The Netflix original “Bonding” is the epitome of millennial comedy series. The characters include a shy, gay, ginger aspiring comedian and a strong female dominatrix who is also studying philosophy. This whole story revolved around these two characters when Pete, played by Brendan Scannel, become a bodyguard for and, eventual assistant of Mistress May (Tiff) , played Zoe Levin. There are only seven episodes in this series by Bonding makes for an entertaining light viewing, it was such an easy watch that I watch the entire series in one day. But it is not a show to watch with the family as it contains mature themes, scenes (which I will discuss later) and language.
The series begins with Pete stood outside a dodgy looking club which is dimly lit in red and is located in an alleyway. The uncertainty of what this place actually is added to when we see a man walk out of this place and cover his face. When I watched this I was unsure as to whether this was a dangerous place or not but obviously turns out to be the ‘office’ of his close friend Tiff. Having watched the entire series, I now realize that something that this show does very well is dropping hints. Within the first three minutes of the first episode, they had dropped many hints and shown lots of key information. In general, I do not enjoy shows in which at the end there is a reveal and a cheesy look-back at certain scenes that were key to the ending of the show, Bonding does this enough for you to make sense of everything but not too much that it becomes a cheesy ‘trip down memory lane.’ In fact, some of the hints dropped at the beginning are revised and you only realize how important they are if you when you watch the series again which I think makes the show more enjoyable and means I will watch it over and over again to see if I missed any other information. The directors of this show clearly thought about this and it was perfectly executed. The show manages to perfectly blur the line of subtlety very well throughout the series.
The characters in this show, although the show is about sex workers, are relatable and are shown as real people. If they aren’t normal then the show aims to normalize them. Pete is Gay but this isn’t a big story with an over the top coming out story-line he just is gay which can only help normalize and help work towards acceptance of, people of the LGBT+ community which was great. Also although Tif is a sex worker, she is also a student. The reason for her getting into sex work is explained perfectly and is logical. She isn’t just a ‘sexy’ female sex worker but she is shown as intelligent, funny, and feminist and also shown as weak. She has experienced a long history with men which helps shows a small sense of weakness in her character. She is not shown as an untouchable, superwomen who has no weaknesses but instead she is shown as a normal person. By making Tiff appear as a normal person it is normalizing sex workers (whether you agree with the profession or not) which makes for a really interesting watch. It is through Pete’s increasing involvement with Tiff ‘profession’ that he gains the confidence to pursue his dream of being a comedian which gives the show an empowering message.
One of the most iconic scenes in the entire series is when Pete is required to ‘pee’ on one of Tiffs clients and uses a tip that he learned to overcome his reservations. This scene was a bit strange to watch, especially considering that I was watching it on a large projector screen and so there technically was a man on my screen peeing on another man. This was somewhat uncomfortable to watch but was also very entertaining. The last scene in the series was not what I expected. It is a very serious scene that makes you wonder what will happen in the next series (which I hope there will be.) Although I do have one problem with this scene, it almost comes out of nowhere and seems just like unnecessary drama that was only included as it was the end of a series and had very little built up.
This show is a quirky, light watch that cannot and should not be watched with family but on your own or with a group of friends would be perfect. This balances comedy with drama great and there are two shocking twists at the end of the series that I definitely did not expect. Although this series is light and quirky it also deals with many controversial issues such as abuse of power, anxiety, sex work, and childhood. I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars and cannot wait to watch the next series if there is one.