Not so long ago Matt and I were flicking through Netflix for something to watch when we stumbled about the Netlix series, Bonding. Bonding combines two things that Matt and I love - kink and comedy - and Bill had already had very good things to say about the series, so we decided to give it a go!
Synopsis: Bonding features a young woman, Tiff (Zoe Levin), who is a psychology graduate student by day and a dominatrix - Mistress May - by night. Tiff employs her high school sweetheart, Pete (played by Brendan Scannell), who works with her as her assistant. Pete, a now out and proud gay man, also has a stand-up comedy routine where he gradually creates a new persona, “Master Carter”, who talks about some of his most recent exploits. The pair take on a number of different clients with a wide variety of kinks, and often to Pete’s misfortune.
Pros: For entertainment value, Bonding is some raunchy, light-hearted, typical Netflix fun. Nothing about the series is too serious, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want! The series takes us on some wild adventures with the pair who often wind themselves up in some rather clamorous situations (penguin wrestling, anyone?). We get to feel Pete’s pain as he is exposed to situation after situation by Tiff, all of which, as she dutifully reminds him, he agreed to as her new assistant. Each episode is only twenty minutes long, making it easily digestible no matter how much or how little time you have.
Cons: As much as there was stuff to like about this series, there was also quite a bit of stuff that did get under my skin.
Fred, who has a watersports fetish, tops from the bottom almost immediately after his first session with Mistress May and Master Carter and in the most gregarious way. As someone who used to have a submissive who behaved in a similar fashion, I know firsthand how frustrating and disenchanting it can be when a submissive makes you feel as though your efforts aren’t up to their expectations. Mistress May and Master Carter engage in his fetish anyway, which is in sharp contrast to how I personally would have handled someone who didn’t appreciate me (hey what? Mistress Elena was not known for her fluffy edge 😉 )
Second, the arrangement with Tiff and Pete is more one of exploitation than a business arrangement. Pete is strapped for rent money, and so Tiff exposes him to a number of kinky situations and expects him to act as a part of them or lose his ‘job’. That’s not a consensual BDSM arrangement, that’s human trafficking, plain and simple!
Third, Rolph - Tiff/Mistress May’s presumably live-in submissive - turns up somehow on her date with classmate Micah and professes his love for her. Again and as a former Dominatrix who had a submissive who could not respect my boundaries, this is totally unacceptable behaviour. It “outs” the Dominant partner without their consent, which in LGBTQ+ circles is highly inappropriate and harmful in the least. For kinky people whose identities are not protected by law, it could even be extremely dangerous.
Fourth and in Series 2, Tiff is reprimanded and trained by another Mistress. The whole series takes on a kind of Avengers feel, with new Mistresses being trained by experienced ones. Fine if that’s what you’re into, but personally I’m very sceptical about BDSM “schools” where there is no agreed consensus or curriculum for how BDSM should be. Everybody has something to share or teach, and not everybody has the same style in BDSM play.
Lastly, I wasn’t too enthused to see Pete parading kink around on stage. Again, fine if it’s a part of him, but it’s not (at least not initially). Instead it’s his “work”, and so he makes it a part of his comedy sketch. Whatever happened to discretion for clients? Why hasn’t Tiff bollocked him for making a mockery of her work (and therefore her) on stage? Why is she standing by him in this? I have so many questions!
Conclusion: Overall, Bonding isn’t bad but it’s not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny and it does cause a few uncomfortable pangs here and there. It’s in no way as educational as Love & Leashes but nor is it as intense and dramatic as Fifty Shades Of Grey. We give it a “just okay” 3 out of 5 stars.
That's it from me for this post! Have you watched Bonding yet? What did you make of the series? Why not share your thoughts in the comments?
Until next time!
Stay safe & have fun,