High Maintenance: HBO's Potent New Comedy Delivers More Than Laughs

Andy Swift

With a runtime of 33 minutes, HBO’s High Maintenance premiere is roughly four times longer than any of the episodes in the web series from which it spawned — and we’re happy to report that it’s time well spent.

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Unlike the webseries, which focused on one customer per episode, HBO sends the show’s leading man — an unnamed pot dealer played by Ben Sinclair, who also writes and directs the episodes with Katja Blichfeld — on multiple deliveries, as seen in Friday’s “series” premiere.

As always, the episode introduced us to the guy’s customers via little vignettes of their day-to-day lives before throwing him into the mix. And as always, his clients have a penchant for being the absolute worst. First up was a Vin Diesel wannabe named Johnny who collects samurai swords and offers unsolicited exercise advice, though it was Johnny’s attempt to pay his $200 free in coins(!) that finally sent the guy running. (It’s a shame, too. If he’d stuck around for a few more minutes, he might have learned that “Johnny” is actually a British actor attempting to live in a new character. Maybe next time.)

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But it was the second half of Friday’s premiere that’s bound to leave a more lasting impression — and not just because of that surprisingly graphic sex scene between returning-character Max (Max Jenkins) and real-life gay porn star Colby Keller. Tired of living under the oppressive thumb of his best “friend,” a vapid garbage human, Max found solace in attending 12-step meetings, pretending that his emotionally abusive friendship was actually an addiction to crystal meth.

Despite the inherent reprehension of someone lying about having an addiction, it was hard not to feel for Max in his darkest hour, as he finally accepted that he couldn’t continue living that way. Things only got worse when his roommate exposed his lies — mid-meeting in front of all his new “friends,” mind you — thus sending him on a downward spiral that ended with him actually doing crystal meth for the first time. (I’m trying to figure out what’s more of a bitch, Max’s post-meth comedown, or his roommate, who managed to suck him back into her dark void under the guise of nursing him back to health.)

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The delivery guy is barely seen in the second half of the episode, but as seasoned High Maintenance fans already know, it’s not really about him. Like us, he’s just along for the ride.

Your thoughts on Friday’s premiere? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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