The first season of Tiger King was released at the perfect time, right as everyone was stuck at home during the initial COVID lockdown. It brought us into the world of the batsh*t crazy big cat people in the USA. Our Tiger King, Joe Exotic, a gun-toting, gay polygamist, ran an exotic zoo in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. Eventually, Joe was convicted of murder for hire against his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin and animal abuse charges. The cast of characters was so fascinating, and most of them, completely unhinged. It was like watching a hillbilly car crash. To answer a question many people have outside of the USA – yes, people like the cast of Tiger King do exist in real life.
Since the show was so popular, a second season was predictably made to follow up on possible loose ends. Was a second season necessary? Probably not. Did I enjoy it? Not really.
This season was all over the place and unorganized, in my opinion. The disappearance of Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis, was given almost two full episodes. Initially, I was interested in the case of his disappearance/murder. The turning point for me was when it was disclosed that this crusty old dude had a thing for young girls. I believe the daughters said, ‘That’s just daddy being daddy.’ Sorry, what? After that, I did not care what happened to the paedophile.
The other episodes focused on the rest of the cast. We got more information on Joe’s life, pre-Tiger King and I think the background was much needed, but I still don’t like the guy. It was fascinating that many people that had turned and /or testified against Joe are now singing a different tune. I assume this occurred because, after the first season, the public rallied behind Joe. It leaves you wondering what the truth is, but now, I kind of don’t care.
The most bonkers episode was dealing with another exotic animal owner, Tim Stark. He was criminally charged for a ton of offences and got his animals taken away. Stark went absolutely crazy, and it was thoroughly amusing to me. For context, I really enjoy watching everyday people have complete meltdowns.
Before the second season premiered, there was news that Baskin filed a lawsuit to prevent herself and her husband from appearing in any of the episodes. Baskin was very vocal about not liking the way she was portrayed. However, I think that the truth just hurt (cue Lizzo’s Truth Hurts). The PETA representative filmed said that the fact everyone ended up disliking Baskin was misogynistic. That’s not why I didn’t like her. Baskin also kept cats in cages but complained about Joe Exotic keeping cats in cages. Not supporting a hypocrite is definitely not misogynistic.
The great thing that came out of the whole Tiger King situation is that many animals were taken to a sanctuary out in Colorado. Notably, none of the big cats went to Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue. In the end, the big cats were what I cared about, and I was more interested in them getting a place to roam free rather than the human cast.
I think the reason the first season of Tiger King was so magical when it premiered was because of the timing. This season feels magicless and isn’t really that entertaining. It’s basically a money grab for a lot of the cast, and it made me feel a little icky for watching it.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.