• Emelia Conner

Why Every Law Student Should Watch 'Tiger King'

If you had told me at the start of 2020 that I would have been locked in my house learning about a homosexual, southern american tiger zoo keeper, I would have laughed. However 2 weeks into isolation, Netflix’s recent addition Tiger King is all I can think about.***

The start of the series introduces Joe Exotic, who originally you think is just crazy for having 200+ tigers and lions as pets. To my surprise, this documentary has a much thicker plot than first perceived. Each episode introduces another crazy aspect of his life or of the life of other zoo keepers around America.

It seems that everyone within the documentary has a missing tooth, long hair or a million tattoos, yet this only adds to the anomaly of their peculiar life. A woman has her arm ripped off by a lion on screen and downplays it, including tell the audience that she returned to work as a tiger keeper 5 days after losing her arm. WHATTT?? Just let that sink in, these people are crazy!!! But it sure does make quality entertainment. OH and another tiger keeper has no legs, but I’ll leave it up to you to discover how he lost them.

To add to the excitement, zoo keeper, Joe Exotic, has two husbands, and his rival, Doc Antle, has three wives. Just a reminder, yes this is all real life and not a made up story!!

Joe’s nemesis is Carole Baskin, a hippie type of tiger keeper who claims she is ‘saving the big cats from abuse’ but on reflection I don’t think her ‘sanctuary’ is any better than a zoo. Another twist in the story, Carol Baskin has been accused of killing her husband and feeding him to her tigers - another unsolved murder mystery, just in case the story line wasn’t confusing enough.

If someone were to narrate this story to you, or even as I write this review, it just does not seem convincing. But believe me, through some magical mystical cinematography, a camera crew has brought this story to life and given the world some excitement during global lockdown.

The documentary begins as an insight into Red State American zoos and explores issues like animal abuse, however as it progresses, many more issues are introduced. Episode 4 introduces a legal trial about copyright and Intellectual Property Law (relevant) and thereafter introduces Joe Exotic’s criminal trial for hiring a hitman to kill his nemesis (relevant).

As a series that begins with you feeling glad you don’t live in the deep south and you are far away from the crazy life of Joe Exotic, I can assure you that throughout the episodes you begin to feel pity for the man and even begin to research the facts of his ‘wrongful conviction’, in the hope he may be released from prison to create more entertainment for us.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to sit down and binge watch Tiger King then I apologize. However, if you are looking for a series featuring polygamous, eccentric zookeeper and big cat keeper rivals, who also write country diss tracks about each other's alleged criminal behaviour, then this is the show for you.

***Disclaimer: I am very much an animal activist and do not condone the zoo industry, however, in a attempt to understand ‘how the other half live’ this is a true whirlwind of a story that is worth the watch, animal activist or zoo lover.

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