This is it. The review you’ve all been waiting for. I did it. I managed to watch all seven episodes of this dumpster fire in the middle of this giant trainwreck with endless gasoline being poured over the entire scene of the crime. Who do I blame for sitting down and actually not being able to look away from TIGER KING: MURDER, MAYHEM, AND MADNESS? I blame the endless string of hilarious gifs and memes I didn’t quite understand. I blame some of you that kept fucking messaging me to watch the show and write this review. I blame COVID-19 for me running out of shit quickly to review. I blame a whole bunch of God damn things. But I did it, so the least you can do is read this whole review, especially if you were one of the ones that specifically asked this from me. This won’t be a long review, I’m not going to jump in and dive into every single detail and frame of all seven episodes. This is going to be a broad review, crossing some t’s, dotting some i’s, and figuring out some WTF’s. Basically, I am going to review this as if I was watching a feature length documentary, in a movie theater. I’m going to review it on several levels: is it well made? does it get its point across? is this a story that was worth being told? Did it entertain? Did I laugh my ass off? Did I come out of it respecting the human race better than I did before? And probably the most important question in your minds: did Carole Baskin kill her first husband? The answers, before I go into detail on them is: Not really, Sort Of, Yes, Yes, Hell Yes, Fuck No, and bitch did that shit.
Is this documentary well made? Not really. Out of the seven episodes, the three best are easily the third, fourth, and fifth episodes. Why? Because they don’t lose focus with the points of Joe Exotic’s story that they wanted to tell. They focus on one or two specific things and stick with it. The first two episodes are all over the place in terms of narrative story telling. We are introduced to characters at random without really being introduced to them. It jumps to too many points in time just making sure it gets every single ounce of crazy into the viewers brains. I had to rewind several times just to make sure I was getting the entire picture and sometimes I just gave up after several rewinds and just went with it, hoping I’d understand it later. The sixth and seventh episodes, while still having a bit of focus, more than the first two, feel like they are stretching out the story too much, and it could’ve condensed the information into a tighter 6 episode arc. I personally think it all could’ve been a really tight tale in just 3 or 4 complete hour long episodes. We didn’t need seven (5 hrs, 17 minutes total). Way too much. What I’m trying to say is that even with some focus the sixth and seventh episodes are redundant and quite boring (yes, I didn’t find the murder for hire part all that interesting). This entire limited series, if you think about it, is a lopsided burger. The first two episodes represent a small top bun with a bunch of condiments thrown together and mixed up too much, nothing nice and layered. Episodes 3, 4, and 5 is the nice juicy meat of the story, really good angus beef that satisfies with its bombastic yet tightly focused story and shocking revelations. Episode 6 and 7 are the little tiny spray of ketchup or mustard on the underside of the meat patty with a giant un-flavorful bottom bun that’s teetering at the edge of falling off your picnic table.
Does it get its point across? Sort of. The point of this cautionary tale is buried under a shit ton of information, but it is there, you just have to dig deeper into the situation, past what the documentary provides, in order to completely understand it. I constantly had to do Google research after this to put several more pieces of the giant endless puzzle together. I get that this documentary is going to make you do research anyway, mostly for the best memes or gifs, but you shouldn’t have to do that much research afterward to piece everything together in order to “get” it. It’s a bit of a mess, but I was able to eventually see a complete picture. There is just tons and tons and tons of information and footage, each almost outlandish than the last. The whole thing just needed more focus. Do I really need to tell you what it’s about? Probably not, because if I do, it will just get me into spoilers, so I’ll “borrow” IMDB.com’s log line : “A rivalry between big cat eccentrics takes a dark turn when Joe Exotic, a controversial animal park boss, is caught in a murder-for-hire plot.” That’s all you need to know, except one thing: the murder-for-hire plot is the LEAST interesting thing about this show. Which answers the next question: is it a story worth being told? Abso-fucking-lutely. Just like the poster says, it is such a ridiculous story, if you told someone about it in words, no one would fucking believe your ass. But with all this footage, they have that gateway to prove that story true, even if all the information cobbled together is a bit of a mess.
Did it entertain? Yes. There are a couple of boring parts, really only in the last two episodes, but even with the first two episodes being an unfocused, giant pile of crazy info, this documentary completely entertains. I’ve never heard of this guy, Joe Exotic, till now and what shocks me is I probably never would have if not for this documentary. He’s just absolutely bat shit crazy. Did I laugh my ass off? Hell yes. I laughed my ass off more times than I could count, and combine it with the gifs and memes I had seen before starting the show, I was in tears on the floor, my voice cracking with all my uncontrollable laughter. Not to get into any spoilers that will ruin your laughs but Joe Exotic’s mannerisms, internet shows, feud with Carole Baskin, a euology at a funeral, some really weird photos and weddings, and the worst tattoo ever is just some of the things you are in for. Did I come out of it respecting the human race better than I did before? Fuck no. There aren’t really any likable characters in this. When at times Joe Exotic is somewhat sympathetic he just goes off and does something shady and monstrous to make you hate him. Even his husbands, apparently straight and with meth teeth, don’t come out looking too great on the other side of things, one part of their story will shock you to the point of your draw dropping on the floor and going into the Earth. Even the other rival tiger, big cat “rescue” operations owners are unlikable, scummy, and weird. Multiple wives, sex cults, and what not. Which brings us to my final paragraph: Carole Baskin.
That bitch killed her husband. I’m not surprised to learn that the disappearance case of her first husband has been reopened after this documentary aired. There is enough evidence alone in this documentary that she really was the only one that could’ve had something to do with it, or that son of a bitch just really was that sneaky and is sipping a Pina Colada on some remote island some where, having finally gotten rid of the cunt. Maybe he as even since died on that remote island with a completely new identity so no one would ever know. Carole Baskin is an awful bitch. She has resting bitch face, a couple of “sympathetic” qualities, but with all of her mannerisms and her behind the scenes actions, you know she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No doubt about it in my mind. And if she ends up going to jail because of the documentary, that would make me respect this whole seven episodes of craziness even more. So, in conclusion: you should definitely check this thing out. While I would say that the hype of this limited docu-series is bigger than the actual product, it is still an interesting as hell story. And even though the series is a little unfocused and gives the viewer too much information and then just keeps throwing in multiple kitchen sinks to add to the run time, it is still entertaining. Plus, in the end you will secretly want to be in on all the gifs and memes you’ve seen out there and will want to start making some of your own after all is said and done. While not the best (I still think the long OJ Simpson and Aaron Hernandez documentaries and some of Michael Moore’s stuff is much, much better ((and organized)) than this), it certainly earns the throne of king of crazy ass documentaries. Enter at your own risk.