Plot: A simple tale of one man and his love for big cats, Tiger King would explode into the American pop culture world and during the Covid-19 lockdown, become the hottest topic in the entire nation. Of course, the tale of Joe Exotic is anything but simple and this limited series never fails to surprise and by turn, confuse the audience. Just when you think the stories have reached maximum wackiness, these colorful, offbeat folks throw in a few more twists. Just a few of the topics explored include massive private zoos, spousal murder, polygamy, country music stardom, a Libertarian presidential campaign, and of course, wild public access television shows. We also get an inside look at a rivalry like no other as Joe squares off with his arch nemesis, Carole Baskin in a feud that reaches heights that would make the WWE green with envy.
Entertainment Value: Tiger King arrived as part of a perfect storm for a binge worthy limited series on Netflix, as most of the United States was on a lockdown and new content was at a premium. This led to nearly constant social media discussions, memes, and conspiracy theories, as Joe Exotic became a folk hero overnight, despite some of his less than heroic antics. I can see why people had fun with Joe’s story however, as he is always entertaining and his passion, which runs beyond over the top, makes him one of the more likable of the show’s ensemble. The first episode alone packs in more jaw dropping material than most entire series can offer, but that is just a taste of the wild shit that awaits as the show unfolds.
The phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” has never been more accurate as it is with Tiger King, as the show simply never stops making you question if we do indeed live in a simulation. At the same time, there’s no pace issues in the least and even when several threads are being explored at a time, Tiger King keeps things brisk and on track. That couldn’t have been easy either, given the sheer volume of crazy shit and over the top characters involved here. I mean, it can be hard to believe one of these situations or people exist, let alone a parade of bizarre scenarios and colorful people, but the show balances it all quite well. This one has immense and broad appeal, hitting the true crime, documentary, and even hicksploitation marks with ease, so without question, Tiger King earns a high recommendation.