The stoner-anthology web series returns to HBO with a fantastic set of new, superbly human stories.
Those unfamiliar with High Maintenance, the web series that preceded the new series, need not worry about being left in the dark. The revamped HBO series doesn’t require you to have any previous knowledge of what’s come before. In its pilot episode, “Meth(od),” the audience is introduced to the old characters, new faces, and the exceptionally unique tone that makes High Maintenance a must-see television series.
The show’s pilot perfectly sets up the world surrounding one marijuana delivery man, known only as The Guy. Much like Big Lebowski’s The Dude, The Guy (portrayed by creator Ben Sinclair) is a relaxed, drug-loving fellow. He bikes all across New York City, delivering weed to a host of varied folks. While The Guy is the protagonist, he’s rarely the focus of any episode. High Maintenance primarily focuses on his customers, all the people that are linked by his product. The Guy is a relatively simple character, especially compared to the surrounding cast. By serving as a bridge, The Guy functions as a well-balanced conductor for the stories in the show.
The blend of comedy and drama, along with the shorter character spots, makes the series incredibly unique. The series combines hilarity with heartbreak easily. While there’s plenty of jokes within the pilot, there’s also very well-done storytelling. Even though The Guy’s role is relatively minimal, “Meth(od)” highlights his character wonderfully. His interactions with the muscle heads he sells to highlight his humorous social awkwardness. The body-builders themselves have dynamic personalities, unique and well-defined. High Maintenance has a fantastic grasp on every character, no matter how minimal their role is.
As funny as the body-builder plot line is, the stars of “Meth(od)” are Max Jenkins and Helene York. The two play Max and Lainey, characters from the original web series. The two return to the world of High Maintenance when Max hooks up with a new man. As Max joins his one night stand at his A.A. meeting, Max has second thoughts about how close he is with the self-destructive Lainey. He and Lainey have a very co-dependent relationship, living in their vulgarity together. Through this episode, we see not only the humorous side of both, but the crushing reality of their situation. Jenkins and York’s portrayal of these characters help bring the diverse tone of High Maintenance to life.
With “Meth(od),” High Maintenance succeeds in its varied storytelling technique. The blend of genre, coupled with exquisite character study, makes the series one well worth checking out. It’s unlike anything else on television, which is what makes it so crucial to watch. The series premieres tonight, Friday the 16th, at 11PM. Be sure to watch the premiere, and follow it on a weekly basis. Also, be sure to check out The Knockturnal’s exclusive interviews with the show runners and stars.