Brooklyn’s best fictional (and unnamed) pot dealer, The Guy, returns to his craft Sunday for a third major-network season of "High Maintenance."
Known for its on-point representation of the NYC grind, the HBO comedy that got its start on Vimeo in 2012 is going through some changes once again.
The dealer, played by Ben Sinclair, is back to doing what he does best — selling marijuana — only this time, he’s temporarily ditched the bike for an RV. How much can his mode of transportation switch up a season? Well, if those wheels take him far from Brooklyn, it can shake the premise entirely.
Fret not, fans of The Guy. His newfound freedom might not take him away from his gentrifying Brooklyn for long.
Below, "High Maintenance" co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Sinclair preview what’s to come this season.
Your personal lives are often explored in the script. Is that continuing into season 3?
Ben Sinclair: The RV is really the personal thing that I obtained in like 2016 or 17 that was like, oh, what am I going to do with this RV? So, that’s in the show a lot because I didn’t really know what else to do with that car. We’ve had a lot of success when we’ve put The Guy’s life in the deep background of the story. So, it kind of wants to bubble up to the surface. We’re doing our best to try to keep the most important bubbles there, which are a little bit about romance, a little bit about divorce, a bit about what I am going to do after this pot dealing job. There’s a little bit of that coming up, and we’re doing our best to keep it funny. It’s chill.
With the inclusion of the RV, The Guy will obviously be on the move. Will that take us away from the Brooklyn setting we’ve come to know him best in?
B.S.: Well, that was the idea that we thought about. He’s in the RV in the show, but then our producers went back and said no way we could afford even leaving the city for one day. We were like — oops! We did shoot in all five boroughs this season, but as far as going upstate, it’s an old car. He doesn’t get very far.
Have you given thought to how the evolving pot laws will impact the series moving forward?
B.S.: We always like to keep the pot matters in the deep background of the show, but there are a couple of episodes [mentioning it]. In the first one, there’s a nod to legalization that’s coming. And in the fourth episode, there’s another nod. There was an interesting article in The New Yorker about the oncoming legalization and they interviewed a dealer not unlike The Guy. He was noting that in California after a big jump in legal sales the first year, this is the first year they’ve seen sales go down in California and that’s because True Blue smokers are like why am I paying more for this weed when I’ve had someone who’s doing it illegally and will continue to do it illegally?
The show is relatable in its Brooklyn experience — and it’s inherently NYC. Do you look to place these characters in settings New Yorkers will appreciate?
Katja Blichfeld: We shoot in real people’s homes. We have a few exceptions to that where we’ve been on stages, but, typically, if we have to portray somebody in their home space, we’re looking for real apartments. That is important to us. I think we get really bothered when we watch TV and films where you can sort of feel the fact that it’s a set and it feels like you could punch your fist through a wall or something. That’s always been important to us, in terms of the feel of the show, wanting it to feel real and wanting to leave as many of the personal effects as we can as we’re allowed in these homes. Then, our production designer does the rest.
You guys have a lot of space in this series to tell new characters’ experiences each episode. What creative advantages, or challenges, does this give you?
K.B.: Just from a purely logistical standpoint and production standpoint, there aren’t a lot of challenges and it’s almost like we’re rebooting the show from week to week. We don’t just stay at one location or on one set. We’re always on the move and always having to rebuild a world or a character. Probably the biggest challenge for us is to keep doing that. Of course, creatively too, I think it’s easier when you just have to focus on a small group of characters that you can really delve into and track over seasons . . . We are sort of having to reinvent the wheel every week, which does keep it very exciting for us. I think we would maybe get bored the other way. The unique opportunity we have set up with this show is that we can sort of do anything, anytime we have an inspiration.
IF YOU WATCH: "High Maintenance" airs Sundays on HBO at 10:30 p.m.