Legit's Series Premiere: Heart of Darkness

Legit S01E01: "Pilot"

If you had asked me to review JUST the pilot episode of FX's new comedy Legit immediately after watching it, it would probably look something like this:

"Australian comedian Jim Jefferies stars as a version of himself in this obvious attempt to replicate the unpolished heroism of Louie. But instead of the relatable, existential dilemmas that make Louie one of the most observant and personal series on television, Legit is a menagerie of masturbation jokes in a cloud of purple haze, with its value and emotion completely dependent on your opinion of Mumford & Sons' "The Cave," which provides the score for a road trip scene that's somehow supposed to help the episode mature."

Ugh thank the lord of pseudo-intellectualism that I don't actually write like that. Anyway, I initially watched the pilot out of genuine curiosity and with no work-strings attached about a month ago, dismissed it as boys' club potty humor, and switched over to some Archer DVDs. But in revisiting Legit this week to write a review, I recognize that I was either having a bad day the first time I watched it or I was dumb.

Legit is trying to be Louie in some sense, whether consciously or not. Jim is a moderately successful comedian who lives a life he can't seem to control, so he's trying to do something about it. The humor, which includes a tirade about the benefits of marrying a dying woman, is pitch black. And the set-up is free of the typical sitcom structure, proving that comedy doesn't have to always hit marks or include 10 jokes per page. But most importantly—and I didn't really get this in the pilot, but started to see it in the next two episodes—the show has good intentions behind its filthy exterior.

Of all of FX's comedies, Legit may be the one that takes the longest to warm up to (disclaimer: You should still be hypothermic when it comes to Anger Management, and that show should never come to mind when I speak of "FX comedies"). The pilot, which followed Jim as he took his friend's wheelchair-bound brother Billy (DJ Qualls) to lose his virginity at a Nevada house o' whores, was more concerned about hygienically preparing the crotch of a paralyzed man for swallowing by a hooker than it was with being charming. And I don't know when I became such a prude, but jokes about ball-washing just seem too easy and obvious.

It was during my second viewing of the pilot that I started to come around, and by the end, talk of Billy's sparkling balls and his Fassbender-ish shlong seemed worth enduring in order to stick with the show a little longer. In the second episode, that clemency paid off: Next week's installment tones down the raunch, and Jim and Billy have a long heartfelt talk that humanizes both of them and transforms the series from Porky's V into something more emotional. And it doesn't need Mumford & Sons to prop it up. The moment is vital because it gives the series a better platform to build on and the viewers something meaningful to look forward to. This is a show about becoming a better person, and that isn't going to happen after 30 minutes. It's only after an hour, and then an hour and a half, that the differences start to become noticeable.

If you like the dick jokes, great, you'll love the series. But if you were put off by the pilot, I'd highly recommend watching the next two episodes of Legit before quitting it completely. It finds its stride and its heart pretty quickly as the rough edges are sanded down to the merely prickly nubs you expect from Jefferies' style of humor. Legit won't be in the same echelon as Louie, but it has a chance to be great on its own.



NOTES

– It will be interesting to see how this pairs with Archer as the two are, for the most part, tonally different.

– Steve (Dan Bakkedahl) doesn't have much to do except recite variants of, "Really, Jim?" as the uptight buddy. So far, he's in need of the most work.

– Ditto for Steve's mom.

– After Billy's euphoric fade to white, I thought the pilot ended on a good note. But then there was a bumper with Jim getting pulled over while his friends were all tuckered out. I see how it's important to show Jim some extra benefits of friendship, but Billy's happy face is where I think it should have ended.

– I like this show more and more with every minute watched.



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (19)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
This show is sooooo funny. every episode just gets better and better. DJ Qualls was a perfect choice for this show.
Reply
Flag
This might be the most helpful review ever. I disliked the pilot but now I have some hope looking forward.
Reply
Flag
I'm a big fan of Jefferies and enjoyed the pilot of "Legit", unfortunately I've heard all the jokes & heard the entire brothel encounter via stand up, so it wasn't as enjoyable as I expected. Looking forward to seeing the next few episodes though.
Reply
Flag
the ending up, where he's pulled over is the best part, along with the terminally ill mother of his child discourse
Reply
Flag
You had me at "Nevada house o' whores". :)
Reply
Flag
Jefferies is brilliant.
Reply
Flag
Thanks for the write-up, Tim; if I wasn't already aware of him, I think I might have had your initial reaction, too (and even then...).

