If you’ve ever welcomed a dealer into your home to replenish your stash, chances are you’ve wondered where they’re coming from, or where they’re headed next.

Who really is this relative stranger with whom you’ve become weirdly intimate over time? Who else do they interact with in the run of a night? Are those other clients anything like you? What’s their relationship like?

HBO’s new version of the hit web series, High Maintenance – which made its cable debut on Friday night – feeds our collective curiosity around such questions like never before.

As in the beloved Vimeo webisodes that precede it, HBO’s High Maintenance follows a weed dealer known as “the Guy” (played by the show’s co-creator, Ben Sinclair) on his various appointments across New York City. More central to the series than the Guy himself, however, is the client base he cultivates throughout the show. Each episode delves expertly into a handful of clients’ lives – and their respective complexities – in ways that can be both hysterical and poignant.

In the first episode that aired last week, Sinclair's character has this (unwelcome) interaction with a client:

In an interview with VICE, co-creators (as well as husband and wife duo) Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield talked about the importance of setting the series in New York City.

“I think the reason it is New York–specific is because weed dealing is still illegal [in the city]. But the system is such that people generally go into people's apartments. And that is the kind of interaction that we're chasing: the moment when somebody goes into somebody else's apartment and has an effect on their life,” said Sinclair.

“I think it's very New York,” added Blichfield. “We are observing New Yorkers and writing specifically about what we observe, both in our personal lives and what's going on in the street. I think the show probably is still more about the urban experience than anything.”

It’s this refreshing departure from conventional stoner comedy fare to the human element of the dealer-client connection that is earning the show widespread praise; that, and its ability to bring the funny in a very real way. 


“It is a series that uses drugs as its narrative connective tissue, but in which drug use or ‘stoner comedy’ tropes are the least interesting or even the least important parts of the show,” writes The Daily Beast in its review of the series.

“We see people behaving as they would when they think no one is watching. It’s fascinating, often unsettling, and, through the ganja gaze of High Maintenance, hilarious.”

The show airs Friday night at 11 pm. You can also stream it online through HBO Now. Here's a preview of the upcoming second episode:

h/t The Daily Beast, VICE.

Banner image: youtube.com