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The last two days I've been watching Legit on the DVR. I recorded it because I will, quite honestly, watch literally anything with DJ Qualls in it. I've seen Road Trip. Twice.

But I didn't watch Legit right away because I hate getting hooked on first season shows that might go away. And I didn't want it to be bad. Or be really good and then run out. It's hard.

Imagine my surprise when I put it on the first time and found that the actor I was watching it for played a character with muscular dystrophy. And not only does he do it really well, except for lacking a couple of the telltale deformities that can't be faked, all of his plot lines address some aspect of being a young adult with MD that people just don't talk about. Things that I've been trying to explain since I was about fifteen that make normal people narrow their eyes and say either Huh, I never thought of that, or, if they can't fathom it, That isn't right, why don't they just [thing that immobilized, non-autonomous person could never do].

And here it is being portrayed on a really funny show, by an extremely talented actor who happens to look the part (remember when Rob Lowe was dying of AIDS on Life Goes On? not like that), and I seriously hope everyone is watching.

If you're not, some highlights:

♣ Young men with Billy's condition usually die without ever having had sex. Usually. As in the majority. Because they're immobile by the age of eighteen, they generally never leave home and remain under their mother's care for life. Mothers rarely encourage or facilitate their sons getting laid, especially the religious ones.

♣ Billy is 32, which is pushing the new outer limits of his expected lifespan. The majority die around 27, a significant increase over 20 years ago when the average lifespan was 18. I personally know one young man of 33 who is married with children. Of all the boys I knew growing up, he's the only one to accomplish any of those three things.

♣ One of the major improvements in this show over others that have prominently featured wheelchair using characters (to my knowledge three: Stevie on Malcolm in the Middle, Damian in the last season of Rescue Me, and Joe on Family Guy; I don't count Glee because the ridicule heaped on the handicapped child by actual school faculty was too painful to watch) is that it's very real. Even Billy's power chair is high tech and operated correctly, rather than treated as a prop. (See Rescue Me, where the kid is obviously in a power chair, but it has no control box, no push handles, and is never seen to move. He may as well be in a freaking Barc-o-Lounger.)

♣ As mentioned before, DJ is the perfect actor for this role. He's skinny and adorably funny looking and can do more with his voice and ability to cry at will than most actors can with their whole bodies. When he screams at his hoarder mother to for god's sake throw out the crutches from when he was ten, he'll never need them, even if they find a cure tomorrow it's still too late for him, all of disabled America heaved a sigh of relief. Enough with the goddamn unrealistic expectations, okay? It's not something we can fight. Just help us out or let us be.

And when he gets evicted from his care home and can't be returned to the aforementioned hoarder mom because the state said so, and his battery dies on the bridge and he finds he can't even kill himself, I cried. He was around for the next episode because an asshole wanted to be known as a good guy. Billy's not only an object of charity, it's for a shitty reason. And that's what will keep him alive.

♣ But the best part? As long as he lives with his brother and the charitable asshole, he will get to be a man, not a child. A man on oxygen who has a magnificent cock but not the ability to jerk off, yet still a man nonetheless.

A man who might make it possible for me to say I have muscular dystrophy and, instead of hearing oh, MS? My aunt had that (it's always an aunt), hear Oh, like that awesome guy on Legit.

And I will be proud to say, Yes, like him.

I'll probably cry when I do.

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little_tristan

March 2013

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