By Minda Lou, WKML Staff Writer
The world is facing uncertain times and, in these times, we are looking for an escape from reality. It’s #quarantine time. And toilet paper is the hottest commodity going.
How can we handle the mental load of this new, (hopefully) temporary way of life? In strolls Netflix, kicking down the door to your brain’s pleasure center! Enter “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” – this show is an up-close look into the world of exotic animal keepers in America and boy does it have it all!
There’s so much going on with this wild, mind-trip of a show, but we’ve attempted to narrow down a few things you need to know and shouldn’t miss about this Netflix gem.
Oh, we should note, while there aren’t MAJOR spoilers in here, there are at least a few minor things that may be slightly spoiler-ish. So proceed with caution.
1. Joe Exotic, himself.
The central character of this dramedy is Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado-Passage, country singer, tiger breeder, zookeeper and politician. Joe is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence in Oklahoma for animal abuse and hiring a hitman to take out his mortal enemy, Carole Baskin. Joe is a man of many talents, not the least of which is getting straight men to marry him. Over and over again. Joe is the accidental anti-hero we didn’t know we needed during self-isolation.
2. Carole Baskin, the self-proclaimed Mother Theresa of Big Cat Rescue
Carole was the target for all of Joe’s big cat, redneck rage. Their long running, multi-year feud is one of the story threads in this Netflix masterpiece. However, don’t let Carole’s flower headband deceive you! There is deep speculation that she had something to do with her very wealthy, second husband’s disappearance. Hey, headbands and tigers are expensive, amirite?
I’m just saying I wouldn’t want to run into her in a dark alley smelling like sardine oil.
3. The Music Videos
Joe – a man of many talents – produced multiple music videos starring himself … and sometimes his husbands. Not one to shy away from conflict he also produced “Here, Kitty, Kitty,” with a Carole Baskin look-alike. Which, honestly, kind of slaps. It’s a new level of petty that almost has to be admired. Who knows, in a different world he could have been a chart topping, gay, tiger-taming country-music sensation. George Not So Straight.
4. The Romance
I’m just going to say; the romance abounds on this show. From Doc Antle’s herd of lady loves (that work his park for FREE), to Joe’s glorious three-person wedding. Oh, and to Carole’s uncomfortably animal-printed union with Howard. Realistically, I haven’t seen this many unfortunately committed couples since Netflix’s other hit show “Love is Blind.”
5. The Henchmen
All great shows have an excellent cast of side characters and “Tiger King” does not disappoint. The one-armed lesbian zookeeper raises to the top, as the most honorable of them all. We love you, Saff. Thanks for keeping it classy. However, James Garretson creeps you out in the way only an over-inflated Cabbage Patch Kid on a jet ski can. Add to that, alleged hit man Allen Glover, who conducts many of his interviews while taking a bubble bath. I honestly wish I had that amount of self-confidence.
6. The Funeral
Without giving too many spoilers away, there is sadly a funeral that takes place during the course of the show. But leave it to Joe & Co. to make it the most unconventional funeral to happen in a zoo in Oklahoma. Joe Exotic, putting the “fun” back in funeral.
7. The Memes
The greatest and craziest gift this show has brought to the viewing world is the memes. The memes abound and there is one for every mood and situation. They are simply glorious.
In short, check out this roller coaster of tigers, mullets, murder and country music. It’s sure to make you feel good about your life choices. Happy Quarantine!
– Minda Lou is a standup comedian and on-air talent for Beasley media, living her best life.