Hey all you cool cats and kittens. Okay, everyone is talking about this show, and it’s created a flood of memes. Tiger King is a show full of truly terrible people who all see themselves as heroes and a bunch of exploited exotic animals. Tiger King follows the feud between flamboyant tiger breeder and private zoo owner Joe Exotic and animal activist and Tiger sanctuary operator Carol Baskin. Joe Exotic was convicted of murder for hire for trying to have Baskin whacked.
Joe Exotic is a character who has to be seen to be believed. The first episode alone is enough to hook you with Exotic’s wild personality and colorful history. As the series progresses, you start to see a man who initially loved animals become drunk with power and notoriety and who devolves into a menace. The worst part is, just about everyone in the series comes off as a miserable person who in no way is aware of it.
Even Carol Baskin, the activist who Exotic wanted to have killed, is the subject of internet rumors and speculation over the strange disappearance of her former husband. She’s easily the one with the moral high ground, or is she? Carol also comes off as very unlikable in the series, and some of the accusations of hypocrisy centered around her own zoo, which charges tourists and relies on an obscene amount of free labor, seem legitimate. Then again, the people raising these accusations are monsters, so…
Throughout the series we meet private zoo owner Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who is accused of euthanizing tiger cubs when they are no longer useful and may or may not be running a sex cult. We are also introduced to Mario Tabraue, an animal trafficker who was is a real-life Tony Montana, and Jeff Lowe, who was involved with the murder for hire plot and basically set Joe Exotic up and took over his zoo.
Tiger King has so much sex, violence, drugs, crime, and so many insane personalities it would make Jerry Springer and 90s wrestling blush. You can’t make up people like this. It’s such a bizarre story that it’s worth the feeling of guilt and shame to gawk at it. In the end, you can’t help but feel bad for the collateral damage, the helpless animals.