An HBO series about weed and the people who smoke it.
Usually, a show that doesn’t have a recurring set of characters, or studly title character doesn’t hit much with me in terms of exciting watch. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that I love shows pumped with action and dramatic romance. But the new HBO show High Maintenance, is one that has a darkly funny undertone while touching viewer’s emotions.
The premise of the show is that is looks at the different clients of low-budget weed dealer (only known as “The Guy”) and their lives in turn. Each episode looks at one or two new people and analyzes the lives that the weed guy grazes. As he bicycles around New York to each client, we learn about their failing marriages, their beloved pets, or their father’s new passion for day raving.
Each episode is something new and shows viewers how people who buy weed aren’t stereotypical drug addicts and anarchists. Rather, they are people who just want to relax and have a little smoke. The show provides a deep look at the folds of culture and how this one plant can touch so many different corners. It helps to open up a dialogue on the seriousness of the drug, which is relevant to recent political and social arguments. In one episode, an older asian man confronts his neighbor, accusing him of bringing weed into the building and influencing his college-aged niece. To which, the neighbor looks at the baggy of bud in his hand and says, “Drugs? That’s just weed.” And slams the door.
This show isn’t some kind of stoner flick to be taken lightly, however.
The show was created by Ben Sinclair and his wife Katja Blitchfield four years ago, originally running on Vimeo before changing to the much larger network of HBO. On Vimeo, High Maintenance was a much shorter show that pounded into the homes of its subjects with quick takes and emotional subtlety. Switching to a longer-run of 30 minutes would scare most writers, but Sinclair and Blitchfield were able to write humanity and humor in conjunction with fluidity.
It can easily be labeled as an underground cult comedy, but it has so much more to it than simple humor. While the jokes are self-aware, the writing is compassionate and precise. Each character sticks with the audience even are we are three shows down the queue and onto the next storyline.
If you like this try: Master of None on Netflix
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