Social Isolation Review: “Bonding”

By Morgan Roberts

Sex is a little taboo.  I mean, for some, it is a lot of taboo. Coming to terms with understanding sex and sexuality is tackled in Rightor Doyle’s short-form comedy series “Bonding.”  Pete (Brendan Scannell) reconnects with his hometown friend Tiff (Zoe Levin) after they both move out to NYC.  Pete is gay and coming to terms with what his version of love, relationships, and sex all mean.  But he won’t be able to do any of that if he can’t pay his rent. That is where Tiff comes in.

 “Doyle discusses taboos, our desires, and why we find them so wrong. He touches on our loneliness, the ways we try to connect with others or hide from others.”

Tiff is a psychology student, studying to be a therapist by day and is a dominatrix named Mistress May.  She needs a bodyguard so she hires Pete. But their work relationship is complicated by their long history.  The show is funny, with quick quips and the occasional physical gag that gets me howling with laughter. The acting is superb.  Whether someone is in a single scene or having to carry an episode, each actor delves into the story.

bonding zoe
Brendan Scannell and Zoe Levin in Bonding (2018)

The actors wouldn’t have much to work with if it weren’t for Doyle’s writing.  Yes, the dialogue is smart and snappy. But there are some hefty subjects such as sexuality both for women and for queer men.  Doyle discusses taboos, our desires, and why we find them so wrong. He touches on our loneliness, the ways we try to connect with others or hide from others. Doyle approaches it in such an authentic, non-judgment manner. The humour is not used to poke fun at these subjects but to just highlight the hilarity of life.

On top of writing the entire series, Doyle directed all seven episodes.  His vision is very clear. The direction is not gratuitous and really just highlights the humanness of our experiences.  The short form means that each episode only lasts about fifteen minutes, but Doyle uses every second to piece together a thoughtful narrative.  “Bonding” has been picked up for a second season and I am looking forward to where Doyle will take these two intriguing characters.

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