Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness: Full Season
March 23, 2020 9:38 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Netflix's latest true crime docuseries dives into the wild world of big cat owners and enthusiasts in an exploration of one man's path from attention-seeking zoo owner to convicted criminal.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, AKA "Joe Exotic" (previously on metafilter), is not the sole focus of this docuseries. It also examines the life of his "nemesis" Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue.
posted by miss-lapin (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've listened to podcasts about him and that man is a complicated idiot. But still can't wait to watch this.
posted by kanata at 10:09 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]

I never heard of him before, but he's fascinating (and terrifying). Carole is also pretty interesting.

One thing that annoys me is that they try and present Carole and Joe as essentially the same-one way they do that is by presenting how little employees make at the "private zoos" and that Carole uses volunteers. The director seems to be suggesting that both volunteers and employees have fallen for the "cult of personality" of their respective leaders and are being exploited. Like I get they are trying to show both sides of the story, but trying to make those two situations equal felt very wrong.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:25 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]

Been waiting for someone to post this. I told someone last night there aren't very many sympathetic characters in that story. Being from Oklahoma I have heard most of the big events, but not lots of the finer details.

I found Carole as unlikeable as any of the other big cat guys. She's just better packaged than Joe - just as manipulative and attention seeking in her own way. Don't get me started on Doc Antle and the dude with the Lord Farquaad hair cut. Repulsive humans.

I was sad for the keeper, Eric, in particular. He seemed to be having a hard time with what happened with the animals. What a f**ed up thing to be a part of, both the euthanasia and the dysfunctional events surrounding Joe.

This was pretty funny though - Seth Wadley Ford is the dealership on the hat Joe wears the whole series.
posted by domino at 11:13 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Yeah I don't think Carole is sympathetic and her personality is clearly very similar to that of the big cat guys. But at least she isn't "marrying" her volunteers like "Doc" Antle does with his interns. That seemed like a forced equivocation to me. (I'd honestly be curious to hear your rants because I'm not as familiar with these people.)

But everything else, yeah...not sympathetic to her.

In terms of sympathetic characters, I do find the campaign manager and, of course, Travis's mother, sympathetic.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:04 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Yeah, only the campaign manager & Travis' mom come across as actual kind-hearted people.

Everyone else is ... a lot. This just kept going and going and no one is likable.

I do appreciate that this doesn't come across like "look at these freaks." This series feels like it tries hard to present these people how they actually are, and leaves the audience to judge them.

This was a pretty uncomfortable watch and kind of all over the place, but I didn't mind that the narrative wasn't strong. This wasn't one story so much as it was a character profile that incorporated a lot of other characters.

I'm not sure what my opinion of these people are. I'm not sure if my life is improved for having gotten to know them. But it was an interesting time getting to know them.
posted by darksong at 3:36 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

People that keep wild animals as pets absolutely infuriate me, and it seems like it's a big subculture in the US?

Obviously, this group was even more infuriating than typical.
posted by smoke at 7:29 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]

This was absolutely buck wild, and although I am glad I watched it, I did not sign up to see someone’s face slowly register that he has watched a man die. I hope I never see that again.

Big cat keeping seems to attract people who have no other place to go in their lives, either literally, emotionally, or both.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:55 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]

I am actually pretty kindly disposed towards Carole. I don't see any issues with the way she uses volunteers--that's honestly not abnormal for wildlife sanctuaries, including places like Best Friends which are generally considered gold-standard, and the bulk of them seem to be much more casual than the super-invested ones. Which is also normal--that's how you manage volunteer work on that level.

And while there seems to be fuckery going on with her ex-husband, I'm not convinced that she actually had anything to do with his disappearance. YMMV, but Carole's responses seem well within the realm of "highly traumatized person in another abusive relationship with a highly controlling guy who was planning SOMETHING super shady involving getting out of dodge" to me. I totally buy that Lewis had convinced himself she was a gold-digger, but at the same time, she was in his life for four years before she left her previous husband. As for her making him abandon his wife and kids, he had a long and well-documented history of being a piece of shit who cheated constantly and was absolutely vicious about both sharing his wealth and letting anyone know how much he had. Nasty piece of work.

On the other hand, that "Bhagavan" fucker is clearly leading some kind of intensely fucked-up cult and I hope he dies in a fire yesterday because UGH. God.
posted by sciatrix at 8:55 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I'd read about Joe Exotic before, but I didn't know about the one employee losing her arm. If anyone remembers the 80s remake of Cat People, there's an extraordinarily unpleasant scene that's paralleled here.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:04 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Via Twitter's Robert Moore:
To anyone currently bingeing #tigerking on Netflix:

I spent four years working on a podcast and a long magazine story about Joe and Carole. I spent a week living at the zoo. I’ve spoken with almost everyone you’re seeing in the doc, and I attended the trial. Ask me anything!
posted by sciatrix at 12:02 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

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