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scene

‘High Maintenance’ returns with stellar start to season two

| Thursday, February 1, 2018

 

Diane Park | The Observer

“High Maintenance” has undergone an evolution that few other television shows experience. Creators and partners Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair teamed up in 2012 and made a series of low-budget shorts on the streaming service Vimeo. As the videos accrued more and more buzz, Vimeo decided to fund the production and make it the first Vimeo Original.

Things did not stop there. Soon enough, HBO scooped up the growing series and released six 30-minute long episodes in 2016. With the first two installments of season two already released, it is time to delve into the fascinating show.

“High Maintenance” is unlike most television today. Every episode revolves around the show’s central character, known only as The Guy. However, to call The Guy the main character would be inaccurate, as very little is revealed about his life aside from his job — which is selling pot in New York City.

The bicycle-based dealer’s clients function as the focus of the series, their lives and stories painting a picture of The Big Apple’s diverse population. “Globo,” the excellent opening episode of season two, weaves together events in the lives of three strangers while a bigger theme runs throughout.

Things are set in motion when The Guy awakens from a nightmare and engages in pillow talk with Beth, who seems to be his girlfriend. When Beth checks her phone, she’s stunned by a notification that reveals tragedy has struck. It’s a feeling that is unfortunately familiar to many who have been alerted to a catastrophe in the world by the buzz of their phone.

However, the disaster that has occurred in The Guy’s world is never revealed, an interesting twist that makes it an exceptionally unique episode. Only the city’s reaction to the event is revealed, which prompted many to call or text The Guy in order to get what they needed to get through the day.

The first of The Guy’s customers finds himself unable to leave the house, but his roommate Cody heads to the gym to continue his weight-loss mission, even in the face of grief. Cody, proud of his new weight, attempts to find a way to tell others through social media, but he cannot find the words and erases the post, a relatable experience in today’s world.

Cody finds himself overwhelmed as he overhears more talk of the tragedy and gives into the pressure by breaking his diet and devouring a cookie and a hamburger. In just five short minutes, the viewer gets a detailed look at a seemingly average person struggling with a rapidly changing society.

The Guy’s second delivery of the day finds him in a hotel where a trio has just finished an impassioned and graphic sexual adventure. All the while, their phones were dead, and The Guy has to deliver them not just the freshest strain, but also the harsh news that something terrible has happened. The group’s care-free sexual bliss is quickly replaced by the reality of a cruel world.

“Globo” begins to find its end as The Guy visits the restaurant where Beth, his significant other, tends to the bar. Beth has been drinking on the job, pounding back shots of alcohol to cope with the day’s events and drunkenly converses with The Guy and Luiz, a busboy. Beth tries to convince Luiz to smoke a joint with her and The Guy, but Luiz turns down the offer as he sleepily travels to pick up his young son from his sister’s care. As the father and son ride the late-night subway together, the child plays with a balloon and invites other passengers to play along. Joy is sparked in the hearts of the commuters and viewers watching the care-free child who is blissfully unaware of the days tragic yet unrevealed events.

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