We all know that Netflix has hundreds of movies and TV shows for us to watch, but there’s a new true crime documentary series that just landed called “Tiger King,” and it’s the perfect show to watch while you’re quarantined inside your home.
The docu-series is being described by some as being similar to the shocking documentary “Blackfish,” which told the story about an orca held by SeaWorld and the controversy over captive killer whales. Except this is about tigers that are owned by personal zoos.
The show illuminates the abuse that baby cubs and big cats sometimes endure all in the name of profit and entertainment, but the story being told about these people who own hundreds of exotic animals goes far beyond the alleged animal abuse.
First of all, the cast of characters in the series practically transcend parody.
It’s like you can’t even imagine that they are real, actual people.
The story mostly follows the self-proclaimed “Tiger King,” also known as Joe Exotic.
Exotic owned and operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, where he’d charge visitors a ton of money to interact and take photos with baby tiger cubs and gawk at his collection of caged big cats. Exotic (as well as the other exotic animal owners featured in the series) has a nemesis, and her name is Carole Baskin, who owns the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
The main storyline throughout the series features Baskin trying everything in her power to get private zoos like Exotic’s shut down for animal abuse.
As you’ll learn, Exotic is a character. He’s gay, and at one point, he was married to two straight men at the same time and also ran for governor of Oklahoma. He hates Baskin more than anything in the world, and won’t stop at anything until he sees her destroyed.
The genius behind “Tiger King” is that you expect to watch a documentary about how tigers kept in captivity are used so owners can get rich quickly, but there are twist and turns filled with murder cover-ups, missing people, drug cartels, sister-wives and arson.
Since the show debuted, the internet has become obsessed with the colorful cast of big cat owners, with hilarious memes being created and a wishlist of actors to play Exotic and Baskin if a movie ever gets made.
While other true crime documentaries like “Making A Murderer” mostly focus on the crime itself, “Tiger King” is an inside look at the world of private zoos and exotic pet owners, which is most likely new for most viewers. It’s as if the filmmakers have drawn the curtain back for viewers to see this bizarre and wacky world that’s totally been existing around us the whole time.
Since the series has premiered, a few of the characters portrayed have made statements regarding the way they were shown.
Baskin, who apparently thought the series was going to feature more information on animal abuse and not her past, called the show “salacious” in a statement and said that the filmmakers “did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.”
Doc Antle, another big cat owner who runs Myrtle Beach Safari, also called out the series for portraying his private zoo as something that it isn’t for entertainment purposes. He wrote on Instagram that “It is important to understand that this series is not a documentary; it’s sensationalized entertainment with paid participants.”
No matter what the people portrayed in this series think of it, they willingly signed up for it, and at the end of the day, it is must-watch TV. Since we’re all supposed to be staying home, you have no excuse -- go binge all seven episodes as soon as possible.
Let us know what you think of “Tiger King” in the comments once you’ve finished.