By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Frank sex, great characters in mature queer dramedy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Messages are mature, nuanced, and valuable: malleability of sexuality and character; how emotions can shift in long-term relationships; obligations that friends, family, and loved ones owe to each other. Highlights the value of friendship, particularly among a close-knit group of queer women.
Positive Role Models
Characters are realistic. They make mistakes, do bad things to people they love, thwart their own successes. At other times they're kind and nurturing to each other, funny and endearing. Each grows over the course of the series.
Iranian American writer-director Desiree Akhavan, who is bisexual, created the show. It casts actors of different races and ethnicities, and characters are predominantly women. Shows London truthfully as a multicultural metropolis where people of different backgrounds and sexual orientations live.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence is light to nonexistent, confined to rude gestures like one woman spitting gum in another's hair.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content is mature: Couples of same or mixed genders have sex with movement and noise; private parts are covered, but characters appear nude under sheets. People masturbate and use frank words for sex and orgasms. Expect many scenes of casual no-strings sex; in one, a couple laboriously opens a condom, clearly intending to practice safe sex.
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Language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--khead," "jerk off," "ass," "dyke, "wank."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink cocktails at a club and get loud and argumentative.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bisexual is a series about a queer woman who leaves her longtime girlfriend and begins to explore her attraction to men. Sexual talk and action is frank and realistic; characters of same or mixed genders masturbate and have sex (including casual, no-strings sex), talk about orgasms and body parts, and make lots of sexual jokes and references. There's no nudity. Language includes phrases like "jerk off," "come," and "wank", as well as words related to sexuality and gender ("queer," "dyke") and other curses: "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--khead." Characters drink in bars and sometimes get loud and argumentative; they also do reckless things while drinking.
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What's the Story?
THE BISEXUAL's Leila (Desiree Akhavan) considered herself a lesbian her whole life. But when her power-couple partner, Sadie (Maxine Peake), ups the stakes on their relationship by proposing, Leila decides it's time to take a break from their romance (but not their business relationship). When she moves in with Gabe (Brian Gleeson), things begin to change. Suddenly Leila is interested in men -- Gabe for one -- and with him as her awkward wingman, starts exploring the world of dating men in London. The Bisexual is written by and stars the director of The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
Is It Any Good?
Smart and instantly lovable, this fresh series' charm hinges on its sparkling dialogue and characters who are by turns exasperating and adorable, just like real people. Leila, Gabe, and the other characters in The Bisexual do things that characters don't do too often on television. They stammer. They pause in awkward silence over cups of coffee. They lie in bed in their underwear watching bad TV on their laptops. And in between, they go to clubs and they go to work and they meet friends for dinner, and if that doesn't sound eventful, you haven't heard the extraordinarily entertaining conversations and connection they're having in these ordinary places.
Leila gets most of the best lines (naturally, because she writes them for herself). "Mommy and Daddy both love you very much," she assures her employees when she and Sadie explain their romantic partnership is on hold. "Bisexuality is a myth created to sell flavored vodka," she tells Gabe, who feels out of place at a gay bar. Dramas in which funny women crack wise while exploring new facets of their sexuality are a decided rarity -- but this clever, sexy series presents a potent argument for more, more, more.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about shows with edgy content. Is The Bisexual a show you'd expect to see on network television? What about on cable? Why would it (or wouldn't it) fit in with these stations?
How does the show communicate what type of person Leila is? Think about what she wears, what she says, what she does. Is she meant to be sympathetic? Is she? How does a TV show tell viewers who to care about and who's a main character?
Shows that feature a large cast of friends having romantic adventures are often set in a large city -- here, London. Why do such shows generally have an urban setting? Is there anything about a rural setting that makes it less conducive to romance or cinematic depictions of romance?
Talk to your kids about sexual orientation. When someone chooses to come out, how might friends and family react? How does it make that individual feel, having to "come out" in the first place?
- Premiere date: November 14, 2018
- Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Maxine Peake, Brian Gleeson
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: June 2, 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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