TV Review - Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Because that series is now on Netflix, it means that there is some crime at the center, and, again, because it's on Netflix, that crime is invariably murder, or in this case attempted murder when it comes to Joe Exotic. There's also a possible murder in the case of another prominent character in this series. What this series really details is a legal battle between Joe Exotic and an animal activist named Carole Baskin whom Joe threatens to kill and even makes moves toward the direction of actually killing her.
Baskin ran an animal sanctuary called Big Cat Rescue, near Tampa, Florida. It's over 60 acres that's dedicated to housing exotic or big cats that have been injured or orphaned. People can come visit, but Baskin is also a lobbyist of sorts, trying to end ownership and trade of exotic felines in the private sector all together. She's also working on ending people being able to handle the cubs of big cats, meaning literally people being able to hold cubs in their hands or arms. This goes against Joe Exotic because the premise of his park is to have people personally handle the tiger cubs.
However, there is a diversion into the back-story of Carole Baskin that is very intriguing and throws doubt onto Baskin and who she is. Yet, it just underscores how this whole thing is just a web of crazy stories that just unfold better than any piece of fiction. This story and the connected stories prove how nonfiction can often times be stranger than fiction. It also puts into the spotlight a queer story that would shatter illusions about gay people and even same-sex attraction.
What's strange is that Joe Exotic was a polygamist and married two men at once. John Finlay was a boyfriend of his for a while. Travis Maldonado was a second boyfriend that Exotic and Finlay added. Exotic married Finlay and Maldonado together in a ceremony where all three wore pink. Later, it's stated that Finlay and Maldonado identified as straight. It was also stated that Finlay and Maldonado had relationships with women, even after marrying Exotic. Finlay reportedly got a woman pregnant, which resulted in him leaving his marriage to Exotic. If Finlay and Maldonado were straight, then why would they marry a gay man? There is some speculation, including both being drug addicts.
One last point is that the series introduces a third person named Bhagavan Antle aka "Doc Antle." He owns an animal park called Myrtle Beach Safari. It's an animal park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His operation is similar to Joe's operation, except Doc Antle is way more organized and not as antagonist toward his critics. Yet, he's just as much an adversary to Baskin. He just doesn't feel the need to physically threaten her. He touts himself as this guy who embraces a lot of Indian or eastern philosophy. He also has more clout because he's had experiences working with Hollywood and a lot of established people. However, when the layers start being pulled back with him, it could be argued that he's running a sex cult down in South Carolina. This series doesn't then become a continuation of Wild Wild Country, but it gives you another idea of how much crazy is in this docu-series.
Running Time: 1 hr. / 7 eps.
Available on Netflix.