When I first started watching Legit, I feared the show would pin Jim Jefferies into a corner, literally. He was great at stirring up chaos, but I noticed that he was content watching that chaos spew all over the place from a safe distance, commenting every once in a while like those people who tear him apart on YouTube. The first two episodes started this way, but ended with Jefferies a key part of the action. All was well. It was a line, though, I wanted to be very aware of.
“Comedian passively points out crazy things” is not a television first. We’re in the heyday of “Comedian makes themselves the center of attention, and not in a good way.” Louis CK puts his faults front-and-center. Lena Dunham gets flack for doing the same thing (unfairly), yet she soldiers on anyways. Jefferies could be the brash outspoken guy who stirs the pot and has to, eventually, eat what comes out.
“Love” is the most bait-and-switch of the episodes thus far, and it suffers only in the lack of momentum caused by Jefferies’ figurative absence in its first large chunk. Jefferies finds that Steve and Billy are both seeking relationship advice. Steve is going out with his coworkers and hasn’t been laid in a while—watching Jefferies pick up women effortlessly has got him wondering how he can do the same. Meanwhile, Billy has felt something stirring deep inside him since getting that beej from the hooker. He wants more. Companionship? Emotional intimacy? Maybe even…love (and cooties)?
Jefferies has all the answers. You have to compliment women, he says, but end on a weird non-compliment-y insult. Be quiet every once in a while, so she thinks you’re mysterious. Basically, play lots of games, put on lots of crazy hats, and become The Pickup Artist—universally despised yet secretly intrigued by. The advice is nothing new; it’s actually kind of odd how Legit drops it on its characters so earnestly, without a trace of irony that there’s been at least one failed reality show based on the concept.
The strangest part is that it works. Steve successfully nabs a date with the hot woman from accounting with the freakishly blue eyes. They’re so freakish, he says. Very freakish. He can’t stop talking about her eyes. THIS IS LOVE! It’d get annoying if not for the effortless charisma of Dan Bakkedahl, who is not only funny but able to siphon pity like a pity-siphon (patent pending). He reports back to Jefferies that all went according to plan, and both parties couldn’t be happier.
Even better: Billy has managed to do a bit of online dating, mostly through Skype. Well, eventually. He fails at Chatroulette for a while, demonstrating once again that this is 2009. OkCupid provides a bit more luck, and soon he’s in a long-distance relationship with an Australian woman (at the request of Jefferies) where they can talk for five hours and it feels like no time has passed. One slight hiccup is that eventually she’s gonna show him hers, and will probably want to see his. Genitals. I’m talking about droopy flesh-knots. Billy has been so close to the screen that nobody knows he’s in a wheelchair, thus the procuring of his schween requires the help of an able-bodied volunteer. Or, failing that, Jefferies.
It’s at this point when Jefferies is forced into the chaotic fold he created. But to Legit’s credit, he emerges a better man for it; after all, he’s sponge-like in his quest for enlightenment. Sure, he has to jack Billy off and gets caught by Billy’s mom. But he sees something between Billy and his girlfriend that he doesn’t have: genuine interest in another person.
Jefferies is a stand-up, who can get away with being on a stage and talking at people if he so chooses. He’s a better comic than that, but in the world of the show, human interaction is just as calculated and road-tested as any of his bits. Billy doesn’t have that luxury. He must always be talked to, by virtue of his inability to not physically leave the room unless there’s plenty of space to turn around or, at the very least, turn his head. In his new girlfriend, Billy has found someone who doesn’t want to establish a dynamic. She wants a friend, where the back-and-forth is so mindless you hardly realize who’s doing favors for whom, let alone who is asking about who’s life. This is foreign to Jefferies, and he tunes in with great interest. After all, Billy looks like the guy from Road Trip.
Jefferies begins “Love” as its guru, but ends humbled by the simple act of being a human hanging out with another human. It’s this openness of its main character that makes Legit such a compelling prospect of a show. And the more, the merrier.