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Series / High Maintenance

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High Maintenance is a Slice of Life comedy-drama anthology series that aired from 2012-2015 as a Web Original series on Vimeo, and from 2016 to 2020 as a TV series on HBO. The show follows a marijuana dealer known only as The Guy as he delivers his product to a wide assortment of characters in New York City. He usually figures in no more than a few minutes of each episode, with the remainder depicting vignettes about the characters he's delivered to.


Despite the premise, the series mostly avoids Stoner Flick tropes, instead taking a much more realistic and intimate look at its very varied cast.

The series was quietly cancelled in early 2021 when co-creators Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield decided to pursue other projects.

This show provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: The Guy usually gets one Once a Season.
  • Alone in a Crowd: The show's ethos is about urban loneliness and that while New York City may be amazing, it is sometimes a city of floating pleasures and no real human connection.
    • The Guy experiences this in "Googie" when he can't find anybody to take shrooms with.
    • Anja, a young writer, experiences this in "Selfie" where she can't stay off social media but has no real friends.
    • Exaggerated in "Solo" where AJ is shown to be extremely lonely, reaching out to his old exes and posting on social media to get attention.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Many. The show forgoes expositional dialogue most of the time, and many premises aren't fully explained. Some episodes don't explain how characters sharing a story are related.
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  • Amicable Exes: The Guy and his ex-wife are on extremely good terms, as they are very friendly.
  • As Himself: Most notably, Hannibal Buress is the main character in the web series episode "Jonathan" and appears in a cameo in the television series episode "Selfie." Brett Gelman, Kimiko Glenn, and Lena Dunham also appear in the latter.
    • Temple Grandin appears as herself in "Craig."
    • Jemima Kirke and Tom Lipinski appear as themselves in "Breathwork."
    • Nick Kroll and Rebecca Hall appear as themselves in "Trick."
  • As You Know: Averted nearly entirely. The show rarely gives full explanations for characters and settings.
  • Big Applesauce: The show takes place entirely in New York City or upstate, mostly in Brooklyn. The Guy occasionally delivers to Manhattan and delivered to Queens on one occasion.
    • Season 3 mostly takes place in Williamsburg.
    • Season 4 mostly takes place in Crown Heights.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Comes up a lot throughout the series. While much non-English dialogue is subtitled, it isn't all the time.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits for every episode are typically slow-motion scenes involving the characters from the episode, with heavy Slapstick at times.
  • Cringe Comedy: Despite conflict in nearly episode, almost entirely subverted. Moments that could have made the viewer cringe are often defied, with the characters cutting through the awkwardness. Played straight in several episodes.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Mostly subverted, but occasionally played straight.
    • Gene the veterinarian is unable to do his job while tripping on shrooms in "Fingerbutt."
    • Beth eventually decides to return home to Australia and ends her casual relationship with The Guy because she doesn't like who she is on drugs.
    • The Guy tells Marty, the narcoleptic nurse in "Craig," that he probably shouldn't be smoking weed.
  • Drugs Are Good: Some of The Guy's clients just like getting high, but many characters smoke weed for medical, mental, emotional, even to increase sex drive in one episode.
  • Gay Best Friend: Deconstructed in "Meth(od)". Max is very aware that he's Lainey's "dancing gay clown," and realizes what a toxic effect their friendship is having on him. He lashes out in several ways, including trying crystal meth, only to remain trapped in his role.
    • The season 4 episode "Adelante" reveals that the two are estranged and have not spoken for some time.
  • Honey Trap: A relatively tame example in Homeless Heidi, a con artist who uses her looks and savvy to trick guys into live-in relationships and reckless spending.
  • Injured Limb Episode: The Guy breaks his arm in a bicycle crash in "Scromple" and still has a full cast on in the following episode, "Googie."
  • Love Interest: The Guy has Beth in seasons 1 and 2, and Lee in season 3.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Guy in "Googie" and Gene the veterinarian in "Fingerbutt."
  • No Name Given: The Guy, though the season 4 finale hints at his name.
  • Noodle Incident: The plot of the second season episode "Globo" is New Yorkers reacting to shocking news, which isn't specified.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Guy does this intentionally because his day job is selling drugs and he does not want to be tracked.
  • Parking Problems: The Guy loses his bike for the night when somebody else locks their bike to it in "Derech."
  • Recurring Character: New characters are introduced every episode, and some recur. Some notables ones include Abdullah, Homeless Heidi, the asexual magician, Chad, and Arthur the nudist. Background characters occasionally get their own episode after they are introduced.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: About an actual dog in this case. "Grandpa" follows Gatsby, a dog that has fallen in love with his dog walker, Beth. His owner fires Beth after she is caught smoking on the job, and he eventually runs away and is adopted by a new woman. He runs into Beth some time later, but she doesn't remember him.
  • Show Within a Show: In "Selfie," Homeless Heidi discovers that her ex from the web series episode "Heidi" has created a TV show about the events of that episode. The show, "Homeless Helga," has Kimiko Glenn as Helga and Brett Gelman as The Guy.
  • The Shut-In: Patrick, who appears in the web series episode "Helen" and the television series episode "Ex."
  • Tomato Surprise: The second half of the episode "Scromple" follows a freelance brand strategist who needs a quick weed fix. She meets The Guy in the hospital where it is revealed she is The Guy's ex-wife. They're just separated, though, and The Guy is still on her health insurance.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The Guy has a lot of clients and his work means he needs to see them in person, so strange things often happen around him. He's mostly just a bystander in other peoples' misadventures.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "Ex," The Guy is locked out of his apartment and spends time with a neighbor. As he departs, The Guy explains how they know each other when the neighbor mentions that she likes the night with her girlfriend away. The Guy understands, and tells her “I was married to her.”
    • In the web series episode "Heidi", The Guy sees a picture of his client's new girlfriend, recognizes her, and lets him know. "That girl's homeless."