Photo courtesy Netflix

A Train Wreck, But…

For a few hours, Tiger King rescued me from panic

Here we were, a quarantined America more than ready for some form of entertainment. Then, boom! Blindsided by Tiger King — or perhaps it was Joe Exotic’s eyebrow ring in our field of vision.

Boy, did I ever dive in. I watched and re-watched every single episode.

Tiger King bills itself as a serialized documentary. I view it as more as one of those “loosely-based-on-actual-events” types of shows. Is it sensationalized? In the words of Exotic, “fuck yes” it is. 

Yet if there was a time for sensationalism, that time is now.

Tiger King is a train wreck, but in the best sort of way. The plot circles generally around the small community of roadside exotic zoos and, specifically, a longstanding feud between Exotic and Carol Baskin.

Exotic is all about bringing attention to himself, the gay, gun toting, sequin wearing, mullet sporting owner of the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma. Baskin rocks head-to-toe animal prints paired with flower crowns, runs the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary located in Florida and is suspected of killing her husband and feeding him to a tiger.

As each episode ended, I told myself this could not get any further out there. Each time, I was proven wrong. 

You know it’s a strange sub-world you have found yourself in when the most normal person is a former drug kingpin who nonchalantly mentions his involvement in the murder of a federal agent.

In no way do I condone any of the behavior in the show. I vehemently disagree with several things, especially the misgendering of the zoo employee, Saff, who lost his arm to a tiger. But I can appreciate the entertainment value of the show. Since finishing all of the episodes, I have spent no less than four hours in Tiger King meme world, which I totally recommend. The memes are just as good as the show, if not better.

Most of Tiger King has brought me relief. It’s the most amount of time I have spent not feeling on the verge of a panic attack in weeks. It wiped COVID-19 from the forefront of my thinking, and brought laughter that is still going on. For that, I am thankful.

And, yes, Carole Baskin certainly killed her husband.

Tiger King is available streaming on Netflix.