“Tiger King” is Amazingly Trashy and Grotesque

Joe Exotic in "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness"

It’s ridiculous, at times insane, and the most binge-worthy series of 2020 so far. In a nutshell, it’s exactly the series we need during these trying times. 

In the first episode, we meet Joe Exotic. He’s an eccentric mulleted character and the operator of a big cat park in Oklahoma. He has two hundred pet tigers and enough personality to have us instantly hooked on the series. The trouble is, he has been accused of hiring someone to murder his animal activist rival, the equally eccentric Carole Baskin. 

Arguably, the thing that sells the series is the succession of increasingly unpredictable twists. Just when you think you know who to route for, a new event takes place to pull you even deeper into the absurdity of the show. A man with a zoo full of pet tigers ends up being the center of a drug-fuelled murder conspiracy and just when we think things can’t get any weirder, a new whacky character is introduced to the mix. Oh, and there are guns. Lots of guns.

At the end of the day, the experience of watching Tiger King is something like going to a zoo itself. It’s intriguing, entertaining, but the whole time you feel a little bit guilty for getting enjoyment out of animals in captivity. The series reminds viewers that in the U.S., more tigers live in captivity than they do in the wild. In the midst of a colorful, bombastic series, revelations like this hit hard. 

Ultimately, Tiger King is a trashy, grotesque series which is near impossible to switch off. The combination of eccentrics and shocking twists has audiences hooked in the absurd world of Joe Exotic. We have no shame in saying that we consumed the whole series in a weekend and then spent the next couple of days soaking up the memes that followed. A touch of the absurd is exactly what we need right now.