“I’m outspoken, good-looking, love to party and have fun.”
That’s what Joe Exotic, aka the “Tiger King,” wants you to think of himself. The first season of Tiger King proved that Joe merely scratched the surface of his character. It also said nothing of the rest of the… unique… people in this Netflix documentary series. Now, this motley crew is back for another season on Netflix. Can the American public endure another five episodes of this madness? Frankly, I don’t think so… and here are four reasons why:
1. What About the Animals?
Seriously! What about the tigers who make up the Tiger King experience? And the lions, bears, and other critters people like Joe Exotic and Carole Baskins are so fond of. Are these animals really being treated in a humane way? Organizations and media have criticized Exotic’s treatment of his animals. The problem is, we viewers – myself included, sad to say – are so caught up in the show’s circus-like atmosphere. We don’t stop to think about our four-legged friends and what THEY might be going through. Shameful.
2. Tiger King Perpetuates Negative Stereotypes
I can’t get into this too deeply because we’re not that kind of blog. (I know Stuart Sweet and I are fond of reminding you of this.) Let’s just say that appearing in Tiger King doesn’t do anyone any favors. These are colorful individuals who live unique lifestyles that border on the extreme. What’s more, they’re proud of it. This leads them to expose certain elements of their lives that aren’t always the most flattering.
I haven’t seen the second season of Tiger King but I’m going to make a prediction. Based on the trailer, guns and gun ownership will play a part in this upcoming season. I don’t know where you stand on this issue, and I respect everyone’s right to their opinions. That said, there’s a scene of Joe Exotic walking out of a gun store saying, “I don’t think we’re done blowing [stuff] up today.” That’s not a good look… for anyone.
3. Tiger King Cast Members Have Regrets
Season one was such a hot mess that four cast members expressed deep regrets for taking part in it. Those “stars” are Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, Doc Antle, and Saff Saffery. By the looks of it, Exotic and Baskin are back for season two. (I’m not sure if Antle and Saffery will reappear or not.) If they don’t like the way they were portrayed, why return for season two? I think Joe himself summed it up best when he said this:
“I can almost promise you some of you will be urinated on. If that happens, we have T-shirts in the gift shop that says, ‘I got peed on by a tiger.’”
This was in the first season, and Joe was referring to the tigers in his “sanctuary.” The “tiger” he’s wrestling with now – that wild beast known as fame – is harder to control. But Joe is willing to be bathed in metaphorical “urine” once more for his metaphorical “gift shop.” That’s the fame, attention, and money he gets, of course. Apparently, making a fool of yourself on national TV is both shameful and lucrative.
4. We’re Feeding the Beast
And that beast is reality TV. How does it feel to know you (and me) are the reason exploitative “reality” TV exists? We crave drama and salacious details to make our own pathetic lives seem normal. This enables trauma/drama shows such as Tiger King and the Real Housewives franchise to flourish. Cue the carnival procession of freaks like Joe Exotic and Carle Baskin to “entertain” us. It’s a total disaster. Sad.
Last Week, I Said I’d Stream Tiger King
You might remember me calling it a “train wreck I just had to watch.” Well, this week, I’ve changed my mind. Now, I want NOTHING to do with Tiger King and that won’t change. I’d rather take that time and spend it with my family. They’re more deserving of my attention than people who do more harm than good to the animals they claim to love.