‘Bonding’ is a dark comedy series on Netflix that tells the funny, sexy, bold, and kinky tale of two old friends who join hands to fulfill the BDSM fantasies of New York’s populace. Tiffany, a grad student, works as a dominatrix and hires her gay high school best friend, Pete, to be her assistant/bodyguard. Peter is a waiter and a wannabe comedian who needs the cash to pay rent, so he agrees to work for Tiff. They assume the identities of Mistress May and Master Carter and get paid handsomely to tackle the various fetishes and kinks of their clients.
But the show is not just about the domme work Tiff and Pete do, but also about their strangely codependent and dysfunctional bond with each other. The protagonists share a complicated friendship, but it almost feels as if they are in love with one another, even though Peter is gay. If you’re wondering if the story of ‘Bonding’ is rooted in reality, we have some answers for you.
Is Bonding Based on a True Story?
‘Bonding’ is partially based on a true story. The show is very loosely based on the real-life experiences of Rightor Doyle, who is the writer and director of ‘Bonding.’ Apparently, when Rightor was 22 years old, he moved to New York and became the bodyguard/assistant of his old friend, who secretly worked as a dominatrix. For privacy reasons, the director has kept his friend’s name under wraps.
He does make it clear, in an interview with The Daily Beast, that the show is highly fictionalized but draws inspiration from his own experiences. He even goes on to say that the Tiff in the show and her real-life counterpart are actually quite different in nature. “My ‘Tiff’ was nothing like the character of Tiff, who is quite hard. She was joyful and lovely,” Doyle said.
With ‘Bonding,’ Doyle seeks to remove the stigma and shame around sex work and open viewers’ minds to a wide array of sexual needs. Doyle claims that his time as a dominatrix’s assistant helped him come to terms with his own sexuality. “As a young gay man still struggling with my own sexuality, guarding a door while one of my best friends from home tied a naked man to a four-poster bed and whipped him was jarring, to say the least, but to my surprise, it eventually freed me of many of my own sexual hang-ups,” he said in the interview.
Even the complicated and beautifully layered friendship between Pete and Tiff is inspired by Doyle’s own relationships with many of his close female friends. The director is openly gay but claims that his friendship with some women felt very romantic. Hopefully, Rightor Doyle’s personal experiences will help liberate the show’s audience from their sexual hang-ups, prejudices, and preconceived notions as well.
Read More: Where Is Bonding Filmed?