What to know before you watch ‘The Tiger King’ (No Spoilers)

Released on Netflix on the 20th of March, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” is a Crime Documentary based on the man, that is, Joe Exotic.

The story focuses on his life story, but just as much so, the deeply interconnected society of big cats conservationists and collectors in America, exploring the private zoos and sanctuaries. You will go into the documentary thinking “cool, a show about Tigers” and 10 minutes later you will be shocked, confused and happy all in one. 

The Documentary is primarily based in Oklahoma, USA, interviewing Joe and the people who were involved in his life. But, a few of the other big cat sanctuaries in nearby states are also interviewed, including the Big Cat Sanctuary in Florida, run by Joe’s rival, Carole Baskin. 

The story is entirely captivating, and there is so much to it. The story delves so much deeper than just Joe’s story; it goes into every detail of all the other character’s lives.

It is expertly created and edited, with Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin directing. They clearly had a hands-on experience in this Documentary, they got very genuine and real responses from all of the people who were involved. 

‘Tiger King’ seems to have taken the Netflix and media world by storm and everyone is talking about it. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% rating and an 8.1/10 on IMDb, which are extremely good scores for a new Netflix programme.

With so many crazy twists and turns this is a must-watch for anyone. Read on to find out what you need to know before watching the Tiger King. 


Joe Exotic

Joseph Maldonado-Passage (a.k.a. “Joe Exotic”) is an ego-maniac, mullet donning, gunslinging redneck who loves animals. He is the main figure in this documentary and was the owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in rural Wynnewood, Oklahoma. It was first a horse farm until he converted it into one of the largest private zoos in the country.

 You learn a lot about Joe and his whole life through the Documentary, but if you want a bit more backstory on him and the Zoo, Louis Theroux did a documentary back in 2011, in the “Louis Theroux documentary about dangerous pets” where Joe and his zoo appeared. 


Carole Baskin 

What would a good documentary be without conflict? Carole Baskin is Joe’s Nemesis and rival. It is made very clear from the start of the documentary and that they hate each other. Through the episodes, you get told a story from different sides (Carole and Joes). 

It is up to you to make your own judgment on the situation and to choose who you believe the most.

You learn their history together, and why they hate each other; their conflict is easily the most entertaining part of the documentary. Watching the episodes you soon realise that Carole may not have been as innocent as it seems, and may have done some dark things in her past. This is another great part of this show – it leaves things open for discussion and interpretation, leaving you thinking about what actually happened.


Crazy America 

Now, this point is more of a ‘what to expect’. If you didn’t think you would get invested in crazy rednecks, absurd gunslinging Americans or strange abnormal Tiger cults, be prepared to.

This is a great viewing at what the real America can actually be like; not a glossed Hollywood version. After-all, this is a Crime documentary, so expect to come across themes of violence, murder, animal cruelty, disappearances, and all-around craziness. 

There is some utterly crazy and sad moments that happen in this documentary, so prepare to be shocked and saddened by what goes on.

Every event that happens in this documentary is true. It seems like a fictional story from how wacky and bizarre it all is.

This is not your average animal documentary. 

Stream now Netflix. 


Written by Jacob Adatia