Warning: spoilers for “Tiger King” ahead.
As many students are completely at home now (other than for essential outings) the rise in online streaming has been immense. Netflix has added new material to binge, such as their new reality/true crime documentary series “Tiger King.” Having been in the Top 10 watchlist on Netflix for weeks now, it is definitely the talk of the town.
The series covers a multitude of reality TV and true crime tropes, from graphic scenes of zoo workers being attacked by tigers to the strange cult-like rituals of life on one of these establishments.
The two points of the show that seem to be highlighted in meme culture are Joe Exotic’s bizarre personality and Carole Baskin allegedly murdering her husband.
Joe Exotic is not the average character you would expect to see in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. At one point he refers to himself as a “gun totin’, tiger ownin’, gay polygamist.”
Through the series all different sides of Joe are shown as he quickly loses everyone he loves and everything he owns. As the main character of the documentary, he gets the most screen time. Because of his heavy online presence and self-indulgent nature, almost everything that occurs in his zoo is filmed. This left a wealth of material for Netflix to use, displaying his drug use, toxic relationships, illegal activity, blunt vulgarity and bad money management that all ultimately led to his arrest in 2018.
Carole is displayed in the series as a fanatic animal rights activist who murdered her very wealthy husband, Don Lewis. Outside sources say otherwise, but Netflix’s bias is very clear.
The message came off how Netflix wanted it to, because all over the internet are posts joking or alleging that Carole killed her husband. Even O. J. Simpson weighed in on the subject, agreeing with most that she committed the crime.
The question that comes to mind after having watched the series is whether the popularity came from the authentic material (you really can’t make this stuff up) or if it is simply because everyone is stuck at home.
Overall, the show was very entertaining and I recommend it to anyone who has the time to watch it. It is very well paced, leading into strong plot twists that will shock viewers.
My few dislikes from this series were the heavy bias that was very apparent (even though the show is labeled as a documentary), and the graphic events shown without warning, such as Travis’ death, the shots fired by Joe Exotic inside of a tiger cage and the cult-like sexual tendencies of Doc Antle. Bear in mind, the rating is Mature for a reason.
Whether you watch because there’s nothing else to do or because you’re curious what Joe Exotic has to offer, I can guarantee that watching “Tiger King” won’t be something easily forgotten.