SPOILER ALERTS: Netflix released its new docu-series “Tiger King: Mayhem, Madness and Murder” on March 20, exposing viewers to the interrelated drama-filled lives of some of the biggest exotic cat owners from across the world. This seven-episode, absolutely unbelievable series that began filming over five years ago, has just about every plot twist imaginable. From drugs, to cults, polygamy, disappearances, arson, political campaigns and ultimately murder for hire, it only makes sense that just about everyone is binging this unrivaled masterpiece.
Filmmakers Eric Good and Rebecca Chaiklin follow the life of a self-proclaimed “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet,” better known as Joe Exotic, or the Tiger King. Exotic’s unusually bizarre life as the owner of Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Park (GW Zoo) seems to be made for television. Housing and caring for hundreds of exotic cats and animals while also managing his country music career, presidential campaign and polygamous marriage to his two husbands is just a fraction of the peculiarities that consumes Exotic’s everyday life.
On top of all of Exotic’s quirks and constant need to be in the spotlight, the series focuses on the rivalry and ceaseless feud between Exotic, a breeder and keeper of exotic cats, and Carole Baskin, an alleged exotic cat conservationist. The two cat enthusiasts mainly feud online, viciously assaulting each other’s character and practices as cat owners.
Somewhere between Baskin encouraging the shut down of GW Zoo, and Exotic writing a song about Baskin feeding her missing husband to her tigers, multiple lawsuits are filed, leaving Exotic in debt and more spiteful towards Baskin than ever before.
The rest of “Tiger King” is much too shocking to give away, but it definitely keeps viewers on their toes with the twists, turns and oddballs of the “big cat” world and zoo industry as a whole.
Although extremely entertaining and intriguing, the series didn’t fully acknowledge the fact that the innocent animals involved were pawns in their owners’ ploys to get rich. Locking wild animals in cages for profit is something that the series unfortunately glorified, resulting in groups of outraged viewers.
Clearly, though, the directors of this series did something right. After less than a week and a half, “Tiger King” is ranked number one on Netflix, and memes about the series’ characters are essentially taking over the internet, making it even more popular.
If there’s anything that viewers of “Tiger King: Mayhem, Madness and Murder” might take away from viewing this eccentric documentary, it’s probably something that GW Zoo manager John Reinke said early on: “Animal people are nuts, they’re all crazy.”