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High Maintenance S4E3 “Voir Dire”

Photograph by David Giesbrecht/HBO

High Maintenance S4E3 “Voir Dire” opens with a karaoke party. Apparently The Guy has recently been a part of a jury, and this is the jurors going out to celebrate after their duty has ended. They are at a Korean place that is very likely on 32nd Street in Manhattan, given my knowledge of things (which I’m afraid doesn’t get more specific).

There isn’t a whole lot to this first story. There are some bad karaoke performances, and finally a good one from Keesha (Julianna Luna Vasquez). The whole thing is fairly entertaining, and in line with the kind slice of life High Maintenance tends to offer, but there isn’t all that much to say about it.

The Guy mentions the “My Way Killings,” which I did not know about, and I do find this kind of fascinating. Apparently they occurred in The Philippines, as The Guy says. It is a kind of fascinating thing to think about people being murdered for singing “My Way” poorly, even if there are some questions as to whether that was really the case, or if it is just because it is a commonly picked song. Regardless, The Guy is right that the song has been largely banned by karaoke bars—though it does not seem to have been made illegal, as he says.

This gets to a fairly common sort of misunderstanding, which becomes misinformation. There is a nugget of truth to what The Guy says about the “My Way Killings,” but he gets the details wrong. And I don’t think Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld also have the details wrong so much as they are implicitly commenting on something here.

It’s all too common to have someone make a claim that involves this kind of distortion. I’ve talked to people recently who seem to think it is illegal to have an abortion in certain States, for example. It’s true that laws have been passed, but they’re unconstitutional, so it can’t actually be illegal…but maybe this isn’t the best example.

Regardless, The Guy thinking that singing “My Way” has been banned by law represents an all too common kind of slippage. We aren’t really programmed for nuance. We tend to oversimplify things. And maybe that makes for good conversation, but it is potentially dangerous when it comes to how we understand the world. There is a pretty decent chance that the “My Way Killings,” for example, didn’t even have much of anything to do with the song. Though I have to admit the idea of killing someone because they’re singing Sinatra poorly amuses me.

The Guy eating a wing talking to Newman about the My Way Killings

Beyond that, the A story in High Maintenance S4E3 culminates with the Koreans claiming that the group didn’t pay. The Guy is long gone by this point, and this all falls primarily upon Keesha and Roman (Eric Tabach).

First we get the always so awkward arrangements of payment when it comes to a group like this. People throw in what they believe they owe, and then those coordinating things are left with trying to figure out what to do with the rest. Because it’s always like that—everyone puts in whatever, but then there is still an amount unaccounted for. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps it is because people suck and/or don’t know how to do math.

In this case, it is several hundred dollars, but Oscar (Sean Martin Hingston) says he can cover it. Given the ultimate confrontation, I do wonder whether he did or whether he just took off with all of that money. I honestly kind of think it’s the latter, and that the Koreans aren’t wrong about not getting paid. We see Oscar again later, and frankly, he seems like a bit of a creep.

Keesha and Roman run away, and one of the karaoke bar’s employees chases them for what I think must be at least 25 blocks. But then as Roman talks him down, Keesha grabs a cab and gets out there by herself. Sorry, Roman.

Maybe if things had gone another way he would have been on the path to the romantic evening he wanted, but given what happened I can’t fault Keesha at all for abandoning him. You’ve got to get out of that mess.

Keesha looks back from a cab

The B story of High Maintenance S4E3 focuses on Freddie (Edy Modica) and Violet (Ruby McCollister), who are roommates. They go to a party where they run into Eddie (Dariush Kashani), who used to be Freddie’s mom’s boyfriend. It’s awkward because Violet has had sex with him.

He offers later by text for them to house sit for him. They do, and find a box under his bed that contains, among other things, baby pictures of Freddie. They worry for a minute that he might be a pedo, but perhaps that is because they have just watched Finding Neverland. The young boy in the photos is probably his nephew.

And then they find a closet full of women’s shoes. Eddie’s got a foot fetish, but he has also apparently stolen these shoes—or, at least, he took a pair from Violet.

Freddie and Violet laugh at the shoe closet

I don’t have a lot to say about this, I’m afraid. Learning that your friend has done sex stuff with your mom’s ex would certainly be weird, as would this whole experience from Freddie’s point of view. And the shoe closet…well, I’m tempted to say “to each his own” except for the theft part.

But this is in line with how High Maintenance presents these quirky New York experiences. I’m not saying this couldn’t happen elsewhere, but, as someone who used to live in the Midwest but has now been in New York for some 13 years, I do feel a certain difference. It’s almost like this is normal here, or certainly not a surprise.

Voir Dire

High Maintenance S4E3 ends with The Guy giving the kind of introductory schpiel you get when you report for jury duty. It’s hilarious. But it is also maybe worth commenting briefly on the title of this episode, which is “Voir Dire.” This refers to the process those who have been called for jury duty undergo for selection, but its original sense pertains to telling the truth.

Who tells the truth in this episode? Does anyone really? And would you want them on your jury?

The Guy in glasses gives jury instructions

Caemeron Crain

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain studies philosophy and is a writer and head of the TV department at 25YL. He is a party to a Twin Peaks podcast that then did a few episodes on Surrealism before entering an indefinite hiatus. He also has a cat.

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