The Tiger King and I, Netflix review: even by Joe Exotic's standards, this was cheap

Jeff Lowe with his wife Lauren, in The Tiger King and I
Jeff Lowe with his wife Lauren, in The Tiger King and I Credit: netflix

When this bizarre moment in history finally ends and normality returns, will we look back and wonder at how strange our lives had become? We may, at the very least, wonder about the blockbuster popularity of Tiger King: Murder Mayhem and Madness.

Padding into the world in the early days of the global lockdown Netflix’s true-crime tale of big cats, bigger mullets and murderous mayhem in hillbilly America became an instant phenomenon. Here was the gonzo comfort blanket we hadn’t realised we needed. Social distancing was so much easier when you had maniacal moggy magnate Joe Exotic for company. 

Now, Netflix has cobbled together a quick epilogue, hosted by annoying American comedian Joel McHale. The Tiger King and I has clearly been assembled quickly and cheaply. And because of coronavirus, the “stars” from the series are interviewed from their homes by video link. You can almost smell the figurative duct tape and blu tack holding the endeavour together. 

三级成人视频The remote-interview format introduces an obvious layer of awkwardness. That’s on top of McHale’s passive aggressive patter and his distractingly tall hair. The biggest issue, however, is that he’s here for the easy laughs rather than to fill in the blanks in Exotic’s story. 

S三级成人视频till there are a few notable revelations. The biggest bombshell, as explained by Exotic’s former TV producer Rick Kirkham, is that the so-called “Tiger King” was terrified of the big cats to whom he claimed to have devoted his life. Laughing harshly from his new home in Norway, Kirkham shares the truth about the two animals with which we see Joe interact in the documentary. 

三级成人视频“The white one is blind,” he says. “The other one is on tranquillisers.” 

It goes without saying The Tiger King and I must do without the eponymous tooth and claw tycoon himself. Tiger King concluded with Joe Exotic, former owner of the GW Zoo in Oklahoma, receiving a 22-year prison sentence for hiring a hitman to assassinate animal rights nemesis Carole Baskin and for killing several of the more than 150 tigers he kept at his ramshackle facility. 

Quite what Joe makes of his new-found notoriety is a matter of dispute. Some reports suggest he is basking in the infamy. But it’s also been claimed that he is frustrated that he isn’t in a position to capitalise on his international notoriety. Either way, it will be some time before we see him on screen again.

He isn’t the only notable absentee. Carole Baskin has already condemned Tiger King for, as she sees it, betraying her trust and for adding fire to the rumours she bumped off her second husband, Don Lewis, and fed his remains to the tigers. 

三级成人视频Nor is there an encore from “Doc” Antle. The cultish owner of a tiger zoo in Florida has attacked the series as a “reprehensible falsehood”. 

T三级成人视频he biggest name Netflix has convinced to come back is Jeff Lowe, the big cat impresario who rescued Joe Exotic’s business only to then bitterly fall out with him. He is joined by his wife Lauren. The first topic of conversation is their open marriage and their glamorous nanny, who has become a subject of fascination in her own right. 

“Joe didn’t get set up,” says Lowe, when McHale asks whether he and others conspired with the FBI to put the Tiger King behind bars. “He killed the tigers. They were beautiful healthy tigers. He shot them in the head. He needed the cage space.” 

Joel McHale with the cast of The Tiger King and I

But, just like Baskin and Antle, he says the film-makers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin – notably absent here – manipulated the truth to frame him as a bad guy. “They tried to sensationalise the story a little bit, to give it a villain…All these guys come to me when they’re in trouble. As soon as I help them and [then] I no longer help them, they turn on me.” 

三级成人视频He’s followed by Joshua Dial, the former Walmart employee appointed by Exotic as his campaign manager in his runs for President and Governor of Oklahoma (neither an outstanding success). Unlike many other participants, Dial feels the Tiger King accurately reflected the reality of what was happening at GW Zoo. 

三级成人视频“It’s fair, it’s balanced,” he says Dial. “He [Joe] was bat___ crazy.”

There are also appearances from Joe’s ex-hsuband John Finlay, straight all along and today engaged and  modelling a spanking new set of teeth. And from former GW Zoo animal handler Kelci “Saff”Saffery. 

Saffery is relaxed about having been misgendered by the documentary and has few regrets about deciding to have an arm amputated after he was attacked by a tiger. Like everyone else, he comes across as stunned by the popularity of Tiger King and its impact on his life. “I was walking through Walmart on a late night run,” he says. “I was stopped three times – during a pandemic, in Walmart. I don’t have any anonymity.”