Tiger King with tiger

The Insanity of Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

Netlfix released “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” on March 20, a perfect documentary to cure boredom at the begining of this seemingly endless quarantine. The limited series tells the story of a man named Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, or, as many know, Joe Exotic. His eccentric and almost fiction-like persona captures the audience immediately, even beside the fact that he is gay and carries guns and two husbands with him. 

Tiger King
Joe Exotic with one of his big cats from the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.

Out in rural Oklahoma, Joe Exotic ran a zoo called the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park along with a rag-tag group of outcasts and some convicts as his staff. While there really is no “good guy” in this trainwreck, the show also follows a “cat rescuer” and Joe’s arch nemesis, an off putting woman with a very questionable past, Carol Baskin. Both claim to love tigers, but both keep them in cages for show and profit.

 A bitter and ruthless battle is fought in many different forms between the two throughout the show, and clearly is fueled by pride, not true passion for big cats. The docuseries follows Joe and his countless bad decisions, erratic behavior and connection to the dark and prominent big cat breeding world in the United States.

There is no doubt this series keeps you interested from beginning to end, it is very much true to its title. Whether it is polygamy and sex cults or murder and explosives, “Tiger King” is a spiraling trainwreck you won’t be able to keep your eyes off. Each episode brings shocking new pieces to the story that complicates the search for justice at the end.

“Whether it is polygamy and sex cults or murder and explosives, ‘Tiger King’ is a spiraling train wreck you don’t won’t be able to keep your eyes off.”

There also has been many claims made that Joe Exotic should not be serving any time in jail for the clear crimes he committed and Carol Baskin should be put in prison as well for an alleged murder. I believe people are too caught up in Joe’s “fun” and entertaining personality and ignoring the pain and suffering he clearly put the tigers through, no matter how much he loved them. There is no right side in this story. 

Before I watched the series and could form my own opinion, social media had already deemed it the most insane documentary to ever exist, so that is what I was expecting it to be, it is not. While it is no doubt a crazy documentary, it is definitely not any more shocking than shows like “Leaving Neverland” or “Abducted in Plain Sight.” I was expecting a lot from Tiger King, simply because of how viral and insane people claimed it to be. I would say it met my expectations. I definitely recommend this documentary to watch, it is a short seven entertaining episodes filled with unbelievable characters and disastrous situations.

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