The 'High Maintenance' Characters Have Many Stories To Tell, According To The Cast
If HBO's new series High Maintenance sounds familiar to you, it's because (like me) you've likely been hearing about the web series non-stop since 2012. The show, which was created by Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, is back, has moved from Vimeo to HBO, and premieres Friday — but it's not a reboot or a remake. Several of the High Maintenance characters from the web series return in the new season to continue their story. What did you miss, if you're coming to the show cold? On the Red Carpet for the New York premiere of High Maintenance on HBO, returning stars Max Jenkins, Heléne Yorke, Michael Cyril Creighton, Greta Lee, Yael Stone, and Sinclair himself explained to Bustle what you need to know about the characters who populate The Guy's world.
The show is about a diverse group of New Yorkers with varying backgrounds, needs, and anxieties. The only thing that connects them is their drug dealer, known only as The Guy, who is played by Sinclair. He comes in their homes and observes them in a natural, intimate setting, but to many of these characters The Guy is ultimately a stranger. That said, as you learn in the second episode of the HBO season, The Guy works with a referral system. Because of that, many of his clients know one another, creating an intricate network.
Watching the web series now, if you aren't a longtime fan already, will definitely enhance your High Maintenance experience when the new episodes on HBO get rolling — but it isn't necessary. Every character is so strongly written and acted that they stand on their own. However, if you're curious, here's what the actors want you to know about those returning faces.
Max & Lainey
Known as "The Assholes" on the original web series, Max and Lainey are some of The Guy's blacklisted clients. "When Max and Lainey appear on High Maintenance," says Jenkins, "it's the story of two people who are increasingly co-dependent and clawing at each other and clinging to each other because they're insanely insecure. In this particular story, Max escapes Lainey's clutches ever so briefly."
They appear together in the web series episode "Olivia," and then apart in "Rachel" and "Matilda" later on. "Lainey's probably the least complicated person you'll ever meet," says Yorke. "She's about herself and about materials and about reality television." That said, the same way that Max is clinging to Lainey, she relies heavily on him as well. "Her image is built entirely upon that friendship and that existence and that b*tchy nucleus that they've created for themselves."
You won't meet Patrick until the HBO finale, but fans of the web series episodes "Helen" and "Ghengis" know all about this particular client. "He's very sweet, very vulnerable," says Creighton. "He has a serious love for Helen Hunt and all baked goods." This character, in my opinion, also goes through one of the biggest changes between the web series and the new season on HBO. He's also one of the only characters who cares more about The Guy than the product he's selling. "[Patrick]'s reasoning for purchasing weed is really more about personal connection and getting a visitor," continues Creighton. "He really has a bit of a crush on The Guy, enjoys his company and that's a big part of it."
"People call her Homeless Heidi," says Lee — and that's all you get to know! Seriously. To say much else about Lee's character would be a major spoiler and ruin one of the most hilarious (and weirdly meta) episodes of the season.
"She's awesome," says Stone. "She's a really fun person that I would like to hang out with." Every time Beth shows up, in both the web series episodes "Esme" and "Sabrina" as well as her HBO episode, she's doing something different.
Finally, the show's elusive protagonist is almost too self-explanatory. He's what connects all of these characters and he doesn't even get a name. "What you think about him is probably more interesting than the truth about him," says Sinclair. Fair enough.
These aren't the only returning characters. I would also check out the web series episodes "Rachel," "Stevie," and "Dinah" to begin with if you're looking to connect all the dots and figure out where these characters came from in the world of High Maintenance. It's not an ensemble in the traditional sense and that's part of what makes the show so special and sustainable.
Images: David Russell/HBO; HBO (5)