Simple Premise, Hard to Explain

I have been staring at a blank page for about half an hour trying to figure out how to write about the show High Maintenance. It is not an easy show to convey even though it has a pretty simple premise. IMDB put it most succinctly:

A comedy that explores the private lives of unique New York individuals through a common thread: their weed deliveryman.

But I also don’t think that really gets across the show content; the real vibe. It is weird, perplexing, sweet, funny, and sad. It just sort of mixes everything together, puts it into this 30 minute package an just hands it to you.

The show is really about nothing but not like Seinfeld as it isn’t a sitcom. The show is quirky and sweet but not like Scrubs as it isn’t goofy or silly even though it kind of can be. The show is about drugs/a drug dealer but nothing like any of those shows about drugs or drug dealers. But it has elements of all of those types of shows in it as you never know who you are going to meet from episode to episode.

It puts life forward to you matter-of-fact-ly. You are not meant to judge the people you encounter in the show but you are given a voyeuristic glimpse into their world. There are just so many types of people and lifestyles that the show interacts with that it is hard to pinpoint the overall story being told. But maybe that is the point. There is no “overall story” being told; it is a slice of life and the show gives you a different slice every episode.

I don’t personally know anyone who watches or has even heard of the show (until I bring it up). But I get that, there has been very little marketing for it, at least I haven’t seen any. But the show is on HBO and that is good enough for some people. I found it like I find many shows I watch, it was on after something else I was watching. I was a bit confused by what I saw as it just didn’t seem to go anywhere or do anything but I just liked it, leaving me with a pleasant feeling.

The show started as a Vimeo series that was created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld. It had 2 seasons on the service between 2012 and 2015. At the time it was actually recommended to me and was added to my list but I never took the time to look at it. At that point the show focused on “The Guy” played by Sinclair.

Side note: Until I started doing some research for this post I didn’t realize the dealer had no name. I just thought I forgot it (like I tend to do). But then reflecting on that new knowledge, it is true that he never gets a name. There is a lot of “Hey”, “Is it you?”, or “Are you the guy?” in the show. Anyways…

You would follow him around and that is mainly how you would meet all the other characters. But when the show moved to HBO there was a bit of a shift. It is not that “The Guy” isn’t in it, he is a great deal, but there is just less focus on him. There are 30 minute episodes where you see him for less than 5 minutes and as a new viewer you might even think he is just a background/tertiary character. I am not saying this is a bad thing in anyway, I am just saying that they managed to shift the focus but keep the premise in the seamless way. This may seem odd but it really does work. You are not focused on the weed dealing, you are focused on the people that just happened to have had weed dealt to them. It is very free flowing and chill.

All I am saying is that High Maintenance is a good show and more people should watch it so I have people to talk to about it.


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