We’ve all heard the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” but never has this been more apt than in the world of Netflix’s latest true crime documentary Tiger King.
Tiger King follows the story of Joe “Exotic” a self confessed “gay, gun toting, redneck” obsessed with exotic animals, especially big cats. Having set up a private roadside zoo in Oklahoma (apparently you can just do this in America), Joe becomes embroiled in a rivalry with big cat “conservationist” Carol Baskin. This rivalry explodes across the entire big cat community pulling in a collection of some of the most unusual characters you could possibly imagine and ending in a murder for hire plot.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about here are some things that feature in the documentary:
- A threeway gay marriage involving two people who are not gay
- A funeral where genitalia are regularly mentioned
- A sex cult
- Both a presidential and a gubernatorial campaign
- Original country music by Joe himself
- A missing husband
- A former drug lord (apparently the inspiration for Scarface)
- A pizza restaurant serving expired food
Throughout Mr O and my viewing of this series we constantly turned to each other and said “what are we watching?” and “this cannot be real”… but it is. While Joe and his compatriots are hilarious to some extent there’s a lot of very uncomfortable viewing here. There’s animal mistreatment, predatory behaviour, violence, drug misuse, cursing, gun-toting and some of it is disturbing. Whether you enjoy this or not will depend on whether you enjoy the shock factor or it just makes you feel icky. Either way Tiger King has become a cultural phenomenon spawning a legion of memes and videos.
Outside of the bonkers subject material, it’s a very well made documentary that lands it’s “shockers” at the perfect time. Just when you think it can’t get crazier, it gets crazier. Mr O and I loved it and we can’t stop talking about it but it won’t be for everyone. I would love to know what any of my readers who have watched it think, especially about whether Carol did what everyone accused her of?