High Maintenance

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High Maintenance
The words "High Maintenance" in plain white text on a green background
Web series title card
Created by
StarringBen Sinclair
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6 (Vimeo)
4 (HBO)
No. of episodes19 (Vimeo)
34 (HBO) (list of episodes)
Production companyJanky Clown Productions
Original networkVimeo (2012–15)
HBO (2016–20)
Original releaseNovember 9, 2012 (2012-11-09) –
April 3, 2020 (2020-04-03)
External links

High Maintenance is an American anthology[1] comedy-drama television and web series created by ex-husband and wife team Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld.[2][3] The show follows The Guy, a cannabis courier (played by Sinclair), as he delivers his product to clients in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.[4] Each episode focuses on different characters as their lives intersect with The Guy.[5] The full series consists of six web series followed by four television seasons, released from November 2012 to April 2020.

High Maintenance originally premiered as a web series on Vimeo on November 11, 2012, and began airing as a television series on HBO on September 16, 2016. The show's second HBO season premiered on January 19, 2018, and its third on January 20, 2019. HBO renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on February 7, 2020.[6][7] On January 14, 2021, it was confirmed that the series would not return for a fifth season.[8]

High Maintenance has received critical acclaim for its portrayals of boredom, loneliness, and the human condition.[9] First season episodes "Meth(od)" and "Grandpa" both placed on numerous year-end lists in 2016,[10][11] while second season episode "Globo" was ranked as one of the best episodes of 2018 by sources such as Time and Variety.[12][13]


Largely plotless, the show consists of vignettes in the lives of various New Yorkers as they come into direct or indirect contact with The Guy. The web series was shot throughout various neighborhoods in Brooklyn and occasionally Manhattan, and its episodes range from 5 to 20 minutes in length.[14] The television version continued the practice of on-location photography. "Freed of the constraints of thirty-minute or one-hour formulas, the episodes are luxurious and twisty and humane, radiating new ideas about storytelling," wrote television critic Emily Nussbaum in an article for The New Yorker.[15]

When the series moved to HBO, its episodes expanded to the half-hour format.


Web series[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
13November 9, 2012 (2012-11-09)Vimeo
24January 17, 2013 (2013-01-17)February 20, 2013 (2013-02-20)
33April 20, 2013
43November 28, 2013 (2013-11-28)March 28, 2014 (2014-03-28)
53November 11, 2014 (2014-11-11)
63February 5, 2015 (2015-02-05)

Television series[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
16September 16, 2016 (2016-09-16)October 21, 2016 (2016-10-21)HBO
210January 19, 2018 (2018-01-19)March 23, 2018 (2018-03-23)
39January 20, 2019 (2019-01-20)March 17, 2019 (2019-03-17)
49February 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)April 3, 2020 (2020-04-03)


Sinclair said that the TV shows Six Feet Under and Party Down were inspirations for the web series.[16]

The talent pool in New York City is rich—and familiar to Blichfeld (who is an Emmy Award-winning casting director of 30 Rock).[17] Each episode cost less than $1,000 to make.[18]

In June 2014, Vimeo announced that the website would provide financial backing for upcoming episodes[15] of original programming via their Vimeo on Demand platform.[19][20]

Vimeo funded six episodes of High Maintenance before the series was picked up by HBO.[21] Three episodes were released November 11, 2014, and the remaining three on February 5, 2015.

Critical response[edit]

Critical response has been positive.[5][22][23][24][25] The actor Dan Stevens, who later appeared on the show, calls it "a brilliant collection of succinct character portraits from a cross-section of New York society."[26] Jenji Kohan said that High Maintenance was one of her favorite recent discoveries, calling the episodes little jewels, "beautiful glimpses into people's lives," "really well crafted," "delicious."[27]

The Guy often interacts with members of the Jewish community in the areas of New York that he services, and he himself is Jewish. This aspect of the series has been noted approvingly by Jewish reviewers for its representation of contemporary Jewish life.[28][29] Ethnic diversity in the show as it moved from web series to an HBO series has also been noted.[30]

Notable cast[edit]

