Bonding season 2 continues to explore sex and sexuality, the ebb and flow of friendships, and taking responsibility for your mistakes.
When I first saw the trailer for Netflix‘s Bonding season 1, I was intrigued but unsure about the tone of the show. There’s a fine line between using humor to accentuate the sometimes awkward and hilarious predicaments you can get into as part of the BDSM community, and using humor to make fun of that same community.
I decided to give the show a fighting chance after seeing the longest episode was only 17 minutes. If the series was terrible, I’ll have only wasted an hour and a half of my life. And maybe I’d have a laugh or two while I was at it.
I was not disappointed. The friendship between the two main characters, Tiff and Pete, was rough and real. Mistress May’s unapologetic view of her lifestyle was a breath of fresh air. Seeing kink represented in media as something other than the butt of a joke was a relief.
Did they get everything right? Definitely not. Could I be mad about it? Sure, but I also assumed it was because the show was a 15-minute comedy that did basic-level research before delving into a world that offers ample opportunities for laughs without understanding the true nature of the community.
The show was funny and entertaining, and it made me care about the characters. It didn’t have to single-handedly offer a masterclass on BDSM to be valid. Maybe someone would watch the show, become more interested in kink, and explore the ins and outs on their own.
Enter Bonding season 2.
If you were lukewarm on the first season of this show, I’m positively begging you to give it another shot. I could tell something had changed behind the scenes because the show’s sophomore season worked its ass off to course correct their previous mistakes.
Bonding faced backlash after misrepresenting various aspects of the BDSM community, including the all-important concept of consent. As a result, the show hired Olivia Troy as a consultant, and the lead actress, Zoe Levin, attended various BDSM studios to learn more about the real-world role of a dominatrix.
These changes are clearly reflected on screen. Smaller issues—like Tiff wearing a collar meant for a sub—were easy to fix, while larger issues—like her clear disregard for people’s consent—were woven into the plot in a way that felt true to the character’s arc.
There’s a moment in Bonding season 2, episode 5, “Nanci,” that solidified my love of this show. A man lies alone on a table. He is strapped down, and every inch of his body is covered. He wears a face mask with a tube connected to a jar of water that has a valve which can adjust the flow of oxygen.
Mistress Mira controls everything—what he sees, what he hears, and how often he breathes.
This might seem extreme to someone outside the BDSM community (and maybe even some within the community), but the show doesn’t focus on the strangeness of the act. Instead, Mistress Mira talks about the importance of trust and the incredible responsibility she has been given. May likes being in control, and she has a tendency to disregard the rules. This is not a good characteristic of a domme.
Here, she takes responsibility for her actions and vows to do better. In this way, Bonding is making its viewers the same promise.
Season 2 has given us a better-informed, more well-rounded show that explores sex, friendships, and romantic relationships. I’m excited about the future of the show, and I look forward to seeing how May grows as a dominatrix and how Carter matures as a person.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this series is great to watch with your partner. Not only is it hilarious and sexy, but it could open up dialog about getting more creative in the bedroom. It provides some basic information about BDSM, which will help point you in the right direction when you’re looking to delve a little deeper.
Even if you don’t have a special someone to watch this series with, it’s also great to watch alone or with your friends. Watch Bonding on Galentine’s Day to start a sex-positive conversation with your friends. Or just talk about the importance of healthy boundaries within friendships.
The foundations of BDSM—trust, consent, and communication—are important to have in every relationship, and it’s nice to see media working to correct their mistakes and portray a positive representation of a community that is so often misunderstood.
Here’s to hoping Bonding season 3 is even better than the last.