The Bisexual

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Bisexual TV Poster Image
Frank sex, great characters in mature queer dramedy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Messages are mature and nuanced, but valuable: malleability of sexuality and character, how emotions can shift in long-term relationships, obligations friends and loved ones owe to each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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. 

Violence

Violence is light to nonexistent, confined to rude gestures like one woman spitting gum in another's hair. 

Sex

Sexual content is mature: same- and opposite-sex couples have sex with movement and noise; private parts are covered but characters appear nude under sheets. Men and women masturbate, use frank words for sex and orgasms. Expect many scenes of casual no-strings sex; in one, a man and woman laboriously open a condom, clearly intending to practice safe sex. 

Language

Language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--khead," "jerk off," "ass," "dyke." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink cocktails at a club and get loud and argumentative. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Bisexual is a series about a lesbian who leaves her longtime girlfriend and begins to explore her attraction to men. Sexual talk and action is frank and realistic; same- and opposite-sex characters 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, but sexual content is frequent. Language includes sexual phrases and words ("jerk off," "come"), 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) has been 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, begins exploring the world of hetero dating 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 TV. 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 might have seen on network television? What about on cable? Why would it (or wouldn't it) have fit in with these stations? 

  • How does this 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? 

TV details

For kids who love dark comedy

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