January 19, 2013



LEGIT:  Thursday 10:30PM on FX

Not everyone can be Louis C.K.  That’s the lesson of LEGIT, FX’s latest excursion to its comedy sweet spot of the low-budget, stand-up grunge aesthetic that’s given us It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League and Wilfred as well as Louie.  This time, though, the reigning sensibility–in the pilot, at least–is much more in that predictable sub-Apatowian territory we’ve come to know all too well over the past decade.

The auteurship this time (shared with Peter O’Fallon, who co-wrote the pilot and directed as well) belongs to Jim Jefferies, an Australian comic who lives in the US as a resident alien.  TV Jim, no surprise, is an Australian comic who lives in the US as a resident alien.  TV Jim, though, has a grand total of 2 friends:  Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), and Steve’s brother Billy (DJ Qualls), the latter of whom, for that cutting edge “daring” touch, suffers from muscular dystrophy such that he needs an oxygen mask and has little control of his limbs.

The pilot’s storyline is basically The Sessions without any finesse, as Billy is a virgin–although, the show wants us to know, a very well-endowed one–who wants that status to change, and Jim insists on bringing Billy (with Steve in tow) to a brothel.  The show gets a few laughs from the hookers who won’t consider sex with Billy, and then becomes sentimental, since it turns out the willing girl has the proverbial heart of gold, and as anthemic music plays on the soundtrack, everyone turns sympathetic, offering to clean Billy up post-coitus.

This might all have seemed somewhat shocking 5 years ago, but the lines of pop culture move swiftly these days, and after The Sessions and 50/50, we’re all willing to acknowledge that people with serious illnesses get horny too.  Nor are jokes about “ball-sacs” and blow jobs worthy of note anymore.  Bakkedahl and Qualls are experienced comic actors, but if Jefferies and O’Fallon have anything surprising or original to say about the world (let alone a genuine artistic vision like the one that elevates every episode of Louie or Girls), it’s not on display in the pilot.

Legit got off to an awful start in the ratings, losing 60% of its Archer lead-in, so it has a limited amount of time to prove it deserves its place on the air.  A low-rent visual style isn’t enough to convey an original point of view these days; Legit needs to show that it legitimately has one.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."