I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Published March 29th 2020
Murder, Madness & Mayhem
If you're a true crime lover like me with a penchant for the weird and wacky, then Netflix's new series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness will have you frothing over every episode. The series is centred on Joe Exotic, an Oklahoma-based zoo owner with a penchant for breeding big cats, polygamy and country music who is currently in prison for masterminding a murder-for-hire plot.
And from there, it only gets weirder.
There are a crazy number of big cats in captivity in the USA – more than there are currently in the wild anywhere in the world. Tiger King focuses on three big players in the big cat world – Joe Exotic in Oklahoma, Carole Baskin in Florida and Doc Antle in South Carolina – and to be honest, they're all pretty crazy.
The series begins with introducing the key players in the story and giving some insight into the world of these big cat breeders. The main argument between these players is that while Joe Exotic and Doc Antle seem to be very much in it for the money, Carole Baskin has tried to position herself more as the self-appointed "Mother Teresa of Cats". Though she started out as a breeder like Joe and Doc, she has turned away from those roots now fights to legislate against the private breeding of big cats in the USA.
The funny thing is, Carole campaigns against Joe Exotic's zoo because he keeps big cats in cages in captivity and charges people to come and see the cats. Carole's Big Cat Rescue claims to be a haven for Big Cats, but it seems to work of exactly the same premise – big cats in cages, paid admissions to see them. Nevertheless, Carole has her sights set on Joe and shutting him down and Joe takes the bait well and truly, constantly hurling abuse at Carole via his nightly TV show. Am I defending Joe? Hell, no. His animals are absolutely mistreated. But is Carole doing any better? It's questionable.
And then there's the question of whether Carole killed her husband and fed him to her tigers? Joe certainly seems convinced that she did and there's nothing in Carole's flower-crown, bicycle riding craziness that will convince him otherwise. I won't elaborate on this point too much further because the truly bizarre twists keep coming and I don't want to ruin your viewing pleasure.
I know its hard to believe, but from here, the story only gets even more strange, culminating in Joe's imprisonment.
Tiger King is utterly unmissable TV. It covers truly such a strange set of events featuring some of the worst examples of human beings in America to the background of some truly bizarre country music videos performed by none other than Joe Exotic himself.
Throughout Joe's egomaniacal feud with suspected husband killer, Carole Baskin, very little attention is paid to the true victims of this whole sordid affair – the big cats.