Lions and tigers and murder, oh my: A Tiger King review
Kaitlyn Wilkes • Staff Writer
As we are stuck in quarantine for the foreseeable future, my mom and I were exploring our options on Netflix one day, looking for something new, something we hadn’t watched already. I came across a show recently put on Netflix called “Tiger King,” and I paused over it to watch the trailer play. My mom and I are suckers for true crime, and once we heard there was a murder-for-hire, we were immediately interested. However, we did not know what we were getting into. This documentary is about way more than a murder-for-hire; it is perhaps one of the most genuinely entertaining things I have ever seen.
In case you are one of the few who have not watched “Tiger King” yet, I would recommend that you watch it. “Tiger King” follows the G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma and its owner, Joe Exotic. In addition to Exotic, the documentary also follows self-proclaimed cat rescuer Carole Baskin and another personal zoo owner Doc Antle. Each episode, approximately 45 minutes long, is a constant information overload. You cannot turn away for a second, or you might miss something important. In addition, each episode tells a different piece of the story, at some points seemingly unconnected until the last few episodes.
After the first episode, I was immediately hooked by how eccentric Joe Exotic is, how Carole Baskin seems to constantly contradict herself and how Doc Antle basically thinks he is a god. Each episode is filled with memorable quotes and storylines not soon to be forgotten.
It’s funny when it’s not supposed to be, and, at times, it made me wonder about my stance on animal rights. There are parts of this show that are surprisingly thought provoking, such as the accidental suicide of Joe Exotic’s former husband Travis Maldonado. Beyond the main cast of characters, the “side characters” enrich the show even more, providing depth into the hows and whys of the actions taken by the main three subjects of the documentary. Beyond the eccentric people this show highlights, underneath, there is a discussion about animal abuse, manipulation and power dynamics.
This show has become wildly popular online, sparking memes and many even seeking justice for the now-imprisoned Joe Exotic. However, since the show's popularity, many of the people within “Tiger King” have spoken out against how they were portrayed, saying it’s not accurate. This has not stopped the onslaught of discussion online, especially the theory that Carole Baskin did indeed kill her former husband (personally, I think she had something to do with it).
I would recommend this show to everyone. Even if you aren’t into true crime stories, there are so many more elements to this show than the true crime aspect. It is thoroughly entertaining and addictive. I find myself rewatching episodes for information I may have missed the first time. Without a doubt, this is one of the best documentaries I have ever watched. It is captivating, thought provoking and sparks a discussion. It is something you can easily watch with your family, which can help create a bonding experience.
This past weekend, a “reunion” episode was added, hosted by Joel McHale. McHale interviewed multiple people from the documentary, excluding Carole Baskin (which was sad; I wanted to hear what she had to say) and Joe Exotic. McHale asked questions ranging from what they thought about the documentary to who they would want to play them in a movie adaptation. McHale’s dry presentation style along with John Finley’s new teeth is the perfect way to put at least some of our questions to rest and say a final goodbye to “Tiger King.”
If you’re bored during this quarantine, watch “Tiger King,” take it all in and maybe solve the mysterious death of Carole Baskin’s former husband.