Stoners Sans Stigma

by Jessie Roberts

Micah Hauser appreciates that the “sly, genre-busting” web series High Maintenance depicts potheads as regular people:

[T]he protagonist, an unnamed pot dealer known only as “The Guy,” cycles around New York City delivering his wares to the people. To call him a protagonist, though, is not really accurate — he’s more like a reference point. Each episode focuses on a particular customer, and by extension, their living space, which is where all of these deals go down. …

The show is funny, but not in the ways we’re conditioned to expect from stoner-leaning media. There are no 3-foot bongs, no cross-joints, no late-night expeditions to Shake Shack, no burnouts philosophizing about space and time, man. (Full disclosure: there is some giggling.) These are ordinary people who live ordinary lives and happen to smoke weed. Some of them should probably smoke less — the husband in the newest episode, “Rachel,” bums around all day getting high instead of working on his second book — and some use it to escape particular problems or moments of stress, but most are unremarkable, functional adults. Zero judgment is passed (on the weed smoking, anyway). It’s just part of people’s lives, and the act of smoking and purchasing weed is treated no differently than getting a drink at a bar — an activity portrayed without ceremony in basically every television program in history. Welcome to the 21st century.

Previous Dish on High Maintenance here.