“Tiger King” is a cheap, intense thrill

The Netflix documentary craze of 2020 is a wild ride, a real eye-opener.

Bernard Spragg, Public Domain

“Tiger King” uncovers some of the most evil and vile parts of the animal trade and the intricacies of interpersonal relations between private zoo owners. And the animal shots are stunning.

Jenaro DelPrete, Staff Writer/Social Media Manager

Netflix has a new docuseries that is blowing my mind by the second. “Tiger King” follows Oklahoma man, Joe Exotic, and his escapades as a private zoo keeper specializing in big cats. He and his colleagues in the animal world get themselves involved in the drug trade, illegal sale of endangered animals, arson, and murder for hire. The life of the eccentric Tiger King is detailed in exciting fashion from the very start of this mini series. 

I was absolutely fascinated by this series just from the thumbnail on my Netflix browser. A man with a handlebar moustache and a blond mullet, wearing his best flamboyant cowboy outfit. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing from the very start.

Joe Shreibvogel Maldonaldo-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, is quite the character. He is a tattoo covered, gun toting, polygamous, gay, internet sensation, big cat keeper in the middle of Oklahoma. He had a brief but unexpected campaign to be the Governor of Oklahoma in 2016. He is known best for one thing however: his loathing for Carole Baskin, the owner and operator of Big Cat Rescue in Florida. 

Now, I don’t have much to knock on for this show, it is very entertaining. The flow of information is just so addicting, every second there’s something new and more interesting to sip on. Some of the topics are just bizarre. I mean when you can connect the dots from animal cruelty to having a lawsuit of a couple million dollars to a missing persons investigation and it all makes sense, that is impressive.

The series uncovers some of the most evil and vile parts of the animal trade and the intricacies of interpersonal relations between private zoo owners. And the animal shots are stunning. Every creature on screen is beautiful and captured in such a light that makes you fall in love with them while simultaneously feeling so bad for them.

I have a slight problem with it in one regard, and that is that some of the information is misleading. I know all of these things are quite accurate as far as being matter of fact, but the way things are displayed are quite misleading. We see Joe and associates as they are caring for the animals and doing their best to treat them with dignity. In opposite shots however, we see those same animals stuck in cages for their whole lives and being treated like they are play-things, trophies even. It is disheartening and misleading and doesn’t 100% show how vicious these acts are. 

This show depicts criminals in a positive light unfortunately. The people in this are crooks, no doubt about it, but they are shown as if they are heroes or people to look up to. That is my biggest gripe, it is unjustifiable even for the entertainment value.

I do enjoy the show, it entertained me and made me feel sick and gave me a reason to binge it while I was doing homework one day. I give “Tiger King” a 7/10 Greenfields, I hope Netflix keeps up with their ability to make documentaries as interesting as this one.   

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Jenaro DelPrete at [email protected]