Review: The Tiger King & I (Netflix)

Brandon’s Review: 

Hey all you cool cats and kittens!  Have you caught the Tiger King fever?  You’re in luck, a new episode was released over the weekend on Netflix.  In this episode, Joel McHale hosts a quarantine-style, video chat interview with a handful of the most iconic characters in the Tiger King saga.  In the aftermath of the documentary that is now a sensation and one the most meme-able pieces of pop culture since Harambe (Google it), we find out how some of the staff at Joe Exotic’s zoo has been effected and their reactions to the documentary.  Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear from “that bitch” Carole Baskins or the freaky sex-cult leader Doc Antle, and Joe Exotic is still in federal prison serving his 22-year sentence.  Joel McHale takes jabs at himself while hosting this “Talking Dead” style interview, pointing out that he hasn’t been “famous since 2009” while discussing with the various documentary stars and how they are constantly being recognized at Wal-Mart.  During the 40-minute reunion special, we learn that Joe Exotic has very few alliances left, like Eric Cowie, the head zookeeper at G.W. Zoo, claiming that Joe Exotic is “gonna die in [prison], so good riddance.”  Jeff Lowe and his wife Lauren, the swinger couple that came in to help Joe Exotic with his fledgling zoo, were not happy with being portrayed as villains.  When Lowe was asked about Allen Glover, the ex-con and former zoo employee who testified that Joe gave him cash to kill Carole Baskins, he replied, “he’s the sweetest hit man you could ever hire.” Hmm…  The one interview that stood out the most to me was with Saff Saffery, the former zoo employee who’s arm was bitten off, and out of loyalty to Joe Exotic and the tigers, returned to work days later to help improve the image of the zoo.  Saff seemed the most compassionate out of them all, expressing sympathy to Joe Exotic.  While admitting that “justice was served”, Saff doesn’t want to see Joe die in prison.

While the whole documentary is disturbing, and for some, unwatchable due to the harm that was caused to the innocent big cats and other exotic animals, it is clear that all of these people (whether you like them or not) were drawn to help the animals at the best of their ability.  Sure, a lot of these zoo employees and business partners could (and should) have reported these clowns who ran these zoos to the authorities. But they were also dealing with money hungry, gun wielding, alleged husband killing sociopaths.  It’s difficult to feel sorry for everyone involved, but I can’t help but put myself in the position of the zoo staff and think, “would anyone have been able to stand up to these psychopaths?”

The Tiger King & I is an excellent follow up to the documentary, and Joel McHale did a great job at hosting.  If you’re a fan of the wild world of Tiger King, you will enjoy learning some of the new, disturbing details in the latest Netflix episode.  Thumbs up!

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