What is Tiger King?

by Preston Ekdahl

I finally got around to watching “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” on Wednesday night in what feels to be day 20 of quarantine from COVID-19 and had to share my thoughts on the subject. Note this will be a SPOILER review so if you have not quite seen the show, I encourage you all to watch and read this blog after watching it. As a current shareholder in Netflix stock, it is something that helps me a great deal so do me a favor, sign up for Netflix, put “Tiger King” on and have some fun. Now listen I can hear the chatter already, I thought this was a sports blog, there’s no sports in Tiger King. Oh how wrong you my dear detractor must be because Jeff Lowe is seen frequently wearing an Affliction headband and t-shirt and if you’ve ever been to a dive bar between 2007-2014, you would know that the Affliction clothing brand is synonymous with guys who love MMA and was once a MMA promotion in 2008 and 2009 so yes it does have sports in it. With that out of the way, let’s get to the crux of this article and try to understand who is “Tiger King” and why is he so popular right now.

The “Tiger King” is Joseph Schreibvogel AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage AKA Joe Exotic owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park who the series is based upon. The show begins going over a history of Joe and in order to make money to feed the hundreds of tigers and lions that were in his zoo, Joe would have a large bus and drive city to city stopping at malls performing magic, MAGIC? The moment we see him doing magic at the local mall, I was hooked. They also have cub petting which is exactly what it sounds like where patrons will pet the cubs for a nominal fee. This guy is out of his mind and was fascinating. We then get introduced to Carole Baskin who is the owner of Big Cat Rescue and quite frankly a lunatic. She leaves her house at a young age, gets married to a very wealthy man and opens this sanctuary for lions and tigers until they die. She believes what Joe does is unethical and wants him arrested for keeping the animals captive but during the series, she seems to be doing the same thing. She also loves animal print and is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady which wasn’t hard to find out moments into the show. The second episode dives deeper into a backstory of her life and it is widely assumed across social media “shout out all you cool cats and krazy kittens” that she fed her husband to tigers to be the sole owner of Big Cat Rescue.

Joe is on a vengeful mission to eliminate Carole Baskin from society and everything he does gets recorded to make up a reality TV show that was going to help him keep open his zoo. He also is a country music star, ran for governor and even wanted to become the President of the United States because in Joe Exotic’s mind anything was possible.  As the show continues on, it is evident that Joe Exotic was losing control of reality, the money wasn’t coming in after he made a grave mistake to steal some of Carole’s copyrighted material which she then sued Joe for a million dollars and ruined his life. He finds out that his husbands are not actually gay and his second husband ends up committing suicide in front of his campaign manager. Of all the people who need a spin-off, please give one to the campaign manager and kid who taught Joe magic. Following the lawsuit from Carole, we get introduced to Jeff Lowe, a millionaire playboy from Las Vegas who bails Joe out financially. This is where Joe’s life goes down the drain for good because once Jeff gets involved, things go from bad to worse and he’s unable to keep himself afloat.

I won’t spoil the ending for you but you can take a guess where it ends up. Damn I almost forgot to mention Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, another lion owner who refers to himself as a lord or God of something and only hires women and this guy who claims the movie Scarface was based off him. Like I said, real crazy shit. My final verdict of “Tiger King” is to just watch it and judge it for yourself.  Also, do me a favor and keep that Netflix account constantly running over and over again because it’s almost the 1st of the month and that coronavirus check can’t come any sooner.

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