‘High Maintenance’ is ‘Seinfeld’ For the Modern, Pot-Fueled Age

Ben Sinclair in High Maintenance. (Vimeo)

Since High Maintenance premiered in 2012, I’ve always thought it was interesting that more people don’t compare it to Seinfeld. Sure, at first glance a web-series about a weed dealer known only as The Guy — and more importantly, his customers — doesn’t look a thing like Seinfeld. But we all remember that famous tag line: “The Show About Nothing.” Seinfeld reinvented the word nothing, made people realize how moving and entertaining “nothing” could be. And Seinfeld‘s particular brand of “nothing” was perfect for its time, as evidenced by its massive ratings and rabid fan base.

But times, they have a-changed, and so has our nothing. High Maintenance, from creators Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, is the perfect series for the “right now.” High Maintenance is perfect for a time where Brooklyn is an idea as much as it is a place to live. Where our diaries aren’t private anymore, they’re digital and published for the world to see. Where web-series aren’t a niche, they are the future. Where everyone and anyone can be an artist, and for some inexplicable reason, everyone refers to Lena Dunham by her first name alone.

Because really, not much ever really happens on High Maintenance. But, sometimes, not much really happens in day-to-day life either. Sometimes you just get overwhelmed by the little, everyday problems and the only thing to do is smoke a bowl.

Really this is all a way for me to say High Maintenance released its sixth cycle today with three new episodes, and you should go watch them if you enjoy superb acting, relating to things on your screen and just merriment and warmth in general.

Sufjan tells the story of a couple moving out to the furthest, most remote location know to mankind, Ditmas Park. Anyone that’s ever moved somewhere and realized that all the cool shit you saw in the first week (like the Sufjan Stevens himself) is usually coupled with a bunch of terrible, inconvenient shit should watch this. Also, anyone who has encountered the nightmare dilemma of whether or not weed is really an essential part of your monthly budget.

Esme, about a woman who works for a female weed-dealing collective the Cannabitches, has a surprisingly sad ending. I don’t know. Maybe I harbor a secret ambition to dance in Stomp. An appearance by Orange is the New Black’s Yael Stone is a damn delight, though, as always.

Sabrina, the longest of the three episodes, is also for a time the most uneventful. The Guy accompanies a group of friends for a weekend of reunion and drugs. And even when this show is just an elongated sequence of just old friends talking, it somehow feels familiar. I pretend to be interested in my friends aspirations! I talk too much shit about them behind their backs! (“Just because Lily Tomlin is her godmother she thinks she can shit out some low end web series…”) I…still somehow genuinely enjoy their presence and hope nothing but the best for them. Also, the sight of someone tripping on mushrooms and screaming “I LOVE YOU” while frantically swiping right on Tinder is one of my new favorite images.

Honestly, I’m not going to delve too deeply into each episode because there’s less than an hour of video combined. But High Maintenance, these new episodes AND the entire series, is worth your time. Besides, what are you doing instead anyway? Probably nothing.

‘High Maintenance’ is ‘Seinfeld’ For the Modern, Pot-Fueled Age