(…even if you don’t think you want to…)
The Netflix limited series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness aired March 20 with seven bizarre episodes centered around the infamous Joe Exotic and the maintenance of Joe’s Oklahoma zoo of big cats. The show is currently topping Netflix’s most-watched chart and is already rising to the level of a full-blown internet sensation.
So if you haven’t already joined the Tiger King craze, here are five reasons to watch:
1. It’s the most popular show on Netflix.
Not only is Tiger King in Netflix’s Top 10 List, it’s at the very top of it. According to CordCutting.com, the international streaming service offers over 5,000 titles in the United States, and considering Tiger King is the number one most watched title out of all of them, maybe you should give it a chance yourself.
2. It’s not a huge time investment.
The show is one of Netflix’s ‘limited series’ which, as defined by CapitalFM.com, means that Tiger King and other shows in this category “[act] as a mini-series with usually around 4-10 episodes where the main story arc of the show will be [fully] resolved within that time-frame.”
The first episode’s title is “Not Your Average Joe” and that … that’s an understatement. Both Joe Exotic’s business ventures and political dealing are explored at length over the span of seven insane episodes.
When (not if) you watch, you’ll see Joe’s charismatic face plastered on billboards and condoms alike. Yes, that’s right, he put his face on contraceptives as a campaigning ploy when he ran for office–first for president and then for governor of Oklahoma.
The point is, there’s only a handful of episodes to witness this batshit crazy rollercoaster of drama, which makes it extra binge-able. And that brings us to the next reason to watch.
Did I mention the polygamy, snakes sent to enemies in the mail, arson, and numerous explosions? Cus’ there’s that, too.
3. Polygamy, arson, and murder. And that iconic eyebrow ring!
First, the facial piercings. The story of Joe Exotic’s eyebrow ring is honestly inspiring. That little guy is hanging in there just about as well as we are since we’ve been faced with finishing this semester online. But if that eyebrow ring can do it, maybe we can, too.
What may be even more miraculous is Joe Exotic’s love life. Joe has been married to at least three different men–two of which he was married to concurrently. And by the way, both of the other two men involved in Joe’s polygamist relationship have later openly admitted to being straight. And that’s the tea, sis.
Only a grand total of three of Joe’s husbands were featured in the documentary, but there have been countless rumors of several more. The rumors about why these men were not featured or mentioned are just as juicy; some speculate that one potential partner was excluded from the limelight because he is currently in prison for multiple violent murders.
I don’t usually make it a habit to put stock in rumors, but given everything else the documentary reveals … the theory doesn’t seem especially far-fetched.
After all, we haven’t even gotten to the part about a mysterious fire being set to the zoo’s recording studio that just happened to burn a mountain of evidence of shady business dealings, potential abuse, and financial documents pointing to the misappropriation of funds. Oopsy!
Oh yeah, and then there’s murder for hire. Honestly, some of this stuff is just too goddamn insane to bother mentioning in more detail than that because I really can’t do it justice.
4. Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned arch-nemesis?
The whole series is peppered, if not saturated, with hatred for one particular woman, Carole Baskin. Her name was rarely spoken by Joe or anyone else at the zoo without being coupled with a string of the most crude profanities. Joe’s self-proclaimed nemesis runs Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary in Florida.
He vehemently hates Carole and everything she stands for. She’s supposedly morally opposed to keeping big cats in cages, so she rescued them and puts them in her own…?
Carole and Joe have a hell of a dynamic. They both want each other to just go away … but Joe’ is the one who actually tried to do something about it. Not that there isn’t also speculation around the lengths Carole is willing to go to in order to make her other personal problems disappear, though. Even murder, purr-haps?
5. The OUTFITS.
You will be at once blinded and baffled by the getup you’ll see in this show. Aside from Joe’s bedazzled shirts, velvet cape, royal crown, and many many piercings, there are several other characters worth observing.
One of America’s new sweethearts is the chain smoking director that produced some of Joe Exotic’s internet television shows and narrates part of the documentary. And, he happens to look particularly dashing in his black cowboy hat. In my opinion, he also bears a strong resemblance in both face and voice to Fionn Whitehead, albeit with a multi-generation age gap.
Another personal favorite is one of Joe’s ex-husband’s John Finlay, who, to my knowledge, only appeared grinning and shirtless for the entirety of the series. Rumor has it, John was pretty unhappy with his portrayal, but still, the tattoo directly above his groin that read “Privately Owned” on one line and “Joe Exotic” on the next was shown multiple times throughout.
But, if you really want to have a laugh, just check out Carole Baskin’s remarkable style. I’m telling you, that woman puts the CRAZY in crazy cat lady. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be in for a real treat. Pay special attention to her wedding photos with her most recent husband. Here’s a hint: it involves a tiger skin sackcloth and a leash. V spicy.
6. The memes are superb.
I mean, truly. This show is a treasure trove of meme gold. And many of them are so relevant to the quarantine struggles of the past few weeks. If you don’t get the references, you’re genuinely missing out. Here’s a few for your enjoyment.