Saturday, October 22, 2016

TV Show Review: High Maintenance

The new HBO comedic drama focuses on different characters throughout each episode connected by a character known only as the guy who bikes around New York City and sells pot to various people. Each character has their own issues and reasons for encountering the guy played by Ben Sinclair. The show started out as a web series and has graduated to thirty-minute episodes that can encapsulate up to two different storylines that interweave in strange connections not always noticed in everyday life.

Stories range from a young Muslim student to couples hosting an orgy to an entire episode from the point of view of a dog. The shows use the slice of life to explore issues of the human condition that are both humorous and emotional. The writers don't hold back on the awkwardness of being a weed dealer that interacts with all sorts of strange individuals that are either shut-in and antisocial or a bit too comfortable and overly social. The guy takes all this in stride with a relentlessly positive attitude.

The six-episode run felt entirely too short for the potential showed but the writers never planned to reveal much more about the guy or tell anything further than the anthology like tales that rip viewers away before they can become too attached to any single characters. It has a great feel of what it is like to work in New York encountering strange individuals lost in their own world or at least how I would assume it would feel especially with a job like delivery that isn't exactly person but with the illegal nature of the business causes purchasers to open up to a larger extent.   

Each show never failed to deliver a new surprise from daytime raves to meth usage to pushing back against stereotypes. With the freedom to follow any character that doesn't have to carry an entire season or even an entire episode, the creators Sinclair and his wife Katja Blichfield were able to explore the wholly different to  the oddness fo the mundane. There are cameos from plenty of recognizable actors but names that will not stick out and draw away from the mini plots. The guy is endearing enough as the everyman dealer that seems to recognize the bizarreness of each situation and yet accept the circumstances that he finds himself in due to his business.

With a strict code of referrals, the guy tries to avoid the pratfalls of dealing an illegal substance from robbery to arrest to exposure by the press. Still, the guy fails at moments with quick assumptions and desperation to make a quick buck. The viewer never fully realizes how the guy manages the business or if it is even profitable and how he receives his product but we see enough to sympathize with him and understand his function in society. I hope High Maintenance is renewed for many seasons to come to allow them to explore more of this interesting stories. 

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