Just when you think our quarantine life couldn’t get any weirder, out walks Joe Exotic. Rocking a bleached blonde mullet, hot pink shirt and accompanied by two other dudes he plans on marrying in a throuple ceremony. Welcome to Tiger King.

The weirdest thing about it? I’m not even shocked.

Because, honestly, it’s only one of the thousands of insane storylines that take place over this seven (plus bonus episode) series that has left us all baffled beyond repair.

Joe Exotic, Travis Maldonado and John Finlay marrying. Source: Netflix.

What the fuck did we just watch?

I know I might be a little late to the Tiger King party but it’s a bit hard to binge-watch this Netflix series in a day when you’ve got the kids home 24/7.

This one isn’t even remotely suitable for little viewers unless you want them to start saying, “I can almost promise you some of you will be urinated on,” as they wander around the house.

That or, “Fuck Carole Baskin.

If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you do, simply because of the sheer shit storm of it all. The characters are almost too insane to be real and I think I found myself saying either, “This can’t be real,” “I’m Googling this shit,” or “What the actual eff?” after every episode.

Here’s the trailer to give you a taste:

Welcome to the madness 

First, there’s Joe Shreinvogel-Maldonado-Finlay-Passage-Honestly-Just-Choose-a-Last-Name Exotic. He’s about as batshit crazy as they come. Like you couldn’t make this character up kind-of-crazy.

He clearly enjoys his tight jeans, his drugs, his guns, his super-young boy toys (which NO ONE seems to suggest is ALL sorts of wrong) and his big cats.

He also loves attention. So much so he started a crazy zoo, put his exotic animals on display in a roadshow, ran for President and then Governor and spends the majority of his life filming every single second of his train-wreck life. I won’t even get into his music career … #scarredforlife.

The GW Zoo is basically a refuge for past convicts and homosexuals (Oklahoma isn’t too keen on gay rights) and most of them seem like pretty decent individuals if you take away the missing limbs and teeth, the substance abuse and the strange skeleton John Reinke rides around with. Which no one is even phased by because, at this stage in the show, it’s kind of expected.

The GW Zoo, on the other hand, looks like a desolate muddy commune with a pizzeria in the middle of it. And that as before shit hit the fan and someone (JOE) blew up all the alligators.

If you have watched it, you gotta admit, it’s addictive. And one of the best things about it? The memes. So many good ones:

Hello you cool cats and kittens

Next, there’s “Carole Fucking Baskin” and her Big Cat Rescue and big-toothed (third) husband and her big dreams to Save the Tigers. I’m pretty sure her muddy commune is just as bad as the GW Zoo, minus you know, the drugs and array of 19-year-old husbands parading through the gate.

tiger king meme

Carole loves social media, riding her bike and making super strange comments about sardine oil to avoid the BIG ELEPHANT in the room – her missing husband.

Come on Carole, we KNOW YOU DID IT, you sneaky cool cat.

Doc Antle, Lord of the Ligers 

And then there’s Bangledash Antle for whatever-the-hell-his name is. The Mystical Science doctor is clearly running a polygamous Cats-inspired tiger cult and calling it a sanctuary. I’d be afraid of what goes on behind closed doors there.

A lot of weird animal chanting, I’m sure.

And then there’s the rest

The rest of the cast are just as, shall we say, colourful? Some I loved – Saff and Joe’s “campaign manager” Josh Dial were both pretty switched on.  John Reinke is awesome and John Finlay also had some redeeming traits. His “Property of Joe Exotic” tattoo was not one of them.

And then there was Travis and, well, we all know how poorly that ended and how sad it is that that whole ‘relationship’ even happened.

Some I hated from the start – Jeff and his weirdo bald-headed friend who we get to see splashing around in the bath. What the actual eff?

And that ‘business associate’ James Garretson who looked like a knock-off version of John Candy and I wanted to punch in the face the whole time. And that random jet ski clip? WHAT?? WHY???

Carole Baskin’s nerdy husband also annoyed the hell outta me as did chain-smoking Billy Bob Thorton in the cowboy hat.

The sadness behind the insanity

But, throughout the whole fiasco, from the cub petting to the live animal shows, from the tiger-themed costumes to the intense animal attacks, you can’t help but think “those poor animals.” Those poor poor animals.  They deserved so much better than Joe. Or Carole, or Doc Antle, or Jeff and Lauren and their hot nanny.

But perhaps we needed this insanely surreal show to make us really see that. It all feels make-believe, a world away, a great escape from our own relatively boring lives in quarantine. But it’s actually not. This is all happening now, in realtime. Sure, Joe’s in prison, but Doc and Carole and Jeff reign on.

And those poor animals continue to be in cages. This is the main thing we should be taking away from Tiger King. We just need to look past all the crazy to see it clearly.



Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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