REVIEW: Netflix Original Series ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ is a wild journey full of tigers, twisting plot lines and unforgettable people


Courtesy of Google Images

“Tiger King” star Joe Exotic poses with a tiger.

Netflix is known for its seemingly endless content with a combination of original series and Academy Award-winning shows, and others left to be ridiculed by negative reviews. But in mid-March, the streaming platform released something truly unique: the story of a feud between exotic animal breeders in the southeastern United States.

“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a Netflix Original Docuseries spanning one season of seven 50-minute episodes, premiered on March 20, and has been “meme-d” extensively by its viewers.

The series follows Joe Exotic, a gay, exotic tiger breeder from Wynnewood, OK, and his feud with Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL. Joe and Carole’s stories are followed closely by director Eric Goode, who had been filming Joe and the others involved in the story since 2015. The series documents the rise and fall of Joe Exotic, when, after he attempted a murder-for-hire plot on Carole, was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The show begins with recordings of Joe from prison, so the current situation is established from the get-go, and it’s up to the viewer to indulge in the nearly seven hours of insane plot twists to understand why Joe is incarcerated.

Many episodes begin in medias res, so although there is plenty of information to process and plot lines to follow, they aren’t boring or bogged down by detail. Unlike other true-crime series, “Tiger King” has a sense of humor in its editing, and this could be why the series has fascinated so many. According to Business Insider, the show has been the most popular title on Netflix since its release and has a Rotten Tomatoes’ score of 93 percent.

The novelty of many “characters” in the show, especially the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic, is a feature of the show that can’t really be found anywhere else. Joe is so over-the-top and combines traits many would think don’t fit together. He’s a gay, gun-toting, polyamorous tiger breeder with a mullet. Carole Baskin, too, has many quirks, including her fondness for animal print. The animal rights activist goes to the Supreme Court in head-to-toe animal print clothing, and among fans, her catchphrase, “Hey all you cool cats and kittens,” has become ubiquitous.

The series has a sense of unbelievability. Everyone shown is a real person, and crazy as it seems, the ridiculousness that is “Tiger King” is their real lives. The series has been out for nearly three weeks but rumors from some of the cast on social media have hinted at a bonus episode coming sometime this week, according to Entertainment Weekly. Though this publication usually does not review R-rated films, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is a great series to binge during Spring Break for those who have not yet seen it and can view TV-MA films, for it is full of tigers, feuds, unforgettable characters and bizarre situations.