TV REVIEW: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

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
  • Arson
  • 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?



  1. John Rieber raves about this show on his blog. I won’t watch it, as I am uncomfortable about private individuals owning such magnificent wild animals.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Private people absolutely should not have their own zoos and I’d be worried about anyone who watches this and draws a different conclusion. It truly is shocking that this is allowed!

  2. Abbi, this show has had the same effect on my husband and I. What a wild story! The unexpected happens throughout. 5 stars, absolutely!

    1. My husband keeps randomly walking into a room and shouting “Carol F***ing Baskin!”.

      1. YES! This made me laugh out loud! Anytime anything goes wrong at home (spilled the creamer, can’t find the remote, etc.) we shake our head and say “Carol Effing Baskin!” 🤣

  3. I NEED to go and watch this asap.

    1. I promise you won’t believe what you are seeing!

  4. A 3-way gay marriage with 2 who are not gay? 🤷‍♀️ Animal mistreatment. Nope. Not for me.

    I watched the trailer and pretty much figured it wasn’t for me, but I’m glad you reviewed it. No one I know has watched it yet, and I was curious what others thought.

    My husband and I moved to Florida after we got married. We no longer live there, but while there, we soon started calling it The Freak Show State instead of the Sunshine State. 🤦‍♀️

    1. I don’t think this one would be for you, Lori. It really did open my eyes to some of the crazy stuff that people get up to though and things that are legal in the States that would never fly in Europe. So interesting.

  5. Clara

    We just started watching it. The show is the antithesis of what I usually enjoy. However, in these crazy times…it feels cathartic to watch something so insane, yet real.

  6. I liked this so much. So strange and yet so intriguing.

  7. America truly is the scariest place on Earth…. 😮

  8. […] Abbiosbiston shares her thoughts on Tiger King […]

  9. I feel like everyone has been talking about this almost incessantly since it came out, but I’ve still not got round to watching it! It sounds like pretty uncomfortable viewing, but I think I should give it a go. It sounds as if it could step into the realms of being exploitative or gratuitous, do you think it handled things with appropriate sensitivity?

  10. If the pandemic has a winner, Joe Exotic is surely it

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