Bingeing Through Quarantine: Week 1 with ‘Tiger King’

Netflix viewers everywhere are going crazy over the new docuseries “Tiger King,” and for good reason.

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It was Dec. 31, 2019. The year was great for some, and for others … not so much. But we all waited, hopeful for a great new year. 2020! A new decade! There was so much it could bring us. World Peace! Health! Wealth! A global pandemic! Wait — what was that last one?

We now find ourselves as locked in our homes as we can be. Only those deemed essential and newfound joggers roam the streets and our daily schedules have never been quite so … well … random. We went from “Wake up, work, eat, work, eat, sleep and maybe a few things in between,” to “Wake up, roam around the house, turn on Netflix, Zoom with Hulu in the background, eat a 3-hour brunch, scroll through Amazon Prime Video and online shop at the same time …” You get the gist. Bingeing, while already America’s first epidemic, has proved itself to now be the one escape we have from the real world.

So, MOVE comes to you with a weekly recommendation for your bingeing needs. From documentaries to comedies, the internet’s got it all. Up first, you guessed it: “Tiger King,” directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin.

Thousands have already seen this seven-episode docuseries, but I know there are thousands more out there that are just like me. I refused to watch it for about a week and a half on account of it looking exactly like something I would not want to watch. But, I watched it. And I did enjoy it.

“Tiger King” is mainly about a man named Joe Exotic, an infamous tiger zoo owner and breeder in Oklahoma. The series follows him and his interactions with Carole Baskin over about five years. Baskin, who set up camp in Florida, claims to be a protector of the animals, but this series will have you questioning everything you think you know about animal rights activists, animal abusers, criminals and … the government.

Exotic is not the only man in the U.S. with a zoo. When I decided to watch the documentary, it was because I realized one of the zoos featured in the series was a zoo I followed on social media. Quite honestly, I thought was the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life. But the Doc Antle, or Bhagavan Antle, you see in this show is not the person he or his son, Kody Antle, presents on social media.

It was easy to see that some people were better than others in the way they treated animals in this documentary. What’s not easy is deciding whose side you are on. Every single person in this series looks at least a little bit bad if not horrible, all for different reasons. You’ll form an opinion on one thing and two minutes later a new source is brought in that completely blows that theory away. There are too many secrets in the tiger community, and that’s something I never thought I’d say.

One minute you’ll want to get in the car and drive to Antle’s zoo and pay any amount of money just to cuddle with one tiger, and the next you’ll want every zoo owner behind bars for even touching them in the first place.

There was an incredible amount of investigative work done in this documentary and I commend those who worked on it for even finding a way to talk to everyone they did speak to. And I just have to say, the last five minutes got me. No spoilers, but I don’t mess with loveable chimps.

If you haven’t watched “Tiger King” yet, I’m going to bet it’s out of spite. No one wants to watch what everyone else is watching. But I’m here to tell you, what everyone else is watching is really, really good.

Edited by George Frey | gfrey@themaneater.com

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