By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dark, graphic comedy about sexual fantasies, friendship.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Bondage work is characterized as liberating by providing fantasy services to people without shame or judgment. Friendship and relationships are also themes.
Positive Role Models
Tiff and Pete are close friends who support each other.
Violence & Scariness
Whips, paddles, other pain-inducing items are visible, used for sexual satisfaction. Slapping, stepping on knuckles, throwing hot water on clients, hitting with crops, kidnapping, other practices are part of role playing and sex scenes; no one is seriously hurt. Occasional nonsexual physical altercations occur.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sexual fetishes discussed; some are performed (and partially visible). Most are more comical than sensual, but include acts like peeing and ejaculating on people.
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Lots of cursing ("s--t," "f--k") and crude references.
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Products & Purchases
Apple products visible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of beer and cocktail consumption. Vaping and pot smoking also occasionally visible.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bonding is a dark comedy that features strong adult sexual fantasy scenes that include bondage. Whips, paddles, and other pain-inducing items are visible (and sometimes used), and role playing includes fake kidnappings. There's also lots of cursing ("s--t," "f--k") drinking (beer, cocktails), and occasional vaping and marijuana use.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
BONDING is an adult-oriented short format series about a New York City-based dominatrix and her best friend working together. Tiff (Zoe Levin), a bright graduate student by day, is Mistress May, a full-service fantasy provider, at night. But when her best friend and aspiring comedian Pete (Brendan Scannell) needs to make more money than his job as a waiter offers, she offers to make him her assistant. There's never a dull moment, and they make an odd working couple, but the two manage to make it work while bonding as close friends.
Is It Any Good?
Raunchy and irreverent, the quirky series offers a comical and nonjudgmental look at a world that is designed to fulfill the unique sexual fantasies of clients without having sex with them. While the job is central to their lives, both Tiff and Pete (who identifies himself as a gay man) find themselves individually navigating their own goals and needs for personal fulfillment outside of this realm. Some of these moments are heartfelt, but the real draw of each of the show's approximately 16-minute installments are the humorous, and often awkward, lascivious scenes with clients. Give it a pass if you don't like crude sexual humor, but if you're comfortable with it, Bonding will probably make you laugh.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the way sex is portrayed in the media. At what age is it appropriate for audiences to begin watching more explicit on-screen sexual encounters? Parents: How can you manage this exposure?
Does Bonding portray a realistic look at what sex work is? Are there ways to keep sex workers safe and healthy?
- Premiere date: April 24, 2019
- Cast: Zoe Levin, Brendan Scannell
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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