A friend recommended this show to me back when it was a web series on Vimeo, and I was like, sure, a show about annoying Brooklyn hipsters smoking pot? I’ll get right on it. But now the roles are reversed and I can see you rolling your eyes at me even as you promise that sure, you’ll get right on it. But no, really. Get on it!

holding-high-maintenance-returns
Co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair

Created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, the show is not exactly heavy on plot, but is more a series of loosely-connected vignettes that explore character, and generally manage to create a sense of empathy for even the most annoying of hipsters. And don’t worry. It’s not all hipsters.

The vignettes are connected by the presence of The Guy, played by Sinclair, who delivers weed all across the city. Sometimes he is directly involved in the plot, and sometimes he’s just passing through, but it’s enough to create a sense of cohesion to the world, and allows the show to explore characters all over the city, from a multiplicity of backgrounds.

23-high-maintenance-w1200-h630
Sinclair as “The Guy” with guest star Amy Ryan

What’s most impressive about the show is that it usually manages to create a sense of surprise where it creates sympathy for a character we did not expect, or flips our expectations about how a situation will play out.

Throughout it all, The Guy is a genial guide, generally unflappable (often because he is too stoned to be flapped), and treating people with a kindness that does not exclude a deadpan, amused disbelief at some of the crazier events to which he is a witness.

high-maintenance-cycle-three-rachel1
Sinclair with guest star Dan Stevens (Dan Stevens, you guys! I love him!)

The web series, as well as the entire HBO-commissioned season one, is available on HBO NOW. I do recommend making your way through the webisodes first. Not because you’ll need it to decipher plot points in the series – plot is sooo not the point – but because these easily-digestible chunks are a little less intimidating to work your way through than an entire series of full-length shows. You’ll be able to get a feel for the storytelling and decide whether or not it’s for you pretty quickly, and some characters do recur in the series, so it’s fun to have that backstory in your head.

Advertisements