Netflix is completely hit or miss with their shows and movies that center around sex work, BDSM, and/or the adult industry in general. While their Sex Education series is highly praised by many people (both in and out of the adult industry), videos like Hot Girls Wanted are ripped to shreds by people in the adult industry. Bonding is a shorter Netflix series, each episode only running about eighteen minutes and having only seven episodes total for their first season. Please note, I am retired from the adult industry, so I’ve had plenty of real world experience within the community (but not as a dominatrix).
Overall, the series feels like a sitcom. There’s a lot of emphasis on comedy with some “serious” moments. For me, one of my biggest complaints is the lack of focus on preliminary screenings and discussions with Mistress May and her clients as well as lack of aftercare. These two things when getting new clients are of the utmost importance whe being in the adult industry and getting clients. Clients need to be screened to reduce the risk of the worker getting harmed from said client. Aftercare is important because even though we all have fun kinks and fetishes we want to indulge in, it can be very taxing mentally.
Personally a big problem I had with it was Mistress May’s outfits. As someone who majored in studio art for my BA with a passion for fashion, her clothes looked flat out tacky. The clothes reminded me of the questionable quality spandex and/or leather outfits you find in those pop-up seasonal Halloween stores. Professional dominatrixes know the “look” is super important for their personas. Every dominatrix has a different style and “look”: some go goth, some go for the full spandex and leather, some go for a more burlesque look. It is up to the dominatrix for however she wishes to present, but she knows she must look at the top of her game whenever around her clients. I am using feminine pronouns because most dominatrix use feminine pronouns.
The script is enjoyable purely from a dialogue point of view. There are plenty of funny situations or gems within the series. Like I mentioned earlier, there are “serious” moments in the show, but the problems with these shows (with how their comedy is set up) is that it’s honestly difficult to take the serious moments as seriously as they should be taken. There was also an instance whenever a professor in a graduate school program on the school almost sexually assaulted a student.
This show should not be taken at face value for how dominatrixes actually do their job “in the real world”. It is a better representation than 50 Shades of Grey (both the book and movies), but it’s hardly mediocre. The other problem with it when it comes to “realism” with kinks, fetishes, and BDSM is the fact that Pete/Carter is not properly “prepped” for his role as an assistant for Mistress May. Not in the slightest. This is a huge violation of proper consent. The other problem is how clients seem to purposely try to make things awkward of Mistress May and Pete/Carter whenever they bump into each other in person.
Overall I would give the show a 6.5/10. It’s enjoyable if you put on the suspension of disbelief. However, do not take this show as a realistic take on the fetish, kink, BDSM, or adult industry scene. If you’re looking for realism in that regard, check out the film The Secretary (2002).