Legit- A Disservice to Others

By: Lacey Worsham

After reading the chapter on “Disability and Sitcoms” and watching the pilot of Legit, I have becomes increasingly frustrated with television’s idea that in order to expose or do justice to one group of people, they must portray another group unjustly. I agree with James Schultz that “Legit deserves recognition for breaking ground in representing disability”. The fact that an entire group of people have been majorly underrepresented or not represented at all on television is highly disconcerting, and in some ways, Legit does an amazing job of breaking down and rewriting these boundaries. That is as far, however, as I can extend my praise of the show.

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Not only did the producers create an episode that revolved entirely around a male’s desire for sexuality, but also did this at the expense of women as a whole. And this is what they chose for the pilot episode! I truly do not understand why  in order to give disability a place in television, women must in turn be objectified. As a result, the show can really only achieve so much because they are sending mixed messages to their viewers. As Schultz accurately says, “the depiction of characters with disabilities is presented in sharp contrast to the fact that the series does not develop any character that is not overtly heterosexual and that does not objectify women”. This is doing a major disservice to not only the portrayal of women, but also those of men. The men in this sitcom are over dramatized in their search to use women as sex objects, and as a show that is meant to be progressive in one way, it falls extremely short by sending retrogressive messages in every other way. Legit is not even able to break the boundaries of representing a disabled woman, because although it “deals with Billy’s disabled girlfriend in another episode, it does not live up to its potential as a progressive narrator on multiple fronts”. As a result of this analysis, it appears to be a very good thing that this show was canceled, and hopefully other sitcoms in the future will be able to represent disability in a way that does not misrepresent or abuse other groups of people. 

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4 Responses to Legit- A Disservice to Others

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I was also frustrated with how women were portrayed in this episode. Using a ditsy blonde prostitute seems trite. I also had some trouble with the portrayal of disability. I agree that it is groundbreaking to feature a disabled main character, but the way Jim was thinking of ways he could use Billy’s disability to his advantage didn’t sit right with me. I think that is the point and I hope future episodes show Jim have a character arc of some kind, but since this is the only episode I’ve seen it’s the only context I have.
    – Sarah King

  2. mediaphiles says:

    It is so sad how Legit attempts to be “ground breaking” by representing disability, yet ends up objectifying women and seeming sexist. Why would they create an episode at the expense of women as a whole not only for their pilot episode but in general as a series? Perhaps these depictions will act as a warning for future series and show that this kind of writing is unacceptable. I too am glad it’s cancelled.

    – Ziba

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Your intro paragraph hits it right on the head. I did not enjoy watching the episode, but I think their attempt at introducing a main character with a disability was needed in the sitcom “society”. This show was all not my type of humor and I found it more offensive to the disabled character than helpful.
    -Kendall Fischlein

  4. mediaphiles says:

    This is such a great post! This episode really disturbed me because the objectification of women was so unjust and the crudeness of the show deeply bothered me. I hated the vulgarity of the plot, how stupid they made the women look, and how gruffly Billy is treated. I appreciate the idea that everyone was trying to treat Billy like anyone else and spare him from oversensitive and patronizing relationships, but I did not like how insensitive they were to him throughout the episode. The truth is he was in a fragile state and saying “he might die/it might kill him” so casually really bothered me. They also limited each character’s scope by focusing so strongly on sex and objectifying women instead of bigger issues or a more developed narrative.

    Arianna Gershon

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