A sleeper hit series that's completely bingable in the time it takes you to watch a Marvel movie, Bonding takes a light-hearted dive into the latex-filled world of BDSM. It focuses on Tiff, a professional Dominatrix going to school to become a psychologist, and her assistant Pete, her best friend from high school who dreams of being a standup comic. Together, the unlikely duo navigate the complexities of fetishes, dating, work, and life.
With each episode having a running time of 15 minutes, the series does a lot of character development in a brief amount of time. Every session Tiff and Pete go into ends up revealing just as much about their dynamic as it does about a client's kinks. The lively dialogue from all the characters, especially the banter of the two leads, makes the taboo material more accessible. Here are the most memorable quotes from the series, which is available to stream on Netflix.
10 "GRAD SCHOOL WAITS FOR NO DOMINATRIX."
Tiffany Chester struggles throughout the series to find her equilibrium at the center of her conflicting identities. A grad student by day and a dominatrix by night, she's seemingly torn between two worlds. She finds the struggle to stay on top of her responsibilities to both exhausting and emotionally draining.
Part of the reason for her conflict lies in the fact that she can't truly be herself. She feels she can't tell anyone in her classes what she does professionally, and therefore never gets close to them. The only person she can confide in is her best friend Pete (who she says this line to) until later in the series.
9 "EVERYONE THINKS DOM WORK IS JUST ABOUT SEX WORK. IT'S REALLY LIBERATION FROM SHAME."
To better help Pete understand the ins and outs of her life as a Dominatrix, Tiff explains the parameters of what it entails in the first episode. Sometimes as it turns out, the domination part of the trade isn't so much about sexualized acts, but about providing a judgment-free environment.
Clients come to Tiffany not just because they have a particular fetish, but because they want to comfortable with someone. She receives them with open arms and welcomes what society would consider abnormal. Her clients experience a "liberation from shame" that is as enjoyable and pleasurable as their varied kinks.
8 "I'VE SEEN MORE MEAT IN A VEGAN KITCHEN."
In one memorable episode, Pete meets Freddy, one of Tiffany's regular clients. Freddy has a series of kinks, and one of them is humiliation and physical abuse. While Tiffany is whipping him, she often berates him, with particular focus on the size (or lackthereof) of his manhood.
Eventually, Freddy realizes he likes it when Pete (or "Carter" as he's called at work) laughs at him, which turns into cutting remarks about his nether-regions. Pete, tapping into his skills as a stand-up comic, delivers several biting quips, including this gem that could be used in a variety of scenarios.
7 "I MADE YOUR SOUL J*ZZ."
Tiffany and Pete were best friends in high school, supporting each other as the misfits of their class through thick and thin. When they revisit their friendship as adults, they find that supporting each other in the real world is just as necessary even though the tribulations have changed.
Tiffany attends one of Pete's stand up performances and he bombs, so she gives him a pep talk using masturbation metaphors. This makes him momentarily forget his horrible stand-up and focus on the fact that he was brave for attempting it in the first place regardless of if he was perfect.
6 "BLOWJOBS ARE THE AIRBNB OF SEX. A FUN TEMPORARY STAY AS LONG AS YOU CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF."
Josh is a master of satirical humor, which is what draws Pete to him when he comes into the restaurant where he waits tables. Josh is gathered with a group of friends comparing the different forms of sexual intimacy, and one of the topics is blowjobs.
Josh tries to rope Pete into the conversation when he takes the tables' order, but Pete is far too shy. They encounter one another in the bathroom later and Josh makes his usual sardonic remarks, to Pete's endless embarrassment. Even though Pete felt like he completely ruined any chance with him, Josh still leaves his number on the check.
5 "SECRETS, SECRETS EVERYWHERE AND NOT A WHIP TO DRINK"
While out shopping for supplies one day, Tiffany and Pete engage in a discussion about the difference in him coming out as gay and her revealing her profession to the world. There's a stigma around what she does for a living, and she doesn't miss the irony inherent in the fact that she's a Dominatrix studying psychology to be a therapist.
Pete argues that the only way to lift the stigma is to openly discuss the topic. If Tiff normalizes what she does, and puts a human face to the abstract concept of BDSM, people will begin to see it for what it can be; a form of therapy for those plagued by societal imprisonment.
4 "MASCULINITY IS INHERENTLY CONSTRICTING. EXPECTATIONS, DOMINANCE AND POWER, EMOTIONLESSNESS. MEN COME TO ME TO ESCAPE THIS SOCIETAL PRISON."
During a session of rope-tying to prepare for more encounters with clients, Tiffany explains to Pete why it is that men seek out her services. She explains that men put their trust in her to reveal their more vulnerable sides, where the expectations of what it means to be a man in society no longer need to be catered to.
Men are often socialized to conceal their doubts, fears, and uncertainties so that they can convey power and dominance. This is often to the detriment of their mental health and emotional growth. By being vulnerable in their sessions with her and giving up some of the "power" they're expected to have, they can feel a release, like a great weight has been lifted.
3 "YOU TERRIFY ME. BUT I JUST LIKE YOU."
Tiffany doesn't talk much to her fellow classmates in grad school, but there is one student who manages to slip under her prickly defense mechanisms. His name is Doug, and he often sits next to her in the back of the lecture room. He's intimidated by her irascible nature, but he also finds her alluring.
She continuously turns down his advances until one day, when he offers some comfort when she's just had an unfortunate encounter with her professor. Doug tells her that though she may terrify him, he likes her, giving her hope that he may genuinely like even her most secretive parts.
2 "I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE AROUSED THAN WHEN I LOOK AT PENGUINS."
In one of the more amusing scenes towards the end of the series, Pete shows up to work with Tiffany (Mistress May) at her dungeon only to find a man dressed as a penguin. The man intended to pleasure himself while May strutted around in another penguin suit, but when he sees Pete he just wants to wrestle him.
Pete reluctantly dons a penguin suit before the man tackles him, explaining penguin nature facts as he does so. His fetish for penguins is just one of many in the series, which are all treated as perfectly normal given everyone's different tastes.
1 "YEAH YOU LOOK LIKE WONDER WOMAN AT A FUNERAL."
When Tiffany finally gets the courage to give her final thesis presentation in psychology class, she decides to use it as a way to clear up the stigma surrounding BDSM. Before she struts into class wearing her bondage outfit, she gives Doug a private preview.
Doug may be shocked by the outfit, but he's not afraid, and reassures her that he supports what she does without judgment. When she gives her thesis, he even volunteers to be tied down to a chair. Comparing her ensemble to Wonder Woman at a funeral is pretty accurate.