Tiger King // Netflix Docuseries Review

Photo of Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic and a Tiger with the show title

Have you watched Tiger King yet on Netflix? If you don’t know already, I am a documentary fanatic! I will watch all sorts of documentaries; environmental, true crime, animal rights, etc. I will pretty much watch anything that might be the slightest bit educational. When I saw the first few seconds of the Tiger King trailer I knew I needed to watch this. It is a 7 episode docuseries, and it was NOTHING like I thought it would be. Every episode just opened up a whole new can of crazy, and here is why.

Joe Exotic

Big Cat Cubs GIF by NETFLIX

Ok, this guy… I don’t even know where to start! He is quite the character. While I am all for being true to yourself and your feelings, there is a line, and this guy flew right over it. The hurtful things he was saying about Carole Baskin, her sanctuary, and most of the people around him, was extremely offensive. There are things that you can think, but I could never imagine the hate that he has towards her. Now, I am in no way defending Carole, because she is no angel, but he said some pretty harmful comments. If I was Carole, I would have 100% been worried that he was trying to kill her, his online web series was nothing more than a Carole bashing. 

What really upset me was the relationships that he had. He always got with men while they were still young, all actually were 19. He seemed to bribe them into staying with him by giving them the things they wanted and feeding into their addictions of meth or weed. It made my heart hurt when Travis Maldonado was talking with the zoo’s workers about how he isn’t free to leave that Joe threatens him, doesn’t care about him, and he feels stuck. The death of Travis was awful, but watching Joe Exotic put on a performance during his funeral was brutal. I would hate to be Travis’s mom at that moment; he made the whole thing about him, and not about Travis.

Two months after Travis’s accident, Joe quickly moved on and married another 19-year-old guy. The whole thing just feels heartless, like he is just lonely but never actually cares about these people. While Joe Exotic is in jail now, I hope Dillon Passage, his new husband, can find a way out if he feels he needs it. 

While I don’t know if Joe Exotic actually put out a murder for hire on Carole, I wouldn’t be shocked if he did. There is an outstanding amount of evidence just on his web show that he wanted to cause harm to Carole. As the documentary was ending, Joe was trying to take everyone down with him. It was like if he can’t have the life he wants then no one else around him can either.

Carole Baskin

Big Cat Kittens GIF by NETFLIX

I’m going to be 100% honest when I first started watching this series I loved Carole. In the first episode, I really related to her desire to protect the animals, give them a good home, and even politely defending herself against the hate she was receiving against Joe Exotic and other members of the community. A few episodes later I began to change my opinions. I do appreciate that her Big Cat Rescue is a safe place for tigers and many other animals. The animals are not raised for shows or for interacting with people, however, they are still on display to the public. I was upset to see that her rescue accepts admission to the park, and the cages do not seem very big for the animals. I do understand that obviously her rescue needs to acquire money somehow to feed and care for these animals; I am just glad that the animals are not made to behave in certain ways for an audience. I do applaud her for taking good care of all the animals and trying to pass laws to prevent the breeding and commercialization of these exotic animals.

Now the really interesting part about Carole, her previous husband just upped and disappeared the day he was going to ask her for a divorce. I have no idea if she was responsible, or what actually happened to him, but it just seems like she knows more then she is leading on. I got the impression that while the documentary was being filmed, the crew had no idea about Carole’s husband’s disappearance because they were just as shocked as I was! There is a lot of speculation on if Carole fed him to the tigers, if she truly doesn’t know where he is, or if there was a freak accident. The police don’t know either, there was no evidence that they could investigate! The whole disappearance left Carole in a good position financially, and it seems like she made sure of that, by breaking into his office and taking his will, selling off his properties, and declaring him dead the moment she could. 

Big Cats Smile GIF by NETFLIX

My Overall Thoughts

I had so many emotions during this docuseries, while I thought it would be focused more on the care of these animals, it evolved into something completely different! I learned that if you want to be an animal trainer you will be estranged from the life you previously knew, live in rough conditions, and be treated like an animal unless you sleep with the owner. I’m sure this isn’t the case for every zoo or rescue around the world but totally for the ones that they mentioned in this documentary! 

I really just hope that the animals that are brought up and raised in these situations are able to find a safe and secure place to live. North America is currently home to more tigers than the rest of the world, and it breaks my heart to see them in small cages; not out roaming around, hunting, and living their best life. 

If you haven’t watched Tiger King on Netflix I strongly recommend it! It is full of all sorts of plot twists that I haven’t even begun to cover here. This blog post would be 10 pages long if I did. Watch the docuseries and let me know. If you have any other series that you like or want me opinions of, let me know!

Moral of The Story: What do you guys think? Did Joe Exotic actually put out a murder for hire on Carole? Was Carole responsible for the disappearance of her previous husband? Does anyone have any thoughts on the whole sex cult animal training community? 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the series. 

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