Netflix’s Tiger King is a great way to spend time during social distancing

Meghan Hall, Staff Writer
Netflix’s poster for Tiger King

Netflix’s new documentary, Tiger King, is one of those terribly compelling train-wrecks that you can’t help but watch. The show is impossible to watch without laughing in horror at how illegal the events that take place are. Also, whatever desire you might have had to own a tiger will be gone by the time you finish the series.

The series follows the madness of entertainer and zookeeper Joe Exotic, owner of the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma, which is home to over 200 big cats. Exotic is described as “a redneck, gun-toting, mullet-sporting, tiger tackling, gay polygamist”. He ran once for president of the United States, and after that, Governor of Oklahoma, as a publicity stunt to gain support for his zoo. At one time, he was even filmed for his own reality show which never really made it to air. Overall, most of the story follows Exotic’s intense hate for his nemesis, Carole Baskin. 

Carole Baskin is a passionate animal rights supporter who has it out for Exotic and his zoo. She will do anything in her power to shut his zoo down. Baskin is speculated as having killed her first husband and feeding him to her tigers. As the show goes on, Joe Exotic finds himself entwined in a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.

The series often uses clips that the zoo employees had filmed, because Exotic had told them to “film everything”. Exotic ordered these home videos to be made in case he ever became famous. These videos had been so smoothly incorporated into the show that it would seem as if they were filmed by the documentary’s crew rather than just the staff at the zoo.

Many times while watching the series I found myself chuckling at the more laughable parts of the series. During interludes, the show would cut to the clips of Joe Exotic’s country music videos, which only served the purpose of showing how egotistical Exotic is. They also gave the audience a chance to laugh at Exotic.

One aspect of the show that keeps the audience hooked is the insanity of every protagonist. The illegality of the events of the series will keep the audience wondering, how is any of this legal? 

Ultimately, Tiger King is a horribly intriguing story that is worth watching despite the insanity of each and every protagonist in the series. Watching the series is a good way to spend time right now as we have so much of it, and I would give the series a 6/10.