan 16, 2013, 20:20 GMT

Review: FX's 'Legit' continues network's excellence in comedy

The show, at its core, is about dignity, dressed in the raunchy premise of liberating a 30-something virginal disabled man from a coddled institutional cocoon and his death bed, so that he can experience what he wants before he checks out: To feel the inside of a vagina.

"Legit" premieres Thursday night at 10:30 on FX.

CAVEAT: If the late comic Sam Kinison offended you, this is not your show.

FX arguably has the best comedies on the air: Louie, Wilfred, The League, Sunny in Philadelphia and Archer for animated adult humor. 

Newcomer "Legit" is the brainchild of stand up of Jim Jefferies, a comic I became familiar with in an episode of the deeply missed Paul Provenza "Green Room" series on Showtime.

Jefferies is unapologetically Australian, meaning he'll say anything with a straight face and a shrug. The kind of chatter that makes the Church Lady cry and the Parents Television Council call a special session just to plot his demise. 

The show, at its core, is about dignity. It is dressed in the raunchy premise of liberating a 30-something virginal disabled man (Billy) from a coddled institutional cocoon and his death bed, so that he can experience what he wants before he checks out: To feel the inside of a vagina.

 

Even Billy's mother, who absolutely HATES Jim, our liberator and star of the show, understands that her son just wants to feel like a man and be with the guys for a male bonding adventure. Little does she know it involves the three men, her two sons and Jim, living it up with drink, women and some recreational drugs.  I told you, this is not for the "Modern Family" crowd.

 

In the series, Jefferies plays an Aussie standup comedian trying to make it in Los Angeles -- not really rocking his career yet -- getting along with the help of pal Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), a cyberlaw library salesman. Our star Jim is all heart and potty of mouth, and he wants to do well for his "mum" who thinks he's a "drunken idiot" and wishes he just be "legit."

Jim's path to some sort of sense of purpose includes Steve's wheelchair-bound brother, Billy (DJ Qualls), who is suffering from advanced-stage muscular dystrophy. Billy loves Jim because the comic sees and treats him like any other bloke, not as a pitiful victim. 

A plan is hatched from Billy's bed, can Jim take him away from the dire prognosis, the tubes and the bed pans for a chance to be with a woman?  Billy's parents, Janice (Mindy Sterling) and Walter (Dennis Fitzpatrick), are disgusted of course, but their son convinces them to just let him go.

"Legit" is what HBO's "Girls" wishes it was. It's a wonderful snapshot of male friendship, career and relationship angst -  highly sexual and jaw droppingly profane at times -  yet absolutely laugh out loud AND touching to the point of tears in one scene. 

The object of Jim's liberation mission - our Billy Nugent (Qualls) who suffers paralysis from the shoulders down yet has sensation and reaction in his private area - tries to have a real relationship with a girl in the world of online dating.  The prep and follow through for this particular scene is side splitting, and pokes good fun at Australians - their accents and wordsmithing - in the process.

Billy's brother Steve (Bakkedahl) is his main caretaker.  He (and Jim at one point) has to tend to Billy's private functions - and does so matter-of-factly and with love.

Dan Bakkedahl's performance as Steve, Billy's brother, is exceptional. He is perfectly paired with Jefferies and the three have a chemistry that just clicks from the opening scenes.  Billy and Steve's suffering and worried mother Janice Nugent (Mindy Sterling) has never been better. She plays the role just right, hating Jefferies for disturbing the universe, but quietly understanding her son just wants to be seen as a man for once before he dies. It's a fine line she navigates and she does it perfectly.

I have read some reviews that say this is for the young guy/Howard Stern crowd, but I am over 45, female with two sons, and I could not stop watching this series, and made it through the three episodes (I would have watched it to the end) that I have for review. That is a rare event in this sea of mediocre TV batted at me from the recent winter press tour for TV critics. I rarely laugh out loud at TV comedies; this was one that had me crying from laughter and from a particularly moving moment.

"Legit" is rollicking, wrong and made with the best intentions. Like "Louie," this is a brilliant effort and one to support.  I loved it. 


 



Further Reading on M&C

Donald Joseph Qualls Biography - - Donald Joseph Qualls Movies - John Ratzenberger Biography - - John Ratzenberger Movies -

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