Critical Condition: High Maintenance

High Maintenance (SoHo, 9.00 Thursday/encore 8.00 Wednesday)


“Despite the consistent presence of weed, High Maintenance is not a stoner comedy. In fact — and this is a good thing — it’s a little hard to pin down exactly what the series is: Is it a comedic drama about the eccentric, pot-smoking personalities scattered throughout New York City? Is it an anthology meant to proselytise the importance of being high? Is it a study of one man, a hash-happy hero, who satisfies the marijuana-hungry masses? … This is what High Maintenance is: An intimate show deeply curious about its characters that hits — apologies in advance for this — just the right high.” — Entertainment Weekly.

Wry, smart, culturally immediate, it takes great delight, on the one hand, in skewering that vaunted sociological/real-estate phenomenon one might call Insufferable Brooklyn. On the other, it consistently mines laughs and melancholy out of a smattering of sympathetic characters drawn from the ranks of the self-absorbed, the newly arrived, the mendacious and the medicated.” — Wall Street Journal.

High Maintenance is ostensibly about weed and weed culture, a topic wrapped in political overtones, especially as we gingerly move towards legalisation. But anyone going into the show hoping for a reckoning with drug policy, the war on drugs, racial disparities in arrests, or the use of stop-and-frisk, will be sorely disappointed. The show’s purpose isn’t to celebrate the pleasures of smoking weed, but rather to celebrate the eccentricities of a diverse band of New Yorkers, tenuously connected by marijuana use.” — The New Republic.

High Maintenance approaches the idiosyncratic denizens of New York with a lighthearted touch, finding droll amusement and even gentle appreciation for the otherwise weird, pathetic, and lonely New Yorkers who simply want a bit of weed. This is not a comedy that’s exclusively for New Yorkers, but it’s certainly more recognisable to anyone familiar with the particular life that straddles gentrification, street fashion, expensive cups of Instagrammable coffee, and the thunderous racket of the rapidly decaying subway.” — Variety.

“The caveat here is that for newcomers — and honestly that’s really most people who will conceivably be sampling this — High Maintenance does not yet fully formed as a series. It feels like it’s pulsating with creative potential, but if the series doesn’t deliver beyond its already built-in cult, what it could have been will just be forgotten as some stoner’s dream.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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