I am willing to give (new dad and husband, too, I think) Jefferies's show at least three eps. Does the character of Jim's own mum make an appearance beyond a phoner, I wonder.
Reply
Flag
I found the whole setup of this episode much funnier, when Jim was telling it in his stand-up special, Alcoholocaust. Not to say it didn't have its moments, but the structure of 22 min. + commercials takes some of the shine off. Still, gotta give it the four episode test, since Jefferies is a hilarious comedian, if you like fucked up, perverted humor. And especially since DJ Qualls, no matter the quality of show, is always a quality actor. He, more than anyone, sold the show.
3
Reply
Flag
Wow, the Tim Stamp of Approval! I definitely need to check this show out!
1
Reply
Flag
i have noticed alot of shows becoming more involved with the actor's real name but different personality like Matt LeBlanc in episodes , James Van Der Beek in Apartment 23 ..

so i am starting to hate this repetitive idea .. but loving the originality of some shows ..
Louie has truly succeeded in his show , others just suck ..

i still have to watch other episodes of this show to decide to continue watching or dumping it
what interested me in the show was D. J. Qualls
the first episode reminds me a lot of a movie called Road Trip (2000) which had DJ Qualls in it too

though i don't know if his character will be a regular or just guest starring .. which suck for the show because the main actor Jim Jefferies is a egotistic character , i didnt like him very much .. if the show will continue as the same level , it will be cancelled before they end airing all the episodes
Reply
Flag
um, I did not hear The Cave at all while watching this episode. And believe me, I would have noticed and enjoyed the episode a whole lot more if I did.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Hmmm, I wonder if the broadcast version differed from the advanced screener we got?
Reply
Flag
I believe it was Fun (fun.?)'s "Carry On" that was used over both road scenes, and I was ugh both times.
Reply
Flag
Please Tim review Banshee a original series from Cinemax and leave crap like this :)
3
Reply
Flag
I planned on checking out the next couple of episodes anyways, just because pilots sometimes fall flat (Hopefully the case here) and while I'm a fan of off color and dark humor, for some reason the lead couldn't get me to laugh. DJ Qualls did, but the star, especially in the closure scene, just struck me as giving himself an ego enhancing hand job that we were just forced to watch. Not really familiar with his stand up but he struck me as incredibly unlikable in this show.
Reply
Flag
"Legit won't be in the same echelon as Louie, but it has a chance to be great on its own."
When something will be in the same echelon as Louie, then we can finally say that the lightning actually struck twice.

If it wasn't for this review I think I would have decided to skip Legit, but I'll give it a try.
1
Reply
Flag
I might start watching it sometime is DJ Qualls is in every episode, if not (and probably even if he is) I have too many shows as it is.
Reply
Flag
I will give it a couple of episodes before writing it off, but the pilot was not convincing.

I'm not a big fan of the easy jokes about dicks, disease, death and hookers. So that is what I didn't like about the show so far. I'm into the macabre and dark disturbing humor, but the scene talking about having a baby with a dying chick just didn't work for me. It was just rude rambling.

What I did like was the good intentions behind some of the things that were happening. Like going into the whorehouse and 'filtering' which hookers were willing to bang a handicapped person. That's just a nice thing to do. Also having him do a victorylap afterwards gave the episode a sense of accomplishment and should indeed have ended with the smile on Billy's face.

And this is also a main concern for the series. DJ Qualls is a good actor and amongst this cast he really stands out. There is just a huge gap in the quality of the performances of the main characters and this makes it al seem very uneasy to look at. You got one guy just saying his lines, another being himself and another one acting so there is not much synergy happening there and it's like watching different characters from different shows do a scene together..Not working at all

Comparing Legit to Louie is unfair for Louie because, let's face it, Louie is so much better. You don't compare hamburger meat to a Wagyu steak...
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
This is exactly what I thought initially and I agree with everything you said. Now to see if you make the same change in attitude after the second ep!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook