Tiger King & Coronavirus: The Perfect Combo

Joe Exotic and the crazy cats cast of characters that live/lived in his orbit couldn’t have come along at a better time. When most of us are bored at best, sick or scared at worst, we need a cultural touchstone that we can all access, have an opinion about, and discuss from a safe social distance.

That cultural touchstone is Joe Exotic: a gun totin’, ex(?) drug addict, gay polygamist big cat hoarder who knows how to hold a grudge.

This seven part docuseries, now streaming on Netflix, probably would have gotten good buzz at any time. But a society stuck at home with way too much time on its hands is the perfect audience for Joe & Company.

Pride of the Party

Besides Joe, there are his 3 husbands. We hear the most from John Finlay. What he lacks in teeth he makes up for with tattoos. There’s Rick Kirkham, Joe’s reality producer who developed his platform into a solid audience. There are the dedicated and overworked zoo employees, many of whom are missing limbs like John’s missing teeth.

And the other big cat collectors: Jeff Lowe, who weasels the zoo from Joe. Doc Antle, a polyamorous dude whose cult of purr-sonality rivals Charles Manson. And of course, Carole Baskin, Joe’s nemesis.

Claw Their Way To The Top

Going into this, I had no idea about the lure of tiger cubs. They’re purring aphrodisiacs. People love to love on them and will pay serious money to spend an afternoon and get a picture with some. These big cat collectors have found a market and have honed it to a fine point for professional and personal gain. The only ones not doing well are the tigers themselves. 

When you watch this, your brain will try to sort out who’s good and who’s bad. Stop. Don’t even try. They’re all bad! And that’s what makes Tiger King so good for today.

Even stuck at home, wearing a mask and sitting six feet from your partner, you will have no desire to trade spots with anyone in Tiger King. You will, however, assign your friends (and enemies) to characters on the show. You will post memes to social media. You will have intense debates on whether ‘..that bitch Carole Baskin” fed her husband to a tiger.

You will look upJoe Exotic’s music videos on YouTube, and you will most definitely clear your browsing history afterwards so no one finds out.

All of these are wastes of time, at a moment when we have nothing but time to waste. Joe wanted/needed attention. Music videos, webcasts, starring in the shows at his animal park, running for President and Governor. He thrives on attention.

And now, when the world needs him most, he’s there for the world. Joe’s finally getting the attention he’s always craved, even if he can’t see the show at the moment.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

I’m enjoying the quarantine by bingeing shows, mixing cocktails, and writing reviews. So I looked up tiger-themed cocktails, and came up with the Easy Tiger.

It is tequila-based, and needs orange zest and fresh root ginger, so you’ll need to order those on Instacart. It seems like a lot of trouble but, trust me, for this cocktail it’s worth it!



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