‘High Maintenance’: 5 Essential Episodes to Fire Up Before the Stoner Comedy Moves to HBO

     September 16, 2016


When you hear the phrase “stoner show” you might go for the usual suspects — Workaholics, Broad CIty, even That 70’s Show – but it’s unlikely you’d call up High Maintenance, a show steeped in weed culture that nonetheless works for both smokers and teetotalers alike.

Husband and wife team Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, who founded the series on little more than a miniscule budget and a prayer, had previously made a career of “getting by” in Hollywood (Sinclair is an actor whose work prior to High Maintenance is littered with character descriptions like “Wild-Eyed Guy” and “Lunatic,” and Blichfeld worked as a casting director on everything from 30 Rock to The Carrie Diaries), before they took content creation into their own hands. The series began as a limited web show in late 2012, with just three five-minute episodes, each featuring Sinclair as “The Guy” (his real name on the series is never revealed), a weed delivery man whose various clients serve as the narrative meat of each episode. Weaving in and out of various characters’ lives as easily as he navigates the cragged Brooklyn streets, the couple has likened the show’s structure to Six Feet Under’s, as each episode begs the question “how will this person inevitably cross paths with The Guy?”

But the show isn’t just about stoners – the “maintenance” here can mean everything from keeping up a habit to just “maintaining” some form of stability – the show is based in the chaos of New York City, after all. The DNA of the city (specifically Brooklyn, where The Guy spends most of his time) is crucial to the series’ off-kilter charm, which gleefully skewers millennial culture and Brooklyn snobbiness with concise dialogue and an almost painfully specific point of view. After six “seasons” of webisodes, Sinclair and Blichfeld are migrating to the big leagues – HBO will premiere the show’s seventh season this Friday night, and roll out six full-length episodes throughout the fall.

Despite the fact that no episode runs the traditional length of a television comedy, six seasons is still certainly a lot of content, so if you’re looking for the quickest way to catch up, here are all the crucial episodes to catch before the premiere, which you can watch in 60 minutes or less, and all of which are available on HBO Go/Now. Hey, delivery men aren’t the only ones with a schedule to keep.