Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ a pleasant distraction

Michael Guido, News Editor

With the world in a frenzy over coronavirus, and much of the population sheltered at home, there’s not a whole lot to do besides getting comfortable on the couch and watching some Netflix.

I heard buzz going around about “Tiger King,” but didn’t think much of it. I was busy watching another show, and honestly thought the premise sounded a bit too odd for me.

However, from the first episode on, I was hooked.

I must say, in my short life, I’ve seen a lot of crazy content on streaming services and by extension, the Internet. But this, this takes the cake.

The show, based on the true story of a rivalry between Joe Maldonado-Passage (better known as Joe Exotic), and Carole Baskin — two tiger zoo owners who have a deep hatred for one another — devolves into a crazy murder-for-hire plot surrounded by sketchy characters, back-stabbing, explosions, limbs lost, investigations, political campaigns and more.

I didn’t realize until I started watching the show how big and profitable the world of large cat ownership was, or how personal and insane it could get.

When you see a grown man wrestling with a tiger, or a grown man running what equates to a sex cult while also running a zoo, or a grown man making music videos about his main rival feeding her husband’s remains to a tiger, it really reminds you that you’re in the twilight zone of Netflix.

Since I got through it, I honestly have been unable to stop thinking about it, and I have actually gone back and re-watched parts of episodes I found very enjoyable.

Now with news that a brand new episode is going to be released at some point this week, my excitement level is going through the roof.

It’s been interesting, too, to watch social media become not just a platform to discuss COVID-19 news, but also a platform to debate whether Baskin killed her first husband or not, whether Jeff Lowe set up Exotic or even if Exotic was the one who committed arson by burning down his video production studio?

The show itself has transformed into its own cultural staple, with meme pages and YouTube videos appearing to satirize the show, as well as its participants.

We’ve even seen late night talk show hosts like Stephen Colbert parody Exotic. During a show recently, Colbert had a sketch where the real Exotic calls in from prison; turns out, it’s just an actor doing a very poor imitation.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, assuming anyone reading this hasn’t had a chance to watch the show.

However, if you do choose to watch, I can promise you that you’ll be in for one insane ride, and at least for a brief period of time, it will make you forget about the new insanity in our world.


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