By Stormie Sanchez, Staff Reporter
The timing could not be better for Netflix to release its docuseries about a “gay, gun-carrying, redneck with a mullet.” So far this year, Australia has caught on fire, our President faced impeachment trials and the world as we know it seems to have stopped spinning due to the Coronavirus.
Its only April, and we have collectively endured enough trauma to need some serious psychiatric help, and Tiger King does exactly that. What always works when you feel like the world you are living in is too much to handle? Watch someone else’s crap-fest of a life so you can feel better about your own, and the Tiger King delivers.
When the most normal person on the show claims to be who Scarface was based on, you know you are in for a good ride, and every person introduced in Tiger King is somehow as crazy or crazier than the one before. Some people we are introduced to breed large cats, some sell them, some just want them as pets. Others claim that they are simply trying to do what’s best for the animals, by rehabilitating them. Two things are true; however, everyone is making money, and no one seems to have a firm grip on reality.
The series focuses on self-proclaimed “Tiger King,” Joe Exotic. Exotic runs a big cat zoo in BFE Oklahoma. He makes a living by breeding Tigers so those willing to stop at his road side zoo can take pictures with them for their Tinder profiles, (seriously, that’s a thing) and buy his branded products such as men’s lingerie and barbecue sauce. With his two much younger husbands, Exotic blows things up, shoots film for a reality show, and is basically living his best life in the kingdom full of misfits he has created for himself. But alas, all good things come to an end, and soon things are not so perfect for Joe Exotic.
At this point, we are introduced to other big players in the big cat world. The two most interesting are Doc Antle, who owns Myrtle Beach Safari with his many wives (or girlfriends, depending on who you believe,) and Carol Baskin, the self-righteous animal rights activist who likely fed her second husband to tigers, has made it her personal mission to rain on Joe’s parade.
Baskin and Exotic end up in some pretty serious legal battles, and as the series progresses (it is filmed over the course of five years) you begin to see Joe’s already very fragile psyche start to crack. I cannot tell much else without giving away the plot, but let’s just say it lives up to its tag line “murder, mayhem, and madness.”
Is Tiger King an award-winning documentary that will inspire change in the world? No. I could never pinpoint the purpose of the series if I am completely honest. If the filmmakers went into this with a clear purpose or goal, they got swept up in the lunacy, because that’s all that ended up in the series, and after watching it, I don’t blame them. Honestly, the series is probably 3 out of 5 stars, but it’s cathartic. If you need to feel grounded, if you need a distraction, watch Tiger King.