Sideshow Podcast: The Internet’s Best TV Show Heads to HBO

Studio 360

Until recently, High Maintenancewas the finest TV made exclusively for the internet. But on April 20, HBO announced it would be picking up the show for six new episodes. Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair don’t remember how the idea for the acclaimed web series came to them. Considering the show’s subject matter, that’s to be expected.High Maintenance isn’t the first show to tackle drug culture, but it is among the most authentic.It’s about marijuana as much as Cheers is about beer. “Truth be told, the weed story is the last thing to get figured out,” Blichfeld says about writing episodes with Sinclair. “What haven’t we seen before that happens in real life?”

Blichfeld, who won an Emmy as a casting director for 30 Rock, had always hoped to find an outlet to showcase the great, underused actors she came across — including her husband and co-conspirator, Sinclair, who plays the show’s nameless marijuana delivery guy. “I feel like on 30 Rock, unfortunately, so many of the roles I was casting people for were one and two-line parts,” she says. “Over time, I wanted to see them to do more.”

The couple’s actor friends are given ample screen time to shine in High Maintenance, which is essentially a series of character studies about users young and old dealing with life, love, and loneliness in New York City.

Watch “Trixie,” an episode of High Maintenance:

As essentially the show’s sole recurring character, Sinclair is the face ofHigh Maintenance. To celebrate a newbatch of episodes in late 2014, Vimeo plastered his likeness all over Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the internet. Thankfully, being a poster boy for the normalization of marijuana culture wasn’t intimidating to the actor, who first inhaledat the age of twelve. But his love of the project remains family-friendly. “The most wonderful thing is that I get to do this with Katja,” he says. “I imagine the pride that we feel in this project is tantamount to the pride that one feels for their children. And I don’t know a lot of people whose babies are painted on a 24-foot wall.”

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