  • Ben Sinclair, the co-creator of the web series, appears as "The Guy" (named in the finale as Rufus Mann), a marijuana delivery courier
  • Dan Stevens appears as a cross-dressing screenwriter named Colin in the web series episode "Rachel"[31] and three episodes of the HBO series
  • Katja Blichfeld appears as Becky, the wife of Dan Stevens' cross-dressing character in the web series episode "Rachel" and four episodes of the HBO series. Blichfeld is also the co-creator of the series.
  • Rosie Perez appears as Adriana in the episode "Proxy" in Season 3.
  • Hannibal Buress appears as himself in the episodes "Jonathan" and "Selfie".
  • Abdullah Saeed appears as Abdullah, a temporary partner to The Guy in Season 2.
  • Max Jenkins and Heléne Yorke appear in several episodes as a pair of loathsome "Assholes" from the fashion world
  • Christopher Caldwell (Bob the Drag Queen) appears as Darnell, a recovering addict in "Meth(od)."
  • Kate Lyn Sheil appears as Jules, The Guy's ex-wife who he remains friends with.
  • Yael Stone appears as Beth, one of The Guy's customers and budding romantic partner, a quirky, mushroom-dealing Australian who lives in Bushwick.
  • Michael Cyril Creighton appears as Patrick, a lonely agoraphobic obsessed with Helen Hunt and secretly in love with The Guy.
  • Gaby Hoffmann appears as a yoga practitioner and attendee of the day rave in season 1, episode 4 ("Tick").
  • Lena Dunham appears as herself filming an episode of Girls in "Selfie".
  • Britt Lower appears as Lee, a love interest for the Guy in Season 3
  • Nick Kroll and Rebecca Hall appear as themselves in Season 4
  • Ira Glass, the host and producer of This American Life appears as himself in Season 4


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Emily. "'High Maintenance': An Anthology Show That Really Works". New Yorker. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Eliscu, Jenny (June 20, 2013). "The Real-Life High Times of 'High Maintenance'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  3. ^ Davis, Allison P. (November 12, 2014). "The Marriage Behind High Maintenance". New York. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Roth, Andrew (January 7, 2014). "Interview: Behind 'High Maintenance' with Creators Ben and Katja". Frank151. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Staskiewicz, Keith (April 10, 2013). "High Maintenance: A-". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (March 19, 2019). "'High Maintenance' Renewed For Season 4 By HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "'High Maintenance' Returns Feb. 7". The Futon Critic. December 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (January 14, 2021). "'High Maintenance' Not Returning For Season 5 At HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  9. ^ https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43zd9p/high-maintenance-creators-ben-sinclair-and-katja-blichfeld-hbo-how-to-stop-feeling-lonely
  10. ^ https://www.indiewire.com/2016/12/25-best-tv-episodes-of-2016-veep-game-of-thrones-americans-bojack-horseman-1201757385/
  11. ^ https://www.vulture.com/2016/09/high-maintenance-method-gay-straight-friendship.html
  12. ^ https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/best-tv-episodes-2018-1203051440/
  13. ^ https://time.com/5463609/best-tv-episodes-2018/
  14. ^ Galloway, Jordan (April 18, 2013). "A Web Series About Weed That Will Have You Rolling". Brooklyn Based. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Nussbaum, Emily (June 9, 2014). "Taster's Choice: "High Maintenance" and "My Mad Fat Diary."". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  16. ^ legrandfromage (May 13, 2014). "Knotoryus Interview". Knotoryus. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  17. ^ Thompson, Elizabeth; Spaner, Whitney (February 4, 2014). "High Maintenance: The Pot Dealer Re-Thought". Paper Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  18. ^ Christian, Aymar Jean (December 19, 2013). "Critic's Picks: 2013's Best Comedy Web Series, and 18 More You Need to Watch Now". Indiewire. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  19. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (May 29, 2014). "Vimeo Finances Web Series 'High Maintenance'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  20. ^ Spangler, Todd (May 29, 2014). "Vimeo Invests in First Original Series, Comedy 'High Maintenance'". Variety. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  21. ^ Salovaara, Sarah (May 29, 2014). "Vimeo Launches Original Programming with High Maintenance Web Series". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  22. ^ Battan, Carrie (May 1, 2014). "In Search of the Next 'Broad City': Five Comedy Web Series That Could Make It to TV". Grantland. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  23. ^ Peele, Anna (March 31, 2014). "What to Watch Until 'Louie' Comes Back". Esquire. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  24. ^ Syme, Rachel (September 9, 2013). "Why Web TV Series Are Worth Watching". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  25. ^ Corley, Matt (May 14, 2014). "The dopey brilliance of High Maintenance isn't just for stoners". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  26. ^ Stevens, Dan (April 30, 2013). "Dan Stevens on the comforts of comedy in our darkest hours". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  27. ^ Wilson, Stacey; Rose, Lacey (June 4, 2014). "Comedy Showrunners Roundtable: Chuck Lorre, Jenji Kohan, Mike Judge on Ejaculation Shots, Awful Pitch Meetings and Salary Negotiations". The Hollywood Reporter. at 54:00 mark. Retrieved June 9, 2014.CS1 maint: location (link)
  28. ^ Tolsky, Molly (April 6, 2020). "Just in Time for Passover, 'High Maintenance' Gives Us the Perfect Hanukkah Special". Hey Alma. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  29. ^ Reiter, Eli (February 15, 2018). "Finally, A TV Show Shows How Journalists Mistreat The Ex-Orthodox". Forward. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  30. ^ Glinter, Ezra (September 15, 2016). "'High Maintenance' Is an Elegy for a Dying Profession". Forward. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  31. ^ Hauser, Micah (May 19, 2014). "Smoking with Strangers: The comic intimacy of 'High Maintenance'". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved June 9, 2014.

External links[edit]